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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How much money one can carry - to be safe ? Can you imagine !!

The recent rule by banks to charge Rs.20/- for transactions in ATM (beyond the free 5) is felt to affect many ….. I have seen people drawing as little as Rs.200/- from ATMs (and in most ATMs – one cannot withdraw more than Rs.10000/- especially if it is other bank ATM) – there are some  banks who have less than a handful of branches in the Metropolis and ATMs in far and few places – however, still, they allow unlimited transactions for their preferred customer.

That takes us to the basic Q of how much of money you keep in your purse and at home [as also in office drawer !] – those who drive vehicles would need a handsome – at least for fuel and immediate maintenance and hence require to keep a decent amount of cash readily available all the time – there are some wallets which are thick with papers and cards – many do not clean their purse or handbag at all – at any point of time, there would be so much of unwanted material inside …  would Rs.20/- be enough to have in one’s pocket – most would not let their children outside with such little money ! – if you felt that the amount is ridiculously low – read the interesting news item that appeared in Times of India, Chennai edition today.

The TOI reports states that the Bombay high court has upheld a 2007 circular of the Central Industrial Security Force, allowing its personnel to keep only up to `20 with them while on duty . A division bench of Justice N H Patil and Justice R V Ghuge agreed that the measure was a step towards curbing illegal gratification and possible security breach at various sensitive locations. The court said the office order circular of August 23, 2007, cannot be a substitute to a rule or service condition but “keeping in view the object and purpose for which the CISF has been brought into existence, we are of the opinion that the office order needs to be given due importance“.

The ruling came on a plea by constable Ram Tiwari, who was found on August 3, 2008, with `Rs. 500 while on duty at JNPT, Navi Mumbai. On April 10, 2009, he was held guilty of illegal gratification and removed from service. On September 8, 2009, “keeping in mind his unblemished service record of 16 years“, CISF authorities replaced the punishment with “compulsory retirement“ with full pension. The chargesheet said an inspector saw Tiwari counting money and directed a sub-inspector to frisk him. While removing Tiwari’s belt, notes worth ` Rs.500 fell near his leg. Tiwari denied the money belonged to him and claimed the inspector implicated him due to an animosity.

CISF advocate Vinod Joshi argued that the  Rs.500 found on Tiwari could only have come by way of bribes as he had declared before duty he had only Rs.20. The possibility of CISF personnel resorting to collecting bribe from container drivers cannot be ruled out and to curb such acts the circular allowed “CISF personnel on duty to keep only  Rs.20 on their person as pocket money”. Joshi said that if the punishment was set aside, it would send a wrong signal and “seriously affect the discipline maintained in the CISF”.

The judges concluded that the charge of keeping excess money had been proved against Tiwari. “Nevertheless, we are not convinced that punishment of removal from service which amounts to civil death of an employee could be said to be commensurate to the seriousness of an act of disobeying an office order,” they said, giving Tiwari partial relief.  Agreeing with Tiwari’s advocate Sandeep Marne that the charge of illegal gratification was not part of the chargesheet, the court directed Tiwari’s reinstatement without back wages (from date of his compulsory retirement). The unpaid wages shall “amount to a punishment” to Tiwari for violating the circular, the court added.

Without getting into the illegal gratification case and the punishment, do you still feel that a man can walk with Rs.20/- in his purse – imagine that one cannot travel in an auto to the next street even as this is less than the minimum fare !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Nov. 2014.

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