A person cannot be penalized, when there is a delay in investigation on the part of the investigating authority – High Court of Delhi.

Where the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had confirmed to submit the final report to the Jurisdictional Commissionerate within 2 months and had not filed any chargesheet or issued any charge memo for 2 years, then in such case for the delay in investigation, one cannot be penalised. A divisional Judge bench comprising Hon’ble Justice Manmohan and Justice Navin Chawla, in the matter of Union of India and Ors Vs. Vikram Bhasin (W.P.(C) 6079/2021), dealt with an issue where a Writ petition was filed Challenging an order dated 11th May 2021, passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal.

As submitted by the counsel of the petitioner, the respondent was posted in the office of the Commissioner of Customs at IGI Airport as superintendent (Jewellery Appraiser). The respondent was placed under suspension from 3rd June 2019, initially for a period of 90 days. Later the suspension got extended from time to time in the spells of 180 days. The order of Suspension was issued to the respondent only after the arrest of the respondent on 31st May 2019.

Further, the counsel of the petitioner submitted that the Tribunal erred in holding that the suspension was in contemplation of disciplinary proceeding and there was no reference to any criminal case, much less, to the factum of the arrest. Also, the tribunal directed discontinuation of the respondent’s suspension as well as directed the petitioner to reinstate the respondent in service. Moreover, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had informed the petitioner that the final investigation report would be submitted to the jurisdictional Commissionerate for further action within two months.

The court stated that despite a delay of 2 years neither any charge memo was issued to the petitioner, nor any chargesheet had been filed. Court also observed that- “the Investigating Authorities have had more than sufficient time to conclude the investigation. For any delay in investigation, the applicant/respondent cannot be penalised”. Thereby the court dismissed the writ petition along with the pending applications and, in agreement with the reasoning of the tribunal, the court directed that where the respondent is to be paid subsistence allowance equivalent to his salary, then the petitioner might as well utilize his services.

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