Departmental Inquiry shall Conclude within 6 Months
Case name: Prem Nath Bali v. Registrar High Court of Delhi
In this case, the disciplinary proceedings, which commenced in the year 1990, continued for more than nine years. Pending disciplinary proceedings, the appellant sought revocation of suspension order but such representation made by the appellant was not considered.
The Supreme Court in the case took a strong note of the undue delay caused in disciplinary proceedings. The Court stated that due to such unreasonable delay, the appellant naturally suffered a lot as he had to survive only on suspension allowance for a long period of 9 years.
Other key observations made by the Court in the case are:
That it is the duty of the employer to ensure that the departmental inquiry initiated against the delinquent employee is concluded within the shortest possible time by taking priority measures.
That in cases where the delinquent is placed under suspension during the pendency of such inquiry then it becomes all the more imperative for the employer to ensure that the inquiry is concluded in the shortest possible time to avoid any prejudice to the rights of the delinquent employee.
That every employer (whether State or private) must make sincere endeavor to conclude the departmental inquiry proceedings once initiated against the delinquent employee within a reasonable time by giving priority to such proceedings and as far as possible it should be concluded within six months as an outer limit.
Where it is not possible for the employer to conclude due to certain unavoidable causes arising in the proceedings within the time frame then efforts should be made to conclude within reasonably extended period depending upon the cause and the nature of inquiry but not more than a year.