Ladhar was told not to charge arbitration fee: Govt to High Court

The state government on Monday told Punjab and Haryana High Court that it had directed Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner S R Ladhar not to charge any arbitration fee in lieu of the arbitration work till the final decision in the matter was taken by the government.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain is hearing a petition filed by one H C Arora seeking directions from the high court to Punjab and Central governments to take appropriate criminal or departmental action against Ladhar for charging arbitration fee in the arbitration cases referred to him by the government and that too, without prior permission from competent authorities

Deputy Secretary of Department of Personnel, Balwant Singh, told the court that the state government had sent the said directive on June 20. Through another communication on October 11, Ladhar was directed that the amount retained out of the arbitration fee, along with interest earned by him from the bank, be deposited in the arbitration account, said Balwant. He was also directed that he should immediately claim refund of the amount paid by him as income tax on amount charged as arbitration fee, and as soon as the same is received, it be deposited in the arbitration account.

The state had also asked Ladhar that in future no arbitration fee be charged as Divisional Commissioner, since the arbitration work is a part of his duty.

However, instead of immediately complying with the directions of the state, Ladhar requested the government on October 23 that a decision on the matter should not be taken till the pendency of the writ petition in the high court.

The counsel for Ladhar sought more time to file a reply in the case, and the high court adjourned the hearing till February 5.

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