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.