Read Order: Himmat Khan V/S State Of Haryana And Others
New Delhi, April 7, 2022: While dealing with a case wherein the then Additional Chief Secretary, Cooperation Department, Haryana allowed a revision petition on the first day of hearing, leading to the dismissal of the petitioner from his service without giving the petitioner an opportunity of being heard, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the (now) Chief Secretary, Cooperation Department to file an affidavit stating the steps being taken by the State of Haryana for preventing unwarranted litigation which often takes place due to the casual attitude of its officers and whether any action is taken against such officers.
The Bench of Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal added,
“The affidavit shall also place on record the litigation policy of the State.”
The petitioner before the High Court was aggrieved by the order of the Revisional Authority (Additional Chief Secretary, Cooperation Department, Haryana) whereby without the issuance of any notice or the grant of an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner, the revision filed by the third respondent was allowed by the Additional Chief Secretary. The petitioner was dismissed from his service. On the other hand, the appeal of the petitioner was accepted by the Appellate Authority.
When the matter was placed before the High Court, the Court (on the previous hearing) directed the then Additional Chief Secretary, Cooperation Department, Haryana to file an affidavit as to whether the revision was accepted without any notice or opportunity of hearing to the petitioner and if so, he was directed to explain the rationale for doing so.
On the previous hearing, in violation of the above-stated directions of the Court, the affidavit was not filed and on being asked as to whether the revision was decided without hearing the petitioner, the State Counsel informed the Court that the revision was decided on the first date of hearing.
Thus, on March 28, 2022, the High Court made the following remarks,
“It is manifest that the revision had been allowed without any notice or opportunity of hearing to the petitioner resulting in termination of his service. The impugned order has been passed in a casual manner and in violation of the principles of natural justice. The dockets of the courts are clogged and the State is the largest litigant. If the officers of the State take due care and caution while passing orders at least a part of the litigation could be avoided.”
Along with the aforesaid remarks, the Court directed the then Additional Chief Secretary, Cooperation to be present in Court on the next date of hearing to explain why the order was passed without any notice or opportunity of hearing and why he should not be burdened with the cost of litigation.
On the next hearing i.e. on April 6, 2022, in pursuance of the March 28 order, Mr Sanjeev Kaushal, Chief Secretary, Government of Haryana was present in Court. He while referring to the affidavit filed by him submitted that the error indeed took place and he expressed his regrets for the error and assured the Court that such an error would not take place henceforth.
After hearing Mr Sanjeev Kaushal, Chief Secretary, Government of Haryana the directed ordered him to file an affidavit on steps being taken by the State Government to prevent unwarranted litigation which often takes place due to the casual attitude of its officers and whether any action is taken against such officers. It was also ordered by the Court that the affidavit shall place on record the litigation policy of the State.
The matter is now listed for April 28, 2022.