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The Delhi High Court today upheld a Central Administrative Tribunal’s order which had revoked on July 1 this year the 12-year-long suspension of controversial Indian Revenue Service officer Ashok Aggarwal, facing a CBI probe into several cases against him.

A bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Manmohan Singh upheld the CAT’s order to revoke Enforcement Directorate’s former Deputy Director Aggarwal’s suspension, dismissing the Centre’s appeal against it and saying that “the test to probity of a civil servant must not become a test to his patience.”

Supporting the 50-page order to its hilt, the bench said, “By a well-considered and a well-reasoned decision spanning 50 pages, the CAT has quashed the decision taken by the Special Review Committee (of finance ministry) and as we agree with the decision of the Tribunal on each count, we refrain from penning a lengthy decision.

The Special Review Committee’s recommendation to continue with Aggarwal’s suspension had the endorsement of erstwhile Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Rejecting the government’s argument that Aggarwal had committed the crime while he was discharging his duty, the bench said, “A civil servant is accountable for his acts during discharge of official duties, no one can deny it.”

“But, it also has to be kept in mind that the process of accountability cannot be stretched indefinitely, i.E., it should not become a process where the probity of the civil servant is not being tested but it is his patience which is being tested.”

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