Mumbai: The Bombay High Court bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale, on Tuesday, opined that the petition filed by Param Bir Singh, challenging two preliminary enquiries ordered against him by the Maharashtra government, could be addressed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). The observations were made after it was informed that the Maharashtra Director General of Police had recused himself from the probe. The matter was adjourned till June 9 with the high court clarifying that the plea was adjourned only because Singh’s counsels Mukul Rohtagi and Abad Ponda were not present for the hearing.
A bench of Justices Shinde and Pitale said, "We are prima facie of the opinion that the nature of reliefs sought in the present petition can be well dealt by the CAT."
The observation was made after senior counsel Darius Khambatta representing the Maharashtra government told the bench that Singh's plea against the two enquiries had become "infructuous."
"This petition challenges the two enquiries ordered on April 1 and April 20. But due to the allegations made in this plea against the DGP Sanjay Pandey, the senior officer has recused from the probe," Khambatta argued.
The senior advocate further pointed out that fresh enquiries have been ordered against Param Bir Singh on Monday evening after Pandey refused to probe.
"I have recused myself from the probe as the petitioner Singh has made baseless allegations against me. False allegations are made in this petition thus I decided not to probe the enquiries," clarified senior counsel Nawroze Seervai on behalf of Pandey.
Seervai and Khambatta further pointed out that the nature of the contentions in the petition and also the reliefs sought cannot be heard by the HC. "The present petition isn't maintainable in law. The correct forum to decide this plea is the CAT since the plea is purely about service issues," Khambatta and Seervai jointly submitted.
However, advocate Sunny Punamiya appearing for Singh told the judges that his seniors Mukul Rohatgi and Abad Ponda would be arguing the matter. "Please adjourn the matter at least till Thursday when my seniors would argue," Punamiya pleaded.
The judges, while opining that Singh must move the CAT at the earliest, adjourned the hearing till June 9.
"This matter has nothing otherwise but we have adjourned only for the senior counsels to argue on next date. There is no urgency in this matter at all," Justice Shinde said while adjourning the hearing till June 9.