Friday, September 24, 2010

Employees facing probe can be denied promotion: High Court

Employees facing probe can be denied promotion: High Court

Staff Reporter

"They cannot seek a direction to promote them as a matter of right"

MADURAI: Government employees facing charges under Rule 17 (b) of the Tamil Nadu Civil Service (Discipline and Appeal) Rules can be denied promotion even if they fall within the zone of consideration, the Madras High Court Bench here has ruled.

Dismissing a couple of writ petitions filed by an employee of a village panchayat in Virudhunagar, Justice K. Chandru said a government servant could not seek a direction to promote him/her to the next higher post either as a matter of right or as per rules and regulations.

The judge also held that courts could not quash charge memos at a stage when the employees had only been asked to show cause as to why action should not be taken against them.

In the present petitions, K. Indurani had sought to quash the charge memo issued to her and consequently promote her.

She was accused of failing in her duty to audit the accounts of the village panchayat during 2004-05 when a sum of Rs.19,60,699 were swindled.

The departmental proceedings were initiated against her on the basis of the recommendations of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department.

However, the petitioner claimed that she was not in charge of the accounts during the relevant period and hence could not be subjected to departmental proceedings.

Rejecting contention

Rejecting the contention, the judge said that it could be a best defence for the petitioner during the enquiry and not at the stage of show cause.

He recalled that the Supreme Court in Union of India Vs. Kunisetty Satyanarayana (2006) held that a mere charge sheet or show cause notice does not give rise to any cause of action because it does not amount to an adverse order which affects the rights of any party unless it had been issued by an incompetent person.

"It is only when a final order imposing some punishment or otherwise adversely affecting a party is passed, that the said party can be said to have any grievance. Writ jurisdiction is discretionary jurisdiction and hence such discretion should not ordinarily be exercised by quashing a show cause notice or charge sheet," the apex court had said.

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