Mere conviction cannot be ground for dismissal: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court recently held that before dismissal of an employee from service, the authority must look at the conduct that led to his conviction on criminal charge.

“Mechanical order of dismissal cannot be passed based on mere conviction, ” the court added.

Allowing a writ petition filed by one Vishwanath Vishwakarma, Justice Neeraj Tiwari said, “The apex court has considered this issue repeatedly and has held that even after conviction of an employee, his conduct must be considered while passing the removal or dismissal order, as without that, any order of dismissal is improper.”

The petitioner worked as Lekhpal in Sultanpur district and was promoted in 1994 and 2000.

In 1992, an FIR was lodged against the petitioner under section 302 (murder) and other sections. After trial, the petitioner was convicted for life imprisonment under section-302 (murder) in 2009 and was taken into custody.

He was released on bail in 2017.

Due to his conviction, he had been dismissed from service on August 30, 2014, a day before his superannuation.

A departmental appeal was filed by the petitioner, wherein direction was issued to pay GPF only.

The remaining post retiral dues would be released according to the decision of the high court in criminal appeal, it was added.

The petitioner challenged the two orders on the ground that under Article 311(2)(a), conviction cannot be sole ground for dismissal from service and past conduct must be factored in.

It was argued that the authority had failed to apply its mind while passing the order. The petitioner relied on the decision of Supreme Court in State of Jharkhand and others Vs Jitendra Kumar Srivastava and one other to state that pension and post retiral benefits were not bounties but a property under Article 300A, which cannot be taken away without specific provisions of law. The court directed the respondent state authorities to pay post retiral dues to petitioner, including pension and other dues, within three months.