Special Correspondent

Petitioner claims he was senior-most person eligible for promotion

“Disciplinary proceedings initiated with mala fide intention”

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to promote G.Ravi Varman, at present Director, Institute of Community Medicine, Madras Medical College, as Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

In his order, allowing a petition by Dr.Ravi Varman, who is to retire by this month-end, Justice T.Raja directed the Tamil Nadu government, represented by its Health Secretary, to include the petitioner’s name in the appropriate place on the panel for promotion as Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine for 2007-08 and promote him with retrospective effect from the date of promotion of S.Elango, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

The petitioner, who is at present in the cadre of Additional Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said he joined government service as Municipal Health Officer in 1983. Even while he was the senior-most person eligible for promotion as Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and was on the verge of promotion, to defer his promotion, the then Additional Director, Dr.Elango, who was in the race for promotion as Director, in connivance with Padmanabhan, the then Director, who was making attempts to get his services extended beyond superannuation, initiated disciplinary proceedings with a mala fide intention and issued the impugned charge memo in April 2008 for alleged misconduct.

He moved the High Court, which directed the government to dispose of his representation of May last year on merits and in accordance with law. However, by an order of July last year, the government rejected his plea for promotion. Hence, the present petition.

Petitioner’s counsel M.Ravi submitted that the impugned charge memo had been issued without any basis with a mala fide intention in order to defer the petitioner’s promotion.

Quashing the charge memo and the government letter, Mr.Justice Raja said the statement of facts and the charge memo did not disclose the alleged misconduct. Records clearly revealed that the charges levelled against the petitioner were vague and without any incriminating evidence.

This would further indicate the mala fide intention of Dr.Elango and Dr.Padmanabhan in deferring the petitioner’s promotion as Director. There was not only delay of four years in initiating disciplinary proceedings, but also there was a delay of more than one year in completing the proceedings despite the court direction in May last year to complete the enquiry within the timeframe. Since the petitioner was going to retire by December, if the disciplinary proceedings were allowed to continue further, in view of short time, the same would prove prejudicial to the petitioner, the Judge said.