Bombay HC allows terminal benefits like pension, gratuity based on promotion to Customs and Central Excise Commissioner involved in Corruption

The Bombay High Court in the case of Bhupendra Pal Singh v/s Union of India & Ors. allowed the terminal benefits like pension, gratuity based on promotion to Customs and Central Excise Commissioner involved in Corruption.

The petitioner was a member of the Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) having been recruited in 1979. When the petitioner was working as Additional Commissioner of Customs (Export Promotion) in the Export Promotion Commissionerate. The said incident related to a party, M/s. Pacific International Exporters, which was allegedly allowed to successfully claim excess drawback contrary to law. In 2002, the petitioner was granted promotion on the post of Commissioner of Central Excise and Customs. Acting on an audit report, the AntiCorruption Bureau of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mumbai, registered a First Information Report. One Hemant Kothikar, Deputy Commissioner, Customs Frere Basin, Dock, Mumbai, was named as the prime accused.

Advocate Mr. Ramamurthy, appearing for the petitioner contended that the Tribunal erred in the exercise of its jurisdiction in failing to appreciate that the explanation for the delayed issuance of charge-sheet, given by the respondents, by no stretch of imagination could be regarded as satisfactory explanation for upholding the delayed issuance of charge-sheet and was merely an excuse. 

Advocate Mr. Shetty, for the respondents vehemently opposed the writ petition. He contended that the judgment of the Tribunal is well reasoned and well-written and the same having dealt with each and every point that was raised on behalf of the petitioner, it does not warrant any interference.

The division bench of the Chief Justice Dipankar Datta, and Justice M. S. Karnik noted that mere exoneration in the criminal proceedings does not warrant an order interdicting disciplinary proceedings, both having origin to common set of facts and common witnesses or evidence, yet, the time taken since the alleged act of omission or commission giving rise to the departmental charge-sheet and all other attending circumstances do call for being noticed.

The court while allowing the petition held that the terminal benefits including pension, gratuity and other benefits to which the petitioner is entitled, based on promotion or otherwise, as the case may be, shall be released as early as possible but positively within 3 (three) months of issuance of the order of promotion as above. The petitioner shall be entitled to interest on such unpaid amounts at the highest rate that nationalized banks offer for fixed deposits.

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