The Bombay High Court will decide if the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Mumbai can entertain applications pertaining to offences taken place in another state.
The division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar on Tuesday reserved the order on an appeal filed by the Punjab government challenging the relief granted by the Mumbai CAT to Director General of Police S.S. Virk in an alleged graft case in Punjab.
In January, the tribunal in Mumbai had granted a stay on a departmental inquiry against Virk initiated by the Punjab government despite his repatriation to Maharashtra.
Additional Advocate-General of Punjab Salil Sagar argued that the Mumbai CAT had no jurisdiction to order a stay in a case lodged in Punjab.
Virk’s counsels, Mahesh Jethmalani, Ravi Shetty and Sandeep Marne, opposed the appeal stating that the Mumbai CAT had the right to grant relief as even the Supreme Court (SC) had held that after repartition only the Centre has the authority to take disciplinary action [against an officer], if required.
“The Punjab government does not have the authority to take action,” said Marne.
Virk had sought relief from the Mumbai CAT stating that the inquiry in Punjab was being conducted ex parte [without the party’s presence] after the chargesheet was filed against him on April 20, 2007.
In May 2008, the SC had upheld an order passed by the Chandigarh CAT, which had observed that Virk was rightly repatriated to Maharashtra. The Chandigarh CAT had directed the Punjab government to send all the papers related to the case, including the chargesheet, to the Centre.
The Punjab government had obtained a stay from the Punjab High Court on the order passed by the Chandigarh CAT.
Virk obtained relief from the SC, but the Punjab government continued to hold a departmental inquiry against him.
In January, the Mumbai CAT held that no fresh disciplinary inquiry be conducted by the Punjab government against Virk without first sending material to the Centre. The Punjab government then approached the Bombay HC.