`No direct involvement, no recovery of monetary loss`
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Last Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009, 19:05
New Delhi: Government cannot recover the amount from its employee for the monetary loss caused to it by his negligence if he is not directly responsible for it, the Centre Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has said.

The tribunal slammed the Postal Department for recovering Rs two lakh from the salary of its postmaster for his alleged negligence which resulted in loss of Rs 32.35 lakh to it in which he was not directly involved.

"If there is no direct link between the misconduct on the part of the government servant on one hand and the pecuniary loss sought to be recovered from him, the result would be that this penalty recovery cannot be imposed on him," the tribunal said.

"There must be cause-and-effect relationship between the misconduct of the government servant and the pecuniary loss caused to the government," the Tribunal said while quashing the Centre's order.

The Tribunal passed the order on a plea of one Nagendra Pal Singh challenging the Department's order of halting his increment for one year and recovery of Rs two lakh from his salary after it came to the conclusion that there was negligence on his part.

The department, justifying the action taken against Singh, alleged that during 2003-04 when he was assistant postmaster of Head Post Office, Aligarh, he had supplied 300 blank passbooks to another post office, which was misused by its sub postmaster.

It was contended that Singh did not take any action after he failed to obtain the copy of the invoice sent from another post office whose sub postmaster was found to have committed a fraud of Rs 32.35 lakh by using the blank passbooks and was subsequently sent to jail.

The Tribunal, however, was not satisfied with the contention of the Centre that Singh was responsible for the loss to the department.

"The pecuniary loss is such which directly flows the misconduct on the part of the government servant and not to be arrived at in some circuitous manner by establishing any remote and distant connection between the two," the CAT said.

"The disciplinary authority is required to give a clear finding in the punishment order not only on the lapses committed by the government servant but also the manner in which the lapses on their part were linked with the loss sustained by the department," the CAT said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, August 10, 2009, 19:05

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