Should employee punished for misconduct be treated at par for promotion? Bombay High Court answers

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Updated: May 04, 2020 1:54 PM

The Bombay High Court said that to qualify for a promotion, what is least expected of an employee is to have an unblemished record.

Bombay High Court. (File Photo)

The Bombay High Court has upheld the validity of a government resolution (GR) for consideration of promotion to those punished for misconduct. The resolution was issued by the general administration department (GAD) on December 15, 2017 for promotion of those punished for misconduct, a report in Hindustan Times said.

The HC bench of justice SV Gangapurwala and justice Shrikant Kulkarni while validating the government resolution said that an employee found guilty of misconduct cannot be placed at par with other employees.

“The case has to be treated differently,” the court said on Thursday. The court said that to qualify for a promotion, “what is least expected of an employee is to have an unblemished record”, the HT report said.

The court made this observation while hearing a plea moved by sub-divisional engineer with PWD in Maharashtra, Mohan Sangvikar. The court dismissed his plea and validated the GR.

Sangvikar had moved to the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) challenging the validity of a clause in the resolution after he was declared unfit for promotion by his department on the basis of the clause. Sangvikar was to be promoted to the post of execution engineer, but he was declined the promotion after he was found guilty in a disciplinary proceeding. In November 2017, his increment was ordered to be withheld without any cumulative effect on his future increments.

Sangvikar had moved the MAT with a plea which was rejected by the tribunal in March 2019. He then approached the High Court with a petition challenging the validity of the GR.

He argued that the GR was arbitrary, illegal and violative of the constitutional mandate of equality. The PWD official said that no disciplinary proceeding was pending against him at the relevant time.

But the High Court rejected his arguments and ruled in favour of the departmental promotion committee. The court said that when an officer is found guilty in a departmental proceeding, “denial of promotion in such circumstance is not a penalty but a necessary consequence of his conduct”.

The bench noted that it didn’t find any arbitrariness in the decision taken by the departmental promotion committee and noted that the Sangvikar’s punishment was not over at the relevant time.

The court also said Sangvikar had not been debarred for promotion and could be considered after the period of punishment is over in June 2020.

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