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Penalty to employees takes effect from date of imposition, rules HC ‘Fine Imposed Since Misconduct Committed Only In Special Circumstances’

September 15, 2019 06:39 AM

COURTESY TOI SEPT 15

Penalty to employees takes effect from date of imposition, rules HC
‘Fine Imposed Since Misconduct Committed Only In Special Circumstances’
Ajay.Sura@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana high court has ruled that “the punishment or penalty awarded to an employee shall take effect prospectively” from the date of its imposition and not when the misconduct/offence was committed or detected.


“That the punishment imposed in departmental proceedings in the Major Singh Gill case judgment would relate to the period when the alleged offence/ misconduct was committed or in any case when the same was detected, does not lay down the correct law. The punishment/ penalty takes effect prospectively from the date of its imposition,” the HC has held.

Referring to a judgement passed by the Supreme Court, the bench clarified that, “the penalty imposed would relate back to the date when the misconduct was committed” refers to special circumstances of the case and no principle of universal application was intended.

The verdict passed by a full bench of the HC would have huge ramifications, especially in the matters related to punishment to employees in service matters for any misconduct.

The bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma, Justice Rajiv Narain Raina and Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu has passed these orders while deciding a reference received from a division bench for clarification on the issue.

In its order dated September 22, 2016, the division bench had doubted the correctness of the ratio of the judgment passed by the high court in Major Singh Gill versus State of Punjab in 1992, wherein it had been held that the punishment when awarded to an employee in departmental proceedings “would relate back to the period when the alleged offence/ misconduct was committed or in any case when the same was detected.”

“We are of the considered view that principles laid down in Major Singh Gill’s case require reconsideration by a larger bench,” the division bench of the HC had observed while referring the matter to the chief justice for constitution of a larger bench to decide the issue.

The matter had reached the HC in the wake of a petition filed by Jaswant Singh, an employee of the HC. While working as senior assistant, he was served with a chargesheet on July 28, 2000, for imposition of major penalty for causing delay in the hearing of a case.

An inquiry was held and an order dated November 7, 2005, was passed stopping one increment with cumulative effect. He preferred service appeal, in which taking a lenient view the penalty was modified to that of stoppage of one increment without cumulative effect. It was directed that the punishment as imposed should relate back to the date of the order of his punishment. Because of these orders, he was deprived of promotion and his junior was promoted over him.

He approached the HC seeking directions that the period of the currency of punishment be reckoned from the period when he was issued chargesheet. A single bench of the HC had held that the punishment would relate back to the date of lapse of the petitioner or the date when he was issued chargesheet

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