Exonerated Mohali cop entitled to service benefits, promotion: HC
The Punjab and Haryana high court has held that a government employee exonerated in criminal and/or departmental proceedings was entitled for service benefits for the period (s)he remained out of job.
The high court bench of justice Harsimran Singh Sethi allowed a plea of Punjab Police head constable Raghubir Singh, presently posted in the office of senior superintendent of police (SSP), Mohali, who had challenged the denial of pay and promotion as assistant sub-inspector in view of an FIR against him.
On December 17, 2012, a case was registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act while Singh was posted on PCR duty. Without holding any inquiry, he was dismissed from service the same day by the SSP. As no incriminating evidence was found in the probe, an untraced report was filed before the special court, Mohali, which was accepted on September 12, 2017, and the cop was exonerated, said his lawyer Ranjivan Singh.
On October 15, 2018, he was ordered to be reinstated by the director general of police (DGP), Punjab, with a stipulation that a departmental inquiry will also be initiated against him. The charges could not be proved again and the departmental charge-sheet was dropped on February 18, 2019, by the SSP.
When the petitioner requested for restoration of his salary and arrears for the period he remained out of job, it was turned down on November 19, 2019; he was also denied promotion to the rank of ASI.
The HC bench held that denying service benefits to the petitioner was unlawful and directed that the said period be counted for paying arrears and granting promotion to him from the date his juniors were promoted in March 2020.
The court found that before the investigating agency started investigation into the allegations, the petitioner was dismissed from service on the date of the registration of the FIR itself.
“Nothing has come on record as to why, without waiting for the outcome of the investigation, the action was taken against him in-haste only on the basis of the allegations,” the court said, adding that no service rule had been cited that even on the allegations alleged in the FIR, an employee could be dismissed from service.
“It is clear that it was only due to the illegal and arbitrary acts of the department that he was dismissed from service and he could not discharge the duties,” the bench said, adding that his arrears will be cleared within one month.
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