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Uttarakhand HC bench recuses itself from case of Sanjiv Chaturvedi

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Nainital: A bench in Uttarakhand High Court has been recused itself from hearing the case of Uttarakhand cadre IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi.

A division bench on Wednesday headed by Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal recused itself from hearing the case of Uttarakhand cadre IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi.

The bench ordered that case to be listed “before another Bench of which, one of us (Rakesh Thapliyal Ji), is not a member”. However, the order does not mention any reason for recusal.

This Writ was filed by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi against an order of Nainital Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), of February 2023 in which CAT had ordered Union Health Ministry and AIIMS to produce all the records of corruption cases which were investigated by Chaturvedi and later on closed after his removal from the post of Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the Institute.

During his tenure as CVO from June 2012 to August 2014, Chaturvedi had unearthed and investigated many corruption cases involving senior officers and doctors of AIIMS. After his removal, he was awarded zero grading in his Annual Performance Appraisal Report in financial year 2015-16.

Subsequently, in July 2017, he had filed a case before Nainital Bench of CAT which had issued notices to Union Health Ministry and AIIMS Delhi in his petition, Chaturvedi had alleged that his performance appraisal report was downgraded as a ‘vindictive action’ for investigation into corruption cases of influential persons.

On an application filed by Chaturvedi, in February 2023, CAT had directed Union Health Ministry and AIIMS to produce records of these cases, ‘in the interest of justice’. It was against this order that AIIMS had moved writ petition before Uttarakhand High Court for stay as well as setting aside this order.

This is the sixth occasion when judges have recused from case of Sanjiv Chaturvedi.

In November 2013, then Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjan Gogoi had recused himself from hearing a case filed by him regarding CBI investigation into the role of then Chief Minister of Haryana, Sh. Bhupender Singh Hooda and other senior politicians, bureaucrats of State into various corruption cases exposed by him as well as his harassment. Later on in August 2016, the then Supreme Court Judge UU Lalit had also recused from hearing of this case.

In April 2018, a Shimla court judge had recused himself from hearing of a defamation case filed by Mr. Vineet Chowdhary, the then Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh against Sanjiv Chaturvedi.

In March 2019, the then Chairman, Central Administrative Tribunal Delhi, Justice L. Narasimhan Reddy, had recused himself from hearing cases related to various transfer petitions of Chaturvedi, citing certain ‘unfortunate developments.

In February 2021, another judge of CAT Delhi, Justice R.N Singh also recused himself from hearing a service matter case of Sanjiv Chaturvedi.

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