The Tamil Nadu Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) came to the rescue of a deputy chief ticket inspector of the railways by setting aside punishment orders issued against him in 2008.
The charge against N Gopal Raman was that he had carried personal cash which was not mentioned in the declaration register before commencing his job on a train originating from Coimbatore on December 30, 2003. A preventive check by the railway vigilance found a certain excess amount of cash in his possession and a charge-memo was served even as Raman provided his explanation. However, the disciplinary authority imposed the punishment of removal from service on January 21, 2008.
Following an appeal from Raman, the appellate authority reduced the punishment to that of compulsory retirement from service by an order dated April 15,2008. Challenging both the orders, Raman moved the CAT. His counsel M Ravi contended that removal/compulsory retirement from service was too harsh a punishment as the offence was only a procedural lapse.
The tribunal said that admittedly there was no complaint of illegal gratification. Hence, the penalty was disproportionate to the charges. The CAT reverted the matter to the disciplinary authority for fresh consideration and for imposing the right penalty, in three months.