Stop skipping procedures by citing Court order – HC to Govt officials

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The Madras High Court has ordered government officials to stop skipping statutory procedures while initiating disciplinary action against their subordinates only because a court had asked them to finish the task within a specified time frame.

Justice K Ravichandra Baaby issued this directive while hearing a petition filed by a former Additional Deputy Commercial Taxes officer to nullify an order passed by the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes on May 7, 2014 that asked INR 1000/ to be deducted from his pension for three years.

The court was of the view that the Commissioner should not have imposed the penalty without first discussing the issue with the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) as required under the existing guidelines prescribed by the Tamil Nadu Pension Rules 1978. In his defense, the Commissioner argued that he had to take the decision quickly as the High Court had asked him to issue an order within 30 days.

The write petitioner had served for over three decades before retiring on May 31, 2005. Two years after his retirement, the departed issued a charge memo alleging him of assisting a trader to evade tax worth INR 60,000 in 2003.

An enquiry officer was appointed to investigate the issue but no evidence was found against him during the investigation. However, the Commissioner refused to accept the enquiry report and issued a show cause notice asking the pensioner why his pension should not be cut.

The pensioner then chose to seek intervention of the judiciary following which, the High Court asked the Commissioner to issue an order within 30 days.

The Commissioner, in a bid to honor the High Court’s order, expedited the proceeding and imposed the penalty without consulting the TNPSC.

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