There is no absolute bar to take cognizance on an anonymous complaint: Gujarat High Court upholds the inquiry initiated against the petitioner

Dipakkumar Dineshbhai Luhar vs State Of Gujarat on 12 April, 2023

Bench: Mauna M. Bhatt


 The present petition is filed challenging the departmental proceedings initiated against the petitioner pursuant to the charge-sheet which culminated into a Departmental Case


In the instant case, the petitioner pursuant to the advertisement issued by the State applied for the post of Class-II (Accounts Officer and after selection was appointed in the year 2011. Thereafter, he was promoted and transferred to various places and lastly posted at Gandhinagar as an accounts Officer in the office of Commissioner Rural Development. However, pursuant to an anonymous complaint regarding sexual harassment, a preliminary inquiry came to be initiated against him and upon allegations being held proved, a show cause notice was issued by respondent No.2 calling for response of the petitioner. The petitioner responded to the said show cause notice. Thereafter, a charge-sheet was issued by respondent No.1, aggrieved by which the petitioner filed the present petition.

The petitioner addressed a letter requesting to be provided with a copy of the anonymous complaint as well as certain other documents through which the departmental inquiry was initiated against him. However, it was expressly denied. Raising this contention, the learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the chargesheet was bad in law. Moreover, no action can be initiated based on an anonymous complaint of which rule the department has gone against. Moreover, for an inquiry to sustain under the Prevention of sexual harassment at workplace(POSH) act, the complaint is to be made in writing. However, in the present case, there was nothing that was written down.

The pleader for the state on the other hand held that in the case of complaint of sexual harassment, the disciplinary authority is free to cause an inquiry in to the matter. In this case, in the preliminary inquiry held, the allegations prima facie was held to be true and therefore, the charge-sheet was issued to the petitioner. Moreover, there is nothing specifically mentioned in the POSH Act that prohibits initiation of departmental proceedings


The Gujarat High Court held that despite of a general practice where it is not necessary to take due cognizance and action on an anonymous complaint, there is no absolute bar. In the present case, facts on record suggests that the complaint/representation was made not by any anonymous person but by the employees of Pension Payment Office, Vadodara, where the petitioner was working and during preliminary inquiry, the statement of all the female employees were recorded. The statement of female employees was provided to the petitioner along with the charge-sheet. These facts show that the chargesheet is initiated in accordance with the law and hence, the Court dismissed the petition.


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