10 transfers, suspensions, false complaints and finally, an award
He faced frequent transfers, was suspended from service for five months and had superior officers and well wishers advising him not to swim against the current as a government officer. But none of this could keep him down. He continued performing his duties with courage and determination.india Updated: Jul 02, 2009 02:30 IST
He faced frequent transfers, was suspended from service for five months and had superior officers and well wishers advising him not to swim against the current as a government officer. But none of this could keep him down. He continued performing his duties with courage and determination.
And recognition came in the form of the Manjunath Shanmugham Integrity Award 2009 for courage and probity in public life.
Meet Sanjiv Chaturvedi (34), a 2002 batch Haryana cadre Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer.
Posted as divisional forest officer in Kurukshetra, he had first information reports (FIRs) registered against influential persons for violation of the Wildlife Protection Act in February 2007. These persons included an Irrigation Department officer and contractors working on a canal project.
They were booked for poaching the rare hog deer and for felling trees illegally in the Saraswati Wildlife Sanctuary. Three months later, a case against the accused was filed by the Haryana forest department in the Kurukshetra environment court.
Though Chaturvedi was transferred to the Fatehabad district for obvious reasons, the case filed on his initiative was later taken to the Supreme Court by an NGO, Wildlife Trust of India, in August 2007.
Lawyer Ritwick Dutta, who represented the Trust in the Supreme Court, said, “The Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) found the charges of violation of Wildlife Protection Act and Forest Act true and asked the Haryana irrigation department in July 2008 to deposit Rs 1 crore to the state forest department for wildlife conservation.”
After taking charge of the Fatehabad forest division, Chaturvedi found a herbal park being built with public funds on land belonging to an influential political family. When he stopped the construction and proposed that the park be built on government land, he was threatened with dire consequences.
The officer was then placed under suspension in August 2007. The order did not mention any specific grounds. When he applied for the file notings under the Right To Information Act, they were denied to him on the ground that the disclosure would hamper the investigation against him.
But Chaturvedi was determined to fight. So, he approached the Haryana Information Commission and finally got the file notings, based on which the Union Government revoked Chaturvedi’s suspension in January 2008.
In April 2008, another NGO, Ekta Parishad, filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court against the park being built on private land in Fatehahad. The case is pending before the court’s CEC.
A believer in the theory of karma, Chaturvedi told HT at his Jhajjar office, “You will have to pay back for your deeds. I believe that one should perform one’s duty honestly.”
Praising the Indian family system, he said, “My parents and elder brother Rajiv, also an IFS officer, give me moral support and encourage me to continue performing my duty with full dedication.”