Setback to R R Patil's drive against 'corrupt' officers
Geetanjali Minhas | June 17, 2010
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has set aside the suspension of controversial IPS officer A K Jain, delivering a major setback to Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil's drive against allgedly corrupt officers.
Jain, an officer of 1982 batch, was additional commissioner of police for Central Region in 2000, when following a complaint lodged by police inspector Sanjiv Kokil, an offence was registered against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Following his arrest, Jain was suspended on June 17, 2000 by invoking the provisions of All-India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules (AISDA).
Jain’s suspension was continued through intermittent orders. The state home department failed to complete a departmental probe within the stipulated time where there was no response from the centre on Patil’s plea to mandatorily retire four senior IPS officers. Jain’s suspension was invoked a month back.
In his 19-page order last week, CAT member Sudhakar Mishra said, “For continuing the suspension, reasons have to be recorded in writing. In the present case, the competent authority has not separately recorded the reasons… under these circumstances, we are constrained to observe that Jain has been kept under illegal suspension, we direct the home department to reinstate him in service with retrospective effect. He shall be entitled to all consequential benefits.”
Jain's argument was that as per the provisions under section 3 (8) of the AISDA rules, which states an order of suspension, which has not been extended, shall be valid for a period not exceeding 90 days and if there was a review, it must be before the day of expiry. In Jain’s case the suspension order was not reviewed on or before September 19, 2000, but it was reviewed a few weeks thereafter. As such continuance of suspension beyond September 19, 2000, was illegal and invalid.
Jain also put forward that as per the amended AISDA rules, the period of suspension on charges of corruption shall not exceed two years and the inquiry shall be completed within two years. Only on recommendation of the central ministry’s review committee can the suspension continue beyond two years.
Meanwhile, a senior IPS official said on condition of anonymity, “Due to inept handling of the cases, important orders passed at the instance of the home minister have been set aside in the last four years. Patil should fix responsibility for the mess. Jain’s case has been mishandled.”
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