Madras High Court held that using government employees for personal work is impermissible.
Madras High Court in the case of P. Vadivel V/S The Deputy Inspector General of Prisons and others held that the attitude or conduct of misusing the service of public servants by higher officials is also a misconduct under the rules of law therefore higher officials should bear in mind that excess usage of public servants for their personal usage is impermissible and that will lead to indiscipline in the uniformed services.
Madras high court directed the Principal Secretary to the Government and Home Department to appropriate steps to issue necessary instructions by way of circular to prevent the higher officials from using the public servants for their personal work in their residence or outside.
Further, the High Court of Madras directed that If Principal Secretary to Government receive any complaint or information regarding the usage of public servants for higher officials’ personal work, is bound to take action against all those higher officials in order to maintain discipline and decorum amongst the uniform service personnel.
Facts of the case:
- The petitioner was appointed as Grade2 warder at the Central Prison Trichy and after working for 5 years at the Central Prison he was transferred to the Sub Jail Karur
- The petitioner was staying in the official quarters allotted to him for three more months even after he was transferred to Karur Sub Jail
- But the petitioner continued his stay in official quarters at Trichy even after his transfer because he was performing the duties of the driver for the second respondent and he was acting according to the directions of the second respondent at Trichy.
- The respondent passed an order for recovery of the three months penal rent by the petitioner as he was not supposed to retain in the official quarters even after his transfer.
- Challenging the order of recovery of penal rent petitioner has filed this present petition.
- The advocate of respondent contended that certain temporary duties given by the respondent, central prison Trichy cannot be a ground for the petitioner to retain the official quarters allotted to him at Trichy.
- Advocate of petitioner further contended that the petitioner was supposed to vacate the quarters within one month after the transfer but the petitioner vacated the official quarters in 2019 hence according to the penal rules in force order for a refund of penal rent is passed hence there is no infirmity in the impugned order.
Madras high court findings:
- Madras high court held that the official quarters are provided only for the purpose of effective performance of public duty in a particular station. Hence no employee is eligible to retain the official quarters allotted to him beyond the stipulated period.
- Justice SM Subramaniam further held that the other temporary duties assigned by the second respondent cannot immune the petitioner from paying the Penal rest as per the Rules in force.
- Madras high court brought into the notice of the pleaders that there are large scale allegations in prison as well as in police department that constables and head constables are abused by the higher officials even for their residential and personal works.
- Justice Subramaniam directed the superior officials to practice restraint in this matter. Justice Subramaniam stated that once an employer is transferred from one place to another place they are not supposed to utilise the service of those employers on extraneous grounds.
- Madras high court held that even Grade1 Wards and Grade2 Wards police constables are performing public duties and they should be utilized for the public service only. Higher officials can use their facilities in the manner provided under the Rules and excess usage of government employees for the personal work can never be approved but it is an actionable irregularity committed by the higher officials of the prison and police department.
- Hence High Court directed the Inspector General of Prisons to initiate all appropriate steps to ensure that the prison officials namely the superintendent of the prison or other officials are not using public servants for personal usage.
The order of the Madras high court was a much-needed relief to many public servants in the police officials and prison officials system as this practice of using public servants of government for the personal work of higher officials is not only against the rules but also inhuman as they are also doing public service just like the higher officials but utilizing them for personal work is humiliating conduct by the higher officials.