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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Explained: How Sachin Waze was dismissed without a department probe

Sachin Waze was dismissed from service by Mumbai Police Commissioner under Article 311 (2) (b) without a departmental enquiry. What is the process of a departmental enquiry, and can the dismissal be challenged?

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai |
Updated: May 18, 2021 10:50:16 am
Sachin Waze (File Photo)

Suspended police officer Sachin Waze, arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Mukesh Ambani terror scare case, was dismissed from service by Mumbai Police Commissioner under Article 311 (2) (b) without a departmental enquiry.

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Why was former cop Sachin Waze dismissed from service without departmental enquiry?

After Waze was arrested by the NIA in March in connection with his role in the Ambani terror scare case and subsequent murder of Mansukh Hiran, he was suspended. On May 11, Mumbai Police Commissioner Nagrale dismissed him for service under Article 311 (2)(b) of the Indian Constitution.

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While Article 311 is meant to act as a safeguard for civil servants that gives them a chance to respond to the charges in an enquiry so that he/she is not arbitrarily dismissed from service, the article also provides exceptions to these safeguards under subclause 2 provision b. It states “when an authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank is satisfied that for some reason, to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such enquiry”.

In Waze’s case, Nagrale wrote that he was the competent disciplinary authority and was satisfied that holding a departmental enquiry against Waze “will not be reasonably practicable.”

What are the safeguards that article 311 provides civil servants?

Article 311 says that no government employee either of an all India service or a state government shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to the own that appointed him/her. Section 2 of the article says that no civil servant shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which s/he has been informed of the charges and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.

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What is the process of a departmental enquiry?

In a departmental enquiry, after an enquiry officer is appointed, the civil servant is given a formal chargesheet of the charges. The civil servant can represent himself/herself or choose to have a lawyer. Witnesses can be called during the departmental enquiry following which the enquiry officer can prepare a report and submit it to the government for further action.

Are there other exceptions where a person can be dismissed without departmental enquiry?

Yes. As per Article 311 subclause 2 provision a, if a government employee is convicted in a criminal case, he can be dismissed without DE. Apart from this, under 311 (2) (c), a government employee can be dismissed when the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is satisfied that in the interest of the security of state it is not expedient to hold such an enquiry, the employee can be dismissed without DE.

Are 311 (2) sub sections used frequently?

They are invoked in exceptional circumstances. But the Jammu & Kashmir administration recently set up a Special Task Force (STF) to “scrutinise cases of employees suspected of activities requiring action under article 311(2)(c). The order dated April 21 further tasks the STF headed by ADG (CID) J&K to “compile records of such employees, wherever necessary and to the committee constituted by the government”. Three government employees, including two teachers, have already been fired. The move has been opposed by rights activists.

Can the dismissal under section 311 (2) be challenged by the government employee?

Yes, the government employee dismissed under these provisions can approach either tribunals like the state administrative tribunal – in Waze’s case it would be the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal — or Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) or the courts.

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