In a country where many go unpunished in astronomically big scams, a government employee has lost his job for pocketing R15.
Mahinder Pal, a bus conductor with Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), was thrown out of job for collecting R15 from three passengers without issuing tickets to them in 1993. Seventeen years later, the Delhi High Court on September 13 upheld his dismissal.
Playing foul with public money gradually destroys the national economic growth, said a division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Mishra and Justice Manmohan.
The court took note of the fact that it was the third occasion when Pal indulged in such an act. On earlier two occasions, he was let off with minor punishments. Rejecting his plea for leniency, the HC said: "Leniency has its limit. Mercy cannot be shown to the undeserved."
Pal had moved the division bench of HC against a single judge's order upholding a labour court's decision putting a seal of approval on his removal from services of DTC as a bus conductor on October 27, 1994.
According to DTC counsel Hanu Bhaskar, Pal was appointed as a conductor with the DTC on August 1, 1983. On September 16, 1993, while he was on duty in Bus No. 9870 on inter-state route from Delhi to Chhutmulpur, the checking squad checked the bus at Gagal Hedi and found that three passengers were travelling from Saharanpur to Gagal Hedi without having tickets though Pal had collected a fare of R5 each from them.
"A conductor in a bus is a primary collector of revenue. If he plays foul with it, the only expected result would be a loss to the corporation," the court said rejecting Pal's argument that he shouldn't be sacked for a paltry sum of R15.
The bench termed Pal's argument as "totally inconsequential" saying, “A person who deals with public money is expected to realise his responsibility and his fiduciary capacity while he acts in holding the said money."