After CIC rap, NHAI files papers in HC on whistleblower’s charges
After being directed by information commissioner Yashovardhan Azad, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has submitted records in Delhi high court with regard to charges against it by a Human Resources Development (HRD) official that his pleas of absorption in the agency were rejected as he had ‘exposed illegal’ appointments of several others in NHAI.
NHAI recently submitted ‘personal file’ of the official before a bench comprising acting chief justice BD Ahmed and justice Siddharth Mridul in pursuance of an earlier order. The court hearing the plea of DP Majhi, who is presently working as an undersecretary in Human Resources Development Ministry, had asked NHAI to produce relevant records before it to ‘resolve’ all the controversies’. Majhi, who was earlier on deputation with NHAI, had sought absorption in the agency by filing three separate applications for different posts. However, NHAI in 2010 decided to repatriate Majhi to his parent department, the Health ministry, when he was on LTC without considering his applications for absorption or direct entry post, which he had also applied with NOC and vigilance clearance.
Majhi challenged the decision in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) but did not get any relief. Aggrieved by CAT’s decision, he moved the high court which initially rejected his plea on several grounds. However, the HC later considered Majhi’s review plea on the basis of RTI reply by NHAI and issued a notice to NHAI, asking it to place on record the relevant files concerning his requests for absorption in the NHAI.
Majhi’s counsel Prashant Bhushan had told the court that the petitioner is a ‘whistleblower’ and decision of NHAI to repatriate and relieve Majhi in absentia was ‘malicious’ as he had exposed ‘illegal appointments’ of the same officers in NHAI who processed his repatriation and relieving in absentia. The copies of written submission on behalf of the petitioner is in possession with Millennium Post. The review plea also alleged NHAI has absorbed 69 other persons without any verification from their parent departments and Majhi was singled out for denying the benefit. In a related development, on the second Appeal of Majhi before the Central Information Commission (CIC) on his RTI appeal, due to the ongoing court case in the High Court , the CIC has ordered an urgent probe to be completed within three weeks, into his applications going missing from NHAI records and the ‘findings be intimated to the appellant (Majhi) and the commission.’
The Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad in his order dated 20 January 2014 has decided that ‘The respondent (NHAI) has admitted that the application of appellant for absorption in NHAI under three posts was received.
The Commission directs that a thorough enquiry be conducted by an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to look into the case of the missing applications and fix responsibility for taking further administrative action in this regard.’ The copy of CIC order is in possession with Millennium Post.