CHENNAI: The Madras High Court quashed a charge memo issued to two Assistant Engineers of Tangedco on charges of collecting bribes in the year 2009.
Justice D Krishnakumar passed the orders on allowing the petitions preferred by K Radhakrishnan and S Santhi. The duo was booked on corruption charges in 2009 while they were serving as the AEs of Tangedco in Mettur of Salem district.
According to the petitioners, they were placed under suspension in 2009. Though a special court for trial of cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Salem held that the petitioners were not guilty of the offenses in 2017, their position in the department was not regularised.
When the petitioners approached the department to treat the prolonged suspension as a duty period and grant consequential promotion to the higher positions on par with their junior, the government rejected their request.
The petitioners, further, submitted that the third respondent by proceedings dated June 15, 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 the alleged occurrence and nearly after 2 years from the date of acquittal in the criminal case, which is unjust and illegal.
Therefore, the petitioners approached the court to quash the charge memo as well as to regularise their job with promotions on par with the juniors.
Recording the submissions, the judge set aside the charge memo with the observation that “there is an inordinate delay in concluding the disciplinary proceedings despite there being no bar for the respondent Board to proceed simultaneously with the departmental proceedings, which cannot be accepted in view of the decisions of the top court.”
While allowing the petitions, the judge also appreciated the Chief Secretary for implementing the court’s direction to issue the guidelines to fix the time limit for the finalization of disciplinary proceedings.