Criminal Proceedings Can’t be Quashed On Exoneration in Departmental Inquiry, observes Allahabad High Court.
A petition u/s 482 Cr.P.C was filed praying that the charge sheet dated 17.12.2019 and order dated 05.08.2020 passed by the Special Judge (Prevention of Corruption Act) should be quashed.
The Hon’ble Allahabad Court dismissed the petition because the Court did not believe the explanation given by the Applicant.
FIR under 13(1)(e) of P.C Act of the P. C Act
An FIR was filed against the Applicant by the Vigilance Department, Gorakhpur, under Section 13(1)(e) of P.C Act.
It was alleged that the Applicant had amassed assets that were disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The vigilance department, after its investigation, found the Applicant guilty of acquiring assets that were disproportionate to his income.
A charge sheet was filed against the Applicant on 17.12.2019, and the competent Court took cognizance.
The Disciplinary Authority also conducted an investigation.
However, the Enquiry Officer/Additional Director, Medical Health Family Welfare Department did not find the charge of disproportionate assets proved against the Applicant.
But, the Applicant was held guilty of not taking prior permission from the government before purchasing a property.
Applicant should be exonerated: Counsel for the Applicant.
Counsel for the Applicant stated that the Applicant should be exonerated because the Disciplinary Authority found no evidence that the Applicant had disproportionate assets.
It was argued that prosecution under the P.C Act for the same charges and the same material is an abuse of the process of law.
Standard of proof in departmental proceedings is lower than that of criminal prosecution.
Counsel for the respondents stated that exoneration in departmental proceedings would not mean exoneration in a criminal case.
It was further stated that the standard of proof was lower than the standard of proof in criminal proceedings.
Learned Counsel also argued that the I.O did not accept the explanation that the income of the applicant’s wife was genuine.
The issue before the Court
The main issue before the Court was if a person who is exonerated in departmental proceedings then can criminal proceedings for the same subject matter continue against him.
“If Exoneration in disciplinary proceedings would tantamount to quashing of criminal proceedings, then it would be travesty of justice”Allahabad High Court
Allahabad High Court observed that the investigation that was conducted by the Lokayukta and the I.O was meticulous and was based on compelling evidence.
During investigation it was found that the explanation given by the Applicant was a mere cover-up and even the business run by his wife was taken to be a sham transaction.
Therefore, the petition filed by the Applicant was dismissed.
Recently the Supreme Court has held that where the employee has been exonerated in disciplinary proceedings then he cannot be tried for the same cause in criminal proceedings. Click here to read
Title: Om Narayan Tiwari vs the State of U.P. and Another
Case No. APPLICATION U/S 482 No. – 15070 of 2020
Date Of Order: 12.10.2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice Suneet Kumar