GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES CANNOT BE COMPULSORILY RETIRED FOR FAILURE TO INFORM ABOUT ANY ARREST IN A CRIMINAL CASE TO THEIR DEPARTMENT
New Delhi, September 12, 2012(PTI):Government employees cannot be compulsorily retired for their failure to inform their department about their arrest in a criminal case, the Delhi high court has ruled.
Holding that this kind of misconduct was not grave enough to warrant such a harsh punishment, the high court ordered reinstatement of SN Singh, a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) employee who was compulsorily retired for not informing his superiors about his nine-day arrest in Kanpur in connection with a criminal case arising out of a family feud in February 2011.
“The misconduct committed by the petitioner of not informing his being arrested by the police in our opinion is not a grave misconduct and thus does not warrant imposition of penalty of compulsory retirement,” a bench of justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Manmohan Singh said in their judgment dated August 29.
While ordering his reinstatement without any back-wages in two weeks, the bench left it open to the competent authority to levy an appropriate penalty upon the petitioner, but not of a kind where he would lose his job.
“A lesser penalty, may be of reduction in rank or reduction by two or three stages in the scale of pay would be a more appropriate penalty,” it said.
According to an office memorandum dated February 25, 1995, a government servant renders himself/herself liable for disciplinary action if he/she does not inform the superior officers of the facts and circumstances leading to the arrest of the person concerned.
While on sanctioned leave, Singh was arrested on February 17, 2011 in connection with an FIR registered at PS Kalyanpur, Kanpur, UP and remained in judicial custody till February 25, 2011. He got the leave extended up to March 23, 2011 and joined duty on March 24, 2011 but did not inform the department that he had been arrested.
After the CISF came to know about it, he was issued a charge-sheet for not informing his superior officers of his detention. The chargesheet alleged that his conduct was unbecoming of a government servant. He was compulsorily retired as he did not give any relevant information and to this extent his counsel conceded that the indictment at the inquiry was correct.
However, his counsel questioned the penalty of compulsory retirement terming it “disproportionate to the gravity of the offence”.