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U'khand HC Allows Sanjiv Chaturvedi To Contest His Case Against CAT Transferring To Delhi Bench

U'khand HC
Nainital: The Uttarakhand High Court has allowed Indian Forest Officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi to appear in person and argue against the complaint of transferring his case regarding the empanelment of civil servants at the Joint Secretary level and above in Central government.
Chaturvedi had filed a case before the Nainital Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) challenging the 360-degree appraisal and appointment of private-sector experts through lateral entry.
Chaturvedi, who is currently the chief conservator of forest in Haldwani, had filed a case before the Nainital Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), in February 2020, on this issue. However, in December 2020, on the basis of an application filed by the Centre, the Chairman of CAT, ordered to transfer the hearing of this case to the Delhi bench of CAT.
This transfer order was challenged by whistleblower Chaturvedi in December 2020 before Uttarakhand High Court, which issued notices to Central Government as well as the CAT chairman. The HC had reserved orders on August 26th in this matter.
In an order passed on September 27, the HC said, "Therefore, this Court is of the opinion that Sanjiv Chaturvedi should be permitted to appear in person and argue his case".
The order noted, "A bare perusal of the record of this case clearly reveals that Sanjiv Chaturvedi is, indeed, faced with an uphill task, as he has acted as a whistleblower on many occasions." It further said, "His knowledge of law, his erudite arguments, his critical analysis of the law and the facts have been lauded by a few legal fora and permitted him to appear and argue for the case. Thus, clearly, Chaturvedi is in a position to argue both on facts and law in the present case."
However, citing provisions of Advocate Act, 1961 and orders of Supreme Court, the High Court said, "The court has been bestowed with the discretionary power to permit, or not to permit such a person, who is not enrolled as an Advocate, to appear before it"
Chaturvedi, in his affidavit, had contended that he has been permitted to argue not only before the CAT, but also before other High Courts as party-in-person. He further pleaded that despite the fact that the advocates engaged by him have appeared on his behalf pro bono, but even then, they have been subjected to conviction for criminal contempt. Thus, he finds it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to engage the service of any counsel, the court order said.
"Sanjiv Chaturvedi is also of the opinion that he should not risk getting his counsel in trouble while he fights his single battle against powerful persons. Therefore, he wishes to save a counsel from any professional embarrassment, which may come his or her way," the order further recorded. "It is, indeed, saddening to note that a litigant claims that 'he has no faith in the members of the Bar'. But, perhaps, this is a misplaced impression in the mind of Sanjiv Chaturvedi. For, there is no dearth of honest and hardworking lawyers in the Bar," the order said. High Court order urged members of the Bar, and legal fraternity 'to do a bit of introspection.
The court posted the matter for hearing on October 23.  —ANI