CENTRAL ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL PRINCIPAL BENCH OA No. 3173/2010 New Delhi this the 19th day of April, 2011 Honble Mr. Justice V.K.Bali, Chairman Honble Mr. L.K.Joshi, Vice Chairman (A) Shri Lalmalsawma, Age 52 years Working as Commissioner and Secretary, Finance and Home Department, Govt. of Mizoram and Chief Electoral Officer Of the State Residing at Block V/II, New Secretariat Complex, Aizawl-796 001 . Applicant (By Advocate Shri Pragyan P.Sharma with Shri Ropesh Gupta) VERSUS 1. The Union of India, Through Its Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, North Block, New Delhi. 2. Central Vigilance Commission, Through its Director, Satarkta Bhawan, GPO Complex, Block A, INA, New Delhi-23 Respondents (By Advocate Shri Nasir Ahmed) O R D E R
Mr. L.K.Joshi, Vice Chairman (A) :
The Applicant is challenging the Memorandum of Charge dated 06.09.2006 by which the article of charge pertaining to the year 1989 has been communicated to him. An inquiry was held ex parte against the Applicant and the inquiry authority in his report dated 18.04.2010 held the charge to be proved against the Applicant. When the matter was referred to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for advice, the CVC recommended imposition of suitable major penalty on Shri Lalmalsawma, the Applicant herein. The Memorandum of Charge, report of the inquiry authority and the advice of the CVC have been assailed in this OA.
2. The charge levelled against the Applicant has been extracted below:
That Shri Lalmalsawma, IAS (AGMU: 83) while posted and functioning as the Commissioner of Excise, Govt. of Goa, during the year 1989 committed gross negligence and dereliction of duty in as much as he approved the Price/Duty Structure of the product Blue Stratos After Shave Lotion of M/s PJM Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. with the rate of duty as Rs.10/- per litre of pure alcohol content, which was the rate of duty for a medicinal product, though the product Blue Stratos After Shave Lotion was, in fact, a toilet product for which the excise duty was liable to be charged @ 100% ad valorem, and thereby enabled the company to pay excise duty at such wrongly reduced rate, causing a loss to the tune of Rs. 92,43, 684-08, during the period 1989 to 1991, to the Government exchequer.
Thus he failed to maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty, and committed an act unbecoming of a member of the Service, and thereby contravened Rule 3 of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968.
3. The learned counsel for the Applicant would contend that the instant OA is squarely covered by the order dated 07.03.2007 of this Tribunal in OA number 2100 of 2006, Naini Jayaseelan V. Union of India. The charge against the said Naini Jayaseelan was that:
That Smt. Naini Jayaseelan, IAS, while posted and functioning as the Commissioner of Excise, Govt. of Goa, Daman & Diu during the year 1985 committed gross negligence and dereliction of duty in as much as she reclassified the product Old Spice After Shave Lotion of M/s Colfax Laboratories (India) Pvt. Ltd., Goa from toilet product to medicinal product, though it was in fact a toilet product, and thereby reduced the duty chargeable on this product from 100% advalorem to Rs. 6.60 per litre of pure alcohol content, causing a loss to the tune of Rs.17,77,18,361=20, during the period 1985 to 1991, to the Government Exchequer.
Thus she had failed to maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty, and committed an act unbecoming of a member of the Service, and thereby contravened Rule 3 of the All India Service (Conduct) Rules, 1968. The Memorandum of Charge and the order appointing the inquiry and presenting authorities was quashed by the Tribunal. The order was not challenged by the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
4. The learned counsel for the Respondents could not deny that the instant OA is fully covered by the order dated 07.03.2007 in the cited case of Naini Jayaseelan. In view of this the same relief has to be given to the Applicant as to the applicant in OA number 2100 of 2006.
5. In the result the OA is allowed. The Memorandum of Charge, the report of the inquiry authority and the advice of the CVC are quashed and set aside. No costs.
( L.K. Joshi ) ( V.K. Bali ) Vice Chairman (A) Chairman /dkm/