Fifteen directly recruited excise and taxation inspectors of Punjab are on the verge of being dismissed after failing to clear the mandatory departmental examination in five chances, according to government sources.
Already, the excise and taxation department has dismissed three inspectors who had also failed to pass this departmental examination within the stipulated period.
It is mandatory for excise inspectors to clear this exam within 30 months of being appointed and in a maximum of five chances. The department conducts the exam in April and November every year and failure leads to automatic dismissal.
As the axe seems set to fall on these 2012-batch and group-C excise inspectors (see box), the authorities have served them showcause notices.
Meanwhile, the personnel department headed by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has also shrugged off a contentious proposal mooted by the excise and taxation department to give a mercy chance to these officials, government sources said.
While slapping the showcause notices on the 15 inspectors, the department has cited 2008 service rules stating that directly appointed inspectors cannot remain in service after failing to pass the departmental exam in two-and-a-half-years from the date of appointment. These officials were appointed in March 2012.
"Even in the appointment letters, it was mentioned that in case you fail to pass the exam in five chances, your services will be dismissed without any prior notice," reads the notices sent to the officials facing dismissal.
Sources say the mandarins mooted the proposal to give them a mercy chance to clear the exam after it came to the fore that at least two inspectors are reportedly kin of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders. While there is a provision of giving two mercy chances to Punjab Civil Service (PCS) officers if they flunk the departmental examinations after availing all the chances, there is no such provision in the rules of the excise and taxation department.
In this backdrop, the administrative secretary of the excise and taxation department last month sent the case of inspectors to the personnel department, seeking nod to give one mercy chance to the inspectors on the pattern of PCS officers. The matter went up to chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal and the chief minister, it is learnt.
Government sources added that after examining the matter, the personnel department last week wrote back to the excise and taxation department, declining to give nod to dilute the rules and directed the latter to resolve the matter as per rules.
"However, the personnel department has provided a small window that the excise department can explore the option of amending the service rules and seek cabinet nod, " sources said.
As a last-ditch effort and before serving the marching orders on these inspectors, this matter will be put up before deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the portfolio of excise and taxation.
Now, the issue before the excise department is how to legally justify the case of giving a mercy chance even by amending the rules, keeping in view the fact that three inspectors who had also failed to clear the exam have already been dismissed.
It is mandatory for excise inspectors to clear the departmental exam within 30 months of being appointed and in a maximum of five chances. The department conducts the exam in April and November every year and failure leads to automatic dismissal
Gurdeep Singh, Jasbir Singh and Bhupinderjeet Singh are the excise and taxation inspectors already dismissed by the government after they failed to pass the departmental exam in five chances and within 30 months of being appointed
Showcause notices for dismissal of service have been served on Gurpreet Singh, Parminder Singh, Jodhveer Singh, Jorvaar Singh, Yogesh Mittal, Saveen Jain, Kranti Goel, Sunil Kumar, Viren Garg, Adeesh Jain, Gagandeep Singh, Surjeet Singh, Abhishek Sharma, Surinderpal Singh and Rajpreet Singh Sidhu.
Those who attended luncheon meeting
Dr Rajkumar Verka, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Kewal Dhillon, Harchand Kaur, Mohammed Sadique, Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Aruna Chaudhary, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sangat Singh Giljian, Rajnish Kumar, Rana Gurjit Singh, Navtej Singh Cheema, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Amrik Singh Dhillon, Karan Kaur Brar, Tarlochan Singh Soondh, Guriqbal Kaur, Preneet Kaur, Sadhu Singh, Hardyal Singh Kamboj, Charanjit Singh Channi, Jagmohan Singh Kang, Balbir Singh Sidhu and Ramanjit Singh Sikki