Staff Reporter

MADURAI: A Government servant facing departmental enquiry cannot sit back and expect the department to prove every charge against him/ her on the lines of criminal court proceedings, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled.

Justice K. Chandru said: “In a departmental enquiry, the standard of proof is not that of any criminal court. Preponderance of probabilities is a test in a departmental enquiry whereas in a criminal court proof must be beyond reasonable doubts.”

The ruling was passed while dismissing a writ petition filed by T. Ponsiarraj, a former constable with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). The petitioner was removed from service for marrying a woman without divorcing his first wife.

Mr. Ponsiarraj claimed that he was not married and was maintaining an illegitimate relationship with the woman, described as his first wife by the department. He said he was threatened to nominate her as his wife in insurance, family pension, risk fund and other official documents. He further said that his first marriage, supposed to have been solemnised at the Sarveshwar Temple in Khorba district of Madhya Pradesh, could not be held as valid because he was a Christian by birth. He contended that he was legally married only to the woman described as his second wife by the department, in the CSI church at Pithicode.

Rejecting the submissions, Justice Mr. Chandru said: “All these arguments are acts of desperation… When prima facie the respondents have relied upon the documents filed by the petitioner in the form of marriage declaration and various nominations, there is no further proof required by the department to prove the case.”

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