HC Can Interfere With ‘Flawed’ Disciplinary Enquiry: SC [Read Judgment]
In a case where the disciplinary authority records a finding that is unsupported by any evidence whatsoever or a finding which no reasonable person could have arrived at, the writ court would be justified if not duty bound to examine the matter and grant relief in appropriate cases, the bench said.
The Supreme Court in Allahabad Bank vs. Krishna Narayan Tewari, has held that a high court can interfere with disciplinary enquiry if the enquiry itself is flawed, unsupported by any evidence and is conducted in violation of principles of natural justice.
A bench headed by then Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, dismissing an appeal preferred by the Allahabad Bank, upheld an Allahabad High Court order which had quashed the termination order passed against a bank employee.
The court observed: “The writ court will certainly interfere with disciplinary enquiry or the resultant orders passed by the competent authority on that basis if the enquiry itself was vitiated on account of violation of principles of natural justice, as is alleged to be the position in the present case. Non-application of mind by the Enquiry Officer or the Disciplinary Authority, non-recording of reasons in support of the conclusion arrived at by them are also grounds on which the writ courts are justified in interfering with the orders of punishment.”
Upholding the high court order which had not remanded the enquiry back to the competent authority, the court observed that high court need not in all situations remand, especially when there is long time lag or such other supervening circumstances the writ court considers it unfair, harsh or otherwise unnecessary to direct a fresh enquiry or fresh order by the competent authority.
The court, modifying the high court order, held that the employee shall be entitled to only 50% of the salary for the period between the date of his removal from service till the date of superannuation.
Read the Judgment here.
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