Reverting a government servant to a lower post without giving him a chance to represent his case, is a violation of the principles of natural justice: High Court of Chhattisgarh

A government servant cannot be reverted to a post lower than the one he was already occupying. Furthermore every person has the right to make their case heard. Violating these rights is against the principles of natural justice. This was held by a single member bench of the High Court of Chhattisgarh consisting of Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal in the case Prem Narayan Sengar v State of Chhattisgarh [Writ Petition (S) No. 6423 of 2010] on 27th July 2021.

The petitioner, Prem Narayan Sengar was a 51 year old employee of the Chhattisgarh State Department of Agriculture. On 7th August 2010, he was reverted to the post of Assistant Director, Agriculture from the post of Deputy Director of Agriculture through the impugned order passed by the joint director. Furthermore the petitioner was not given an opportunity to plead his case and was demoted without any explanation. The counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that the impugned order was contrary to law and therefore must be set aside by the High Court of Chhattisgarh.

The petitioner’s counsel brought the case of Rajkumar Goenka v State of Chhattisgarh & others [WPS No. 4699 of 2020] to the notice of the court, where the facts were very similar to the case at hand. Rajkumar Goenkar was also a Deputy Director of a Department under the state government of Chhatisgarh. When he was reverted to a lower position he filed a writ petition which was decided on 12th September 2017 which was allowed on grounds that reverting an employee to a lower post without giving him the right to represent himself was a violation of the principles of natural justice. The High Court of Chhatisagrh, in the Rajkumar Goenka case declared that “In   view   of   the   above,   this   petition   is allowed. Impugned order is set aside only on the   ground   of   violation   of   principles   of natural   justice,   though   with   liberty   to respondent to afford opportunity of hearing and pass fresh order. The petitioner for all legal and practical purposes shall be treated as having continued on the post of Deputy Director.”

Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal came to the conclusion “In that view of the matter, the instant writ petition is allowed in terms of paras­3 and 4 of the order passed in Rajkumar Gonekar  (supra) and the impugned order dated 7.8.2010 (Annexure P­1) is hereby set aside. The matter is remitted to the respondent authority to pass afresh order after hearing the petitioner   in terms of order passed in Rajkumar Gonekar.”

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