Disciplinary authority has no jurisdiction to inflict penalty on a government employee in an offence before the outcome of the criminal trial, the Central Administrative Tribunal has held.
The Tribunal passed the order on a petition by a Delhi Police constable challenging the order of the disciplinary authority to forfeit his two years of service on account of misconduct during the pendency of his case before a court.
The CAT, set aside the decision of the disciplinary authority, referred the Delhi Police (Punishment and Appeal) Rules to arrive at the conclusion that the decision to impose penalty was wrong.
“Rule 12 of Rules 1980, clearly mandates the disciplinary authority not to exercise the power to punish till the outcome of the criminal trial is not known and thereafter keeping in light the provisions and exceptions contained therein, a conscious decision to inflict penalty is the appropriate stage on which the disciplinary proceedings would come to an end, as provided under Rule 16,” it said.
The Tribunal pulled up the Delhi Police for holding the inquiry simultaneously with the criminal trial.
“What is not precluded to the Delhi Police is to hold an inquiry simultaneously with the criminal trial, which they have continued,” it said.
The trial court acquitted the constable on March 12, 2008, after the prosecution had failed to prove the ingredients of the offence.
“Disciplinary authority has no jurisdiction to pass orders before outcome of the criminal trial, which is known only on March 12, 2008,” the Tribunal, comprising Members Veena Chhotray and Shanker Raju, said.
It also rapped the disciplinary authority for not considering the representation of constable Ramesh Kumar, who exercise the right of the alternate remedy by way of departmental appeal to the authorities after the outcome of the criminal trial.
“Having not taken cognisance of the representation preferred by the applicant and rejecting the same as not maintainable is certainly an act, which speaks volume about non-application of mind to the rules and law on the subject,” the Tribunal said.