Mohammed Mohsin, an IAS officer, was suspended by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on April 16 for checking the helicopter in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was travelling. He challenged the order before the Central Administrative Tribunal, which put the action on hold on Thursday. The Election Commission cancelled his suspension but has recommended disciplinary action against him.
IAS said, he had not violated any rules and was unaware of the charges against him
“I acted strictly as per the letter and spirit of the ECI guidelines. I have not violated any rules and I have not done anything wrong in this matter. This is why I asked for a copy of the report against me, but they have so far not shared this. I am fighting this case in the dark,” he said.
“The suspension order was a bolt from the blue as I have always functioned as an election observer strictly on the norms prescribed not only in the ongoing general elections but also in the past elections. The ECI has revoked my suspension, but has asked for a disciplinary inquiry by the state government and also debarred me from any election duty till further orders. I will have to seek appropriate legal remedy against the latter part of the said order of the ECI dated April 25,” the IAS officer said.
The 1996 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer was accused of “insubordination and dereliction of duty” by the Election Commission.
As a general observer of Sambalpur in Odisha, the officer reportedly carried out a check of PM Modi’s helicopter and asked for videography, which, according to reports, delayed the Prime Minister by 15 minutes.
“I ordered videography according to EC guidelines. I have been punished but the person who supposedly made the mistake has not been punished. Why should I be punished for doing my duty? The suspension was illegal and they are making the same mistake. I will fight it out in the tribunal,” he said.
Mohammed Mohsin was accused of “not acting in conformity” with instructions on Special Protection Group (SPG) protectees, said an Election Commission order.
Describing the events of the day, Mohsin said he had visited the helipad where the chopper of the Prime Minister was parked.
“The observer’s duty is to see that video teams are utilised in a proper manner. So, I advised them and left the place. I went to the venue of the function and sat there for five minutes in the police control room. By then the collector had joined me… Later, while sitting in the DC’s office, I got a call from the Deputy Chief Election Commissioner asking if I had ordered for frisking to be carried out, which I denied. He wanted a report and I replied. All of a sudden around 11.30 pm they suspended me,” he said.
EC’s order to revoke Mohsin’s suspension came hours after the Central Administrative Tribunal put the move on hold and asked both the EC and Mohsin to furnish responses within three weeks.
The CAT decides service complaints by government officers. It observed that during an election process, while reasonable assurances must be made to SPG protectees, it cannot be said that “they are eligible for anything and everything.”
“I got a stay through the CAT and the EC also revoked the suspension, but since the matter is subjudice I will have to consult my legal advisors. I will fight it out in the court because my conscience is clear,” he said.
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