Have you ever forged the signature of the landlord and claimed rent for residential accommodation without producing due and valid receipts.

The ‘major crime’ and financial indiscipline may result in compulsory retirement and loss of pension benefits. The judiciary and the government will not take a lenient view for this ‘misdeed’ as has happened in the case of a judicial officer.

Special Judge, Thodupuzha, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act cases V.T. Raghunath was found to have ‘forged the signature of the landlord’ and ‘claimed rent for accommodation.’

The High Court initiated disciplinary action against the judicial officer in 2013 for financial indiscipline under Rule 15 of the Kerala Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1960. The inquiry officer found that all the charges against the judicial officer had been proven beyond doubt.

The High Court considered the report of the inquiry officer and found that the explanation of the judicial officer was unsatisfactory. Following this, Mr. Raghunath was compulsorily retired.

The High Court asked the government to finalise disciplinary proceedings against the delinquent officer by reducing 25 per cent of his monthly pension as per Rule 3, Part III, of the Kerala Service Rules.

On the basis of the letter from the Registrar (Subordinate Judiciary, High Court), the government tentatively decided to reduce 25 per cent of monthly pension.

Before taking the final decision on the disciplinary proceedings, the Additional Chief Secretary, Home and Vigilance, heard the officer last month.

“Even though it is justifiable to say that no financial loss might have been caused to the government, forging of signature of the landlord is a major crime. The proposed punishment should be commensurate to the offence,” the Additional Chief Secretary noted. Instead of the 25 per cent reduction in the monthly pension, a penalty of Rs.10,000 had been imposed by the government while finalising the disciplinary proceedings. He had been given a ‘strong warning that he should learn to distinguish between placing one’s signature as a power of attorney holder and forging a signature.’

Action against judicial officer for using ‘forged signature of landlord’ and ‘claiming rent for accommodation.’