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Can’t raise original punishment later: HC

May 19, 2019 05:22 AM


Can’t raise original punishment later: HC


The Punjab and Haryana high court high court has held that original punishment awarded to an employee for any any lapse cannot be enhanced subsequently. The high court also made it clear that punishing an employee by ordering their removal from service is akin to economic death penalty.

Justice Arun Monga of the high court passed these orders while directing the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to reinstate a constable who was dismissed in 2008 after he was found sleeping on duty.

The CRPF had initially punished the jawan, Rahul Bhardwaj of Haryana’s Jind district, by shifting him to quarter guard duty for 28 days. However, after a year, the paramilitary force ordered his termination for the same offence. Bhardwaj then moved court seeking directions to the CRPF to set-aside his termination.

Petitioner found sleeping on guard duty

The petitioner, who had joined the CRPF as a constable (general duty) in 2002, was suspended after he was found sleeping on duty on the night of November 28, 2005. He was punished by being made to undertake quarter guard duty for 28 days — a minor punishment under the CRPF Act, 1949. Thereafter, his suspension was revoked.

However, a fresh notice was issued to Bhardwaj on March 27, 2007 under the CRPF rules to show cause why his punishment should not be enhanced to termination from service.

The petitioner filed a reply explaining that due to his wife’s miscarriage during the relevant period, he had been mentally disturbed and had inadvertently committed the alleged act of delinquency. He also submitted that he had already been punished for the same. However, on June 7, 2007, the CRPF enhanced his punishment from 28 days of quarter guard duty to removal from service.

Contesting Bhardwaj’s plea, the CRPF contended that he was posted at a sensitive post and any dereliction of duty on his part would endanger not only his life but also of other personnel.

Hearing both the parties, the high court held that enhancement of punishment after a lapse of one year does not stand judicial scrutiny and is not tenable. Particularly, when the petitioner had already undergone original punishment awarded to him by the disciplinary authority.

“Even otherwise, I am of the opinion that awarding the punishment of removal from service is akin to economic death penalty for an employee. Not only it is loss of livelihood for the employee, but the entire family is reduced to live in penury and suffers the said punishment. Assuming the delinquency attributed to petitioner to be gospel, the punishment awarded to him on June 8, 2007 is highly disproportionate and unduly harsh,” observed the judge. Setting aside the termination order, the high court ordered the CRPF to reinstate the petitioner.


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