Tri HC | Initiating disciplinary proceedings after long lapse of time puts question mark to fairness of authority concerned

Tripura High Court: Arindam Lodh, J., while highly depreciating the conduct of the State  Public Works Department, directed it to conclude the disciplinary proceeding pending against the writ petitioner within 3 months of the date of the present order.

On the verge of writ petitioner’s retirement, a disciplinary proceeding was initiated against him and article of charges were framed on 29-6-2017 for the incidents which occurred between 2001-2004. The allegations were that the petitioner acted in a manner unbecoming of a government servant during the period as mentioned.

The High Court expressed astonishment as to why the authority concerned initiated the proceeding after a long lapse of time. As per the court, this itself puts a question mark to the fairness of the authority. The Court found it to be aptly clear that the allegations were within the authority’s knowledge at the relevant time. The court was surprised as to why the proceeding was delayed till the fag end of petitioner’s service, i.e. 15 days prior to his retirement. It was said: “the intention of the respondents i.e. authorities concerned is not clear. However, at this stage, I refrain myself to make any opinion in regard to the merits of the proceeding. However, it is observed that there is an absolutely unreasonable delay and serious laches on the part of the authority concerned i.e. the respondents herein. .. This Court highly deprecates the conducts of the respondents.” Considering the matter in entirety, the respondents were directed to complete the proceeding within 3 months from the date of receipt of the present order, failing which the entire proceeding shall automatically be deemed to be dropped. [Tapan Chandra Das v. State of Tripura, WP (C) No. 515 of 2019, dated 08-01-2019]

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