The Arunachal Pradesh government has given ‘compulsory retirement’ to a senior civil servant as punishment for sexual assault on an 11-year-old girl.
The State’s Tax and Excise Joint Commissioner Tani Jongkey was served the retirement order on August 12 with immediate effect under the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965.
The order from the office of the Chief Secretary said that Mr. Jongkey did not provide “any new and convincing evidence in his defence for consideration and, as such, the charges against the erring officer were found to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.”
The order said that the Arunachal Pradesh Governor imposed the penalty after examining “all documents placed on record and after being totally convinced with the recommendation of the inquiry officer and keeping in view the sensitivity and seriousness of the matter and grave misconduct committed by the delinquent officer”.
The State police had booked the civil servant under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) after he was accused of assaulting the minor on June 2, 2017. He was placed under suspension 20 days later but the Itanagar Bench of the Gauhati High Court reinstated him on November 21 that year as his suspension order was not reviewed within a specified period.
An officer assigned to probe the charges against Mr. Jongkey later found him to have indulged in “misconduct and misbehaviour” with the minor girl. The inquiry officer accordingly recommended imposition of strict and exemplary punishment against Mr. Jongkey under relevant sections of the rules governing civil servants.
Officials said Mr. Jongkey was on November 6, 2018, given an opportunity to submit his counter to the inquiry officer’s recommendation within 15 days.
“The penalty levied on a senior civil servant in Arunachal Pradesh is unprecedented. It sends an unequivocal message that the safety and security of women and children is top priority for the government and not negotiable,” State’s Secretary of Tax and Excise Anirudh Saran Singh told reporters in Itanagar.
The Arunachal Pradesh Women’s Welfare Society, which had sought justice for the child, welcomed the government’s “path-breaking” action against Mr. Jongkey. A member said that the minor’s mother had received threats from community leaders, officers and politicians to withdraw the case.