Chennai: The Madras High Court on Thursday directed for the compulsory retirement and 60 per cent cut in pensionary benefits for a man who got employed at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Energy in Kalpakkam near Chennai after producing fake community certificate.
A division bench of Justices S Vaidyanathan and Mohammed Shaffiq gave the ruling against D Ganesan, Scientific Assistant, while disposing of a writ petition from the IGCAR, today.
The charge against Ganesan was that though he was over aged, he had gained entry into the IGCAR by producing a fake certificate to the effect that he belonged to scheduled caste (SC) community, in 1989. He was given five years of age relaxation. When the truth came out in 2012, he was arrested and placed under suspension, But the suspension was revoked within a month.
The matter went to the Central Administrative Tribunal here, which in September, 2013 took a lenient view as the appointee had by then put in more than 26 years of service and earned as many as five promotions on merit. He was also the recipient of the Prime Minister's appreciation certificate, it noted. By producing the fake certificate, he had enjoyed age relaxation alone, it pointed out and held that inasmuch as a criminal case was pending on the same set of facts, the disciplinary proceedings must be kept in abeyance until finality was reached in the criminal proceedings, the CAT had held.
After a gap of seven years, the IGCAR filed the present writ petition challenging the CAT's 2013 order.
Disposing of the same, the bench noted that the department was also to be blamed, as it had kept quiet for nearly seven years in challenging the order of the Tribunal, which is purely a fault committed by the inefficient officer in not questioning the order within time, thereby allowing an undeserving/unscrupulous element to continue in the job and receive salary all these years.
As there was clear material available about the fake certificate, Ganesan could not be allowed to get the benefits on technical ground and he could not get a premium or bounty, as the initial appointment itself was void ab initio (void from the beginning). However, taking note of the fact that he had received the Presidential award, a sympathetic view was taken by granting only 40 per cent of the pensionary benefits, in exercise of the powers of this court, the judges said.
"In the result, this writ petition is disposed of. The applicant/1st respondent (Ganesan) is imposed with the punishment of compulsory retirement, which will take effect from today. The Applicant /1st Respondent is entitled to only 40 per cent of the pensionary benefits. Though an order of compulsory retirement is passed, it cannot be construed as a punishment, as he will be enjoying the benefit of pension to which he is not at all entitled to. This Court ought not to have granted even this relief to the applicant, had the department approached the Court well within time. It is made clear that the applicant/1st Respondent is not eligible for any other terminal benefits, such as gratuity and the like, excluding the PF contribution, if any made by the Applicant. The Government should also think of amending the rules to enable the department to proceed against the employee even after retirement/superannuation," the bench added.