Months after she became the first woman chief of a border guarding force, Archana Ramasundaram has won her legal battle against the Tamil Nadu government.
The central administrative tribunal has ruled that Ramasundaram did not desert her post in the Tamil Nadu government when she came to the Centre in 2014 to join the CBI without formally getting relieved from the state.
Ramasundaram was then posted as additional director general of police, Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board (TNUSRB), when she relinquished her charge and proceeding to Delhi to assume the new charge as additional director of CBI.
The Tamil Nadu government took a serious view of her getting self-relieved and on June 18, 2014 chargesheeted her for deserting her post without intimation to the state government.
Later, her assignment at CBI was challenged by a journalist in the Supreme Court, which restrained her from discharging duties in the agency.
The 1980-batch Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer was subsequently appointed as head of the National Crime Records Bureau. In February this year, Ramasundram was appointed director general of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which is deployed along India’s border with Nepal and Bhutan.
Meanwhile, Ramasundaram moved the tribunal challenging the chargesheet order issued against her by the state government on the ground that she was obeying the order of the Department of Personnel and Training asking her to join the CBI immediately. She had contended that being a member of an All India Service (AIS), she was duty bound to obey the order of the Central government.
The tribunal noted that the state government has the power to take action against any AIS officer for any irregularity or misconduct committed while being in the service of that state. But since Ramasundaram was obeying Centre’s order, it cannot be called as misconduct, the tribunal said.
It remarked that in case there was difference of opinion between a state government and the central government over the service conditions of AIS officers, the opinion of the centre will prevail.
“The applicant has simply obeyed an order of Centre which certainly cannot be called as a misconduct,” it said adding
It also noted that the Tamil Nadu government’s chief secretary responded to the central government over their predicament in relieving her after a delay of 42 days.
The tribunal quashed the chargesheet issued against Ramasundaram as “illegal” and “void in the eyes of the law”.