The Delhi High Court confirmed the penalty of the Indian Revenue Service Officer (Customs & Central Excise) for over staying study leave for almost 6 years. The petitioner, Govind Krishna Dixit, belonged to 1989 batch of Indian Revenue Service (IRS) (Customs & Central Excise). The petitioner was issued a sanction order dated August 23, 2002, permitted by the respondents to pursue a course in Master of International Policy & Practice at The George Washington University, USA. This was one year course commencing from September 03, 2002. On completion of the said course, the petitioner did not return back to the country to join his duties, instead he joined another course of Master of Law in the same University, for which no prior permission was obtained from the respondents.
The petitioner finally joined the respondents on August 21, 2009, after a gap of almost 7 years. He was accordingly proceeded under the Rule 3(1) CCS (Conduct) Rules 1969. A charge sheet was issued to the petitioner which resulted in a final order dated June 10, 2013 which has already been reproduced above. The case of the petitioner before the Tribunal was that the currency of penalty imposed on him on June 10, 2013 ended on completion of 3 years, i.e., June 10, 2016. Accordingly, the sealed cover relating to his promotion was ordered to be opened vide order dated October 30, 2017 and he has been promoted to the grade of Commissioner on in situ basis.
The petitioner contended that vide order dated November 16, 2017, the respondents have attempted to implement the order dated June 10, 2013, which is illegal and the same amounts to double jeopardy as the same is in violation, inasmuch as; (i) he was denied promotion and for almost 6 years, his promotion case was kept in sealed cover, and (ii) through order dated November 16, 2017, arbitrarily, the penalty has been imposed notwithstanding, the fact that the disciplinary proceedings have been concluded long time back. A Division Bench comprising Justices V Kameswar Rao and Anoop Kumar Mendiratta observed that “We find that the order of the Tribunal is justified for more than one reason; (i) a charge sheet was issued to the petitioner for over staying the study leave for almost 6 years w.e.f. 2003; and (ii) he without prior permission undertook another course. The charge sheet resulted in the charges as proved, should be taken to its logical end and for that purpose the order dated June 10, 2013 was passed whereby, the Disciplinary Authority has imposed the penalty on the petitioner.”
“Regrettably, for the reasons best known, the said order was not given effect to for almost 4 years when the order dated November 16, 2017 was issued. It appears that the same was issued on realising that the order dated June 10, 2013 has not been implemented. It is in furtherance of the order dated June 10, 2013 that the order dated November 16, 2017, was issued, surely suggest that the said order is for the implementation of order on misconduct committed by the petitioner. The misconduct having been proved, the same need to be taken to its logical end by imposing penalty and giving effect to the same” the Court concluded.