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Damages personally payable by erring officers- can check ground level practices of harassment and corruption order as to cost and damages personally payable must be order of the day.

Customs - Import - Export - SEZ - By: - CADEV KUMAR KOTHARI - Dated:- 13-2-2016 - Link and references: M/s Overseas Enterprises Versus The Union of India through the Chief Commissioner of Customs (Preventive) , and other officers 2016 (1) TMI 726 - PATNA HIGH COURT Court directs to pay damages to be recovered from erring officers: In case of M/s Overseas Enterprises (supra.) the honourable Patna High Court has held that the Custom Department shall pay damages to petitioner and these will be rec .....

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n its ambit, proper and timely action in accordance with law. Public duty and public obligation both are essentials of good administration whether by the State or its instrumentalities. In the case of Centre for Public Interest Litigation & Anr. v. Union of India & Anr. [2005 (10) TMI 530 - Supreme Court Of India], this Court declared the dictum that State actions causing loss are actionable under public law. This is a result of innovation, a new tool with the courts which are the protec .....

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t to have been done is not done, responsibility should be fixed on the erring officers; then alone, the real public purpose of an answerable administration would be satisfied. By-now it is well settled that a noting in the file is not a concluded order as was held by the Apex Court in the case of Bachhittar Singh v. State of Punjab & anr., reported in 1962 (3) TMI 84 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA. In the case of State of Bihar v. Subhash Singh [1997 (2) TMI 548 - SUPREME COURT], the Court, in exe .....

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with the procedure prescribed. Avoidance and delay in decision making process in Government hierarchy is a matter of growing concern. Sometimes delayed decisions can cause prejudice to the rights of the parties besides there being violation of the statutory rule. The Apex Court had occasion to express its concern in different cases from time to time in relation to such matters. In the case of State of Andhra Pradesh v. Food Corporation of India [(2004) 13 SCC 53], the Supreme Court Court observe .....

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e adverse impact of lack of probity in discharge of public duties can result in varied defects, not only in the decision making process but in the final decision as well. Every officer in the hierarchy of the State, by virtue of his being public officer' or public servant', is accountable for his decisions to the public as well as to the State. This concept of dual responsibility should be applied with its rigours in the larger public interest and for proper governance. Summary: we can s .....

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or the exercise of power results in harassment and agony then the responsibility to pay the loss determined should be whose? The court awarded costs in favour of petitioner with direction to recover from erring officers. Case of Overseas Enterprises (supra) In the case of Overseas Enterprises (supra.) honourable Patna High Court directed to erring Customs officials to pay costs / damages of ₹ 14 lakh + interest @ 9% p.a. from personal account & to face disciplinary action for high-hand .....

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e exercising power discharges public duty. It has to act to subserve general welfare and common good. In discharging this duty honestly and bona fide, loss may accrue to any person. And he may claim compensation which may in circumstances be payable. But where the duty is performed capriciously or the exercise of power results in harassment and agony then the responsibility to pay the loss determined should be whose? In a modem society no authority can arrogate to itself the power to act in a ma .....

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Public administration, no doubt involves a vast amount of administrative discretion which shields the action of administrative authority. But where it is found that exercise of discretion was mala fide and the complainant is entitled to compensation for mental and physical harassment then the officer can no more claim to be under protective cover. When a citizen seeks to recover compensation from a public authority in respect of injuries suffered by him for capricious exercise of power and the .....

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hich is paid for inaction of those who are entrusted under the Act to discharge their duties in accordance with law. It is, therefore, necessary that the Commission when it is satisfied that a complainant is entitled to compensation for harassment or mental agony or oppression, which finding of course should be recorded carefully on material and convincing circumstances and not lightly, then it should further direct the department concerned to pay the amount to the complainant from the public fu .....

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ntry No. 01210/16/2013 dated 28.01.2013 weighing 15.470 MT which have been illegally and unauthorizedly withheld by the Respondents despite the proceedings initiated against the petitioners in respect of the said goods for the charge of its illegal import has been dropped by the Adjudicating authority and there is a specific direction for release of the seized goods vide order dated 28.03.2013. In this regard Court observed as follows: Thus, having an overall picture this court will have no diff .....

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By now, the law is well settled that the public officers have to be also held accountable for their acts of omission and commission. Thus, when this Court has found that the petitioners have been put to a loss of at least ₹ 14,69,650/- on account of complete deterioration of quality of split betel nuts solely on account of deliberate laches on the part of the officials of the Custom Department it would direct respondent no.2 to pay a sum of ₹ 14,69,650/- along with interest at the r .....

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om the erring officials and for the purposes of fixing individual responsibility on such erring officials this Court would direct the Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs Department of Revenue, New Delhi to get an enquiry conducted by an Officer not below in the rank of Chief Commissioner of Customs who must not be posted and/or associated in any manner with Patna Zone of the Custom Department. In the ultimate order, honourable Court held as follows ( with highlights added by author): .....

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partment of Patna zone by the Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs, the payment of the amount of ₹ 14,69,650/- alongwith interest at the rate of 9% per annum from 28.3.2013 to 9.8.2014 must be made to the petitioners within a period of three months from today, failing which the amount of interest on the amount of ₹ 14,69,650/- shall stand enhanced from 9% per annum to 18% per annum from 28.3.2013 till the date of its actual payment. Such orders must be welcome if corruptio .....

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