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Tribunal Stays Suspension of Karnataka IAS Officer Who Checked PM Modi's Chopper in Odisha

The Central Administrative Tribunal also issued notices to the Election Commission and four others and directed them to respond within four weeks.


Updated:April 25, 2019, 8:52 PM IST
Tribunal Stays Suspension of Karnataka IAS Officer Who Checked PM Modi's Chopper in Odisha
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the inauguration of the Jharsuguda airport in Odisha on Saturday. (PIB Photo via PTI)

New Delhi: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Thursday stayed the suspension of IAS officer Mohammed Mohsin who was removed from the post of general observer for checking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter in Odisha’s Sambalpur earlier this month.

The tribunal also issued notices to the Election Commission as well as four others and directed them to respond within four weeks.

The Election Commission had suspended Mohsin, a Karnataka cadre officer, a day after he allegedly violated its instructions that SPG (special protection group) protectees should not be checked. Mohsin had reportedly tried to check some luggage in Modi’s convoy on April 16 ahead of his rally in Sambalpur.

A few days later, Mohsin was transferred to the office of the Chief Electoral Officer in Bengaluru.

Mohsin, who moved the tribunal in Bengaluru, told the bench he had taken permission from an SPG official, who had agreed that Modi's helicopter could be videographed from a distance. But the SPG later complained to the Election Commission.

“Applicant will be eligible to rejoin his former position under the government of Karnakata without any further ado about it,” the tribunal’s order said.

The CAT maintained that during an election process while reasonable assurances of protection and security must be made available to SPG protectees, it cannot be said "they are eligible for anything and everything".

Mohsin had tried to check some luggage in the convoy of the Prime Minister during his campaign visit and the EC had said he had acted inviolation of its existing instructions.

In its order, CAT member (Judicial) Dr KB Suresh noted there was a circular regarding the SPG protectees that they are exempted from certain examinations on certain grounds.

"We will not go into the SPG protectees guidelines as per the bluebook right now, but the rule of law must prevail," he said.

The CAT also took note of the plea of the applicant's counsel who said there were news about heavy packages unloaded from prime minister's cavalcade being taken away in other vehicle. Questions were raised but apparently no action followed, it said.

Noting that under the constitutional process of federal structure, even though the EC has supervisory powers over the employees under its control at that moment, the CAT said once they are out of it, the commission's powers would cease.

The CAT said it would look into this matter afresh once it received the response from the EC.

The tribunal will next hear the case on June 3.

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