Delhi

HC refuses retiral benefits to former UPSC Under Secretary

He was dismissed from service for fraudulently clearing Civil Services exam

The Delhi High Court has declined to grant retiral benefits to a former Under Secretary in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), who was dismissed from service for fraudulently clearing the Civil Services (Main) exam.

The case, which has a long and chequered history, spread over several decades, began in 1985 when Rati Ram Saroj was working as an employee of the UPSC, the premier agency entrusted with the work of selection of civil servants.

While working as Under Secretary in the UPSC, Mr. Saroj appeared in the Civil Services (Main) examination held in 1985. On the basis of the marks secured by him, he was selected to the Indian Administrative Service and a letter of appointment was also issued.

However, before he had joined the service, a complaint was received by the UPSC that he had secured very high marks in the civil services examination by replacing original answer sheets by freshly written ones in the answer books of General Studies papers I and II, History paper II, and Philosophy papers I and II.

The investigation into the matter was entrusted to the CBI and later disciplinary proceeding was initiated.

It was charged that Mr. Saroj, while working in the UPSC, developed friendship with some UPSC employees. Through their help, he prepared fresh answers to all the questions and replaced the original answer sheets with subsequently written fresh answer sheets.

Mr. Saroj initiated several proceedings before the Central Administrative Tribunal as well as the Delhi High Court, challenging the disciplinary proceedings at various stages.

The disciplinary authority ultimately dismissed him from service in 2007. However, this order was set aside by the tribunal on the ground that the advice tendered by the UPSC was not furnished to him. The disciplinary authority, in a subsequent proceeding, dismissed him from service in 2012.

Mr. Saroj had argued before the High Court that he had rendered about 24 years of service, and the punishment of dismissal from service was disproportionate to the misconduct proved against him.

The effect of dismissal is that his entire service is forfeited and his right to receive pension, gratuity, etc. has also been taken away.

“The misconduct proved against the petitioner [Saroj] is an extremely serious one,” a Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar said, adding: “By resorting to such conduct, he got into a position which he did not deserve.”

“The only reason he continued in service was because criminal proceedings were pending and took a long time to conclude,” the Bench said.

“To grant his retiral benefits would amount to putting premium on dishonesty,” the Bench concluded and noted that “it cannot be said that the punishment inflicted upon the petitioner was shockingly disproportionate to his misconduct”.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:56:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/hc-refuses-retiral-benefits-to-former-upsc-under-secretary/article29104545.ece

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