Periodical raids must be held in taluk offices by vigilance personnel: HC

Chennai: The Madras High Court yesterday directed the State vigilance department to conduct regular raids at taluk offices after observing that the common man has to bribe officials even for getting a legal document.

Justice S M Subramaniam made the statement while dismissing a petition filed by a special tahsildar B Dharmaraj of Dharmapuri district, challenging his suspension on account of corrupt charge. He was suspended several months after a case was registered against him in 2016 under the Prevention of Corruption Act. But the case was not brought to the notice of the district collector. But when he was informed, he had issued the suspension order. Hence, the delay could not be attributed to the administration, he added.

The judge then observed that corruption was spreading like cancer as bribe was demanded for issuing every document such as a legal heir certificate. He urged all higher officials, including the courts, to take note of the prevailing situation and deal with the cases appropriately.

While, some states in the country has already implemented the Citizen Charter by fixing the limit for issuance of the Legal Heir Certificate, Death Certificate, Nativity Certificate and all other certificates or documents, Tamilnadu must also take such an effort as it would enable the people to redress their grievances within a reasonable period of time. In the absence of any such Citizen Charter, it may not be possible to regulate these authorities to issue all the necessary certificates within a reasonable time, the judge added.

Courts could not show any leniency or misplaced sympathy in corruption cases, Justice Subramaniam said and held that a suspension order of a government employee could not be quashed merely on the ground that there was a delay in issuing it.

This being the case, the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) must be even more vigilant and conduct periodical surprise inspections in the taluk offices also, the judge said, noting that such searches were being carried out in the regional transport offices and sub-registrar offices of the Registration Department.

“Equally, the taluk offices are also to be monitored and surprise inspections conducted to nail all the culprits who indulge in corrupt activities,” he said.

NT Bureau