15 July 2019


Judgments

High Court of Delhi

Ashok Kumar Garg Vs. Union of India and Ors.

MANU/DE/1555/2019

03.05.2019

Service

Departmental proceedings shall be deemed to be instituted on date on which statement of charges is issued to Government servant or pensioner

The Petitioner assails the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal. The Petitioner had assailed the initiation of departmental proceedings against him. The case of the Petitioner was that, the period of 4 years in the present case expired on 7th November, 2010, whereas the Respondents had initiated the proceedings by issuing the memorandum of charge only on 22nd November, 2010, when the charge memorandum was dispatched with the forwarding letter.

The Tribunal has rejected the said Original Application by observing that, the issuance of the charge memorandum to the Petitioner had taken place on 3rd November, 2010, when the same was prepared and signed by the issuing authority after obtainment of the Presidential sanction on the same date.

Rule 9(6)(a) of the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 creates a legal fiction since it states that "departmental proceedings shall be deemed to be instituted on the date on which the statement of charges is issued to the Government servant or pensioner, or if the Government servant has been placed under suspension from an earlier date, on such date.

The limitation for issuance of the statement/memorandum of charge, in the context, cannot be construed narrowly. In a Government set-up, the competent authority would issue the charge sheet by preparing/approving the same, and signing the same. The process of its being dispatched to the delinquent officer may not even be within his personal control. Therefore, merely because there may be some time taken in the process of dispatch of the charge sheet - which is impersonal, cannot be a reason to construe the regulation of Rule 9(2)(b)(ii) so narrowly, as to defeat the prerogative of the Government to issue a charge memorandum to a delinquent retired officer.

Such a hyper - technical view is not called for in matters of enforcement of discipline. The purpose and object of putting the time limit - within which the departmental proceedings may be instituted in respect of a retired Government servant, is to ensure that he is not haunted with such proceedings after many years of his retirement.

The Rule puts a limit of 4 years for that purpose. However, the said Rule cannot be construed so strictly and technically, as to take away the power of the Government to initiate proceedings when the Presidential sanction has been obtained in time, and the charge memorandum has been signed and issued by the competent authority within time. Petition dismissed.

Tags : Departmental proceedings Time limit Applicability

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