BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court has directed the State Government and all its agencies to adhere to the nine-month timeline to complete departmental inquiries, including those entrusted to the Lokayukta, in terms of Rule 14-A of the Karnataka Civil Service (CCA) Rules.
Justice M Nagaprasanna passed the order while allowing a petition filed by B S Ramaswamy, 65-years-old from Mysuru, who challenged the de novo inquiry ordered against him by the appointment of a new inquiry officer on the same charge sheet that was issued earlier. While he was working as First Division Assistant in 1996 in Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA), disciplinary inquiry was ordered against him in 2003 owing to certain alleged omissions and commissions.
It is further observed that the government issued an official memorandum dated June 28, 2001, capping the time limit for conclusion of an inquiry on its initiation to nine months, the court said. “This court notices with pain that in umpteen number of cases where disciplinary proceedings are initiated by issuance of charge sheet and are not concluded within reasonable time, the employee against whom proceedings are pending is always kept on the tenterhooks and denied service and terminal benefits,” the court observed while imposing cost of Rs 25,000 on the government.
If the MUDA cannot prove the allegations levelled against the petitioner in an inquiry that protracted for 13-long years, it will be unjust and unfair to put the employee through the rigmarole of conduct of disciplinary proceedings, all over again, especially since the petitioner retired many years ago, the court said.
The petitioner retired on January 31, 2012.
The court said that the cost of Rs Rs 25,000 is to be paid to the petitioner and that he is entitled to all the benefits. Hence, MUDA should release all terminal benefits to the petitioner on his retirement, with 6 per cent interest. The petitioner is entitled to notional promotion, if any, withheld on account of pendency of the proceedings, the court said, while directing to send the copy of this order to the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms.