Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha to appear before CAT to defend negative appraisal of Magsaysay awardee Sanjiv Chaturvedi

New Delhi: Union Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha has been called upon to defend the ‘zero’ performance appraisal given to former AIIMS Chief Vigilance Office (CVO) Sanjiv Chaturvedi before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). Though the government strongly objected to the Cabinet Secretary being roped in as a party to the case, a CAT bench comprising of Gokul Chandra Pati and Jayesh Bhairavia on 16 April, 2018 refused to delete the Cabinet Secretary from the list of parties, after Chaturvedi pointed out that his case was directly being looked into by his office on the direction of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The CAT’s circuit bench at Nainital was of the view that there was no case for deleting the Cabinet Secretary from the list of parties at this stage. The Cabinet Secretary, however, would be free to argue in this regard during the proceedings, if he had no role in this case.

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, the Magsaysay award-winning Indian Forest Service Officer (IFS) had pointed out that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had in a letter directed the Cabinet Secretary to keep it informed with regard to any decision taken in his case.

A letter from the PMO dated 23 November 2012, said, “The undersigned is directed to request that the Cabinet Secretary may satisfy himself thoroughly before taking any decision in the Civil Services Board (CSB) and keep (this office informed.)"

File image of Sanjiv Chaturvedi. IBNLive

File image of former AIIMS CVO Sanjiv Chaturvedi. IBNLive

Chaturvedi further submitted that his appointment was done with the recommendation/approval of the Cabinet Secretary and he had personally met him in December 2015 requesting him to allocate an appropriate assignment. Further, he had specifically prayed for certain directions to the Cabinet Secretary in his original application.

The government counsel had argued that the Cabinet Secretary has no role to play in the preparation and communication of Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR) of Chaturvedi, and therefore, he is not a necessary party. The bench, however, observed that the applicant had specifically sought directions to the Cabinet Secretary in his application and therefore, his name could not be deleted at this stage.

Chaturvedi’s performance was assessed as ‘zero’ in 2015, the same year when he had received the  Ramon Magsaysay Award. The citation said: “In recognition of his exemplary integrity, courage and tenacity in uncompromisingly exposing and painstakingly investigating corruption in public office, and his resolute crafting of programme and system improvements to ensure that government honourably serves the people of India.”

In 2012-13 and 2013-14, his performance was assessed as 'outstanding'. The remark by the then health minister said, " He is a man of integrity, sincerity and honesty, who is keen on performing his assigned role to the best of his ability and knowledge without fear or favour."

Chaturvedi further argued that the direction of the PMO was not followed by the Cabinet Secretary when he was abruptly removed from the assignment of CVO, AIIMS in August 2014. Chaturvedi had also written to the Cabinet Secretary on 25 January, 2016, demanding evaluation of his APAR for 2015-16 by an impartial agency, and alleging bias by his reporting authority.

Chaturvedi, in his letter, said that as per the department of expenditure, he was tasked to discharge primarily three functions- i) to co-ordinate and manage infrastructure projects and ensure timely completion, ii) to exercise management and control of the institute and iii) to co-ordinate with multi-disciplinary experts.

“After joining the present assignment, as per the work allocation order, I was made the CVO of the institute. However, none of the above-mentioned three functions were ever allocated to me. Apart from the work of CVO, certain minor works related to general section, estate section and pensions were also assigned. The work of the general section was withdrawn in November 2012, the work of the CVO was withdrawn in August 2014, the work of grievances was withdrawn in 2015 and the work of estate section was withdrawn in December 2015, making me completely jobless. Meanwhile in May 2015, another order was issued by the institute, prohibiting all types of file movement and restoring the position prior to the creation of the post of Deputy Secretary, making the very post infructuous. None of these withdrawal orders mentioned any reasons at all. Thus practically, after the withdrawal of the assignment of the CVO in August 2014, I was without any work, as signing of pension papers and booking the guest houses/accommodation is no assignment at all for an All India Service officer in PB-4 Pay Scale, that too on central deputation,” Chaturvedi wrote to the Cabinet Secretary in his letter.

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Updated Date: Apr 19, 2018 19:03:42 IST

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