Chhattisgarh High Court: Prashant Kumar Mishra, J. while allowing a writ petition, quashed the order of removal from service passed against the petitioner.

The petitioner (since deceased) was posted as a security guard at the bungalow of one of the Ministers of the Government of Chhattisgarh. On the relevant date, he was found to have consumed liquor and attend the duties in that condition, creating nuisance/ruckus. The Panchnama was prepared in the presence of five policemen and upon finding that the petitioner was not in a position to attend the duties, he was sent back in a Government vehicle to the security company’s headquarter. The petitioner was chargesheeted. The Enquiry Officer found all charges proved against the petitioner and punishment of removal from service was imposed upon him.

Admittedly, the petitioner was not sent for medical examination. Attending duties after having consumed liquor had been proved against the petitioner, not on the basis of any chemical or other expert opinion but only on the basis of oral testimony of the fellow constables.

The important issue falling for consideration before the High Court was whether a delinquent employee can be subjected to a major penalty of removal from service on the charge of attending duties in a drunken condition, when, admittedly, he was not sent for medical examination to prove the consumption of alcohol.

Relying on Bachubhai Hassanalli Karyani v. State of Maharashtra, (1971) 3 SCC 930 and Munna Lal v. Union of India, (2010) 15 SCC 399, the High Court allowed the instant writ petition. It was held: “Inebriation of the petitioner was sought to be proved on the basis of Panchnama and oral evidence, and not by requiring the petitioner to undergo any medical examination. Such procedure for proving the fact of inebriation while on duty would not be a prudent manner of proving the charge.”

However, the petitioner died during the pendency of the petition. Therefore, consequent upon quashing of the order of removal from service, the entire benefits including arrears of salary till the date of the petitioner’s death and thereafter, the entire pensionary benefits were directed to be paid to his legal heirs. [Kamleshwar Prasad Trivedi v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 111, decided on 17-10-2019]

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