The court cannot interdict if proceedings are already initiated against the petitioner by a competent authority: Delhi High Court

The court cannot take up matters when a previously filed suit is still pending and it concerns the same subject matter of jurisdiction. This was held by Hon’ble Justice V. Kameswar rao in the case of Abhishek Yadav vs. Food Corporation of India and Anr. [W.P.(C) 224/2021, CM No. 589/2021] on the 23rd of august 2021, before the Hon’ble High court of Delhi at New Delhi.

The brief facts of the case are, the petitioner was transferred from Bhopal to Kolkata vide order dated February 05, 2020 and was relieved from his duties w.e.f. afternoon of February 20, 2020. The petitioner represented against the transfer on humanitarian grounds. On March 03, 2020, while on his way to Kolkata, the petitioner met respondent No.2, who assured the petitioner of sympathetic consideration. the petitioner instead of proceeding to Kolkata, returned to Bhopal. Thereafter, the petitioner was placed under suspension w.e.f. March 30, 2020. The Headquarter of the petitioner was changed from Kolkata to NOIDA vide Order dated May 27, 2020 and the petitioner joined NOIDA on June 01, 2020. Then the suspension of the petitioner was revoked vide order dated June 02/03, 2020. The petitioner was issued a Major Penalty Charge Sheet on August, 04, 2020. Aggrieved by the charge sheet, the present petition has been filed praying for the charge sheet to be quashed.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that, t is a fit case where charges framed against the petitioner need to be dropped. He also relied upon the orders of the Division Benches of this Court wherein according to him, in similar circumstances, where the employees have been transferred from their place of posting to different places and had not joined the transferred places, were charge sheeted, which were set aside on their submitting an apology and also making voluntary deposit in the AIIMS Poor Fund Account. It was also submitted that, the issuance of charge sheet is actuated by mala fide on the part of the respondent No.2.  The counsel for the respondent however submitted that till May 27, 2020, there is no order changing his posting from Kolkata. It is only after the change of place of posting to NOIDA, the petitioner joined his duties on June 01, 2020 at NOIDA. It was submitted that he did not join his place of posting for almost three months.

 The court heard the submissions of bot the parties and observed that The Inquiry Officer has been appointed so also the Presenting Officer. The petitioner has also appointed his defence assistant. The petitioner has also participated in the proceedings before the Inquiry Officer. The charge framed against the petitioner shall be decided by the Inquiry Officer based on the evidence to be produced by the Charged Officer as well as the Presenting Officer. The reasons given by the petitioner for not joining the place of posting have already been stated above. The justifiability of reasons has to be gone into by the Inquiry Officer / Disciplinary Authority. It is not for the Court to consider the relative merit of the stand of the parties and come to a conclusion. The court also relied on the judgement in Union of India and Ors. v. Upendra Singh 1994 (3) SCC 357, wherein, it was held that, “the tribunal has no jurisdiction to go into the correctness or truth of the charges. The tribunal cannot take over the functions of the disciplinary authority. The truth or otherwise of the charges is a matter for the disciplinary authority to go into. Indeed, even after the conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings, if the matter comes to court or tribunal, they have no jurisdiction to look into the truth of the charges or into the correctness of the findings recorded by the disciplinary authority or the appellate authority as the case may be. The function of the court/tribunal is one of judicial review, the parameters of which are repeatedly laid down by this Court. Thus, observant of these facts, the court cannot interdict the proceedings initiated against the petitioner.

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