The first bench comprising Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad closed the petition after citing a couple of High Court orders which in essence held that if VAOs are not strictly discharging their duties and if any complaints are received, then disciplinary action may be taken simultaneously against the superior officers also for not supervising and enforcing their presence in the village.
Based on this, the bench held, “The aforesaid opinions expressed restrain us from virtually sitting in appeal over the said observations and directions, which take into account the necessity of the rule being upheld in order to make it compulsory for a VAO to reside in the village.”
The plea had sought to declare the impugned Rule10 referred in Rule 38(b)(iii) of the Tamil Nadu Ministerial Service Rules making it compulsory for a VAO to reside in the same village where the officer had been appointed as unconstitutional.
It was contended that the said rule has been imposed without accounting for the practical and pragmatic view, more particularly, viz-a-viz female officers. If a female officer has her residence even at a short distance from the village, she would be subjected to disciplinary proceedings in the event the officer is found to be not residing in the same village itself, the plea said.
However, the bench while closing the plea after holding that it is not interfering with the matter, said, “We make it open to the petitioner to represent such a cause illustrating any such practical or pragmatic difficulties which may require a re-visit in the light of what has been observed.”