Court removes Assam forest top boss

Court removes Assam forest top boss

Assam Forest department is an a major chaos as the  court removed the Principal Chief Conservator of forest  Dr A. M.Singh and appointed Dr Abhijit Rabha, who was bye passed despite Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal signing his appointment order.

This is for the first time in the history of Assam forest, the top man was removed by the court. However the charge was not yet handed over til last night and plans are afoot to challenge the CAt order at the Supreme Court.

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has directed posting of Dr Abhijit Rabha, who is currently serving as Special PCCF in the Forest Circle of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC), as Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) & Head of Forest Force (HoFF), Assam.

At this moment,  Dr. A.M.M Singh a junior officer was appointed by the coterie led by the Chief Secretary Alok Kumar overruling Chief Minister Sarbabanda Sonoiwal's choice  of Dr Rabha. An aggrieved Dr Rabha approached the court and got the order.

However the coterie is expected to challenge the verdict of the CAT at the Supreme Court and hence the charge was not handed over till last night despite the CAT order which came almost a week back.

Dr Rabha, an officer of 1984 (DR) batch of Indian Forest Service (IFS), being aggrieved at not being considered for promotion to the post of PCCF & HoFF, Assam by the Special Selection Committee that had met on September 26, 2018, challenged his non-selection before the CAT.

His argument before the CAT was that he being the senior most IFS officer in the cadre, was deprived of his due promotion to the post of PCCF & HoFF despite the fact that he met the eligibility criteria for the said post.

It may be mentioned that a major allegation of malafide action was also brought against the Principal Secretary to the Government of Assam, Environment and Forests Department and the chairman and the members of the Special Selection Committee vis-a-vis selection of Dr Rabha to the post of PCCF & HoFF, Assam.

In response to the allegation, the Special Selection Committee brought some claims and allegations against Dr Rabha, declaring him to be unfit for the said post because of some departmental proceedings pending against him.

The Committee also mentioned a few other reasons for Dr Rabha's ineligibility for the post. But the CAT in its judgement, declined the Selection Committee's claims, finding some discrepancies in them.

In the said judgement and order dated 12th April, 2019, the CAT gave a detailed direction to the respondent government to immediately reconsider the case of Dr Rabha in the apex scale of PCCF & HoFF within a time limit. The CAT also directed that Dr Rabha be given charge of PCCF & HoFF, Assam forthwith in place of the in-charge PCCF & HoFF AM Singh, who is junior to Dr Rabha in the cadre of PCCF.

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