New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside a Calcutta High Court order quashing an order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to transfer an application by former West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay from Kolkata to New Delhi.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar granted Bandopadhyay the liberty to assail the tribunal’s order before the jurisdictional high court.

Bandopadhyay had challenged the proceedings initiated against him by the Centre.

The apex court delivered its verdict on a plea filed by the Centre challenging the October 29, 2021 order of the high court.

The Centre had on November 29 last year taken serious exception to certain observations made by the high court in its order passed on a plea filed by Bandopadhyay.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had argued on the issue of territorial jurisdiction and said the Calcutta High Court could not have exercised its jurisdiction on a plea against an order passed by the principal bench of CAT which is in New Delhi.

The counsel appearing for Bandopadhyay had told the apex court that the IAS officer has always been a resident of Kolkata and every part of the cause of action in the matter is in West Bengal.

The high court order had also directed the Kolkata bench of CAT to expedite the hearing of Bandopadhyay’s application and dispose of it at the earliest.

Bandopadhyay had moved the Kolkata bench of CAT to challenge the proceedings initiated against him in a matter related to attending a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the effects of cyclone Yaas’ at the Kalaikunda Air Force station on May 28 last year. The proceedings were initiated by the Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievance and Pensions.

Mehta had told the apex court on November 15 last year that Bandopadhyay had challenged the initiation of departmental action against him by the Centre.

Bandopadhyay, who was not released by the state government, chose to retire on May 31, 2021, his original date of superannuation before having been given an extension of three months from that date.

Proceedings were initiated against Bandopadhyay by the Union government and an inquiry authority was appointed in this regard, which fixed a preliminary hearing on October 18 last year in New Delhi.

The Union government had filed a transfer petition before the principal bench of CAT, which on October 22 last year allowed the transfer of Bandopadhyay’s application to itself in New Delhi.

This order was challenged by Bandopadhyay before the Calcutta High Court.

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