W.P.No.15090 and 15164 of 2021   D.KRISHNAKUMAR,  J.             The petitioners were trapped and arrested by the officials of Vigilance and Anti-corruption on 13.09.2008 and a criminal case was registered in Crime No. 8/AC/2008/SL under Section 120 (B) IPC r/w Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.  The petitioners were placed under suspension with effect from the date of arrest i.e., 13.09.2008 and after completion of investigation, charge sheet was filed and the matter was taken on file as Spl.C.C.No. 96/2014 on the file of  Special Court for Trial of Cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Salem. 

W.P.No.15090 and 15164 of 2021

 

D.KRISHNAKUMAR,  J.

 

The petitioners were trapped and arrested by the officials of Vigilance and Anti-corruption on 13.09.2008 and a criminal case was registered in Crime No. 8/AC/2008/SL under Section 120 (B) IPC r/w Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.  The petitioners were placed under suspension with effect from the date of arrest i.e., 13.09.2008 and after completion of investigation, charge sheet was filed and the matter was taken on file as Spl.C.C.No. 96/2014 on the file of  Special Court for Trial of Cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Salem.

 

  1. The contention of the petitioners is that the criminal case has ended in acquittal on merits after nine years of the alleged occurrence, vide judgment dated 29.08.2017. The petitioners were placed prolonged suspension and their names were omitted in the panel for promotion to the post of Assistant Executive Engineer for the year 2011-2012 and they were superseded by several juniors. The representations submitted by the petitioners for regularisation of suspension period as per Fundamental Rules and retrospective promotions was also not considered by the respondents.  However, the respondents had initiated disciplinary proceedings after the lapse of 11 years from the date of alleged occurrence and nearly two years from the date of acquittal in the criminal case.

 

  1. The learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that the third respondent by proceedings dated 15.06.2019 had initiated disciplinary proceedings against the petitioners on the very same set of charges initiated in the criminal case after the lapse of 11 years from the date of alleged occurrence and nearly 2 years from the date of acquittal in the criminal case, which is unjust and illegal. After submission of enquiry report by the original enquiry officer, the respondents had appointed a second enquiry officer for enquiring the same charge.  Subsequently, the third respondent had issued another charge memo dated 06.05.2021 on the very same set of facts by cancelling the earlier charge memo dated 14.06.2019. Therefore, challenging the same, the present writ petitions have been filed.

 

  1. It is to be noted at this juncture that the Government has issued a Circular in Letter (Ms)No.1118/Per N /89, Personnel and Administrative Reforms (Per N) Department dated 22.12.1987 as well as G.O.Ms.No.40 dated 30.0.1996 – Personnel and Administrative (N) Department, for expeditious disposal of disciplinary proceedings as against Government servants. But this Court come across several cases, wherein departmental proceedings have not been concluded within time and in most of the cases, after a delay of more than 5 years, departmental proceedings have not been initiated.

 

  1. The learned counsel for the petitioners urged before this Court that it is high time for the Government to pass appropriate instructions to the respective departments to conclude the disciplinary proceedings within the time schedule, otherwise the employees will be put to mental agony and they will be driven to pillar to post before concluding the disciplinary proceedings and therefore, they have requested for strict compliance of the aforesaid circular issued by the Government.

 

  1. This Court would also like to place it on record the Division Bench decision of this Court dated 15.09.2021 made in W.A.No.646 of 2021 [The Principal Secretary to Government, Handlooms, Handicrafts, Textiles and Khadi Department, Chennai v. V.Kandasamy], wherein the Division Bench has observed as under:

“14.Before parting with this matter, we are constrained to state that the delay defects equity and justice.  The delay in the disciplinary proceedings defeats he Government Servants’ lawful service and monetary rights.  Even the Tamil Nadu Government Servants (Conditions of Service) Act, 2016 (Tamil Nadu Act No.14 of 2016) is silent about the outer-limit within which each and every stage of the departmental proceedings has to be crossed.  Unless and until, such time limitation is determine, giving a kind of ringing of a bell as a signal for expiry of time period and it is scrupulously followed, the Courts will have no option, but to interfere with the disciplinary proceedings solely on the ground of delay.  We hope that the Government of Tamil Nadu will take appropriate action in this regard.”

 

  1. It is the endeavour of this Court that the Government may either amend the rules or pass a suitable Government Order in pursuant to the earlier circular issued by the Government in Letter (Ms.)No.1118/Per N/89 dated 2212.1987. Therefore, this Court suo motu impleads (i) The Chief Secretary to Government, Government of Tamil Nadu and (ii) The Secretary, Human Resource Development Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, as necessary parties in the writ petitions.

 

  1. The Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu or in his behalf, the Secretary, Human Resource Development Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, shall file a status report in these writ petitions in response to the observations made by this Court in these writ petitions.

 

Post the matter on 06.07.2022.

 

 

21.06.2022

Jvm

Note: (i) Registry is directed to make necessary amendment in the cause title.

          (ii) Issue Order copy on 23.06.2022

 

 

Copy to:

1.The Chief Secretary to Government,

Government of Tamil Nadu,

Fort St.George, Chennai.

 

2.The Secretary to Government,

Human Resource Development Department,

Government of Tamil Nadu,

Fort St.George, Chennai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D.KRISHNAKUMAR, J.

 

Jvm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

W.P.No.15090 and 15164 of 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21.06.2022

 

 

 

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