The Patna High Court recently overturned the decision to fire an “Anganwadi Sevika” and said that the Child Development Project Officer’s satisfaction alone cannot be used to say that the food served at the Anganwadi center is of poor quality.
In Sima Devi Versus The State of Bihar (Letters Patent Appeal No.991 of 2019 In Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.15305 of 2013), a division bench composed of Justices P. B. Bajanthri and Rajiv Roy made the following observation:
“The case’s facts have been discussed with us. To be fair, there is nothing in the records to suggest that “the CDPO” was pleased with the “halwa” and that it is of poor quality.” The CDPO’s satisfaction alone cannot be used to determine that it is of substandard quality.”
FACTS OF THE CASE
The appellant-petitioner had argued that the CDPO had no right to label the food she served as substandard unless it had been taken, sealed, sent to the lab, and/or a government lab report said it was substandard in quality.
She also argued that neither the inspection nor the time of the surprise visit were mentioned in the show cause.
In addition, the alleged charges were not investigated in accordance with the guidelines.
The Court noted that the CDPO admittedly did not consider the written statements of concerned beneficiaries, including the appellant-petitioner, before making a negative recommendation for her.In addition, the DPO had requested an explanation from her the following day, and despite the appellant’s submission of her explanation, the termination order was issued that same day, “completely showing non-application and prejudiced mind.”
The Court stated, “It is further surprising that the Collector overlooked all these matters and in a routine manner rejected the claim of the appellant-petitioner pursuant to an order dated 3.5.2013.”
After taking into account all of the factors, the Court came to the conclusion that the respondent authorities had completely made a mistake by removing the appellant-petitioner on vague alleged charges that were never investigated before making their decision.The court observed that the Collector, while sitting in appeal, did not apply his mind and only followed the observations made by the DPO to reject the appeal preferred by the Appellant. The DPO deliberately and whimsically ignored the government guidelines while removing the appellant-petitioner from the position.
As a result, the petition was granted, and the Collector was told to decide right away whether or not to reinstate the appellant-petitioner. She will be entitled to fifty percent of her salary during the time she was out of work.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ROLI NAYAN.