The Madras High Court bench here has quashed the dismissal order of a Tamilnadu Housing Board employee for misbehaving with his higher officials and abusing them while serving as pump operator at the Board’s Guest house in Thanjavur district.

Allowing a writ petition filed by the employee, Justice K. Chandru found infirmities in the charge memo issued to the petitioner and in the departmental inquiry and ordered the employee to be reinstated within three months.

If the petitioner had given room for any complaint, it was always open to the board to transfer him and not take drastic action like dismissing him without following principles of natural justice.

He also refused to permit the board to conduct a fresh enquiry.

The charge memo was bereft of details. It could not merely say that the petitioner had used unparliamentary words. Unless the word uttered by him were set out in counter affidavit including the time place and context, the judge said.

The petitioner was handicapped by not being able tomake an effective reply. Even in enquiry no witness was examined. One more opportunity to resurrect a non existent charge could not be granted.

The Supreme Court had held in Meengal Tea Estate Vs Workmen case that an elementary principle was that a person who was required to answer a charge must know not only the accusation but also the testimony by the accusation was supported. He must be given a fair chance to hear the evidence in support of the charge and to put such relevant questions by way of cross examination as he desires. Then he must be given chance to rebut the evidence. This is the barest requirement of an enquiry, the judge said.

More In: Madurai