Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of R.D. Dhanuka and R.I. Chagla, JJ., refused to quash departmental enquiry against the petitioner even when there were pending criminal proceedings against him.

Petitioner sought writ, order or direction for quashing and setting aside the impugned charge sheet dated 05-07-2021 issued by the Respondent for the purpose of the departmental enquiry against the Petitioner.

It was submitted that the petitioner was already facing a criminal case in respect of the said charges which were levelled for the initiation of the departmental enquiry.

Petitioner’s counsel stated that the charge sheet on criminal enquiry as well as the departmental enquiry had identical charges. Hence, in view of the charges and evidence being common in the departmental proceedings as well as in Criminal case, departmental enquiry has to be quashed and set aside.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Court on perusal of the charge sheet issued in a departmental and criminal enquiry, opined that the charges against the petitioner were not identical in both the proceedings. All the witnesses proposed to be examined are also not the same.

Supreme Court in the decision of M. Paul Anthony v. Bharat Gold Mines Ltd., (1999) 3 SCC 679, clearly held that simultaneous continuance of departmental enquiry with criminal proceedings is permissible independently.

Though the High Court held that the above-stated case does not support the case of the petitioner.

Court stated that the petitioner has to file his reply to the charge sheet issued by the respondent for conducting departmental enquiry. Adding to the said, the bench held that it will not interfere with the departmental enquiry and the time to file a reply to the charge sheet granted to the petitioner in the departmental enquiry is extended by 2 weeks.

In view of the above discussion, petition was dismissed. [Prashant Raosaheb Chormale v. Punyashlok Ahilyadevi Holkar Solapur University, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 1314, decided on 22-07-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

Mr N.V. Bandiwadekar a/w Mr. Vinayak Kumbhar i/b Ashwini N. Bandiwadekar for the Petitioner.

Mr Manjunath Kakkalameli, for Respondent 1.

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