IN AN unprecedented move, the five-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, constituted on Friday to hear the Raj Bhawan-HC standoff issue, ordered that all communications, orders and letters emanating from Governor’s secretariat regarding relieving and suspension of Governor’s additional legal advisor Pradeep Dubey be treated as otiose, ineffective and inoperative.
The bench also ordered principal secretary to Governor Luv Verma to appear before it on July 4 along with all records relating to Pradeep Dubey, who has been placed under suspension for violating his transfer orders. The HC directed that Dubey should forthwith report at his headquarters at Ballia where he had been transferred as additional district and sessions judge. At the same time the HC also made it clear that the departmental inquiry initiated against Dubey shall continue unhindered.
The five-judge bench comprising Justices Rakesh Tiwari, SS Kulshreshtha, Prakash Krishna, DP Singh and AP Sahi passed these orders after holding a hearing on the issue in a packed court in Allahabad. It issued notices to Union home secretary, chief secretary UP, principal secretary Law, registrar general of the Allahabad High Court and PK Dubey and listed the petition for July 4.
Advocate general SMA Quazmi presented a letter from principal secretary to Governor Luv Verma before the five-judge bench. Verma in his letter urged the HC to send a panel of three names to enable the Raj Bhawan to select an officer of the governor’s choice. Verma in his letter stated that vacuum could not be created in the Governor’s secretariat as it would seriously hamper the work there. Dubey could not be relieved unless an officer of the choice of the governor was posted in his secretariat, said Verma.
While passing the orders, the HC referred to Dubey’s transfer orders from Raj Bhawan and said his name figured in every chain of transfers since 1998. On the request of the Governor the repatriation of Dubey was deferred, observed the HC while making strong observations over the language used in the communications from Raj Bhawan. “Today, a last opportunity was granted and instead of availing it, with anguish we note, that it was not only spurned but the language used by the principal secretary to His Excellency the Governor has reached the pinnacle of obstinacy,” observed the court adding that it was left with remained no room but to pass these orders.
The HC observed that the five-judge bench had been constituted in an “unprecedented situation” in its history. “This bench has been constituted in an unprecedented situation in the history of High Court where the Executive organ of the State namely His Excellency the Governor’s secretariat has refused to acknowledge and implement the transfer and the suspension order of a Judicial Officer of the Subordinate Judiciary of this state and which has been brought to the notice of this court on the judicial side by way of a public interest petition moved by the learned Secretary of the High Court Bar Association Allahabad, ” it said.
The HC referred to the long association of Dubey with the Raj Bhawan starting from 1994 when he was appointed as the additional legal advisor to the governor. The HC observed that no officer could remain on deputation for more than 3 years and hence the proceedings for his repatriation began in 1998. But on the request of the governor, the repatriation was deferred.
Meanwhile, sources said the Raj Bhawan, which preferred to remain tight-lipped on the issue on Friday, would examine various legal options on the issue.