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Two Separate Penalties Can Be Imposed for the Same Misconduct in Civil Services: Tripura High Court

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Prosecutor has questioned an Order dated 16th July 2019 passed by the disciplinary authority. Furthermore, the Appellate authority admitted partial relief on 13th March 2020. The Appellate authority passed the Order against disciplinary authority.

Brief Facts

The Petitioner was served with a charge sheet on July 10, 2014, for conducting an investigation under Rule 14 of Central Civil Service (Classification, Control, and Appeal) Rules. The Petitioner was a 2nd Grade Officer in Tripura Civil Service. While working in Trishna Wild Life Sanctuary, he made mistakes in financial resources. The work wasn’t executed but the changes made in expenditure. During the Petitioner’s tenure, three separate constructions were in continuance. The first contract was worth Rs.1,43,000/-, but the bill amount was executed as Rs. 2,17,000/-. In the second contract, no work was executed then also there were sending’s of Rs.1,44,000/-. There was the payment of Rs.38,250/- for the cost of watering and weeding but it was not done. A throughout inquiry was set up on 15th May 2018. The Petitioner had a reprint of that same from the inquiry officer. On 17th July 2019, the disciplinary authority after consideration gave the orders for recovery. The recovery amount was Rs.2,55,508/- withholding increment for two years as punishment. The same was challenged by the Petitioner before the Appellate authority. The Appellate authority modified the punishment on 13th March 2020. The amount came down to Rs.38,250/- and the increment reduced to one year.

Petitioner’s Argument

Counsel said that the Petitioner has not carried out any lawlessness in spite of he has a penalty. He further submits that two different penalties can’t be imposed for the same misdeed. He submits that the documents should be examined on record.

Respondent’s Argument

Counsel states that the disciplinary authority has definite findings. The punishment is equal to the given charges. That must be why the plaintiff only receives two nominal fines rather than a large penalty. The Petitioner in a supervisory position refused to ensure payment of work. He must bear at least some responsibility for the misrepresentation of public funds. We have found that the administrative authority’s Order modified by the Appellate authority and so was the duration for recovering the loss compressed. But the period for keeping the increment was also reduced from two to one year.

Court’s Decision

The Court stated that it does not exclude the imposition of two different penalties. It states that awarding a penalty for loss, as well as other penalties are not prohibited. The appellate authority ordered that a part of losses incurred by the government be recovered. As well as a minor penalty of one year’s withholding of increment.

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