Erring PSU staff can be penalized post-retirement
New Delhi: Central public sector undertaking (PSU) employees, who might have committed serious lapses while in service, will not be spared of any penalty if found guilty after retirement. Currently, such employees simply escape the vigilance’s noose as well as any punitive action on their superannuation — unlike their counterparts in civil services and public sector banks. The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has issued a circular to all PSUs — including bigwigs like ONGC, NTPC, SAIL, Air India, Gail, HPCL, Oil India Limited and Power Grid Corporation — last month, asking them to bring an amendment to the existing Conduct, Disciplinary and Appeal (CDA) rules “to enable imposition of penalty on public sector employees after their retirement”. Confirming this to TOI, chief vigilance commissioner Pratyush Sinha said, “The circular has been issued to all PSUs. Though some of them have already made the required amendment, the remaining have been asked to do it by January 20.” Talking about its rationale, Sinha said it would act as a major deterrent for those who indulge in serious lapses just before their retirement taking advantage of the absence of any strict provisions of postretirement penalty. “There was a situation where even disciplinary proceedings could not be continued against them beyond retirement,” Sinha said, adding that while the public sector banks had already incorporated such provisions in their CDA rules, such a stipulation had been there for civil servants and other central government emplyees for long. The commission, in its circular dated December 28, 2007, cited the exact provision which was incorporated by public sector banks and asked the PSUs to follow the same which has also been upheld by the Supreme Court through its judgment in a case concerning Punjab National Bank in May last year. The circular has, however, also spelt out why the provision had so far eluded the PSUs. It observed that since the PSUs were non-pensionable establishments, there was no possibility of imposing any penalty on such deviant employees who might have committed serious lapses while in service just before retirement. The gratuity amount also could not be witheld unless the person had been terminated consequent to disciplinary proceedings and the question of terminating an employee or imposing a penalty retrospectively after retirement was not legally tenable, it said in its two-page note forwarded to PSUs.