The state government, through a G.O. dated 8 November, issued by Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena, has included a sub-rule in the Tamil Nadu Government Servants' Conduct Rules, 1973, stating that employees can produce any official document during an inquiry only after getting permission from the immediate superior authority, reported The Hindu.
The timing of the G.O. is significant, given it comes after A Muthaiya, the chief engineer of the Water Resources Department, in October, wrote to a number of officials including District Collectors and the department's engineers to provide all details of sand mining to the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Muthaiya also appeared before the ED several times.
The ED recently submitted to the Madras High Court that the total value of the excess sand mined illegally in the past 1-2 years was Rs 4730 crore.
According to the report, the sub-rule 3A under Rule 13, states, “When evidence is given by a government servant at an enquiry conducted by any person, committee or authority appointed by the government, State or Central, he shall — (i) attend such enquiry only when a written notice or summon is served on him and after giving intimation thereof to the appropriate authority; (ii) give or produce any official document to that person, committee or authority only after getting the prior permission of the appropriate authority.”
'Appropriate authority' would mean the immediate superior authority of the employee, stated the G.O.
The reasoning given by the G.O. for the sub-rule was “It has been held in various judgments that government servants shall appear for enquiry only when a written notice or summon is served from the competent authority. It has therefore been decided that government servants shall attend enquiry only when a written notice or summon is served. It has also been decided to amend the rules suitably...”, stated the report.
The Madras High Court recently stayed the ED's summons to District Collectors.
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