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Quashing disciplinary proceedings on procedure does not exonerate employee: HC

New Delhi: If the disciplinary proceedings against an employee are set aside on account of violation of procedure and not on merits, then the person is not legally and finally exonerated, the Delhi High Court has ruled.

"The disciplinary proceedings are set aside on account of violation of procedure, the employee is not legally and finally exonerated," Justice Valmiki J Mehta said.
“The disciplinary proceedings are set aside on account of violation of procedure, the employee is not legally and finally exonerated,” Justice Valmiki J Mehta said.

Justice Valmiki J Mehta said that in such cases the disciplinary proceedings have to be then conducted from the point where there was a violation of the procedure.

“Once the issue is not of merits, but of violation of procedure, and the disciplinary proceedings are set aside on account of violation of procedure, the employee is not legally and finally exonerated.

“The disciplinary proceedings have then to be directed to be conducted from the stage from where violation of compliance of principles of natural justice is found…,” the court said.

The ruling came on a school’s plea challenging an order of the Delhi School Tribunal (DST) reinstating one of its employees on the ground that the disciplinary proceedings had violated principles of natural justice by not providing documents to the person charged, not granting adjournments, by examining several witnesses on a single date and non-supply of enquiry report.

The private school had contended that the DST ought to have remanded the matter back to the disciplinary authority for conduct of the enquiry proceedings afresh and could not have directed reinstatement of the employee.

Setting aside the reinstatement, the court remanded the proceedings back to the enquiry officer to be conducted afresh “without any violation of principles of natural justice and in accordance with law”.

PTI
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