The application should be accepted based on a January 2012 order of the Centre

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Madras Bench, has directed the Tamil Nadu government to accept the application of Ashok Vardhan Shetty, an IAS officer, seeking voluntary retirement from December 9 last year and disburse the retirement benefits to him within three months.

The application should be accepted based on a January 2012 order of the Centre.

Allowing the application by Mr.Shetty challenging the State government's rejection of his notice for voluntary retirement, a CAT Bench comprising G.Shanthappa, Judicial Member and O.P.Sosamma, Administrative Member, quashed the impugned order.

Mr.Shetty belonged to the 1983 batch of IAS. He had completed 28 years of service and had crossed 50 years of age. He had not been suspended and no notice of inquiry was issued to him. He submitted an application dated September 8, 2011 seeking voluntary retirement from December 9. The State government rejected his request on December 7.

The applicant submitted that it was a well settled law that voluntary retirement notice submitted by him under Rule 16 (2) of the All India Services (DCRB) Rules did not require acceptance unless the member of the service who sought the relief was under suspension. He was not under suspension. The State government had misconceived the rules and rejected his request.

The State government contended that after due procedure, it had ordered the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption to conduct a preliminary enquiry against the officer for certain alleged irregularities by him when he was serving as Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department.

Counsel for the Centre argued that the State government had rejected the applicant's request by applying the wrong rule. Therefore, it was not in order. Mr.Shetty's application should be dealt with as per Rule 16 (2.) By an order dated January 18, the Centre had stated that the State government's decision was not correct.

The Bench said since the applicant had not been suspended and he had attained 50 years of age, he was eligible to submit a notice seeking voluntary retirement from December 9, 2011. Only Rule 16 (2) was applicable to him. The Advocate-General had not produced the notice of inquiry against the applicant and had admitted that no notice was served.

The AG had also submitted that the government had not taken the Centre's permission while issuing the impugned order, but it was communicated to the Centre. The Bench said the impugned order had been issued by applying sub Rule (2A) of Rule 16 which was illegal.

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