(Querist) 09 May 2010
This query is : Resolved
The charge sheet to an employee has been given at the fag end of date of retirement (30 days before the retirement) for an alleged act of misconduct allegedly made 20 years ago. There is a Supreme Court judgment which says that an employee cannot be served upon a charge sheet just before the retirement. Can one please give me the citation. Even HC citation will help.
(Expert) 09 May 2010
I am giving the position applicable to Central Government employees published in our SCR LINK Journal (July 2006) issue. In this legal position ennunciated by Supreme Court in many cases have been discussed. I hope this information helps you.
Rule 8 of RS (Pension) Rules 1993 states that pension is subject to future good conduct. Rule 8 (1) (a) states that future good conduct shall be an implied condition of every grant of pension and its continuance under these rules and (b) stipulates that the appointing authority may, by order in writing, withhold or withdraw a pension or a part thereof, whether permanently or for a specific period, if the pensioner is convicted of a serious crime or is found guilty of grave misconduct.
Rule 9 provides the right of the President to withhold or withdraw pension. If, in any departmental or judicial proceedings, the pensioner is found guilty of grave misconduct or negligence during the period of his service, including service rendered upon re employment after retirement subject to:
a) The sanction of President ;
b) Shall not be in respect of any event which took place more than four years before such institution; and
c) Shall be conducted by such authority as President may direct.
However, rule does not provide any bar in instituting disciplinary proceedings on a retired employee.
From the above it is clear that:
a) There is absolutely no bar in instituting disciplinary proceedings on a retired person;
b) Pension is subject to future good conduct;
c) Disciplinary proceedings shall be instituted with the sanction of President ;
e) Shall not be in respect of any event which took place more than four years before such institution.
The Supreme Court while interpreting the clause "shall not be in respect of any event which took place more than four years before such institution" held that the cause for the institution of proceedings, should not have taken place more than four years before the date of institution of proceedings. In other words, the departmental proceedings must be instituted before lapse of four years from the date on which the event of misconduct etc had taken place.
The Honble Supreme Court in State of UP Vs Sri Krishna Pandey; AIR 1996 SC 1656 held that institution of disciplinary proceedings is always related to misconduct and such proceedings should be instituted after retirement against the officer as expeditiously as possible. But the events of misconduct etc. which may have resulted should not have taken place more than four years before the date of institution of proceedings.
A retired govt. servant can be found guilty of grave misconduct during his service career pursuant to the departmental proceedings conducted against him even after his retirement, but such proceedings could be initiated in connection with only such misconduct which might have taken place within 4 years of the initiation of such departmental
proceedings against him. [State of Bihar Vs.Mohd Idris Ansari; AIR 1995 SC1853]
CAT Principal Bench/New Delhi held that if disciplinary proceedings are allowed to continue forever, sword of Democles would be hanging over the neck of every pensioner indefinitely which is likely to fall at any moment contingent or happening of a remote consequence of his actions or inactions in the forgotten past while he was in harness. This, according to us could not have been the intention of rule makers when they prescribe a time frame of four years from the date of the event constituting the misconduct to the initiation of departmental proceedings against a retired civil servant. [Sri V.C.Pande Vs UOI; 1996 (3) SLJ CAT 104]
From the decisions of CAT and Supreme Court, it can be said that after retirement of an employee disciplinary proceedings can be initiated but it shall be within four years from the date of event of the misconduct. The idea behind the rule seems to be to ensure peaceful life to a retired employee putting an embargo on taking action against him after four years.
(Expert) 09 May 2010
THE JUDGEMNENT OF SC MAY BE APPLICABLE TO CENTRAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND NOT FOR EMPLOYEES UNDER PRIVATE SECTOR.BUT SC AND HC HAVE HELD THAT CHARGES RELATING TO 20 YEARS BACK IS NOT MAINTAINABLE DUE TO STALE.I CAN QUOTE CITATIONS FOR THIS, IF YOU NEED IT
Ashok Kumar Garg
(Expert) 24 November 2010
Mr Murli Krishna Could you please enlighten me as to what is the meaning of institution of the proceedings. Does it mean service of the charge sheet or it is the sanction of the President ?
I have tried to locate the order of CAT Delhi in the case of VC Pandey Vs Union of India , mentioned in your opinion. However , I could not locate the text of the judgement. I will be immensely grateful if you could send me the link / text of the judgement for my help.