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Madras HC dismisses plea against inquiry into graft charge

Madras HC dismisses plea against inquiry into graft charge

Madras High Court here has ordered action against officials, who allegedly helped a panchayat chief facing charges of misappropriation of funds evade an inquiry by repeatedly issuing defective show-cause notices.

Dismissing an appeal by Alangulam Panchayat President K Ravichandran challenging a single judge’s order, a bench comprising justices V. Ramasubramanian and N Kirubakaran directed Sivaganga District Collector to initiate action against officials involved in issuing the defective notices.

The judges said the appellant was first issued a show-cause notice under the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act,1994 on December 10, 2014 seeking an explanation as to why he should not be removed from the post over the misappropriation charges.

He replied to the notice and also filed a petition in the high court challenging it. A single judge allowed the petition on the ground that the period of notice under the act was not provided in the show-cause notice.

Another notice was issued by the district officials on August 28, 2015 and that too was quashed by the court on the ground of insufficient notice period.

A third notice issued was also set aside on the same ground, following which the fourth notice was served on him on December 4 last. This notice was also drafted in such a manner that the appellant could succeed.

However, the Judge this time refused to quash it and rectified the defect pointed out by the petitioner by postponing the panchayat meeting (to enquire him) from December 17 to 21. Challenging this, the panchayat chief filed the present appeal.

In their order the judges said: “We find nothing wrong in the order of the learned Judge. If notices for initiating proceedings under the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 1994 are cleverly manoeuvred, in collusion with the officials, the Court had to cleverly overcome it.

( Source – PTI )

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