Misconstruction of court order by Haryana, a white lie: Legal experts

Legal experts have termed the Haryana government's justification, that senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka has been transferred in compliance with Punjab and Haryana High Court orders, as nothing but a "white lie" and "wilful mis-construction" of the court order.

A bare perusal of the October 1 order, makes it evident that the Court only gave Haryana an opportunity to remove an "anomaly", which the state itself had created by giving Khemka dual charge as special collector, a post that should have been held by a very junior-level officer. Further, the entire dispute and the court order pertains only to the post of special collector and not that of Director General, Land records and Consolidation of Holdings, which was Khemka's principal charge.

" Haryana government's plea that Khemka was transferred pursuant to the High Court's order of October 1 is a white lie. To justify Khemka's transfer, Haryana resorted to wilful misconstruction of the High Court order. He was transferred because the government smelled his intention to probe the Vadra-DLF land deal. It was a pre-emptive transfer, which failed to achieve its purpose because Khemka ordered the probe and cancelled the mutation undeterred,"says noted lawyer Anupam Gupta.

Talking to The Indian Express , Gupta, a senior advocate, added: "The High Court order relates to the additional charge of special collector held by Khemka. It has absolutely no bearing on his principal charge of Director General, Consolidation of Holdings, which is a much higher office than that of a collector. An officer, who is of Commissioner rank, cannot be assigned the duties of a collector, especially when the collector's decisions are appealable to the Commissioner. Any argument to the contrary would be a travesty of law as well as common sense. The High Court commended Khemka's objection to the additional charge as reasonable. The state government has stood reason on its head."

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