Read Order: S.T.Krishnan Vs. The Secretary to Government And Ors

LE Correspondent

Chennai, June 6, 2022: In a case of disciplinary proceeding, the Madras High Court has granted notional promotion to the petitioner-employee to such higher post which he may be entitled to from the date on which his immediate junior was promoted considering that no personal hearing was extended to the petitioner before the punishment was awarded.

The Bench of Justice M.S.Ramesh was dealing with a matter wherein the Disciplinary Authority had chosen to defer from the findings of the Enquiry Officer and apart from issuing a notice calling for explanation on the views expressed by him for deferment, no personal hearing was given to the petitioner, before the punishment was awarded. The Bench took note of the fact that such act was opposed to the judgments of the Supreme Court in Punjab National Bank Vs. Kunj Behari Misra and Yoginath D. Bagde Vs. State of Maharastra.

Herein, based on certain levelled charges, the petitioner while serving as an Assistant Divisional Engineer in the respondents/Highways Department, was subjected to disciplinary proceedings. The Enquiry Officer held the charges against the petitioner as “not proved”. However, the first respondent herein, deviated from the views of the Enquiry Officer and called for explanation of the petitioner. 

On consideration of the petitioner’s further representation, the first respondent had censured the petitioner through the impugned order. On review, the order was confirmed. These orders were under challenge in this Writ Petition.  In the meantime, in view of the pendency of the disciplinary proceedings, as well as the currency of punishment, the petitioner was deferred for promotions to higher posts and when he had sought for such promotions, such claim was rejected. These orders were also under challenge.

Justice  Ramesh asserted, “…when the Disciplinary Authority intends to deviate from the Enquiry Officer’s decision, the delinquent officer is entitled for a personal hearing, in the absence of which, the subsequent decision taken pursuant to the deviation report, would stand vitiated. Admittedly, in the present case, no such personal hearing was extended to the petitioner.”

Allowing the Writ Petitions, the Bench held that the petitioner was denied the promotions for which he would have been otherwise entitled to and thus, held the petitioner to be entitled for all the service benefits, including the notional promotions.

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