HC dismisses Bidari's writ petition

HC dismisses Bidari's writ petition

Govt suppressed facts from UPSC about him: Division Bench

The High Court of Karnataka on Monday dismissed the writ petitions filed by former DGP&IGP Shankar Bidari and the State government seeking his reinstatment to the post.  

Bidari’s initial appointment was vitiated in the first place, the court ruled.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices N Kumar and H S Kempanna, held that the Justice Sadashiva Commission report and orders of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should have been placed before the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) when it was empanelling senior-most IPS officer for the DG&IGP’s post in November 2011.

The Commission’s report and the NHRC proceedings had clearly blamed Bidari for the atrocities committed by the Special Task Force (STF) personnel against villagers in the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border in the 1990s, the Bench noted. 

The STF was formed to hunt the forest brigand, Veerappan and Bidari was its commandant at the time.

The Bench said that there was a specific reference, in the nature of adverse comment, to Bidari in the Commission’s report. 

The STF raped, tortured, and disrobed women, giving them electrical shocks and others excesses, it said, quoting the report. 

“Firing seems to have been done at very close contact range and, in 12 connected cases the victims had been fired at from the front as well as the back sides,” the Bench quoted the report. 

The Bench said the report and the NHRC orders constitute “relevant and material information and data which the State government ought to have placed before the UPSC,” it said, pointing out that the UPSC did not mention or explain any adverse finding against Bidari while examining his suitability. “The UPSC empanelled Bidari without noticing his glaring inadequacies,” the court held, adding that the Central agency had examined only the IPS officer’s length of service and professional experience.

The Bench took the government to task for “suppressing facts” about Bidari. “It is to be reflected with some regret that the government suppressed facts from the UPSC even though it knew the full picture,” the Bench mentioned. 

“It was an apparent juncture of unanimity in sweeping the dust under the carpet. Was it an innocent ignorance or deliberate manipulation?” Consequently, the court said, it saw no merit in both the petitions, and dismissed them. 

Bidari had filed the petition on March 19 and the government on March 26, seeking quashing of the Central Administrative Tribunal’s (CAT) order dated March 16. 

A R Infant, Karnataka’s senior-most IPS officer, had moved the CAT in December 2012, saying his seniority and merit were ignored. Consequently, the CAT set aside Bidari’s appointment and ordered the government to appoint Infant ad hoc DG&IGP. 

Infant jubilant

Infant hailed the High Court verdict and said that justice had been done. He said that it was for the government to decide whether he should continue as the police chief, irrespective of his retirement. 
Bidari, in a cautious reaction, maintained that the NHRC had not held him guilty. “It did not make any adverse remarks against me. I am at a loss of words to understand the judgment.” He said he would move the Supreme Court for an appeal, after studying the HC order. 

Both Infant and Bidari will retire on May 31. 

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