M A I N   N E W S

3 IAS officers to be detained in civil prison for 3 months
Prabhjot Singh & Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Sangrur, March 26
Three IAS officers, one of whom has already retired, were today ordered to surrender themselves within 15 days for detention in civil prison for three months for disobeying the orders of the District Judge, Sangrur.

It is perhaps for the first time that three senior IAS officers and a Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner have been ordered to be detained in civil prison for three months for disobeying an interim order.

The orders were passed by Mr Jagrup Singh, District Judge, Sangrur, asking Mr C.L. Bains (State Election Commissioner, Punjab), Mr Sudhir Mittal (Joint Secretary, Government of India), Mr KBS Sidhu (Secretary, Technical Education, Pun-jab) and Mr G.S. Randhawa (Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Pati-ala) to surrender themselves within 15 days to serve the sentence awarded to them.

The petitioner, Mr J.S. Thind, who has since retired, had moved a petition alleging that his suspension as Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner on July 14, 1998, was stayed by the District Judge but the then Financial Commissioner, Commissioner and Additional Commissioner, Taxation, had disobeyed the order and Mr G.S. Randhawa had taken over the charge held by him. The District Judge had passed interim orders on August 12, 1998, on his petition as Mr Thind had claimed that no suspension orders were served on him.

The court held that Mr C.L. Bains, Mr Sudhir Mittal, Mr KBS Sidhu and Mr GS Randhawa had violated the injunction order of August 12 to make themselves liable for punishment under Rule 2-A of Order 39, CPC.

The court held that the case which led to the “suspension” of Mr J.S. Thind had a chequered history. The taxation department had detained a truck carrying goods. Since the exact rate and weight of goods were not mentioned, penal action was proposed under the Punjab General sales Tax Act.

Mr Thind maintained that he got a call from the then Excise and Taxation Com-missioner asking him to release the goods on surety bond as the son of a senior IAS officer was a partner in the consignee company. Though Mr Thind maintained that he told his superiors that in such cases goods could not be released on surety bond but still he released the goods and adjourned the case for a subsequent date. He maintained that then he was asked not to impose any penalty in the case.

Since the petitioner held that he held that he would pass the orders in accordance with the law, his superiors were annoyed with him and the case file was summoned to headquarters.

No orders were passed on the file by his superiors, he stated in his petition.

He was subsequently placed under suspension without assigning any reasons. The day suspension orders were passed he was on leave because of his daughter’s case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The court held that at no stage the grievance of the petitioner was redressed and even the interim orders were not obeyed by the Department.


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