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HC: Reinstate whistleblower
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
A whistleblower is back in job.

Nearly five years after an under secretary in Haryana, Ram Kishan, was retired compulsorily after his complaint resulted in the unearthing of a scam in the legal remembrancer’s (LR) office, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has invalidated the action.

Allowing Kishan’s petition against Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, Justice Ajay Tewari today not only directed the setting aside of the impugned order dated November 19, 2003, but also ordered his reinstatement with all consequential benefits. In his detailed order, Justice Tewari clarified the petitioner would, however, not be entitled to wages for the period he was out of service.

The petitioner had earlier claimed nine out of 10 reports in his service record of past decade ranged between good and very good. Only the last report contained an adverse entry.

Arguing before the court, his counsel had asserted the petitioner had exposed a scandal in the LR office. It was for this reason the officer became inimical towards him and recorded the entry in the annual confidential report, resulting in his compulsory retirement.

After going through the record, Justice Tewari ruled: “As far as the argument of the counsel is concerned that the petitioner was a whistleblower, the same is borne out from the record. As a result of a complaint filed by the petitioner, a scam involving payment for filing of appeals running into lakhs was unearthed. It was found that appeals were being typed in the office of the LR and money was being charged for typing with the help of fake bills of fake institutions…”

Justice Tewari asserted: “Although the LR was not directly indicted, it is not disputed that he was subsequently repatriated and an FIR was lodged against his subordinates.”

“In these circumstances, the assertion that he was inimical towards the petitioner cannot be lightly discarded… The integrity has been held to be doubtful not on the basis of any positive assertion, but on the basis of a negative assertion that the integrity as good cannot be ascertained,” the judge concluded.

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