Advocating zero-tolerance for senior government servants involved in corrupt acts, the Delhi High Court has upheld the punishment of reducing the pay scale of a deputy chief yardmaster of the railways for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs. 300.
“Railways is the largest employer in India. The petitioner had a large number of public dealings and we do not know how much illegal wealth he may have amassed. Considering that the petitioner held a post of public trust, we do not find any disproportionality in the penalty imposed,” a bench headed by justice Pradeep Nandrajog said, while dismissing petitioner Rajesh Singh’s petition.
The original penalty of removal from service imposed by the disciplinary authority in 2007 was later downsized to reduction in scale of pay. Singh, who was posted at the New Delhi station, moved HC, complaining that even this punishment was disproportionate to the offence.
“The bribe amount was just Rs. 300 and this was the first wrong committed by me,” Singh had argued.
Rejecting the argument, the court noted: “Merely because the petitioner was caught for the first time does not mean that for the first time in his life the petitioner demanded and accepted bribe. On the subject of the penalty being disproportionate, the levy of penalty lies within the discretion of the department and the court cannot interfere”.