Tamil Nadu

HC rejects appeal by dismissed official

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The Madras High Court Bench here has dismissed a writ appeal preferred by a Revenue Department official challenging a Government Order issued last year rejecting a plea to reconsider his dismissal from service in 1997 for having demanded and receiving a bribe of Rs.100.

Dismissing the appeal preferred by S. Messiah, Justices Nooty Ramamohana Rao and S.S. Sundar rejected his argument that there was no time limit for the State Government to review its orders and hence it could consider his plea even after about two decades since he was removed from service.

The judges pointed out that the petitioner had initially approached an administrative tribunal challenging his removal from service though the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules provided for filing a statutory appeal to a higher official followed by a revision to the government.

After the abolition of the tribunal, the case was transferred to the Principal Seat of the Madras High Court, converted into a writ petition in 2006 and dismissed in 2009. A writ appeal preferred against the single judge’s order was also dismissed by a Division Bench on April 15, 2010.

Subsequently on February 9, 2015, the appellant made a representation to the State Government and urged it to reconsider his removal from service by invoking its power of revision. The plea was rejected and a writ petition filed against such rejection was also dismissed leading to the present appeal.

The appellant’s counsel contended that Rule 37 of the Civil Services Rules does not stipulate a time limit for the government to entertain review applications and hence it would be well within its powers to entertain his client’s request irrespective of him having been removed from service around 20 years ago.

However, the judges said: “We are afraid the contention canvassed by the learned counsel lacks any merit. The fact that there is no time limit specified in Rule 37 for exercise of review power by the State Government does not make it some kind of an open-ended power to be exercised at any given point of time.”

Stating that such power to review must be exercised within a reasonable amount of time irrespective of the statutory provision not fixing a time limit, the Division Bench said: “A period of three years should be construed as a reasonable outer limit for exercise of such powers.”

It added that the power of review could not be exercised at all insofar as the writ appellant was concerned since the order removing him from service had been upheld by the High Court in 2010 itself. “The State Government cannot reconsider or review an order which has been approved by this court,” the bench said.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 10:20:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/HC-rejects-appeal-by-dismissed-official/article14631064.ece

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