10 June 2024


High Court of Bombay

Kavita Bhagwat Marathe Vs. Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited and Ors.




Findings recorded in the disciplinary enquiry without following principles of natural justice are perverse

By the present petition, the Petitioner challenges order, by which penalty of dismissal from service is imposed upon her. It is submitted that, the findings recorded by the enquiry officer and disciplinary authority are vitiated on account of absence of any evidence being recorded in the enquiry. He would submit that the impugned orders suffer from the vice of perversity.

Present Court is appalled by the manner in which the disciplinary proceedings have been conducted by the Respondent Company. The charge of abuse and assault has been held to be proved without examining any witness. Such course of action is sought to be justified relying on provisions of the service Regulations 2005, which do not contain any provision for examination of prosecution witnesses and for providing an opportunity to the delinquent employee to cross examine them.

In the decisions of the Apex Court in the case of Roop Singh Negi vs. Punjab National Bank and Ors., it has been held that the findings recorded in the disciplinary enquiry without following principles of natural justice become perverse. In the present case, there is complete non observance of principles of natural justice while holding the petitioner guilty of misconduct alleged. Consequently, the dismissal order deserves to be set aside.

Since the penalty is being set aside on account of non-observance of principles of natural justice, the correct course of action to be adopted is to permit the Respondent-company to conduct de novo enquiry into the charges by following the principles of natural justice. Since, the Respondents are to be given an opportunity to conduct de novo enquiry, the intervening period from the date of dismissal to the date of reinstatement is required to be treated as suspension at the moment. Depending upon outcome of the de novo inquiry, decision to treat suspension period as duty or otherwise can be taken. Petition allowed.

Tags : Penalty Termination Legality

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