Six years after his name was rejected for a post on the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on grounds of a “concocted” Intelligence Report against him, a retired government official is waging a lone battle to clear his name.
An Indian Audit and Accounts Service officer who took voluntary retirement in 1996, James K. Joseph had been selected for the post of Administrative Member, CAT, in 2004. His appointment, however, was cancelled on the grounds that he had faced an adverse IB report — leading to an enquiry against him — in relation to irregularities in recruitment of contingency staff when he was Accountant General of Kerala.
He filed an RTI petition with the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, which replied that “no enquiry appears to have been done in connection with the recruitment of contingent staff”.
This answer, he says bitterly, negates the file notings of Ministry of Personnel officials — which, too, he procured under RTI — that “during his posting as Accountant General, Kerala, he had to face an enquiry in connection with the recruitment of some contingency staff from among the relatives of Class IV staff of the Accountant General’s office”.
“An enquiry was ordered into the matter and as the report was not favourable to him, he proceeded on voluntary retirement,” the noting further said.
“The CAG has negated this claim, which was made to tarnish my reputation and deny me the post,” Joseph told HT. “The issue is not one of having lost out on a post I deserved to get, it is of washing off the false charge of being tainted. How did I get voluntary retirement if I was tainted?”
Although he lost the position he applied for, Joseph is fighting on to clear his name. He moved the Kerala High Court, the Supreme Court, and even wrote to the Prime Minister.
While the courts did not admit his petition — holding that this was not a matter for judicial review — the PMO forwarded his complaint to the Ministry of Personnel for action, which has not been forthcoming till now.
“Despite the PMO having forwarded my complaint, no action has been taken till now against officials who tarnished my reputation,” Joseph said.
He has even filed a defamation suit against Information Commissioner A.N. Tiwari, who was secretary (Personnel), when his candidature was rejected, saying that his name would not have been rejected on a “concocted” IB report if Tiwari had exercised due diligence during his term as secretary.