Can’t sack employee without due inquiry, HC says
The Delhi high court has said an employee cannot be removed only for “misconduct” without an inquiry, before reinstating a woman employee, who was removed from service for her alleged habit of taking photographs of the office records on her mobile phone and keeping them with her in digital form.
Justice V Kameswar Rao set aside the termination order of the woman, who was working as a senior stenographer in the Delhi Social Welfare Board citing rulings of the Supreme Court, which had held that an employee cannot be removed without a department inquiry, just on the foundation of a misconduct.
The judge, however, also said the allegations against the petitioner were serious and the Board is free to take action against her in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
“Hence, the termination of the petitioner needs to be set aside. It is ordered accordingly. The petitioner shall be reinstated in service and shall also be entitled to full back wages, as the termination is held to be illegal and the petitioner has to be put in the same position as if, the termination has not been effected,” Rao said.
“But at the same time, the allegations against the petitioner are of very serious nature, liberty is with the Board to proceed against the petitioner in accordance with the principles of natural justice. The order of reinstatement and payment of full back wages shall be complied within eight weeks from today,” he said in his order of February 25.
The woman, through her counsel Anuj Aggarwal, had challenged her termination from employment saying that no inquiry was conducted and that was against the principles of natural justice.