The Allahabad High Court has made very important remarks regarding public servants in the matter of service related laws and rules.
The Court brought the state government to the dock and said the government has failed to train public servants holding important posts about the rules and laws related to the service.
A single bench of Justice Siddharth heard the petition filed by Shiv Kumar.
The petition has been filed praying for quashing of the order dated 26.07.2022 passed by the Commissioner, Aligarh Division, Aligarh, as well as the order dated 29.09.2022 passed by the District Magistrate, Hathras, awarding the major punishment of stoppage of one increment to the petitioner permanently along with awarding of adverse entry.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that both the impugned orders have been passed in violation of Rule 7 of the UP Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1999.
He has submitted that there was an allegation against the petitioner that he used to misbehave with other employees and abuse them. Instead of being present at the place of his work, he used to loiter here and there. He also used to consume liquor within the tehsil premises. He was working as Assistant Clerk in the office of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sikandra Rao, District Hathras.
He has further submitted that no witness was produced before the Inquiry Officer to substantiate the allegations made against the petitioner. The Inquiry Officer only issued the charge sheet and considering the reply submitted by the petitioner submitted his report wherein he also proposed punishment of stopping his two increments of the salary of the petitioner.
The counsel for the petitioner also submitted that the compliance of the rule aforesaid was absolutely disregarded. The prosecution did not produce any evidence to prove the charges against the petitioner. No witness was examined to prove that the petitioner misbehaved with anyone, abused anyone or was found in a drunken state in the tehsil compound.
Standing Counsel has submitted that the inquiry was conducted in accordance with principles of natural justice and the reply of the petitioner was considered by the Inquiry Officer before submitting the inquiry report and the disciplinary authority has reduced the proposed punishment from stoppage of two increments to one increment and the appellate authority has rightly confirmed the same. Hence, no interference is called for with the impugned order.
After hearing the counsels for the parties and going through the rules, the Court found that after the charge sheet is given to the delinquent employee, an oral inquiry is necessary. Notice is required to be issued to the delinquent employee indicating the date, time and place of inquiry. On the date fixed, oral and documentary evidence against the employee is led in his presence by the employer so that he may know the evidence against him, the charges against him and the defence evidence required from him to disprove the charges.
The Court held,
In the case, the charges were leveled against the petitioner relating to performance of his duty and his conduct during duty hours. The Inquiry Officer ought to have held an oral inquiry and examined the witnesses who were treated badly by the petitioner. The Inquiry Officer simply considered the reply of the petitioner and concluded the inquiry. No employer witnesses were examined and no document or record was exhibited and proved. Such conduct of inquiry is against the Rule 7 aforesaid and cannot be approved by the Court. The Appellate Authority has also not applied his mind to the blatant violation of rule by the Inquiry Officer and the Disciplinary Officer and has confirmed the order of the disciplinary authority.
The Inquiry Officer, Hari Shankar Yadav, Sub-Divisional Officer, Sasni, Praveen Kumar Lakshkar, District Magistrate, Hathras and Gaurav Dayal, Commissioner, Aligarh Division, Aligarh, have passed absolutely illegal orders showing ignorance of the provisions of U.P Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1999. They have not been trained properly to conduct departmental inquiries against the delinquent employees of their department.
“It appears that the State Government has failed to provide proper training to the public servants holding responsible positions of the State Government and they pass absolutely illegal orders in ignorance of the relevant service laws and rules.
The Principal Secretary (Revenue), Government of UP, Lucknow is directed to train the public servants regarding the service rules before they play with the life of the delinquent employees of their departments and ruin further careers of the subordinate public servant / servants,” the Court observed while allowing the writ petition.
“All the impugned orders are hereby quashed. The petitioner is directed to be reinstated in his service with full salary. Arrears of his salary shall be paid to him within four weeks from today with six percent simple interest.
“In case, this order is not complied within time, the petitioner shall be paid 12 percent interest on the arrears of salary. His salary from month to month shall be paid from 01.07.2022”, the Court ordered.