New Delhi, November 24, 2021: The Supreme Court has observed that once charges attributable to an employee for causing monetary loss stands proved by the Enquiry Officer, the punishment order for recovery of such loss need not be interfered with by the Writ Courts.
A Division Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna however directed for payment of retiral benefits to Vijay Kumar Yadav (Respondent-employee) after deduction of recovery charges, noticing that he had attained the age of superannuation.
The observation came to be passed in reference to an appeal filed by Uttar Pradesh Forest Corporation, Lucknow & others challenging the judgment passed by Allahabad High Court.
The Top Court noted that by an order dated July 3, 2019, this Court issued notice limited to the extent as to whether the High Court ought to have maintained the punishment order for recovery of Rs.2,46,922.56, which was also held to be proved by the Enquiry Officer.
The Division Bench found that in so far as the charge of causing loss to the extent of Rs.2,46,922.56 was concerned, it was held to be proved by the Enquiry Officer.
However, there was disagreement on the part of the Disciplinary Authority so far as other charges, which were held to be not proved by the Enquiry Officer and without issuing any notice on the said disagreement, the Disciplinary Authority proceeded further and passed the punishment order, which was held to be bad in law and against the principles of natural justice, added the Bench.
Therefore, the Apex Court concluded that once the charge of causing loss to the extent of Rs.2,46,922.56 was held to be proved by the Enquiry Officer, the High Court ought to have maintained the punishment order for recovery of Rs.2,46,922.56.
Accordingly, the Apex Court modified the judgment of the High Court to the extent of maintaining the order of punishment for recovery of Rs.2,46,922.56 for the charge which was also held to be proved by the Enquiry Officer.
Since the respondent employee had since retired on attaining the age of superannuation, hence the Top Court directed that whatever further amount is due and payable towards the retirement benefits, which may be available under the law, the same may be paid to the respondent after making recovery/deducting Rs.2,46,922.56.