The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday dismissed as withdrawn a public interest litigation petition filed by a social activist seeking a direction to the Government to strictly implement a rule which mandates Government servants to declare sale or purchase of any property worth over Rs.15,000 within a month from carrying out such transaction.
A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice R. Subbiah was of the view that a public interest litigation petition could not be filed in a service matter.
P. Babu (42) of Marthandam in Kanyakumari district had filed the present PIL petition claiming to be the chairman of All India Anti-Corruption Centre, a non governmental organisation.
According to the petitioner, Rule 7(2) of the Tamil Nadu Government Servants Conduct rules, 1973 makes it mandatory on government servants to declare every transaction exceeding Rs.15,000.
Further, Rule 7 (3) states that they must submit a return of their assets and liabilities to the prescribed authorities once in five years. Such return should also contain the property details of their family members.
The petitioner had preferred a representation to the Kanyakumari Collector on December 18, 2009 seeking the property details of all government servants in the district.
Replying to it, the Collector on January 8, 2010 said that he was not in a position to provide such voluminous information. However, he asked the petitioner to send separate applications to every department.
Subsequently, the petitioner sent individual representations to the local offices of the Education Department, Labour Welfare Department, Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, Registration Department, Fire and Rescue Services, Transport Department and others seeking the property details of all the employees working in those offices.
“Thus, I came to know that no department was maintaining such details though the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Secretary had written to all the Secretaries to Government, heads of departments and the District Collectors on June 7, 2007 to strictly implement Rule 7 of the Tamil Nadu Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1973,” the petitioner claimed.
Keywords: Madras High Court