Chennai: Slamming the authorities for their failure to evict a retired police officer from the Ambattur Industrial Estate Police Quarters for the last 15 years, the Madras high court has directed the chairman and MD of Sidco to conduct an inquiry in respect of the status of the quarters and identify the negligence, dereliction of duty, collusion and corrupt activities, if any, found in respect of quarters under the illegal occupation and why no action was taken by officials concerned.
Justice S.M. Subramaniam, who gave the above directive, said, “The absolute inaction on the part of the authorities in implementing the rule of law causes great concern to this court. The petitioner, who retired from service in the year 2004, is in continuous occupation without surrendering the quarters and without even paying the monthly rent for more than 15 years. The absolute laxity, dereliction of the duty and negligence on the part of the officials can never be condoned or pardoned. Contrarily, severe actions should be taken against those officials in accordance with law”.
The judge said a reading of the facts and circumstances of the case reveals that the petitioner (R.Mani) who had retired as sub-inspector of police was allotted with the police quarters at Ambattur Industrial Estate. After retirement, he had not vacated the quarters and the estate manager cum branch manager, Ambattur, Sidco, issued impugned notice on May 9, 2005 asking the petitioner to surrender the quarters and pay the rental arrears within 7 days. Instead of vacating the quarters, the petitioner filed the petition. No interim order was granted, the petition was admitted in the year 2005. The petition was kept pending before this court for the past 14 years, the judge added.
The judge said, “Curiously, the authorities have not initiated any action for more than 15 years either to vacate the petitioner or to collect the rental arrears from him. Such an inaction, negligence and dereliction of duty created huge loss to the state exchequer. They have not initiated any action even for eviction, despite the fact that this court has not granted interim stay of the impugned order. At least they should have recovered the arrears of rent. Event this is not done.”
The judge said R. Bharathi, estate officer cum branch manager, TANSIDCO, who was present before this court along with files stated that the rent has not been collected and possession has not been taken for the past 15 years. The status of the quarters was also not properly recorded. Contrarily, the files were pending for more than 15 years without any progress, the judge added.
The judge said the estate officer made a submission that they have approached the Superintendent of Police concerned who in turn informed the estate officer that the police department cannot take any action as the petitioner had already retired from service. “However, this court is of the view that even a pensioner is liable to maintain good conduct. Under the Tamil Nadu Pension Rules, the state is empowered to initiate action against the pensioners. Even the payment of pension is subject to the good conduct of the pensioners. Therefore, the SP cannot say that a police officer is retired from service could not be monitored by the department and no action could be initiated against such retired police officials. So long as the retired officials are receiving pensions, they have to maintain a good conduct under Rule 8 of TN Pension Rules”, the judge added.
Suo motu impleading the chairman and managing director of Sidco as a party, the judge posed 10 queries including the one as to whether there was any proper allotment of police quarters in favour of the petitioner, at any point of time or not, to him and posted to September 23, further hearing of the case....