Orders lesser punishment to dismissed employee
The settled legal position is that the High Court's jurisdiction to interfere with the quantum of punishment on an individual is very limited and restricted to exceptional cases. High Courts in exercise of powers under Article 226 do not interfere with the quantum of punishment unless sufficient reasons exist, the Madras High Court has said.
As per a Supreme Court order, the High Court, while exercising the power of judicial review, could not normally substitute its own conclusion on penalty and impose some other penalty. However, if the punishment shocked the court's conscience, it would appropriately mould the relief either by directing the disciplinary authority to reconsider the penalty or shorten the litigation. It may, in exceptional and rare cases, impose appropriate punishment giving cogent reasons.
Justice V. Dhanapalan made the observation while allowing a petition by a Bill Collector of the Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) challenging dismissal from service in October 2007 on the ground that his school certificate was not a genuine one.
The case of K. Dhanasekaran, was that he had studied up to SSLC (old Standard XI), but failed in the exam. He joined as a Sevakh (now Office Assistant) in TNHB in 1981 and was subsequently promoted Bill Collector. Following a vigilance enquiry, it was noticed that the petitioner's certificate issued by Corporation High School, Saidapet, was not genuine. He gave a detailed explanation that he had studied Standard XI, but failed. The certificate alleged to have been submitted was produced by his father and he was not aware of the same. He produced the Standard XI certificate issued by Sir Thiyagaraya College School. Based on this he was entitled to hold the post. After an enquiry, he was dismissed in October 2007.
The petitioner's counsel C.S. Monica contended that the petitioner's explanation was not considered by the enquiry officer. The dismissal was excessive. The respondents said the charges against the individual had been proved.Setting aside the dismissal order, Mr. Justice Dhanapalan remanded the matter back to the authorities to consider the case based on material evidence and to pass appropriate orders.