J Prema of Dindigul district has won a three-year battle with the Director of Postal Services, Madurai for her pension and service benefits, thanks to the intervention of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and a final order from President Pratibha Patil last week.
In her order, the President ordered that proceedings against Prema be dropped as “misconduct” on her part was not grave enough for imposing a major penalty. A bench of G Shanthappa, judicial member and O P Sosamma, administrative member, declared the case closed on Monday.
“Her case could have dragged on for years, had it not been for the intervention of the court. Disciplinary proceedings were initiated against Prema as authorities claimed that she had not supervised the work of a Gramin Dak Sevak (part-timepersonnel working for the postal department in rural areas). While the charges against her were proved, our stand was that this can attract only a minor punishment,” her advocate R Malaichamy said.
Prema was suspended as sub-postmaster at Kodaikanal Observatory two days before her retirement was due on May 31, 2009. A year later, the CAT asked the department to complete the inquiry within six months. As the authorities did not pay heed to the order even 14 months later, the CAT initiated suo motu contempt proceedings in September, 2011. Authorities then promised to complete the inquiry within three months.
The inquiry report was forwarded to President Pratibha Patil as per the terms of the Central Civil Services Pension Rules, 1972, who subsequently ordered that proceedings against Prema be dropped. “We received a copy of the President’s order two days ago and she was able to claim benefits (about 8 lakh) the same day,” Malaichamy said. Prema was suspended as sub-postmaster two days before her retirement on May 31, 2009.
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