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Prabhakar V. The State of Maharashtra and Ors. - (High Court of Bombay) (01 Aug 2016)

Departmental Enquiry cannot be proceeded/continued after attaining superannuation age in absence of any provision



Withholding of the gratuity can therefore be only if there be the provisions for withholding it in the Act or if there being any service condition which so provide

It is the case of the petitioner that he has rendered more than 32 years of service with unblemished record. His performance has been appreciated by Respondents. Show cause notice was issued by alleging that Petitioner supplied fertilizers in excess to Venkatesh Agency, Parbhani, who was defaulter instead of supplying the same to old and active distributor. Present Petition is filed praying for quashing proceedings of departmental enquiry initiated against the petitioner in view of his retirement, as there is no provision or rule for continuing the enquiry after retirement. Further, prayer for direction to Respondents to release all retiral benefits to him arising out of 6th Pay Commission recommendation with arrears and legal dues such as gratuity, leave encashment, provident fund, etc.

Gratuity is a terminal benefit and is subject to the terms and conditions. Withholding of the gratuity can therefore be only if there be the provisions for withholding it in the Act or if there being any service condition which so provide. A person cannot be charged for a misconduct, if it does not constitute a misconduct within the definition of misconduct either in terms of the standing order or the service regulations. In absence of any statutory provisions for continuing the enquiry, ratio of Bhagirathi Jena's case which has directly dealt with the issue would be applicable. Enquiry therefore against Petitioner after his superannuation in absence of a provision to continue enquiry is without authority of law."

In present case also, Petitioner stood retired from the service when enquiry was pending. Enquiry cannot be proceeded/continued after attaining the age of superannuation in the absence of any provision to that effect. While allowing present petition, High Court quashed departmental enquiry and issued pursuant to inquiry report against the petitioner

Relevant : Mr. Dhairyasheel A. Jadhav v. Maharashtra Agro Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. Bhagirathi Jena v. Board of Directors, O.S.F.C. and others MANU/SC/0260/1999


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