Tripura High Court: Akil Kureshi, CJ., dismissed a petition which was filed challenging an order passed by the disciplinary authority imposing punishment of reduction of the petitioner’s pay by three stages for a period of four years with future effect.

Petitioner was working as Junior Engineer (Civil) with Border Road Task Force (BRTF) and on 20-01-2017 petitioner was served with a charge-sheet which contained one charge of deficiency of contract materials, irregularities in handing/taking over, improper maintenance and updating of site documents due to which loss to the tune of approximately 2.08 crores arises to Govt. The inquiry was conducted. The inquiry officer submitted his report on 22-07-2017 holding that the charge was proved.

The petitioner did not make any representation against the inquiry officer’s report whereupon the disciplinary authority passed the said order imposing punishment. The petitioner challenged the said order before the appellate authority, unsuccessfully. Hence, this petition.

The Court noted that before the inquiry officer the petitioner had in clear terms admitted the charge unconditionally, in fact during the preliminary inquiry as well as the departmental inquiry the petitioner accepted the charge and had declared the following:

“I GS-195496X JE (Civ) Vaibhav R Jadhav of 477 RMPL/112 RCC have received the brief given by Shri Sudhansu Tyagi, AE (Civ), Presenting Officer. I agree with the contents of the brief given by presenting officer. Once again I reiterate that I have accepted all charges leveled against me with free and cool mind. Since I have accepted all charges levelled against me, therefore, no defence and state witness to be examined by me. Further, after accepting the charge levelled against me no listed document to be examined by me. I again humbly request with disciplinary authority that a lenient view to be kept about me while deciding punishment about me as I was new to the organization.”

The Court was of the view that there weren’t any errors in the order. The first retraction of the admission of the petitioner came before the appellate authority where he contended that his acceptance of the charge was not free. He was promised that a minor punishment would be imposed if he admitted the charge and, therefore, the punishment would be deleted. The appellate authority examined this aspect but did not accept it and, therefore, dismissed the appeal.

The Court while dismissing the appeal stated that the petitioner had not produced any material to establish his averment that the admission of charge which he had made more than once, was forcibly extracted from him. In a writ petition, such a factual issue in absence of any material produced by the petitioner on a bare word cannot be accepted.

[GS-195496X JE(Civ) Vaibhav Jadhav v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Tri 480, decided on 17-09-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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