SC Stays Dismissal of IPS Officer Who Assisted CBI in Ishrat Jahan Encounter Probe

'It is for the high court to consider the question..,' the Supreme Court bench has said.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has kept in abeyance an order of the Union government dismissing from service the Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Satish Verma, who assisted the CBI in the investigation into the Ishrat Jahan encounter killing.

The Ministry of Home Affairs dismissed Verma on August 30, a month before he was to retire on September 30. It cited, among reasons, Verma’s interviews to media “which dented the country’s international relations.”

Verma had probed the Ishrat Jahan case between April 2010 and October 2011 and it was on the basis of his investigation report that a Special Investigation Team had held that the encounter was “fake”. The Gujarat high court eventually directed the CBI to probe the case and avail itself of Verma’s services.

LiveLaw has reported that a Supreme Court bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said that Verma has to take the “appropriate steps” to amend the writ petition pending before the Delhi high court on the issue.

“It is for the high court to consider the question as to whether order of stay of implementation of order passed by disciplinary authority is to be continued beyond a period of one week,” the Supreme Court added.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal argued for Verma that the high court has been passing orders on his plea from time to time but has posted the case for January 2023, much after Verma is supposed to retire. “My petition is getting infructuous. I can’t argue here also….Either you transfer the high court petition and hear it or tell HC to prepone the hearing…Otherwise I’ll argue on merits,” Sibal submitted, according to LiveLaw.

Facing SC’s questions on technicalities of challenging a dismissal order, Sibal also added that the Union government was “stalling the case for the past one year” and it has “not even filed its counter affidavit in the matter.”

The Delhi high court, while hearing a plea by Verma, had directed the Union home ministry not to implement the dismissal order till September 19 so that the 1986-batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer could approach a higher court to get relief.

If the dismissal of Verma comes into effect, he will not be entitled to pension and other benefits.

The senior police officer was last posted as inspector general with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Tamil Nadu.

Verma then moved the Supreme Court after the Delhi high court allowed the home ministry to take action against him in the wake of a departmental inquiry that claimed to have proved charges against him, including those that had to do with him interacting “with public media” when he was chief vigilance officer of the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation, Shillong.

While passing its final order, the high court had on August 30 said that the disciplinary proceedings against Verma shall not be implemented without the court’s permission if it is prejudicial to him.

Following this order, the Union government had moved the high court seeking its permission to impose disciplinary action and dismiss Verma from service.

Permitting the Union government to implement the order, a division bench of the high court had said, “It is directed that the order shall not be implemented till September 19, 2022, to enable the petitioner to avail of his remedies in accordance with law against the order of dismissal.”