Two high courts have refused to give relief to tax officials compulsorily retired by the government on serious charges of misconduct. Earlier this month, the government had invoked Section 56(j) of Fundamental Rules to compulsorily retire 15 officials dealing with indirect taxes and 12 officials of the income tax department over allegations of corruption and other wrongdoings.
The Calcutta High Court has set aside the interim relief given by Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to two officials sacked under the Section 56J of Fundamental Rules. On Thursday, the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court had turned down a plea for relief by a compulsorily retired tax official on jurisdictional grounds.
The Calcutta High Court noted that the Single Judicial Member of CAT, Kolkata has committed judicial impropriety in passing impugned orders against compulsory retirement of IRS officers GS Harsha and Ashok R Mahida. The High Court raised questions on a Single Bench taking up a matter fit for consideration by a Division Bench.
AK Patnaik, a Kolkata Bench member of CAT had impugned the government order compulsorily retiring Harsha. Following this, the CAT Chairman transferred him to the Karnataka Bench on Friday.
The High Court further directed a hearing by Division Bench of CAT on remaining issues, in which the Patnaik shall not be a part.
In its order, the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court turned down the objection by sacked IRS Ram Kumar Bhargava on grounds that the Central Administrative Tribunal will decide on the preliminary objections before escalating the matter further. The Bench ordered the government to produce all the records including the personal file of IRS Ram Kumar Bhargava based on which he was compulsorily retired.
The court has also asked the government to provide a copy of decision of the Screening/Review Committee to Bhargava within a week. The matter will be heard after six weeks.
The Rule 56(j) of Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 provides for periodical review of performance of government servants with a view to ascertain whether they should be retained in service or retired from service in public interest.
As per these instructions, the cases of government servants covered by FR 56(j), 56(1) or Rule 48(1) (b) of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 should be reviewed six months before they attain the age of 50-55 years, in cases covered by FR 56(j) and on completion of 30 years of qualifying service under FR 56(1) or Rule 48 of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972.