Disciplinary Authority has to Record Reasons for Disagreeing with the Enquiry Officer and Reply of Employee: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court at Lucknow on Monday, while dismissing a Writ Petition filed by the State Government held that the it is incumbent upon the disciplinary authority to record reasons for disagreement with the enquiry officer and reply of the Employee.

Background:

The brief facts of the case are that while the claimant/respondent was working as District Excise Officer, Balrampur, a departmental inquiry against him was instituted under Rule 7 of the U.P. Government Servants 2 (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1999.

The enquiry was initiated on the ground that he committed various irregularities with regard to the realization of basic license fee, non-deposition of the Challan license fees amounting to Rs.5,64,250/- till the date of special audit, non-deposition of the challan license fees of shops of liquor. 

After inquiry, the enquiry officer submitted his report exonerating the claimant/respondent from all the charges but the Disciplinary Authority, after examining the enquiry report, disagreed with the report of the enquiry officer.

The Disciplinary authority thereafter finding the claimant/respondent responsible for some charges issued a show cause notice to the claimant/respondent. On receipt of the show cause notice, the claimant/ respondent submitted his reply, stating therein that no loss of revenue was caused to the Government instead all efforts were made towards increasing the revenue generated through liquor sale. 

Thereafter, the Disciplinary Authority, vide order dated 30.11.2017, concluded the disciplinary proceedings by awarding punishment of stoppage of one increment temporarily for a period of one year and also awarded censure entry to the claimant/respondent.

Feeling aggrieved by the punishment order the claimant/respondent approached the Tribunal by filing Claim Petition. The Tribunal allowed the claim petition, which was challenged by the State Government through Writ Petition.

Decision

A Division bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Ved Prakash Vaish observed that 

The rule framing authority itself has made separate provision, making it obligatory upon the disciplinary authority to record reasons at  two different stages, one, when it disagrees with the findings of the inquiry officer and, secondly, when it decides to pass an order of punishment after considering the reply given by the delinquent employee against the findings of disagreement of the disciplinary authority, then it is obligatory upon the disciplinary authority to follow such procedure strictly. 

The reasons are required to be recorded by the disciplinary authority as to why the explanation given by the delinquent employee is or is not satisfactory. Therefore, the t non-observance of Rule 9(4) is fatal since its compliance is mandatory. If the delinquent employee after communicating its disagreement note and inquiry officer’s finding to the delinquent employee and after receiving the reply failed to pass a reasoned order imposing punishment upon the delinquent employee, such order would not be tenable in law and has to be set aside.

In view of the above, the Court held that in the facts of the case there is clear violation of the aforesaid rules and as such the Writ Petition was dismissed.

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