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Court quashes dismissal of Civil Services Corporation employee

Special Correspondent

He was on duty when Ponmudi collected rice samples

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has quashed the dismissal of a Tamil Nadu Civil Services Corporation (TNCSC) employee, who was on duty when the Villupuram MLA and the former Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Minister, Ponmudi, and his supporters barged into a godown and took rice samples in June 2001.

On June 26, 2001, the MLA, accompanied by nearly 30 others, arrived at the godown and took rice samples despite protests from the quality inspector on duty, V. Kasinathan. The official lodged a first information report alleging that he was threatened by a mob.

After an inquiry, the TNCSC administration terminated Mr. Kasinathan from service in July 2002 on the ground that he had "willingly allowed the MLA and his companions to unauthorisedly enter the premises, creating a law and order situation. His action damaged the reputation and name of the Corporation and the Government."

Justice K.P. Sivasubramaniam, rejecting the contention, said the FIR disclosed "unexpected and forcible entry into the godown by more than 30 persons and they have behaved very violently. It is alleged that he was threatened with a dangerous weapon."

"An employee of the Corporation, who is unarmed and is suddenly confronted with the threatening situation by a mob of not less than 30 to 35 persons and facing a clear threat of serious physical injuries, how else could any individual behave except to remain quiet," Mr. Justice Sivasubramaniam said in his order.

Noting that it was not possible to give a finding in favour of the complaint of collusion, connivance or deliberate failure on the part of Mr. Kasinathan, the judge said the report of the inquiry officer too suffered from a "major defect" of not taking into account the contents of the FIR.

He pointed out that there was no proper justification or reasons for not examining any other staff member of the TNCSC present at the time of the incident.

Besides, the official was not furnished video clippings of the incident, based on which the penal action was initiated against him.

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