If made with bonafide intention, a single notice suffices: Rajasthan High Court

The principal seat of the Rajasthan High Court at Jodhpur clarified the question on when rule 17 of The Central Civil Services (Classification, Control And Appeal) Rules, 1965 (hereinafter, CCA) can be imposed against an employee and whether the petition suffered from misjoinder of action. This remarkable judgement was passed by the bench consisting of Justice Dinesh Mehta, that heard a petition filed by a Class IV employee in the matter of Shri Mohan Mali V Judge, Industrial Dispute Cum Labour Court [S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 11880/2018].

The petitioner who was a class IV employee, selected through usual course of selection after being put on probation for two years alleged that his employer sent him a notice for being present in office for only an hour and without his uniform. The petitioner replies saying that due to him being a probationer, uniform allowance was not granted to him and prayed for proceedings to be quashed against him. However, the respondent instead sent him 2 other follow up notices which have been alleged to not be in bonafide intention. Therefore, the petitioner has filed this petition against the order passed by the Judge, Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Jodhpur, by virtue of which the petitioner’s services had been terminated.

Counsel for the petitioner alleged that two annual grade increments of the petitioner without cumulative effect have been stopped by the orders. As a result of which a low paid employee at the lowest rung had been thrown out of the employment owing to the highhanded attitude of the employer.  On the other hand, the respondent submitted that as the petitioner had got an alternative and efficacious remedy by way of statutory appeal and thus, this Court should not exercise its writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the constitution.

The Court empathetically opined, “It is strange that the learned Judge began the battle by triggering three notices on 11.06.2018 for a purported breach relating to 29.05.2018; 08.06.2018 and 11.06.2018. Had he been bonafide even a single notice would have sufficed. The case at hands does not need much deliberation, as the facts themselves speak volumes about the fanciful attitude of the respondent – Presiding Officer. The respondent firstly issued three notices for identical breach for different dates giving only three days’ time to show cause. Thereafter he passed three different orders on a single day, slapping three penalties of stoppage of two annual grade increments, knowing it fully well that petitioner being a probationer was not even entitled for annual grade increments. Having regard to the nature of allegations levelled in the notices and the language used therein, the penalty is not only highly disproportionate, but is also in violation of principles of natural justice. The respondent has not considered the explanation furnished by the petitioner and has proceeded with predetermined mind-set, which is evident from the fact that immediately upon passing of the impugned order on 07.08.2018 itself, he scooped the petitioner out of the service”.

In light of reasons stated above, the Court quashed all three orders that imposed penalty.

Click here to read the Judgment

Judgment Reviewed by – Sarita

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