The Supreme Court has slapped a fine of Rs. 5 lakh on the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government for harassing a senior IAS officer, who along with eminent jurist Ram Jethmalani, had moved the court for a probe into the question of black money stashed abroad.
The bench reproached the two governments for stalling the promotion of 1979-batch IAS officer Vijay Kumar Pandey as he “dared to point out certain aspects of mal-administration in the Government of India”.
It also held that bureaucrats cannot become members of an inferior class and therefore had the right to air personal or public grievances guaranteed by the Constitution before the judiciary.
“We are at a loss to comprehend how the filing of the writ petition containing allegations that the Government of India is lax in discharging its constitutional obligations of establishing the rule of law can be said to amount to either failure to maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty or of indulging in conduct unbecoming of a member of the service,” the bench said.
Pandey, serving with the UP government, was on July 22, 2011 given a charge sheet consisting of five charges against him. On July 4, SC had constituted an SIT to probe black money cases, pulling up then UPA government for failing to tackle the menace.
The order came on two PILs – one filed by Jethmalani and another by an NGO in which Pandey was a member.
The charge sheet held Pandey was guilty of an act of indiscipline.