Supreme Court: The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai, JJ., held that strict Rules Of Evidence do not apply on a departmental enquiry.

The Petitioner, an Additional District Judge in the State of Uttarakhand was facing a departmental enquiry. The grievance of the petitioner was that his application for placing certain documents on record before the Enquiry Officer was rejected on the ground that the Presenting Officer had made an endorsement on the documents that they do not deserve to be admitted in view of Sections 85A and 85B of the Indian Evidence Act.

Noticeably, another application filed by the petitioner before the Enquiry Officer giving an additional list of witnesses to be produced in the enquiry was dismissed as well; hence, aggrieved by dismissal of his applications, the petitioner had approached the High Court of Uttrakhand.

The contention of the petitioner before the High Court was that the documents mentioned in the application were relevant and the Presenting Officer as well as the Enquiry Officer committed an error in not permitting the said documents to be exhibited in the enquiry. The High Court observed that there was no error committed by the Enquiry Officer as the petitioner was permitted to adduce evidence on his behalf.  Although, the High Court permitted certain documents which the petitioner wanted to be exhibited in the enquiry, it did not allow exhibiting the case diary which was obtained by the petitioner under the Right to Information Act.

The counsel for the High Court, Ms.Bharti Reddy submitted that the documents could not be taken on record without proof as the case diary which the petitioner wanted to be exhibited was not permitted by the Enquiry Officer on the ground of lack of proof for the said document as required under the provisions of the Evidence Act.

Holding that strict rules of evidence are not applicable to a Departmental Enquiry, the Bench stated that no prejudice would be caused to anyone if the case diary is placed on record. Accordingly, the petitioner was granted permission to exhibit the case diary as a document in the departmental enquiry.

The Bench while directing to complete the departmental enquiry expeditiously disposed of the petition along with pending applications. [Kanwar Amninder Singh V. High Court of Uttarakhand, Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s).2507/2021, 17-09-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

For Petitioner(s): Mr. Devdutt Kamat, Sr. Adv.

For the High Court: Mr. Sachin Sharma, AOR, Mr. Anil Kumar Gulati, Adv., Mr. Satyavrat Sharma, Adv., Mr. Rahul Gaur, Adv.

For Respondent(s): Mrs. D. Bharathi Reddy, AOR

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