May 29, 2021 10:36:30 am
THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court has dismissed the plea of a former registrar (recruitment) of the court, seeking to quash the order whereby his representation for stay on departmental enquiry till the conclusion of criminal trial of an FIR registered against him in 2017, has been rejected. The petitioner, Dr Balwinder Kumar Sharma, is an accused in the Haryana judicial paper leak case of 2017 alongwith eight others, registered at a Chandigarh police station.
The division bench of Justices Jaswant Singh and Sant Parkash, while denying any relief to Sharma, said, “The petitioner has been drawing salary, being an employee under suspension and it is neither desirable nor advisable for any court of law in view of the nature and gravity of allegations, to force an employer to continue paying an employee which the establishment does not deem fit to continue as it’s part by stalling the conclusion of departmental proceedings.”
The petitioner’s counsel, advocate Ramesh Kumar Bamal, seeking to quash the departmental inquiry marked against Sharma by the High Court, had argued that a bare perusal of the charges framed by the criminal court and the memorandum issued by registrar vigilance, Punjab and Haryana High Court, would show that both are based on the same set of facts as well as documentary evidence and therefore both cannot continue simultaneously because the defence of petitioner would be prejudiced in criminal trial if the departmental enquiry is permitted to continue. Also, allegations levelled and facts in departmental enquiry and those forming basis of criminal trial are identical as the documents as well as witnesses are same. Advocate Bamal also argued that in the alternative, in case the departmental enquiry cannot be stayed till the decision of criminal case, then till the examination of witnesses who are common to both trial and enquiry, the department enquiry be kept in abeyance.
The bench after hearing the arguments said that “when an employee is roped in a criminal offence, the disciplinary authority by taking cognizance of such initiation of criminal offence, proceeds with the departmental proceedings to take appropriate action as per the statutory rules governing the post an employee is holding. In case the offence is of serious nature, which may impute the integrity/character of an employee, then the department suspends the employee immediately and initiates further departmental proceedings.”
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