N. Neihsial, Administrative Member.
1. In the present O.A. No. 040/00077 of 2016, the applicant has sought the following reliefs:
“9.1 The Hon’ble Tribunal be pleased to direct the respondents to set aside the punishment orders of the Disciplinary Authority as well as of the Reviewing authorities i.e. Respondent No. 3 & 4 for recovery of Rs.1,50,000/- and 70,000/- from the salary of the applicant.
9.2 Costs of the application.
9.3 Any other relief(s) which the applicant is entitled to as the Hon’ble Tribunal may deem fit and proper.”
2. Facts of the case are that the applicant while serving as Sub Postmaster at Narengi Sub Office, one Memorandum of Charge-sheet bearing No. F7-1/15-16/Misc/Discy/D K Saharia dated 16.04.2015 was served upon him. The said Charge-sheet dated 16.04.2015 contains the following:-
-That the said Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia, while working as SPM, Duni SO for the period from 23.02.2007 to 18.01.2010 did not maintain Register of Accounts standing open at each Branch Post Offices for checking the receipt of passbooks at the Sub-Office from 1st April onwards in every year.
-Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia, while working as SPM, Duni SO for the aforesaid period, did not prepare a list of Savings Accounts, the passbooks of which have not been received for posting of interest by 20th July every year, and did not send the list to the concerned IPO.
-Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia. while working as SPM, Duni SO for the aforesaid period. did not submit the prescribed report to the Divisional head. to the effect that the list of passbooks not received for interest posting at SO have been duly prepared by the sub office sent to the concerned Inspector Posts.
-Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia. while working as SPM, Duni SO for the aforesaid period. did not prepare the Special Error Book at Duni SO during his period of incumbency and did not address the concerned depositors through Registered Post, whose passbook have not been received at the Sub-Office for interest posting.
-Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia. while working as SPM, Duni SO for the aforesaid period also did not prepare list of discontinued RD accounts and did not send the list to the Divisional head for appropriate action.
-By taking the opportunity of above mentioned irregularities of Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia, while working as SPM, Duni SO. Sri Nabin Chandra Saharia. GDS BPM (under put off duty), Hengalpara BO has defrauded an amount of Rs.8.68.453.00 in respect of several SB/RD accounts. Sri Nabin Chandra Saharia, the erring GDS BPM, defrauded amount in r/o SB/RD deposits and fraudulently withdrawn SB withdrawals by preparing SB-7 himself by forging the signature of the depositor and did not send the passbooks for interest posting at the account office, i.e. Duni SO. Had Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia followed the prescribed rules of maintaining Register of Accounts, Special Error Book, preparation of list of discontinued RD accounts and had he called for the passbooks by addressing the concerned depositors, the concerned fraud case could have been detected much earlier and the loss sustained by the Department would have been at minimum. Altogether 48 SB and 189 RD accounts were found involved in fraud committed by Sri Nabin Chandra Saharia, GDS BPM, Hengalparo BO in a/c with Duni SO. Had the passbooks been called for by Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia for interest posting. as prescribed in rules and submitted the list of discontinued RD accounts to appropriate authority. Sri Nabin Chandra Saharia, would not have got the opportunity to defraud such a huge amount.
-Thus, it is alleged that Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia, has contributed and aggravated towards committing fraud by Sri Nabin Chandra Saharia, GDS BPM (under put off duty), Hengalpara BO in a/c with Duni SO.
-Therefore, Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia has alleged to have violated the provisions of Rule 75(1)(iii), 75(2)(i), 75(3)(ii), 75(3)(viii), 76(b)(i) and 76(b)(2) of Post Office Savings Bank Manual Volume-I.
-By this above acts, Sri Debendra Kumar Saharia has shown his total lack of devotion towards his official duties and acted in a manner which is totally unbecoming of a Government Servant, and thus, he is also alleged to have violated the provisions contained in Rule 3(1) (ii) and 3(1)(iii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.
3. Against the above misconduct as contained in the Charge-sheet, an enquiry was conducted under Rule 16 of CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965 and the enquiry authority found him guilty and imposed a penalty of recovery of Rs.70,000/- to be recovered in 35 equal monthly installments @ Rs.2,000/- per month from the pay and allowances w.e.f. July 2015 payable in August, 2015. After due notice, the Appellate Authority vide his letter No: Vig/Review/GH Dn/2014 (Pt-IV) dated 10.11.2015 has decided to enhance the quantum of penalty to be imposed on the applicant. Accordingly, vide order No. VIG/Review/GH Dn/2014 (Pt IV) dated 01.01.2016, the Appellate Authority has enhanced the quantum of penalty of recovery from Rs.70,000/- to Rs.1,50,000/- to be recovered in 20 installments after adjusting whatever amount has already been recovered.
4. The applicant pleaded that as per D.G P&T letter No. 3/312/70-Disc.1 dated 17.08.1971, it has been clarified that recovery from pay as a punishment for any pecuniary loss caused by a Government servant by negligence or breach of orders should not exceed one third of basic pay (i.e. excluding dearness pay or any other allowance) and should not be spread over a period of more than 3 years. He also enclosed a copy of his Pay Slip for the Month of January 2016 and also certified copy of House Rent receipt of Rs.10,000/- paid by him for the month of December 2015.
5. The main plea of the applicant is that since the enhanced penalty of recovery of Rs.1,50,000/- in 20 installments i.e. approximately 7,500/- would be against principle as enunciated in the D.G P&T letter No. 3/312/70-Disc.1 dated 17.08.1971, this Tribunal be pleased to stay the operation of the impugned order of recovery dated 01.01.2016 from the salary of the applicant.
6. Considering the fact that due to glaring lapses on the part of the applicant resulting into defrauded an amount of Rs.8,68,453.00 in respect of several SB/RD accounts, the enhancement of the penalty of recovery by the Appellate Authority is considered riot excessive since with t
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he implementation of the 7th Pay Commission, the pay of the applicant i.e. 5200-20200 + GP Rs.2800/- must have been revised to minimum of Rs.29200/- and 1/3 of Rs.29200/- would be Rs.9733/-. As such, the proposed enhanced penalty of recovery would not be in violation of the basic principle of not more than % of his basic salary. It is therefore felt that there is no justification for interfering the impugned order under No.VIG/Review/GH Dn/2014 (Pt IV) dated 01.01.2016 of the Appellate Authority. O.A. is therefore, liable to be dismissed. Accordingly, the O.A. stands dismissed. 7. There shall be no order as to costs. 8. Interim order passed by this Tribunal vide order dated 08.04.2016 stands vacated.