Tripura High Court: Akil Kureshi CJ., while directing respondents to release the due payments, observed that departmental proceedings cannot be kept pending merely on account of internal administrative issues.
Petitioner has prayed for quashing and setting aside a memorandum dated 19-03-2015 under which the department has issued a chargesheet to the petitioner levelling certain allegations of misconduct. The petitioner has also prayed for a direction to the respondents to release the benefits of the pay revision to the petitioner which have been withheld on account of the said pending departmental inquiry. According to the petitioner after issuance of the chargesheet, no progress has been made for years together and in the meantime the petitioner suffers from stigma of a pending departmental inquiry and has also not been granted the benefit of pay revision.
Court observed, “At all stages thus the department had shown total lack of seriousness in conducting and completing the departmental proceedings. Every Government servant must answer to the allegations of misconduct which may be made against him or her. The Government official, however, also have a right to be informed about the outcome of such proceeding which would give a range of factors and circumstances, must be completed with due promptitude. A pending departmental inquiry is by itself a stigma and is attached with several adverse consequences such as, suspension in some cases, withholding of benefits of pay revision and denial of promotion when due. If the Government servant in the meantime retires, the pension would not be finalized and gratuity would not be released in full. The departmental proceedings, therefore, cannot be kept pending for no reason at all only on account of internal administrative issues.”
Quashing the chargesheet and directing to release all benefits of the petitioner, Court said, “I find it absolutely inequitable and unjust to permit the department to now carry on the departmental proceedings at this belated stage when for about five years the department has shown no seriousness in pursuing the inquiry.”[Dr Sukhen Das v. State of Tripura, 2021 SCC OnLine Tri 41, decided on 21-01-2021]
Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together