How can an officer convicted in a criminal offence continue to function in office? The Karnataka High Court posed this question to the State government when a petition complaining that C.M. Mallikarjuna, in-charge Controller of Legal Metrology, is continuing in the post despite being convicted in a bribery case in June last, came up for hearing on Thursday.

“If the officer is convicted and that conviction has not been stayed, then he should not sit in the chair even for one day. [The] State must take action immediately and report it to the court by Monday,” a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna observed while adjourning further hearing to Monday.

In their PIL petition, R.S. Sudarshan and two others questioned the continuation of Mr. Mallikarjuna, Deputy Controller, in service and him being made the in charge of the department even after his conviction by the Special Lokayukta Court on June 30, 2012. He was convicted of accepting bribe in 2005 to cancel the transfer of an official in the department. The Lokayukta court had sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for one-and-a-half years. However, on August 2, 2012, the sentence was stayed by the High Court.

The petitioners contended that as per norms a government servant should be deemed to have been kept under suspension with effect from the date of conviction if he/she is not forthwith dismissed or removed or compulsorily retired. Saying that only the sentence imposed on Mr. Mallikarjuna had been stayed by the High Court and not his conviction, the petitioners alleged that the authorities did not act against him despite his conviction.

Inquiry

The High Court has asked the Central Board of Secondary Education to hold an inquiry within 15 days on a candidate’s complaint saying that she could not complete the JEE (Main) online test held on April 22 due to technical snag in the computer allotted to her.

Justice Ashok B. Hinchigeri passed the order while disposing of the petition filed by Vaishnavi Jayakumar (17) of Bangalore. The court also asked the CBSE to conduct a retest (both Main and Advanced) for her on June 23 if they found anything amiss in the inquiry.

Vaishnavi complained that she could not complete the Mathematics paperas her computer shut down 10 minutes before the allotted time.

Pointing out that she could enter answers of only five of the 30 questions in the Maths paper and that she had completed the tests in Physics and Chemistry, Vaishnavi said that despite this shortcoming she secured 103 marks against the cut-off marks (113) to appear for JEE (Advanced). JEE (Advanced) is scheduled for June 2.