Jharkhand High Court: Non-furnishing of enquiry report not detrimental to departmental proceeding, if no prejudice caused to employee

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Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi’s Single Judge Bench, J. Hearing a written petition seeking to quash the order embraced by the respondent in which the petitioner was punished for a six-month suspension of the annual increase in the departmental proceedings.

Facts

The petitioner was a constable accused of coercion and was alleged to have had a thumb impression on a blank document. He was also charged with several offences under separate parts of the 1860 Penal Code. According to that charge, the Enquiry Officer was assigned and departmental proceedings were launched against the petitioner. The charges against the petitioner were proven, and he was not provided with an enquiry report in the first instance, but in conjunction with the second show cause notice.

Learned petitioner counsel, D.K. Dubey claimed that the woman who produced the charge told the officer that she had not submitted any request to the petitioner, nor did she know him. He further asserted that she had made no complaint against the petitioner. Counsel, therefore, pleaded that if there were no charges against the petitioner, then the order was fit to be quashed.

Rajesh Kumar Singh, a learned respondent counsel, presented that the accused took the impression on a blank document and indicated that no explanation was provided to her for the same in the complaint petition. It also came to her understanding later that no complaint was lodged against the petitioner. The counsel further presented that the lady’s statement that no complaint was lodged against the accused was made under coercion.

Court’s Observation

The Court observed that the enquiry officer took into account the two complaints which were brought on record in the writ petition and the enquiry officer came to a conclusion that usage of coercion to obtain the statement in favour of the petitioner could not be ruled out and therefore, the petitioner was held guilty.

The Court noted that there was no illegality in the investigation report and that the penalty order was in accordance with the law. Moreover, the Court noted that if an employee was dismissed or removed from service and the inquiry was set aside because the report was not furnished to him, the failure to furnish the report would prejudice him or could not affect the nature of the punishment at all.

In the present case, however, the petitioner was unable to show what prejudice had been caused to him owing to failure to provide the inquiry report. The petition was therefore dismissed.

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