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C.S. Malik Vs. Council of Scientific & Industrial Research and Ors. - (Central Administrative Tribunal) (27 Oct 2017)

Issuance of Charge Memorandum is enough, actual service of same on the delinquent officer is immaterial



The Applicant, a retired Senior Deputy Financial Advisor of the 1st Respondent-Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), filed the Original Application (OA) questioning the Charge Memorandum. Impugned Charge Memorandum contains Article of Charge that, Applicant, while functioning in the year 2010 at CSIR Headquarters, New Delhi committed misconduct as, he, in the matter of payments to QHFs-Quick Hire Fellows in respect of NISTADS, New Delhi, by his irregular and violative recommendation for making payments to QHFs from P-01 sub-head, from which salary is paid to scientists, led to the accordance of approval by the Financial Adviser and thereby perpetuated the payments made to the tune of over Rs. 1.0 crore to QHFs in NISTADS, although no such power was delegated to the officer under the existing rules. By his aforesaid acts of omission and commission, Applicant exhibited lack of absolute integrity and devotion to duty and acted in a manner unbecoming to a Council servant contravening the Rule 3(1)(i), (ii) and (iii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

It is the settled principle of law that, it is enough if the Charge Memorandum is issued before the required date and the actual service of the same on the delinquent officer is immaterial. Loss of opportunity to appeal cannot vitiate the Charge Memorandum issued by the appellate authority in every case. In the circumstances of the present case, i.e., where the charges are common and levelled against the Director, NISTADS and also the officers of CSIR, Headquarters, there is no illegality in issuing the impugned Charge Memorandum by the Vice President, who is the appellate authority.

The Respondents proceeded against the Applicant, in haste and in violation of the principles of natural justice and discriminately, may be in view of his impending superannuation. Admittedly, though the then Hon'ble Minister, directed to initiate major penalty proceedings against the then Director, NISTADS and others, way back on 15th May, 2014, till date, no chargesheet was issued to any other officer, except to the Applicant, that too on the date of his superannuation, hastily, and in violation of principles of natural justice. In case of all others, the Respondents have issued show cause notices and provided them opportunity to submit their representations and consulted the CVC at various stages. But in case of Applicant, no such procedure followed. When the Respondents are empowered to proceed against the Applicant, even after his retirement, if circumstances warrant, under the provisions of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, the hasty action against him, in issuing the charge memorandum under Rule 14 of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965, without giving him the same opportunity of show cause on par with other officers, is unjustified and unsustainable.

The OA is allowed and the impugned charge memorandum is quashed, with all consequential benefits. The Respondents shall release all the retirement benefits of the Applicant within 90 days from the date of receipt of present order.


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