Ladhar tells HC govt silent over two IAS officers who also charged arbitration fees
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Responding to a petition filed against him for charging arbitration fees, Jalandhar Division Commissioner S R Ladhar on Thursday told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that while the Punjab government was asking him to deposit the entire amount along with interest, it was silent in the case of two IAS officers, B K Srivastava and Anurag Verma, who had also charged fees in arbitration cases.
In his reply to a petition moved by advocate H C Arora, which will come up for hearing on February 5, Ladhar added that he had contested arbitration cases, not in ex-officio capacity, but as an arbitrator appointed by the Union government under Arbitration and Conciliation Act-1996.
Ladhar further said that he has sent repeated communications to the state chief secretary offering to deposit one-third of the arbitration fee charged by him, as envisaged under Supplementary Rule 12, but the government had not responded to his letters. "However, the state is asking me repeatedly to deposit the entire arbitration fee charged by me, which is unjustified as there are no such high court's order," he stated in his reply, adding that he would agree to charge arbitration fee as envisaged by Union government's circular dated October 27, 2008, and remit the balance, if the government decides.
While stating that some serving officers of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) in Patiala have also been charging fee in arbitration cases, Ladhar cited the example of B S Sabharwal, PSEB Engineer-in-Chief (Civil Designs and Construction), who had charged arbitration fees in two cases.
Ladhar has charged arbitration fee worth Rs 1.58 crore without prior permission of the Union government. He, however, had contended that he required no such permission before determining or collecting fee for contesting arbitration cases.
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