In the instant case, a writ petition was filed by the petitioner under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The petitioner requested the Court to quash the order dated 07.02.2011 passed by the respondent and to reinstate him in service with benefits of back pay etc.
Madras High Court observed that corrupt practices in the judicial system can never be tolerated. It is worse than that of the corruption in public departments.
Brief facts of the Case
On 02.11.2004, the Petitioner was alleged to receive Rs. 500 as bribe from the witness Tr. Syed Hussain on behalf of the sub-registrar for the registration of a sales deed. Then again on 06.11.2004, he received a bribe of Rs. 500 on behalf of the sub-registrar for inspection of the building. He also received Rs 50 as illegal gratification from the witness.
It is further alleged that on 16.11.2004, the petitioner accompanied sub-registrar, Melapalayam for an inspection of a building. On the directions given by the sub-registrar, he received an amount of Rs. 500 from Tr.Mohideen Lebbai for and on behalf of the sub-registrar for the inspection of the building.
Then again on 18.10.2004, he received Rs.2000 from Tr. Kamal for and on behalf of the sub-registrar when he went to visit the property for inspection.
The Tribunal for Disciplinary Proceedings conducted a trial, and the petitioner was found guilty of demanding and accepting bribes. The petitioner was dismissed from service as a punishment. The petitioner filed an appeal, and instead of removing him from service, his punishment was modified as a compulsory retirement.
Aggrieved by the order, the petitioner moved the Madras High Court.
Proceeding before the High Court
Contentions raised by the counsel of the petitioner.
Learned counsel of the petitioner argued that there was no shred of evidence against the petitioner for demanding or accepting a bribe. He further argued that as there was no evidence, there was no reason behind his dismissal or compulsory retirement.
It was also stated that the main allegations were against the registrar and not against the petitioner. He further contended that the petitioner could not be punished just because he accompanied the sub-registrar.
Arguments of the Respondents
Learned counsel for the respondent stated that there was sufficient evidence to establish that the petitioner accepted bribes on behalf of the sub-registrar and that he helped the sub-registrar to secure the bribe. It was further contended that compulsory retirement was a lenient punishment, and no more leniency can be accorded to the petitioner.
The reasoning of the Madras High Court
The Court referred to the enquiry report submitted by the Tribunal for Disciplinary Proceedings.
As per the contents of the report, the witnesses went to the S.R.O., Melapalayam to get their land inspected and registered. At that time, the accused no.1 was the sub-registrar, and the petitioner was an office assistant.
The sub-registrar informed the witness that there was a deficit in stamp duty, and therefore their document will not be registered. The witnesses insisted that they wanted to get the document registered that very day. The sub-registrar told them that if they paid a bribe of Rs.2000, the documents would be registered the same day. The witness agreed, and the document was registered.
On the day of inspection, the sub-registrar asked the amount that was promised to her. The witness told them that he only had rs 500. The sub-registrar told them to pay the amount to the petitioner.
When the petitioner went to S.R.O Melapalayam, they were asked for a bribe again by the sub-registrar and the petitioner, when the witnesses refused they were told that their documents would not be returned to them. As the witnesses had no other option, they paid the amount and received their documents.
The Court opined that the enquiry report and statements of the witnesses suggest that the petitioner and the sub-registrar were involved in accepting and demanding bribes.
The Decision of the Madras High Court
The Court held that findings of the Tribunal for Disciplinary Proceedings and the Commercial Taxes and Registration (K) Department were correct, and the petitioner was involved in demanding and accepting bribes.
Hon’ble Court further held that the instant writ petition was devoid of merits and was accordingly dismissed.
Title:N.Ulagaraj Vs.Government of Tamil Nadu and Another
Case No.W.P.(MD)No.16185 of 2012
Date of Order:05.10.2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice S.M.Subramanium