State orders reinstatement of suspended RTO officials

Monday, 11 February 2019

State government’s move taken on account of acute shortage of staff at RTOs

PUNE: The State Government has directed 37 suspended motor vehicle inspectors and assistant vehicle inspectors to resume duty with immediate effect on account of acute shortage of staff.

The State Transport Department in September 2018 suspended 28 motor vehicle inspectors and nine assistant inspectors posted at various RTOs across Maharashtra for negligence in issuing fitness certificates to vehicles. The decision has come after the Bombay High Court directed their suspension in August 2018 in response to petition filed by city-based resident Shrikant Karve in November 2012.

As per an order brought out by the State Government on February 7, all the transport officers including 28 transport inspectors and 9 assistant transport inspectors have been conditionally reinstated to the service but have been transferred out of the division they were attached to when the action was taken thereby shuffling them across the state.

Although, 14 inspectors and assistant inspectors were suspended from Pune RTO, only six of the 37 reinstated officials have been posted at Pune as per the new order. This, officials said, happened as among the 37 officials involved, there were only six who fulfilled the criteria which requires that the officer should not be a native of the six districts under the division or should not have worked previously under Pune RTO.

Following this, the Department conducted checks at several RTOs including Yavatmal, Pune, Kolhapur, Thane, Panvel and Aurangabad RTOs and found that rules were being flouted, which led to suspension of 28 motor vehicle inspectors and nine assistant inspectors.

As per RTO officials, following a departmental inquiry, chargesheets have been served to them and action will be taken as per government directives. 

“As per the rules, we decided to reinstated the mentioned officials in the service as charge sheets have been filed against them,” said the government order.

“The State Government’s decision is contempt of court. The court must take action against the State Government for passing such an order despite the Bombay High Court’s specific instructions on suspension of RTO officials. The government action is cheating of common public as it refused to obey the court order,” Karve said.

In August 2018, the Transport Department was slammed by the Bombay High Court which initiated contempt proceedings against its secretary in response to the PIL filed by Karve.

- Following the suspension of 14 inspectors and assistant inspectors, Pune RTO was grappling with manpower crunch, especially of staffers involved in checking new vehicles before issuing them registration numbers. 
- The RTO was forced to rope in officials from other departments but the waiting period for getting the registration certificates had gone up. 
- Pune RTO officials said this move will only bring partial relief to them with number of incoming officials being less than half that of those suspended.
- “I think we will have to wait till March-April when regular annual transfers happen when we hope to get more manpower,” said Sanjay Raut, Deputy RTO.

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