Chennai: Observing that the inaction on the part of officials against illegal occupants and non-payment of rent for the government quarters, are to be viewed seriously and they must be held responsible and liable for all such financial loss to the institution, the Madras high court has said authorities concerned are bound to initiate all actions against the officials also.
Justice S.M. Subramaniam made the observation while disposing of a petition filed by R.Mani, a retired sub-inspector of police, challenging a notice issued by the Ambattur Sidco, Industrial Estate, directing him to surrender the police quarters belonging to Sidco within 30 days from the date of his retirement.
Noticing that the notice dated May 9, 2005, was challenged in the present petition and the petitioner had not surrendered the quarters or paid the rent and authorities failed to evict him or collect arrears of rent, the judge had held that the authorities also committed lapses, negligence and dereliction of duty in collecting the rent as well as arrears of rent and initiate proceedings to evict the petitioner, and directed the authorities initiate action even against the officials. Pursuant to the same, show cause notice was issued to the officials. The petitioner also vacated the premises and handed over the possession to the authorities.
The judge said it was brought to the notice of the court that in respect of all other similar tenements, where the allottees have not vacated the quarters and not paid the rent, actions were taken across the state and accordingly, all such occupants will be evicted by following the procedures and the arrears of rent due to the authorities would be recovered by following the procedures and in accordance with law. It was needless to say it was the duty of the officials concerned to enforce law in respect of such illegal occupants, the judge added.
The judge said, “This court is of the considered opinion that there was a consistent failure on the part of the officials in collection of the monthly rent properly and promptly. This apart, the illegal occupants were allowed to continue for number of years without any authority and this court is of the considered opinion that this illegal occupation may not be possible without the support or collusion of the authorities competent, who all are in charge or administering the quarters. These officials, who are all in charge, are very much aware of such illegal occupants and non-payment of monthly rent. Thus, their inactions are to be viewed seriously and they must be held responsible and liable for all such financial loss to the institution. There cannot be any lenient view in respect of such serious lapses on the part of the public authorities. The public authorities are bound to act vigilantly and prudently. The revenue of the government organisations are to be protected and in the event of any such lapses, the authorities competent are bound to initiate all actions against the officials also”.
Pointing out the submission of the counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner could pay the arrears of rent in equal installments since he was a pensioner and imposing interest would affect his livelihood, the judge directed the petitioner to pay the entire arrears of rent in 18 equal installments.
As far as the interest portion was concerned, the judge directed the authorities to complete the disciplinary proceedings initiated against all those officials, who all were responsible and liable for such lapses, negligence and dereliction of duty, as expeditiously as possible. After completion of the disciplinary proceedings the interest amount has to be recovered proportionately from the officials, who all were responsible for their lapses and negligence, the judge added....