Prem Nath Bali Vs. High Court of Delhi

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By Anjana K H

Appellant : Prem Nath Bali

Respondent : Registrar High Court of Delhi And Another

Case No. : Civil Appeal No. 958 Of 2010

Introduction

It is the right of an employee to be protected from unreasonable delay of disciplinary proceedings or departmental enquiry initiated against him.

The Supreme Court ,in this case , directed to every establishments , to conclude departmental proceedings against their employees within six months. it was to avoid unnecessary harassment to the person’s employed in the establishment.

In this case the appellant was held liable for the punishment prescribed by the Rule 14 of  The Central Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1965.

Rule 14

Rule 14 says about procedure for imposing penalties.

• When the authority opinioned that an inquiry should be conducted for misconduct or misbehavior and there is reasonable grounds to believe so and to find out truth behind those offences by or against a government officer , there will be an appointment of an authority of inquire the same.

In  Prem Nath Bali Vs. Registrar High Court of Delhi, Supreme Court made directions on the matters of unreasonable delay  of departmental proceedings which turned as a harassment to Prem Nath Bali, the appellant , who was under suspension for a period of nine years (1990 – 1999).

Because of the pending proceedings, the appellant filed revocation of suspension order but it was not considered.(1)

  • Indian legal solution – Prem Nath Bali Vs. Registrar High Court of Delhi

Relevant Facts

•The appellant was working in Patiala House Court, Delhi.

• Before the appellant promoted as upper division clerk he was working as the lower division clerk in District and Sessions Court, Delhi.

•  in 1989, he was joined at Patiala House Court , Delhi with the  same rank.

• He was appointed with the duty of copying criminal agency side.

• in 1990, he filed a complaint against his colleague.

•He sent the complaint to the officer in charge .

• In the complaint , he stated that ,the window clerk , named Smt.Brij Bala , is not efficiently carrying her duties and he also requested for the transfer of the clerk.

• On the same day , she also made a statement to the superior against the appellant 

• The statement was about some applications which were not even entered in the register.

•After closing the application register , she came to know some applications were entered in the register me its certified copies got prepared.

• She stated that , the appellant made disputes with her when she refused to deliver the copies.

•And also, he used some words against her while quarreling .

•On the basis of her complaint , an enquiry was started.

• Then a departmental enquiry was also held against the appellant.

• On 18-07-1990, the appellant had received the memorandum informing him that an enquiry is proposed to conduct against him  enquiry against him under Rule 14 of the

Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and

Appeal) Rules, 1965.(2)

• The disciplinary proceedings, which commenced

on 18.07.1990, continued for more than nine years.

• The District & Sessions Judge, Delhi passed two

orders dated 27.10.1999 and 28.10.1999 imposing a

major penalty of compulsory retirement on the

appellant.

• Pending disciplinary proceedings, the appellant sought

revocation of suspension order but such

representation made by the appellant was not

considered.

(2)Indian Kanoon .com – Prem Nath Bali Vs. Registrar High Court of Delhi

• The District & Sessions Judge, Delhi passed two

orders dated 27.10.1999 and 28.10.1999 imposing a

 penalty of compulsory retirement on the

appellant.

• It was also ordered that the appellant will

not be entitled to any amount more than the

allowances already paid during the period of

suspension.

• Challenging the said order, the appellant filed an

appeal before the Administrative Judge of the High

Court of Delhi.

Issues Involved

• Whether the principles of  Natural Justice is completely observed in the disciplinary proceedings or not ?

The question before the court was whether the principles of natural Justice is completely observed in the disciplinary proceedings or not .

Contentions

•In Prem Nath Bali vs. Registrar High Court of Delhi , the parties raised their arguments in respect of the matter.

Appellant

•Pleader for appellant argued about the fault in

proceedings.

•Secondly, he said  compulsory

retirement on the appellant was not

corresponding to the charge.

•Thirdly he argued that the appellant was kept under suspension  without a Justifiable cause is not acceptable and asked court for directions to be made for retiral benefits for the appellant.

Respondent

•He Replied that the appellant was not

eligible to argue for the grants or benefits in the period of those 9 years for the fixations of his pension.

Key Observations

While passing the decision, the court has made some of the key Observations which led the court to decide or proceed the dispute in the said manner.

without any doubt it’s crystal clear that the unfair delay of proceedings in nothing but obviously the wrong  way of concluding an action.

so, the key Observations made by the court are :

• it will be the duty of the employee to set sincere initiatives to end departmental inquiry proceedings.

• it should be concluded withina reasonable time by giving importance to that proceedings.

• if it’s not possible by some unavoidable reasons not take more than one year to settle.

• it is to avoid loss and violation of rights of the employee who is going through the proceedings .

Decision

The Court made decisions regarding the appeal in matters of the fixations of pension benefits  for the appellant. It is directed to consider the period of suspension of appellant  also as there is nothing to justify or explain for the delay of proceedings by the part of respondent.

And also, they will responsible for making the benefit of pension available for the appellant regularly on future also. It will be done as per the prescribed rules.

The court here said that , regarding to all the facts and circumstances they are in the view that the period of 9 years should also have been taken for determining the pension.

Analysisof The Case Law

Reasonable delay of enquiry proceedings can be considered with the listed causes directed authority to make the delay .But the delay of proceedings without a fair or sufficient cause is definitely a curse to the person who suffers from it.

The appellant was held liable for the punishment prescribed by the Rule 14 of  The Central Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1965.

But the departmental proceedings taken Unreasonable delay and more the 9 years the appellant kept as a suspended employee .

As a detailed reading we can find out that the employee (the appellant) was in a state of living where he was surviving with the only help of the grants allowed in the basis of suspension.

Because of the pending proceedings, the appellant filed revocation of suspension order but it was not considered.

But court took a loot at the unfair delay of proceedings and made comments on it .

The Court made directions to the respondents to pay the amount of pension re-determined and consider the period suspension also along with  the amount while calculating amount payable.(3)

The decision made by the supreme Court , without making any doubt , is clearly appreciating the speedy and proper disposal or conclusion of disciplinary proceedings by the authorities.

The appeal succeeded and was allowed in relation to the appellant’s pension. it is directed to calculate the pension by considering the period of suspension (06.02.1990 to 01.03.1999) . And also, it was said that , respondents will be responsible for the fixation of   pension regularly in future as per rules.

The court directions to be fulfilled by the respondents denotes the addressing of the denied rights of employee that is the appellant for the last 9 years of his suspension.

it was held that the appellant naturally suffered a lot and was compelled to survive only on suspension allowances.

From the decision, we can analyze the following points which are needed to be considered importantly.

(3)Indianlegalsolution.com

• Court said that , an employer has the duty to make the most reasonable amount of time for the proceedings  against the employee by giving more importance to the departmental inquiry.

The shortest possible time can be read as the fair and reasonable time for the proper disposal of proceedings.

•  An employer have to take initiatives for the conclusion of proceedings if it is started against his employee withinthe most reasonable time.

As above mentioned, the given priority of proceedings will be a blessing in the future and definitely will be creating a key Stone for the responsible and impartial authority.

Similar Case Laws

As the case Prem Nath Bali vs. Registrar High Court of Delhi , is undoubtedly declaring the proposed time limit for the conclusion of disciplinary actions. There are some other case laws also deals with same subject matter.

State of MP Vs. Bani Singh ,1990 SUPP,SCC 738

In this case it was reported that , it is unfair to make delay in the important stage of departmental enquiry.

Anant R Kulkarni vs. Y.P Education Society and Others

Here, Court Said that,

On the ground of delay , no departmental enquiry should be set aside by court.(4)

Conclusion

Unjustifiable delay or consuming excess time for disciplinary actions will be a natural burden for any of the parties and definitely it will be illegal violation of some of the rights of the person as he has the right to claim rightful grants but is directed not to do so because of the existing pending proceedings.

(4)www.wbja.nic.in

The judgement delivered by  Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre  in Prem Nath Bali vs. Registrar High Court of Delhi.

In Prem Nath Bali vs. Registrar High Court of Delhi (Civil Appeal No. 958 Of 2010) , Supreme Court came to decide whether the disciplinary proceedings against appellant which was continued for more than 9 years is Justifiable or not . For him, it was also the period of suspension and then directed for compulsory retirement and  he was only allowed to be eligible for the suspension benefits for the long 9 years .

The court was deciding on the matter with questioning the observation of principles of natural Justice by the authority. It was the legal issue involved in the case law.

The court reported that , they have found the record of departmental proceedings and the authority or the inquiry officer fulfilled his duties or performed his responsibility by satisfying the principles of natural Justice.

It was held that no justification could be found to justify the undue delay of proceedings and the Court questioned the reasons for this unjustifiable delay of departmental inquiry which had taken  more than 9 years to conclude the proceedings.

The court here mentioned that ,there is no justification to be arose from the part of respondent and there is nothing Justifiable to explain the unfair delay of or the undue delay of the departmental enquiry.

The above-mentioned factual incidents clearly and correctly indicates that the non-ending proceedings of disciplinary actions constituting the breach of duties of the employer to the employee by restricting the rights of the appellant without any reasonable cause.

The appeal was succeeded and was allowed in relation to the appellant’s pension. it is directed to calculate the pension by considering the period of suspension (06.02.1990 to 01.03.1999) . And also, it was said that , respondents will be responsible for the fixation of   pension regularly in future as the per the rules prescribed.

From the decision it’s clear that the court was also aware of the fact that the appellant was compelled to move his life only with the help of suspension allowances.

The Court said that , by the discussion , it is decided that the appeal succeeds and the matter extending in relation to the decisions of fixation of the pension for which the appellant is eligible.

References

1: https://indianlegalsolution.com/prem-nath-bali-v-registrar-high-court-of-delhi/

2: http://www.wbja.nic.in/wbja_adm/files/Every%20employer%20must%20make%20sincere%20endeavour%20to%20conclude%20the%20departmental%20inquiry%20proceedings%20%20within%20a%20reasonable%20time%20by%20giving%20priority%20to%20such%20proceedings%20and%20as%20far%20as%20possible%20to%20be%20concludewithin%20six%20moths.pdf

3: https://catjudgements.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/85419/1/110720063472019_1.pdf

4:https://indiankanoon.org/doc/173869274/

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