Order of punishment cannot be passed with a retrospective effect

Patna High Court: The petition challenging the order of reduction in pay scale and stopping of increment was allowed by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Mohit Kumar Shah, J.

The petitioner who worked as a Junior Engineer in the Rural Construction Department was subjected to an enquiry for delinquency in inspection of a construction project. In furtherance of the enquiry so conducted, the pay of the petitioner was reduced to the lowest stage and his increments were also stopped. The said order which was passed on 14.10.2006 was set aside by the High Court in an appeal preferred by the petitioner. Thereafter, another order was passed by the respondents dated 31.3.2016 which was in same terms as the earlier order. This order was challenged by the petitioner in the instant petition.

The High Court considered the record and found that the impugned order was in violation of the terms of Bihar Service Rules as the order did not provide any time frame for the reduction of pay scale. Further, the order proposed to inflict punishment on the petitioner with a retrospective effect, and that could not be allowed. The Court held it to be a settled law that an order of punishment can never be retrospective and it always has to be prospective. Therefore, the Court held that the impugned order was liable to be set aside which was ordered accordingly. [Raj Kishore Sinha v. State of Bihar, 2018 SCC OnLine Pat 825, 18-05-2018]

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