Now, criminal, departmental proceedings against Govt servants to be conducted simultaneously

Govt starts implementing landmark judgments of Supreme Court
Instructions issued to all Admn Secys for strict compliance
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Dec 12: With Governor’s Administration started paying required attention towards the landmark judgments delivered by the Supreme Court, the departmental and criminal proceedings against the erring Government servants will now be conducted simultaneously and necessary instructions in this regard have been passed to all the Administrative Secretaries for prompt and strict compliance.
The Supreme Court in its judgement in case titled “State of Rajasthan Versus BK Meena and Others” dated September 27, 1996 had made it clear that the approach and the objective in the criminal proceedings and the disciplinary proceedings are altogether distinct and different.
Moreover, the Apex Court in its judgment delivered in a case titled “State Bank of India and Others Versus Neelam Nag” on September 16, 2016 had mentioned that there is no legal bar to the holding of the disciplinary proceedings and the criminal trial simultaneously.
However, despite these explicit judgments of the highest court of the country, there was lack of clarity in Jammu and Kashmir regarding initiation of departmental proceedings in cases where criminal proceedings have either been sanctioned or the proceedings in the criminal case have been stayed by a higher forum. Due to this, the authorities were preferring to await conclusion of the criminal proceedings before initiating departmental proceedings.
Recently, on the directions of the Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, the plethora of judgments of the Apex Court were minutely examined by a group of senior officers in consultation with the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and finally the issue regarding conduct of departmental enquiry in general cases and in particular where prosecution stands sanctioned has been settled.
“The matter has been commented upon by the Apex Court in plethora of judicial pronouncements and the Apex Court has held that there is no legal bar in simultaneous conduct of departmental proceedings along with the criminal proceedings”, the Commissioner Secretary to Government, General Administration Department Hilal Ahmad said in a circular issued today.
“It is a settled legal position that the criminal proceedings and the departmental proceedings can be held simultaneously except in the cases where the court has specifically restrained the Government from undertaking departmental proceedings”, the circular said.
Accordingly, the General Administration Department has directed all the departments to initiate departmental proceedings in all such criminal cases where the criminal proceedings have been initiated and the alleged criminal act amounts to misconduct and attracts the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956.
“The departments should accordingly take recourse and strictly adhere to the Rules of 1956 wherever departmental enquiry in such cases has to be initiated”, the circular said.
It is pertinent to mention here that in its judgment in the case titled “State of Rajasthan Versus BK Meena and Others”, the Apex Court had held: “In the disciplinary proceedings, the question is whether the respondent is guilty of such conduct as would merit his removal from service or a lesser punishment whereas in the criminal proceedings the question is whether offences registered against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act are established and if established what sentence should be imposed upon him”.
“The standard of proof, the mode of enquiry and the rules governing the enquiry and trial in both the cases are entirely distinct and different. Staying of disciplinary proceedings pending criminal proceedings should not be matter of course but a considered decision. Even if stayed at one stage, the decision may require reconsideration with the criminal case gets unduly delayed”, the judgment further reads.
Similarly, the Supreme Court judgment in the case titled “State Bank of India and Others Versus Neelam Nag” read: “Suffice it to say that while there is no legal bar to the holding of the disciplinary proceedings and the criminal trial simultaneously, stay of the disciplinary proceedings may be advisable course in cases where the criminal charge against the employee is grave and continuance of the disciplinary proceedings is likely to prejudice their defence before the criminal court”.
“Gravity of the charge is, however, not by itself enough to determine the question unless the charge involves complicated question of the law. The court examining the question must also keep in mind that criminal trials get prolonged indefinitely especially where the number of accused arraigned for trial is large. The court, therefore, has to draw a balance between the need for a fair trial to the accused on the one hand and the competing demand for an expeditious conclusion of the ongoing disciplinary proceedings on the other. Moreover, an early conclusion of the disciplinary proceeding has itself been seen to be in the interest of the employees”, the judgment further read.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here