Supreme Court: While deciding that whether the respondents were within the authority under Rule 85 of U.P. Co-operative Employees Service Regulations, 1975 to hold a disciplinary enquiry against the appellant who had retired from the service, the Court held that in absence of such a provision in the said regulation, the respondents have no vested authority to continue a departmental enquiry and make any reduction in the retiral benefits of the appellant.
In the instant case, a disciplinary enquiry was initiated against the appellant in 1988 in accordance with said Rule, after which he was dismissed from the service. The Allahabad High Court quashed the order of dismissal in 2006 on violation of principles of natural justice and ordered reinstatement and payback of wages as mandated in the Regulations and gave liberty to the respondents to conduct a fresh enquiry. After the reinstatement, the appellant faced a new disciplinary enquiry as per the High Court order and during the pendency of the enquiry the appellant retired from the service. Challenging the continuance of the disciplinary proceeding after the retirement, T. Mahipal, the counsel for the appellant argued that Regulations do not contain any specific provision on whether a disciplinary enquiry can be continued after retirement; therefore, the respondents have no authority to continue the enquiry. Sunil Jain, the counsel for the respondent however argued that the enquiry had been initiated in pursuance of the HC order and retirement of the appellant cannot take away the employer’s right to conduct the enquiry.
The Court, referring to its earlier decision in Bhagirathi Jena v. Board of Directors, O.S.F.C. (1999) 3 SCC 666, observed that the Regulations do not have any provision that allows for continuance of a disciplinary enquiry after superannuation (retirement) and reduction of any retiral benefits. Therefore, the Court held that the enquiry had lapsed and the appellant is entitled to full retiral benefits on retirement along with arrears of salary and other allowances as if there had been no disciplinary hearing. Dev Prakash Tewari v. U.P. Co-operative Institutional Service Board, Civil Appeal Nos.5848-49 of 2014, decided on 30.06.2014
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