The Delhi High Court rebuked the Bihar Government on Tuesday for ‘humiliating, harassing and victimising’ an IAS officer who took a tough stand against the transport mafia despite threats to his life.
The court directed the central government to initiate inter-cadre transfer of the 2013-batch IAS officer Jitendra Gupta forthwith and issue the order to shift him out of Bihar cadre, completing the process within four weeks.
It also ordered the state to pay Rs 5 lakh to the officer as compensation within four weeks along with other dues, saying the court cannot undo the harm done to him but the amount awarded would apply some balm to his wounds.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jyoti Singh said if the court failed to protect a man who had the nerve to stand up against the mafia and the state machinery, they would be doing great disservice to the system and setting a bad precedent, where no officer would gather courage take on the wrongdoers.
Gupta, who was represented through senior advocate Sachin Datta and lawyer Sourabh Ahuja, had sought transfer to Haryana alleging threat to his life for acting tough against the transport mafia there.
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had earlier directed the Centre to consider the case of the officer for inter-state deputation to Haryana or for central government deputation.
It had directed the state government not to withhold its consent for the inter-state deputation or central deputation of the officer and communicate it to the Centre.
The state government challenged the CAT order before the high court. It claimed that the tribunal failed to understand the mala fide intention of the officer for seeking cadre transfer which was to avoid a criminal case.
The high court dismissed the state government’s appeal against the CAT order.
In 2016, Gupta was arrested in a corruption case and was sent to jail. He was later granted bail and the FIR was quashed following Patna High Court’s order.
In Tuesday’s verdict, the bench said the resistance of the State government to let go of the officer on an inter-cadre transfer bewildered it.