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Disciplinary proceedings

(Querist) 16 February 2012 This query is : Resolved 
In a Govt. department, a self cheque for seven lakhs rupees was issued by the Drawing and Disbursing Officer (DDO) for encashing so as to make payments to some four different suppliers. Cheque could have been issued to the concerned suppliers individually against their payment but for shortage of cheque leaves, the consolidated amount was drawn by a last and single left out cheque leaf (fresh Cheque Book requisitioned long back was not immediately forthcoming as it had to come a long way from its Regional Office). The said cheque was encashed from the bank by the Cashier and Dauftry as per legitimate daily duty.

Unfortunately, the money encashed from the bank was stolen from the vehicle of the cashier by some miscreants in the bank premises. It so happened, when both the cashier and dauftry came out from the bank carrying the bag containing the money, the miscreants allegedly sprayed certain spraying substance in the body of Dauftry that caused a strong itching sensation in the head and neck of dauftry.The Dauftry was carrying the bag as usual. They anyhow reached to their vehicle and seated driven by the cashier himself. But seeing the unbearable condition of the Dauftry, the cashier alighted from the vehicle saying he would buy some medicine from a chemist shop nearby for temporary relief before they could see a doctor. The soonest the Cashier left for chemist shop, the miscreant came and knock the glass of the vehicle signalling some amount fallen in the ground. The Dauftry alighted from the vehicle believing that money might have fallen from the pocket of the cashier. He picked up the fallen money - some eighty ruppes of 10-10 denomination, and sat back in the vehicle. But loo! the bag containing rupees seven lakhs had already been stolen by the miscreant. On return of the cashier, both lodged an FIR in the local police station. After investigation, four person have been arrested by the police on suspect (the arrestees have yet to confess their guilty). There is a Govt. guidelines in force requiring police escort during drawal of heavy cash from the bank, which was not followed in the instant case. Eight months have elapsed after the incident. Now, the controlling authority has put both the cashier and dauftry under suspension from service on grounds of negligence, and recommended to the Govt. for disciplinary action against the DDO (as he is not the disciplinary authority for the DDO).

Now, my question is whether the Govt. can squarely held the DDO responsible for the incident? Can he be put under suspension for the lapses/negligence committed by his subordinate staff? What would be his defense in such an eventuality? I request the learned experts to kindly offer their expert comments on the issue.
Sankaranarayanan (Expert) 16 February 2012
This is deparmental issue and according to the inquiry of examination by the higher authority only the suspension was made.
Guest (Expert) 16 February 2012
Suspension of Dafry is not justified at all, as he was merely to act as an escort to the cashier. He was not supposed to have been made to handle the cash, either by the cashier or by the DDO.
Rajeev Kumar (Expert) 16 February 2012
Agree with Dhingra Ji
Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Expert) 16 February 2012
I agree with Mr Dhingra that suspension of daftry may not be justified as the given circumstances do not show any serious lapse or connivance his part. On theother hand suspension of cashier and DDO should not have taken so long.

The questions are attempted as under :-


Now, my question is whether the Govt. can squarely held the DDO responsible for the incident?


Ans : The facts which you have narrated prima-facie reveal suspicion of a corrupt activity. The shortage of cheque leaves is a silly arguments which cannot be swallowed so easily by anyone knowing little bit of Govt payments.

Cheque leaves cannot deplete overnight. Even for domestic saving account one is careful enough.

Why the cheuqe leaves were so short it is the lapse of the cashier as well as DDO. They have probably created artificial shortage to justify cash payment. It can be suspected by any higher authority with reasonableness that the payment was meant to be embezzeled in the garb of payment to suppliers.


The DDO cannot be absolved of the laps of cashier for depletion of cheque leaves. Please red the rule as under :

Rule 3(2) of CCS (conduct) Rules

(2) (i) Every Government servant holding a supervisory post shall take all possible steps to ensure the integrity and devotion to duty of all Government servants for the time being under his control and authority;
(ii) No Government servant shall, in the performance of his official duties, or in the exercise of powers conferred on him, act otherwise than in his best judgement except when he is acting under the direction of his official superior;

DDO has further failed to ensure that the cashier does not use his own car < cashier does not proceed to bank without armed police guard. Both cashier and DDO appeared to be in post haste hurry to have the cash.

It is also a curiosity as to why noxious substance was sprayed on daftly alone why not on cashier.



Can he be put under suspension for the lapses/negligence committed by his subordinate staff?


Ans : These are not merely his subordinates lapses but his own as well other than supervisory duty. A strong suspicion of embezzlement is apparent.




What would be his defense in such an eventuality?


Ans : Sorry. Without seeing his chargesheet none can ( and should not) attempt his defence.

He will have the facility of bringing another Govt servant of any department of his choice to plead his case in the Inquiry. He should better find one who has good knowledge of rules and sound experience in such matters.

Isaac Gabriel (Expert) 17 February 2012
Dereliction of duty is cast upon the cashier,dauftry and the DDO, for which they have to face the charges.Everything depends upon the findings in the domestic enquiry when the negligence on the part of the three would be focussed.Neverthless, if the culprits are booked and the money is recovered, a lienient view is possible against the three.


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