The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) here on Friday dismissed a petition filed by the former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman, G. Madhavan Nair, seeking the quashing of an order terminating a fellowship conferred on him.
The four-year Professor Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professorship was conferred on Mr. Nair on November 11, 2009, a few days after he retired as ISRO chief. It was terminated following a Comptroller and Auditor-General report that alleged irregularities in a deal between Antrix, ISRO’s commercial arm, and Devas Multimedia. The deal was cleared by Mr. Nair when he was ISRO chief.
After the scandal broke in 2012, Mr. Nair and three top ISRO scientists were excluded from re-employment, committee roles or any other important role under the government. His professorship was also terminated prematurely. The Ernakulam Bench of the CAT found that the fellowship was not “a civil post or civil service under the Government of India.” As such, it could not be considered under the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985. The Department of Space had contested that there was no employee-employer relationship in case of the fellowship.
Mr. Nair’s counsel submitted that the order terminating the fellowship “originated from an incompetent authority.”