The Allahabad high court on Friday had a word of praise for suspended IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who took on the powerful sand mafia in Gautam Budh Nagar, saying she "bravely" exercised her jurisdiction.
"We have gone through the pleading on record. We feel that the officer Nagpal bravely exercised her jurisdiction to seize 24 dumpers and stopped illegal mining in Noida. Fifteen alleged offenders have also been arrested," the court's Lucknow bench observed.
"Special Flying Squads were formed by her to check the menace of illegal mining at Noida," the court added.
The bench comprising Justice Devi Prasad Singh and Justice Ashok Pal Singh made the observations while seeking a reply from the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government on the issue of illegal mining in the state while hearing a PIL for revoking the suspension of the 28-year-old officer.
It, however, declined to interfere on the issue of suspension on the grounds that the officer concerned has not approached the court and also it was a matter between her and the government.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has said the officer was suspended for having arbitrarily decided to demolish a wall of an under-construction mosque at Qadalpur village and denied that the action had any connection with the sand mafia.
"...for courts' interference in such matters, it shall be necessary that the officer concerned should approach the court to ventilate his grievance," it observed.
The court while fixing August 19 as the next date of hearing said illegal mining was of grave concern.
It sought a reply on how many FIRs were lodged, how many dumpers were seized and how many people were arrested after the suspension of Nagpal, SDM, Gautam Budh Nagar, on July 27.
Appearing on behalf of the state government, Additional Advocate General Bulbul Godiyal submitted that the PIL was not maintainable in service matters.
Social activist Nutan Thakur filed the PIL for a direction to Department of Personnel and Training (cadre controlling authority of IAS officers) to summon the file related to the suspension of Nagpal and cancelling the suspension if it was found to be illegal and improper.
The court said the AAG seemed to be correct in her submission that it was not open for the court to interfere with the order of suspension as it was between the government and public servant and the public servant concerned has not approached the court.
"Hence, to the extent of the impugned order of suspension, we decline to interfere," it said.