In the year 2017, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had banned chewing of tobacco on duty.
A government employee faced the wrath of the orders in February 2018 when he was inflicted with the punishment of permanent stoppage of two annual increment after being found consuming tobacco in office.
The Allahabad High Court, however, found the punishment excessive and quashed the order imposing the same.
Mithlesh Kumar Tiwari had moved the high court seeking relief from the punishment as he was allegedly found in possession of and consuming tobacco/ pan masala in the office premises during an inspection in January 2018.
The standing counsel for the government submitted that he was found in possession of excessive quantity of pan masala.
Tiwari’s counsel contended that he was punished without being afforded a hearing or show cause against the proposed punishment and the charge against him that he imposed excessive quantity of pan masala is vague and arbitrary.
He also stated that the punishment imposed was a major penalty under the UP Government Servant (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1999 which could not have been inflicted without following detailed procedure of holding a disciplinary enquiry.
Justice Yashwant Varma noted that there was no evidence to show that the petitioner was afforded an opportunity to present his side.
“More fundamentally the Court notes that stoppage of two annual increments on a permanent basis is a major punishment and is also not disputed by the standing counsel. If that was so it was incumbent upon the respondents to follow the due process as stipulated under the 1999 Rules and which must mandatorily be adhered to before the imposition of a major punishment. Undisputedly, neither any charge-sheet was served upon the petitioner nor were any witnesses examined,” said Justice Varma.
The court, therefore, found the order against Mithlesh not sustainable and quashed the same while leaving it to the respondents to proceed afresh in the matter.