Govt told to reinstate sacked IFS officer

It took eight years of litigation for Mahaveer C Singhvi to prove that his discharge from service as an Indian Foreign Service probationer was done "behind his back" on the basis of an inquiry initiated with the "active interest" of the then foreign minister. A Special Bench of the Supreme Court, in a recent judgment, said the former minister "appears" to have taken an "active interest" in the February 7, 2002 complaint of a woman, who accused Singhvi of making "threatening, abusive and sexually explicit remarks" to her daughter.

The Bench ordered the government to pay Singhvi Rs 25,000 as litigation costs and ordered his reinstatement. Singhvi joined work last week.

"It was the then foreign minister Jaswant Singh who initiated the inquiry against him," Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra, who argued the case for the government, confirmed to The Indian Express on Thursday. Singh was not available for comment.

The inquiry found "nothing adverse" against Singhvi. Nevertheless, he was issued discharge orders on June 13, 2002 without being given an opportunity to be heard. Though no material record was found against Singhvi suggesting the misconduct complained of, higher-ups in the government remarked that he "would blacken the country's name".

On July 29, 2010, a three-judge Bench found Singhvi, who had pursued an "outstanding academic career" in the Rajasthan state services before his appointment to the IFS in 1999, to be a victim of prejudice. "He was charged with moral turpitude and thrown out on the basis of a decision taken completely behind his back. Even a probationer has the right to be heard," said Singhvi's lawyer Jayant Bhushan.

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