P&H HC | Benefit of illegality committed by authority must ensure benefit to the retired employee

Punjab and Haryana High Court: This petition was filed before the Bench of Arun Monga, J.

A circular was issued, whereby the Disciplinary Authority was empowered to appoint any member of the CRPF below the rank of ‘Assistant Commandant’ as Presenting Officer to present the case on behalf of the Disciplinary Authority before the Inquiry Officer in the departmental proceedings. In this petition, the petitioner prayed that no Presenting Officer was appointed, at the relevant time, when the inquiry was conducted against him. Petitioner referred to a Supreme Court case Union of India v. Ram Lakhan Sharma, (2018) 7 SCC 670 and submitted that the inquiry conducted against petitioner was vitiated on account of the Inquiry Officer himself having assumed the role of Presenting Officer and, therefore, the inquiry report and subsequent proceedings pursuant thereto could not be judicially scrutinised. Whereas the respondent relied on the same case to submit that in the judgment relied upon, the Supreme Court had given liberty to respondents to proceed afresh.

High Court was of the view that in the instant matter the same liberty to proceed with enquiry afresh cannot be given as the petitioner had retired and thus benefit of the illegality committed by the respondents should be given to the employee. Therefore, this writ petition was allowed and inquiry report and orders passed by the disciplinary authority were set aside. [Bajinder Singh v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 405, decided on 11-04-2019]

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