The Supreme Court has issued notice on a special leave petition which has raised the argument that criminal proceedings cannot continue after exoneration in departmental enquiry on the same allegations.
The special leave petition is filed against a judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which held that exoneration in departmental inquiry does not entitle an employee to seek quashing of criminal proceedings. A bench of Justice Virender Singh of the High Court had referred to the Supreme Court judgment in State (NCT of Delhi) vs Ajay Kumar Tyagi (2012) 9 SCC 685 to dismiss the employees plea to quash the proceedings under Section 482 CrPC.
Challenging the High Court verdict, Senior Advocate Siddarth Dave, appearing for the petitioner, relied upon the judgment of the Supreme Court n Ashoo Surendranath Tewari Vs.Deputy Superintendent of Police, EOW,CB to argue that criminal prosecution cannot proceed against the petitioner after being exonerated in a departmental inquiry for the same allegations.
In the said judgment, a 3-judge bench led by Justice RF Nariman had held that in case of exoneration in departmental proceedings on merits and where the allegation is found to be not sustainable at all and the person held innocent, criminal prosecution on the same set of facts and circumstances cannot be allowed to continue.
Taking note of the precedent, a bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai issued notice in the special leave petition and stayed the operation of the impugned judgment.
Case Title : Ajit Singh Sodha v.Union of India, SLP(Crl) No.6489/2021