Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: S.C. Sharma, J. contemplated a petition filed against the initiation of the Departmental enquiry against the said petitioner and was noted that the ‘case certainly reflects an episode in which a young tribal girl was harassed for almost five years.’

Facts to the extent necessary are, petitioner was appointed as a Sub Inspector, in the year 2007; she was posted at various districts and in 2013 was deputed for election duty. In the course of her duty, she stopped an election observer IAS officer’s vehicle; it also carried a red beacon over it. Petitioner contended that the officer was offended by the act and was infuriated; officer misbehaved with her and also submitted a report against her for misconduct. Eventually, Secretary of Home Department wrote a letter to the State Election Commission that no case is made against the election observer (IAS).

Petitioner contended that, she submitted a report to the superiors and brought it to their notice that the alleged officer has abused and mistreated her. Following which she was on the very same day of incident transferred to a different district. Petitioner submitted that she was demoralized being a young girl, insulted and humiliated, which caused her mental agony and she resigned. She had also reported the matter to State Women Commission regarding her insult and outrage. The Commission directed Superintended of Police to register a case against the officer i.e. election observer. The petitioner stated that despite the reminder from Commission no FIR was lodged and no order was passed by the alleged respondents in respect of resignation, which was not accepted. She stated that no posting order was given to the petitioner and in 2014 the Superintendent of Police, informed the Commission that no case is made out against the Election Observer.

The respondent contended that he had submitted a detailed report to the Inspector General of Police, about the alleged transfer of the petitioner. He also ordered an inquiry and directed the matter to Additional Superintendent. The respondent further contended that in reply to the various complaints of the petitioner, a proper inquiry in the matter was conducted.

The State Women Commission intervened and forwarded the matter to Chief Election Commission after recording the statements of the petitioner. However, no case was registered against officer. It was observed by the alleged respondents that petitioner is not attending her duties. Aggrieved by such responses, denial of resignation and inaction to provide a relevant place of posting the petitioner filed a writ in the proper Court.

The Court observed that, charge sheet was recorded and revealed, that the petitioner, after she was attached to the office of Superintendent of Police in 2013, had not joined duties at the place of posting and no other charge was levelled against her. The Court further noted another important aspect of the case was, that the respondents have passed an order which categorically stated that request of resignation was rejected.

The Court issued an interim order which stayed the departmental enquiry against the petitioner. Court further observed that no place of posting was provided to the petitioner during the pendency of the writ petition. Petitioner was allowed to join her duties. It was held that the departmental inquiry was not related to the incident that provoked the petitioner to resign, but regarding her absence from duty. The resignation was treated as withdrawn. Court carefully went through the charge sheet and it was not a case where the petitioner was involved in committing a crime in respect of some act relating to moral turpitude, embezzlement or any other heinous offence. Mere case where the petitioner was not provided a posting order, in spite of her repeated request and charge sheet has been issued for not joining the duty. However, the Court not granted back wages to the petitioner.[Amrita Solanki v. State of M.P., 2019 SCC OnLine MP 869, decided on 15-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: A Bench of Vandana Kasrekar, J. allowed a writ petition and set aside an order passed by Director, Employment and Training, MP Civil Centre, in the appeal against the impugned order, removing the petitioner from his services by the Joint Director of the aforementioned Training Centre.

The petitioner was appointed as Class-III employee in the aforementioned Centre on a compassionate basis. The petitioner contended that, Joint Director issued a show cause notice which stated the non fulfillment of the conditions of employment i.e. passing of Hindi typing examination by the petitioner, further as per the terms and conditions of the appointment order he has availed 466 days of leave without pay and was continuously absent for a period of 3 months, for which he was terminated from his services as a way of punishment, allegations were found to be true in internal enquiry. The petitioner was aggrieved by such report and was not given an opportunity of being heard by the Joint Director.  He was equally aggrieved by the order of Director, terminating his services and agreeing with the order of Joint Director, therefore, dismissing his appeal.

Learned Counsel for petitioner, M.I. Khan, argued that order impugned is arbitrary and illegal, it is also violative of the principles of natural justice i.e. ‘Audi Alteram Partem’. According to his submissions, the order of the Director was contrary to the provision of Civil Services Rule, 1966. No proper procedure was followed while adjudicating the matter of the petitioner. The enquiring officer has filed the report on the basis of the fact that the petitioner has admitted the charges and no statements of witness were recorded by the enquiring officer. He further submitted that the order of removal is not passed by the competent authority. Joint Director was in no position to terminate the petitioner as he was appointed by the Director and no person subordinate to him had such powers.

Learned Counsel for the respondent, Vikas Yadav, replied that the petitioner has not cleared the essential requirement of qualification for the respective post i.e. Hindi typing exam. The non-performance of the petitioner was also highlighted by his continuous unauthorized absence from work for a period of almost 3 months and his non-attendance for a total of 466 days.  Respondent contended that though, the petitioner replied to the show cause notice, the same was not satisfactory. After issuance of the charge sheet, the petitioner himself admitted the charges levelled against him before the enquiring officer. Therefore, the impugned order of removal was passed. Thus, no illegality was caused in removing the petitioner from his services.

The Court observed that, before the show cause notice was issued no enquiry was initiated against the petitioner by the respondents and the said show cause notice was issued for termination of services of the petitioner. “It shows that the authorities have make up their mind for terminating the services of the petitioner before initiating any departmental enquiry.” Court was of the view that petitioner stated the medical reasons in reply to the show cause notice, but he also admitted not clearing the exam and taking unauthorized leaves for such a long tenure.

Court held, that no alleged enquiry was conducted by the respective respondents, which was arbitrary and they served a copy of the report without filing any charge sheet. The Court stated the provisions of CCA Rules, which provide for the opportunity of hearing to the accused even if the charges in written statements are admitted. The enquiring officer must always ask the accused whether he pleads guilty or not in a proper recorded manner. It was found by the Court that there was a breach in proper proceedings in recording the statements of the petitioner and the proceedings were not in conformity with the law. The Court directed the respondents to reinstate the petitioner in service without any back wages.[Ajay Kadam v. State of M.P., 2019 SCC OnLine MP 769, Order dated 07-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Division Bench comprising of A. P. Sahi, CJ and Anjana Mishra, J. allowed a civil writ petition seeking direction for release of gratuity to an employee who was accused of an economic offence.

Petitioner was accused of acquiring of assets disproportionate to his income. In a departmental proceeding initiated against him, a final order was passed whereby it was ordered that ten per cent of his pension amount shall be permanently deducted and he would be paid only subsistence allowance during the period of suspension. Even after three and a half years from lodging of the criminal case, neither any sanction was accorded by the department against him nor was any chargesheet submitted by the prosecution – Economic Offence Unit. Thus, the petitioner filed an instant petition seeking the release of full amount of gratuity payable to him and a direction for release of the full amount due to him by way of unutilized leave.

The Court noted that despite the fact that charges of disproportionate income were not established against the petitioner in the departmental enquiry, ten percent of his pension was withheld as per Bihar Pension Rules, 1950. It was opined that no order of punishment had been imposed in relation to gratuity, and therefore withholding of gratuity had no rationale. Relying on Rule 43(b) of the Pension Rules and Full Bench judgment of the Patna High Court in Arvind Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar, 2018 SCC OnLine Pat 749, the present Court directed the amount of gratuity payable to the petitioner to be released forthwith along with interest on the same from the date that amount became payable till the date of payment. [Lakshmi Kant Patel v. State of Bihar, 2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2250, decided on 17-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Rajasekhar Mantha, J. dismissed an appeal filed against the judgment and order of the Additional District Judge whereby the appellant along with seven others was convicted under Section 395 IPC.

In January 2005, the accused persons committed a dacoity in Samali Primary Block Health Center and took away Rs 6,74,784 by placing a bhojali (large knife) on the throat of one of the official. The accused persons were apprehended and convicted as mentioned above. While challenging the judgment of conviction, it was argued by the appellant that he was not identified by the seizure witness in Court. Also, that he was not identified in TI parade.

The High Court, while rejecting the submission of the appellant, held that in case of the appellant, the TI parade would have been useless. The appellant was absconding in January (when incident occurred) and was apprehended only in September. He was, however, named in the first charge sheet. The Court held that it was useless to conduct any TI parade of the appellant after a period of 9 months of the incident. For such and other reasons, the appeal was dismissed. While concluding, the Court also found that the money involved in the case that was recovered had not been deposited in the treasury which was indeed shocking. As such, the Court recommended departmental enquiry for major penalty and also criminal proceedings against the Investigating Officers concerned. [Madha Rai v. State of W.B.,2018 SCC OnLine Cal 5882, dated 31-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The petitioner was working as the sub-inspector and it had been alleged that he went into the house of a subordinate lady employee in the night, misbehaved with her and acted in a manner that outraged her modesty. Against the same allegation, a criminal case as well as a departmental enquiry was instituted against him.

The contention of the petitioner before the Writ Court was that the allegations made in the departmental enquiry and in the criminal case are identical in nature and, therefore, for the same set of allegation both the proceedings cannot go together. The petition was dismissed by the Court and appeal to the dismissal was presented before the High Court.

After hearing both the parties, the High Court concluded that there was no error in judgment of the Writ Court. The Division Bench observed that the criminal case doesn’t involve any complicated question or any issues pertaining to mixed question of law and fact. The question involved is simple and petition doesn’t need any reconsideration, the Court observed. The appeal was accordingly dismissed. [Chandra Shekhar Kushwaha v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2017 SCC OnLine MP 139, decided on 08.02.2017]