CAT's principal bench chairperson accuses govt lawyer of threatening her


Manjula Das, the chairperson of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)’s Principal Bench (New Delhi), has disassociated herself from hearing matters involving Gyanendra Singh, a senior government standing counsel, for allegedly barging into her chamber and threatening her for passing a stay order. A proxy counsel represented Singh when Das passed the interim order against the transfer of officers of Delhi Andaman and Nicobar Island Civil Service.

Das said Singh was furious as the order was passed without hearing him. She added Singh barged into her chamber without her permission, bypassing her staff. “He started behaving in an unruly manner and raised his voice demanding to know how I had stayed the order impugned in the miscellaneous application without hearing him,” said Das, who is the first woman CAT chairperson.

Das said she tried to reason with Singh and explained her position. “[... ] Singh refused to budge or calm down.” She said Singh would not listen and continued speaking in a threatening tone, saying she could not have passed such an order against the government. “He kept on shouting and also threatened that he could bring about an ‘earthquake’ as an order of his liking was not passed...” Das called the behaviour “astonishing” and “totally unacceptable”, which maligns the cordial relationship between the bench and the bar. “I hereby condemn this uncalled for behaviour on the part of Gyanendra Singh... I also disassociate myself forthwith from hearing of all the matters wherein Gyanendra Singh appears as a counsel.”

Das directed a copy of her order over Singh’s behaviour be sent to the president and the Bar Association of CAT’s Principal Bench for “appropriate action” to ensure such incidents are prevented in the future.

“On hearing the commotion due to shouting...members of my personal staff gathered in my chamber, and tried to intervene and pacify Gyanendra Singh. He, however, continued with his unruly behaviour.” She added as other staff members with security personnel gathered in the chamber, Singh hurriedly left. Singh refused to comment as the matter is sub-judice and added he has not decided to challenge Das’s order against him.

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