Departmental action cannot be initiated post retirement of the employee: Punjab High Court.
The Punjab High Court, on 7th December, 2022, in Raj Pal v/s State of Haryana and others (CWP-5842-2022), held that departmental enquiry cannot be initiated against an employee for event that occurred four years prior to issuance of charge sheet. The judgement was presided by Honourable Mr. Justice Deepak Sibal.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
Departmental proceedings were initiated by the High Court against a retired police inspector for an alleged misconduct during the years 1986-1988. The petitioner retired in the year 19 and served an extension period till the year 2020. Departmental proceeding were initiated and a charge sheet was filed against the petitioner under rule 12.2 (b) of the Haryana Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 2016. The departmental proceeding was filed on the basis of the petitioner having completed his LLB degree, from Rajasthan, while he was posted as an inspector at Karnal. The department argued that the petitioner must have manipulated the records in this regard. The petitioner contended that departmental proceeding cannot be initiated against him for an event that took place four years before the initiation of such proceedings.
The Court held that departmental proceedings cannot be initiated for an event which took place four years prior to the initiation of departmental proceedings. The court held that the a retired employee should be left to live in peace during his twilight zone. The rationale that the court held here is ‘let bygones be bygones’. The Court referred to the Punjab State Corporation Ltd. Patiala and others v/s Atma Singh Grewal (2014) 13 SCC 666. The court further contended that the petitioner retired in 2019 and departmental proceedings were initiated in 2021 for an alleged misconduct that took place in the years 1986-1988. The alleged misconduct by the petitioner was prior to four years from the date of issuance of the charge sheet. By Rules 12.2 (b) read with Rule 12 (5) (a), the petitioner had retired and such actions of State was barred by the mentioned rules. Thereby, the court quashed the proceedings against the petitioner.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ARYA THAKUR.