The Central Information Commission has directed two government departments to explain why they should not be made to pay Rs 75,000 in penalty and compensation for a retired government servant who was not promoted for decades despite court verdicts in his favour.
The right to information law caps the maximum penalty that can be imposed on a government officer at Rs 25,000. And the money – which comes from the salary of civil servants – goes to the exchequer.
Moved by the plight of the 65-year-old retired official, information commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu this week told the urban development department to show cause why he should not award a Rs 50,000 compensation to AK Goel. And the law ministry’s public information officer was told to explain ignoring Goel’s application or pay a Rs 25,000 penalty.
“It is really pathetic that the appellant could not get any benefit even after winning almost all cases till the Supreme Court,” Acharyulu observed.
According to documents presented by Goel before the commission, the law ministry and later the attorney general had advised the urban development ministry to stop justifying blocking Goel’s commission.
“In my opinion, no useful purpose will be served by continuing to flog the issue in AK Goel’s case. The special leave petition (before the Supreme Court) may be withdrawn and the orders that have been issued in the case may be implemented in accordance with law,” then A-G Goolam Essaji Vahanvati said in his opinion to the government.
The central public works department had denied Goel his promotions since 1985 and did not ignore adverse remarks during his performance appraisal as per the rules.
Goel’s first victory came in 2004 when the central administrative tribunal in Allahabad ordered his promotion as superintending engineer. Goel won every case that was filed against him -- from the tribunal to the apex court -- but could not get his promotions, the Central Information Commission order said.