Justice S M Subramaniam observed that under Article 226 of the Constitution, the high court cannot reverse the decision taken by the competent authorities, but can ascertain whether the process and procedures through which the decision was arrived at by the competent authorities is in accordance with law and legal principles.

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Madras HC turns down VAO’s plea against punishment
Kaushik Kannan | TNN | Updated: Oct 19, 2020, 10:23 IST
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MADURAI: Dismissing a plea moved by a VAO challenging her punishment following disciplinary proceedings, the Madras high court observed that the court cannot reverse the orders passed by the authorities unless the punishment imposed is not proportionate to the gravity of the offence.
The court was hearing the petition filed by R Vasantha who was working as VAO of Sethur village in Dindigul district. The petitioner had issued a certificate to a woman to cut down karuvelam trees from her patta land in 2003. Since the power to issue such a certificate is vested with the revenue inspector and she had issued the certificate beyond her powers, disciplinary proceedings were initiated against her.
After conducting inquiry, the disciplinary authority had imposed a punishment of stoppage of increment for three years with cumulative effect. When the petitioner moved for appeal, the appellate authorities also confirmed the order. The petitioner moved the court in 2010 challenging the punishment.
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Justice S M Subramaniam observed that under Article 226 of the Constitution, the high court cannot reverse the decision taken by the competent authorities, but can ascertain whether the process and procedures through which the decision was arrived at by the competent authorities is in accordance with law and legal principles.
In the case at hand, there is no perversity as such on the part of the disciplinary authority in accepting the findings of the inquiry report. The petitioner was a senior VAO and performed her duties as village accountant for more than 15 years in the village and considering all those circumstances the punishment was imposed, said the judge.
The judge observed that the decision taken by the authorities can be questioned only in exceptional circumstances, where the punishment is not in proportionate with the gravity of the charges and when the decision is shocking to the

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