Shimla HC accuses govt servant of abuse of power; dismisses petition

The HC observed that the petitioner, who is an assistant commissioner of state taxes & excise, “seems to be riding high on the fuel of power without abiding by the law”

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While dismissing a petition filed by a government servant, the Shimla High Court has observed that all public servants are required to observe the rules and regulations of the law and are required to act within the jurisdictions of the existing law.

Apparently, the petitioner, Sumedha Bhatti, who is an assistant commissioner of state taxes & excise, and while posted at Dharamsala had availed earned leave with effect from December 26, 2018, to January 5, 2019, while she was posted at Dharamsala. During this time, she was transferred to Nurpur. However, instead of joining at Nurpur, Bhatti claimed to have requested for an extension of her earned leave from January 6, 2019, to March 7, 2019. Failing the sanction of leave ex post facto, Bhatti approached the Court seeking ex post facto sanction of the earned leave.

Bhatti had filed a petition urging the court to direct the Government to pay her salaries for the months of January and February, 2019, and also from the month of August, 2019 till date. In other words, she wanted the court to direct the Government to sanction earned leaves for the time in between ex post facto.

The petition was dismissed by the court with a statement that discipline is the hallmark of every employee and any person who fails to adhere to it will face strict action by the employer, at least departmentally.

The division bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua observed that the petitioner seemed to be abusing her chair and had forgotten that failure to abide by the law will force the law to step in against her.

The bench has further said that the petitioner seems to be a well-educated individual holding a high post, which is all the more reason why such a petition comes as a surprise. Being a government servant and not a private employee, the individual should be aware that leaves cannot be claimed as a right, much less in the manner that the writ petition requests from the court.

The Court observed that as a responsible government servant, the petitioner should have formally applied for the leave as per rules and in accordance with law and proceeded on leave only after being granted the same.

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