The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court praised the suspended IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal on Friday for bravely exercising her jurisdiction to act against illegal mining in Noida. It, however, refused to interfere in her suspension saying it was a matter “between the government and a public servant and the public servant concerned has not approached the court.” Ms. Nagpal, it is alleged, was suspended for cracking down on the sand mafia.
A Division Bench of Justices Devi Prasad Singh and Ashok Pal Singh, acting on a PIL filed by Lucknow-based social activist Nutan Thakur, asked for details of the government action against illegal mining.
The PIL sought a direction to the Department of Personnel and Training to summon the file related to the suspension and cancel the suspension if it was found to be illegal and improper.
Observing that illegal mining disturbed the ecological balance, the court wanted to know how many FIRs were lodged, how many dumpers were seized and how many people were arrested after Ms. Nagpal’s suspension.
It directed the counsel to ask the Centre what it had done on the issue.
Appearing on behalf of the State government, Additional Advocate General Bulbul Godiyal said the PIL was not maintainable because the petitioner had not disclosed her credentials for filing the litigation, in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling.
Ms. Godiyal also submitted that PIL was not maintainable in service matters. To this the Court said it was not open to interfering with the order of suspension. However, it directed I.H. Farooqui, Assistant Solicitor General of India, to receive instructions and apprise the court of the details.
The petitioner’s counsel Asok Pande asked the Court to immediately quash Ms. Nagpal’s suspension because an “honest officer was being persecuted by the State.” The petition said there was a serious problem of illegal sand mining and illegal religious constructions across the country.
The court fixed August 19 for the next hearing.