The Punjab and Haryana High Court while hearing a writ petition has held that the order of dismissal in absence of sufficient reasons recorded in writing for not holding an inquiry against the employee’s misconduct is not sustainable. “The authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank has to record reasons in writing as to why it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry”, the court observed.
A petition was filed by Sarabjit Singh, a dismissed Punjab Police Constable challenging an order dated 04.03.2020 passed by the Commando Battalion, Mohali. The order dismissed the petitioner from the service.
The impugned order was based on two FIRs registered against the petitioner. First FIR was registered on 29.02.2020 under the charges of rape and criminal intimidation over allegations that in 2010 before the petitioner joined service, he had an affair with the complainant. They also had a physical relationship. It was alleged that after getting the job, the petitioner stopped talking to the complainant and when she pressurized the petitioner, he threatened her that she will be killed or kidnapped or harmed by throwing acid. Therefore, the victim was silent for over a period of nine years.
The second FIR dated 01.03.2020 was registered by a Police Official against Constable for evading arrest and related charges when the police tried to arrest him in relation to the first FIR.
On the basis of these allegations, the Commando Battalion chose to invoke Clause (b) of the 2nd Proviso to Article 311(2) of the Indian Constitution, to dismiss the Constable from the service while dispensing with the requirement of holding departmental
In the present case, a single-judge bench of Justice Kshetarpal observed, “Such satisfaction has to be a subjective satisfaction of the authority so empowered. The mere observation that the departmental inquiry at this stage does not appear to be justified is not sufficient to invoke powers under Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India to dismiss an employee.”
While setting aside the impugned order the Hon’ble Court held that "In the present case, neither the reasons in writing have been recorded by the authority nor they are born from the record". It further directed that the petitioner shall be reinstated in the service with “consequential benefits”.
However, the court has allowed the respondents to initiate a departmental inquiry against the constable for the alleged misconduct.