Karnataka

Check on Modi’s chopper: CAT stays suspension of Karnataka IAS officer Mohammed Mohsin

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The Election Commission of India, meanwhile, revokes his suspension and recommends disciplinary action against him.

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Thursday stayed the Election Commission of India (ECI) order suspending Mohammed Mohsin, IAS officer from Karnataka, for allegedly violating instructions related to SPG (Special Protection Group) protectees in searching the helicopter used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for election campaign in Odisha.

Mr. Mohsin, who was appointed General Observer for the Sambalpur parliamentary constituency in Odisha, was suspended on April 16 after officials on election duty conducted a “search” of a helicopter and videographed the landing of the helicopter used by Mr. Modi to reach Sambalpur. The ECI acted after a complaint was made by the SPG on violation of instructions related to its protectees.

“...the suspension order issued by the election commission cannot, on the face of it, lie. It is hereby stayed. The applicant [Mr. Mohsin] will be eligible to rejoin his former position under the Government of Karnataka without any further ado about it,” said K.B. Suresh, Member (Judicial), in the interim order on an application filed by Mr. Mohsin.

It was contended in Mr. Mohsin’s petition that he had not violated the ECI instruction on SPG protectees as he had neither ordered a search of the helicopter nor sought to videograph it while landing. He said the ECI neither indicated the exact violation nor provided him with copies of reports submitted by the district election officer and the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Sambalpur. He also said that he was not present at the helipad when the search and videography took place.

‘Extraneous considerations’

“The applicant [Mr. Mohsin] reasonably believes that this order was passed by the commission on extraneous considerations on a law-abiding officer with a view to humiliating him and also with a view to deriving political advantage in favour of a political party. The action of the commission is high-handed, mala fide and is not in good faith,” it was alleged in the application.

“However, an act of an authorised officer searching the helicopter used by the Prime Minister for election campaign should not have been treated as a violation of any of the instructions but the officers ought to have been lauded by the commission...The Election Commission should have protected the officer for his integrity and courage which he exhibited to show that every citizen however highly placed is not above the law,” Mr. Mohsin contended in his plea.

“If the officer videographed the helicopter from a distance, the same ought to have been appreciated as the Prime Minister is also a politician and is not above the law. The officer who videographed did nothing which he should not have done under the guidelines,” stated Mr. Mohsin.

‘No insulting act committed’

“By videographing the helicopter, no insulting act was committed. If somebody strongly feels that somebody has been insulted, it indicates that there is something to be hidden. If somebody is irked for no fault of the officer performing his duty, he cannot be targeted by using the commission as a Election Observer’s presence may irk the Prime Minister and his party. As PM of this country, he was required to voluntarily allow a search which would have enhanced his image. He should be a model to the other political parties and his own party members...,” it was contended in Mr. Mohsin’s application.

ECI revokes suspension

Meanwhile, the ECI revoked the suspension of Mr. Mohsin and recommended disciplinary action against him.

The decision was based on a report by Deputy Election Commissioner Dharmendra Sharma, said an official.

(With inputs from New Delhi)

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Printable version | May 23, 2019 11:46:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/search-of-pms-copter-cat-stays-mohsins-suspension/article26946138.ece

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