Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
(Office of Chief Vigilance Office)
2nd Floor, Hudco Vishala Building, Bhikaji Cama Place,
New Delhi, Dated, the, 8th September, 2021
All the Chief Commissioners/ Director Generals/ Cadre Controlling
Authorities under CBEC/ All Dtes General and Directorates under CBIC
All Commissioners of Customs
All Commissioners of CGST and C. Ex
Commissioner of Narcotics
Subject: Instructions for effective and timely handling of court cases on disciplinary matters in Central Administrative Tribunals/High Courts/ Supreme Court to protect the interest of the Government.
The Board is extremely concerned about effective and timely handling of court cases on disciplinary matters in the field formations to protect the interest of the Government, The Board is also desirous of ensuring timely and effective measures by Cadre Controlling Authorities or the Commissionerates/Directorates concerned in defending the cases in the right perspective, upholding the guidelines and policies of the Government. Instructions have been issued by the Board, from time to time, for strict adherence and compliance vide letters F.No C 18013/15/90/Ad.V dated 24.12.1996, F.No C-18013/74/92/Ad.V dated 20.07.1999 and F.No C-18012/6/2013- Ad.IIB dated 09.05.2016.
2. Attention is drawn to instructions issued vide F.No C-18013/15/90/Ad.V dated 24.12.1996, wherein it was requested that order of the CAT in the disciplinary cases may be forwarded to the ministry along with comments and opinion of the head of the department and Government Standing Counsel immediately after receipt of the order from the CAT. The CAT orders in the disciplinary cases adverse to the Government should be implemented in consultation with Ministry. Further citing Board’s instructions issued vide F.No A-32022/16/96 Ad. IIIA dated 12.12.1997, this office vide F.No C-18013/74/92/Ad.V dated 20.07.1999 reiterated that CAT/High Courts judgements may be implemented with the approval of the Ministry.
3 However, it has been observed by the Board that Court cases pertaining to the disciplinary cases are not being processed with due care. Orders of various benches of the CAT/High Courts in the disciplinary cases are not being forwarded to the Ministry or are received after the date of limitation or- at the eleventh hour of the date of limitation for filing of appeal before appropriate forum. In some instances, even after communications from the Board, the required documents are not provided in time for further decision in the Board. In order to overcome these difficulties, it has been decided to adopt a common approach for defending the cases and monitoring progress at the zone and Board level. All the Cadre Controlling Authorities, Disciplinary authorities, Commissionerate and Directorates are requested to follow the steps noted below for timely and effective handling of court cases in disciplinary matters:-
I. Disciplinary cases pertaining to Group ‘A’ Officers-
i. On receipt of notice of an OANVP, in case of group ‘A’ officers, as Disciplinary Authority is President, the said OA/WP may be forwarded to Ad.V section immediately either through email or dak for para wise comments (PWC)/counter reply or any other action as required in the case.
ii. It must be noted that in such cases, the higher authority in the Ministry/Board i.e Finance Secretary, Revenue Secretary, Chairman (CBIC), Member (CBIC), CVO (CBIC) are named as respondents. As the case be, Board (Ad.V section) authorizes appropriate authority in field formations to defend the case on behalf of higher authority, the authorities so authorized are required to file reply to OA/WP, reply to rejoinder, MA in consultation with Board. They are also required to intimate the Board about the progress in the case from time to time and follow any other instructions given by the Board.
iii. In case, if any alteration, addition or changes to approved PWC forwarded by Board are suggested by the authority authorized to defend the case on behalf of the Board, the same may be done in consultation and after vetting and approval of the Board. If no changes or minor changes viz typographical, grammatical are proposed in reply affidavit based on approved PWC forwarded by the Board, the reply affidavit may be filed directly after vetting by the authorized authority to avoid any unnecessary delay in filing the reply affidavit.
iv. On decision in the OANVP, the concerned field formation so authorized on the behalf of the Board are required to forward the copy of order immediately on receipt along with legal opinion of the Government Counsel who defended the Government within 15 days for further action by the Board. Further, if any interim order is passed in the case, the interim order along with legal opinion of the Government counsel need to be forwarded to Board promptly so that further timely action in the matter is taken by the Board.
v. There are cases where the issue raised in the OA/WP pertains to matter when the officer was Group B officer and disciplinary authority was concerned Commissioner, however when the decision is pronounced by the Courts, due to promotion of the officer to Group ‘A’ post, the President of India becomes disciplinary authority. In all such cases, the defending authority shall forward the copy of the order, Copy of OANVP, counter reply and any other reply like reply to rejoinder, MA etc along with comments and opinion of the head of the department and Government Standing Counsel or concerned branch of Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law and copy of documents pertaining to matter raised in said OANVP within 15 days for further decision by the Board, if the order of the Court is proposed to be accepted by the Board. In case, if appeal is to be filed, the concerned authority shall forward the draft appeal so prepared in consultation with Government Standing Counsel and regional Branch of DoLA for vetting and approval of the Board along with related documents. The related documents may include- disciplinary case records which includes Charge memorandum, Inquiry Report/Disagreement Note, Final penalty order, Comments of DA on IR, representation of CO etc. Such a proposal must also be submitted within 15 days of receipt of the Court order.
II. Disciplinary cases pertaining to non Group ‘A’ Officers-
A. Cases where the decision in the disciplinary case is to be taken by the President under Rule 9 of CCS ( Pension) Rules, 1972—
a. Case records already submitted to Ad.V section in SWS
i. On receipt of notice of an OA/WP, in case if decision in the case is to be taken by the President, the said OA/WP need to be forwarded to Ad.V section immediately either through email or dak along with comments and opinion of the original disciplinary Authority and draft PWC on said OA/WP for further action by the Board.
b. Case records submitted to Ad.V section in SWS after the receipt of notice of an OA/WP-
i. The concerned Commissionerate shall invariably submit the copy of OA/WP, copy of reply filed, copy of any interim order passed in said OANVP if any and comments on the merit of the OANVP, besides documents as required to be submitted under SWS.
ii. If reply is not filed to OA/WP, recommendation along with comments and opinion of the original disciplinary Authority and draft PWC on said OA/WP shall be submitted in SWS for further action by the Board.
B. Cases where the Disciplinary Authority defined under CCS (CCA) Rules,1965 is other than the President,
a. On receipt of notice of an OANVP, the said OA/WP need to be defended by concerned Disciplinary Authority as the case maybe.
b. In decided cases, as informed earlier, CAT/High Courts adverse judgements may be implemented with the approval of the Ministry. A copy of the order/judgement on OANVP should be obtained promptly; the order/judgment needs to be critically examined by the Cadre Controlling Authorities. The order/judgments needs to be handled in the following manner:—
c. case the O.A/W.P filed by applicants is dismissed, a copy of the order or judgment, the ratio of the judgment and cases referred to by the TribunaVHigh Court which form the basis of the judgment may be forwarded to the Board for information, future reference and guidance.
i. In case the order/judgment in the O.A./W.P is in favour of the applicant and against the existing policy of the Government which has been quashed, and it is felt that an appeal needs to be filed in the higher courts, the issue may be referred to the Board well before the last date for filing of the Review application before the CAT itself/an appeal before the High CourtfSLP in the Supreme Court, along with advice of the Standing Govt. Counsel/ Branch Secretariat of Ministry of Law (wherever applicable). The reference should include a self-contained note on the background, case history, suggestion of the Cadre Controlling Authority, copy of the 0.A, reply affidavit and order of the Tribunal, copy of the W.P., reply affidavit (if any) and order of the High Court and requisite O.Ms / orders, letters issued by the Board, DOPT, D/o Expenditure etc. which are under challenge. Since examination of the case at Board level involves consultation with nodal departments, it should be ensured that sufficient time is available or as a matter of abundant caution, a suitable application may be filed in the Tribunal/High Court for extension of time. The Board shall communicate to the field office its decision for the further course of action. In case the decision is for filing appeal, WP needs to be drafted in consultation with the Standing Government Counsel and filed in the High Court well in time. If vetting of the affidavit by the Board is required, the same may be forwarded to the Board physically as well as by e-mail to the Under Secretary Ad.V section of the Board to expedite it.
ii. If the 0.A is allowed favoring the applicants due to procedural delay/defect on the part of the Government or any factual error on the part of the govt. and if the Cadre Controlling Authority decides to implement the decision, they may do so with the prior approval of the Board. They may refer the case details to the Board with justification for implementation.
iii. Whenever a Contempt Petition is received, the file should be put up to the Contemnor(s) named in the contempt petition for their information, perusal and direction. If any of the Contemnors(s) belongs to the Board or Ministry, information needs to be brought to the notice of the Board at the earliest. Also, personal liaison with the concerned Section in the Ministry/Board may be maintained to ensure that the matter is not lost sight of.
iv. In case of judgments/orders in Writ Petitions which are in favour of the government, a copy of the order or judgment, the ratio of the judgment and cases referred to by the High Court which form the basis of the judgment may be forwarded to the Board for information, future reference and guidance.
v. It may also be noted that whenever any reference to Board is made, the subject should clearly mention that “Reference for acceptance of Court order …… ” or “Reference for filing of appeal in Court order….”. Any reference where no direct request for Boards approval is sought will not be treated as reference for such purpose.
4. All the references to Board are to be made strictly in compliance of these instructions, any deviations which results in any adverse outcome due to non adherence to these instructions maybe viewed seriously by the Board. For this purpose, a proper mechanism for monitoring of such court cases must be put in place by each concerned Chief Commissioner/Cadre Controlling Authorities under CBIC so as to protect the interest of the Government in Central Administrative Tribunals/High Courts/Supreme Courts. It is also to be noted that it is primarily the responsibility of the concerned Chief Commissioner/ Cadre Controlling Authority to ensure that timely action is taken at every stage a court case goes through and that a unified stand is adopted on behalf of Government of India at every such stage.
5. In Ad.V section a separate legal vertical headed by ADG, Legal has been created for monitoring and effective handling of legal cases arising in Disciplinary matters. ADG (Legal) may be contacted as one point reference for all litigation matters in Disciplinary Cases.
6. It is also advised that all such details of court cases relating to vigilance/disciplinary matters be computerized for ease of reference and monitoring from time to time.
7. Consequent to issue of circulars F. No 23011/11/2020-Ad-HA dated 31.03.2021 and F. No 23011/11/2020-Ad-HA dated 15.06.2021 for development of separate online web Module, i.e., ……………. for monitoring of CAT/Court cases and subsequent to decision vide circular F.No 23011/11/2020-Ad-HA dated 26.07.2021 that vigilance matters shall also be dealt through online web portal, it is requested that details/documents/communications related to court cases (copies of OAs/ letters/court orders) on vigilance matters/disciplinary matters be uploaded on the online web portal…………….’ to encourage e-governance and forwarding of hard copies should be discouraged. .
8. Difficulty, if any, in the implementation of these instructions may be brought to the notice of Board for necessary corrective action.
9. This issues with approval of Member (Admin), CBIC.
Deputy secretary to Government India
Copy to :
1. PA to Member (Admin) for information.
2. PA to CVO for information.
3. DG, System for uploading on departmental website
4. Notice Board for information
5. Guard file