Chandigarh, May 26
In a significant judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that an employee on probation or a temporary government servant has no right to hold a post. In all, the high court culled out three propositions from “observations of different courts” on the termination of services of a probationer or a temporary government employee.
Follow procedure to punish employee
If employer feels that the employee deserves to be punished and proceeds to take punitive action, the prescribed procedure of Article 311 of the Constitution has to be followed.
Justice Raj Mohan Singh
Justice Raj Mohan Singh asserted that the provisions of Article 311(2) of the Constitution were not attracted if the person was employed on a purely temporary basis and his services were terminated for unsuitability or some alleged misconduct by an innocuous order not carrying stigma or penal consequence. Article 311(2) would be attracted if the order showed that the competent authority actually intended to punish such employee.
Article 311(2) makes it clear that “no civil servant shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he/she has been informed of the charges and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges”.
Justice Raj Mohan Singh also made it clear that the employer was entitled to conduct preliminary inquiry to determine the truth or falsehood of allegations and also regarding the employee’s suitability. Such an inquiry could not by itself imply that the employer intended to punish the employee.
Justice Raj Mohan Singh also added that the employer had two options in a case where the allegations amounting to misconduct were levelled against a probationer or a temporary government servant. The employer could either choose to terminate the services in accordance with the terms of the appointment and the rules governing the services. It could, otherwise, proceed to take preventive action.
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