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SC upholds dismissal of RAW officer
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 31
Upholding the dismissal of a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officer posted in China, the Supreme Court has ruled that officials on sensitive posts cannot demand the reasons for their removal from service.

If the mandatory disciplinary inquiry could be dispensed with in some cases in order to protect state security, the same reason would hold good for not communicating the reasons for the dismissal, a Bench comprising Justices Mukundakam Sharma and Anil R Dave held in a verdict.

MM Sharma, posted as First Secretary at the Indian Embassy in Beijing from July 2, 2007 to May 3, 2008, was dismissed from service on December 22, 2008 after it was noticed that he had “undesirable liaison” with Chinese women. He had been removed from service on the basis of a preliminary inquiry by the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

The government had decided against holding a formal inquiry as Sharma was on “special assignment and entrusted with responsible duties of external intelligence. Any formal inquiry would jeopardize security of India as it would reveal details of intelligence operation in the host country.”

Also, a proper disciplinary inquiry would require examination of witnesses involving “foreign nationals or officers working under cover in the Indian Embassy in China” and this would “certainly jeopardize the security of the state,” the government had contended.

Sharma challenged the dismissal order before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). CAT passed an order on December 10, 2009 asking the government to review the dismissal and see if Sharma could be given a lesser punishment.

On June 3, 2010, the government passed an order rejecting the suggestion for punishments other than dismissal. Subsequently, the CAT also endorsed the government decision. Sharma challenged this in the Delhi High Court. On September 27, 2010, the HC directed the government to give him the reasons for the dismissal, prompting the appeal in the SC.





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