'Entire Process Has Been Made An Engine Of Harassment': Delhi HC On Woman Being Denied Promotion
The Delhi High Court has held a woman entitled to be considered for promotion whose promotion was withheld after it was revealed that her result was kept in a sealed cover on account of a pending vigilance case against her.
"This Court does not find any force in arguments of the Respondents that the promotion of the Petitioner could be withheld as her result was kept in a sealed cover. Therefore, the denial of promotion to the Petitioner on the ground that the result of the Petitioner was kept in a sealed cover cannot be sustained in law…", the Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh observed.
The Court also noted that "The principles of natural justice have not been followed in the present enquiry and the entire process has been made an engine of harassment."
The Petitioner-woman was called for promotion test since 2006 onwards but was denied promotion. On enquiry it was revealed that her result was kept in a sealed cover on account of a pending vigilance case against her.
She repeatedly represented her request to the Respondents for consideration of her promotion but no action was taken by the Respondents.
Being aggrieved by the refusal of the promotion and other benefits, the Petitioner-woman approached Delhi High Court.
Advocate R.K. Saini and Advocate Sunil Beniwal appeared for the petitioner-woman whereas Advocate Mohinder Singh and Advocate Ankur Goel appeared for Respondents.
The Court noted that the Respondents pleaded a specific case that the promotion of Petitioner was kept in a sealed cover, first, due to pendency of a disciplinary inquiry against her and secondly, due to the penalty of "Censure" being imposed on her.
The Court observed that "In the year 2013, only after lapse of 7 years the Respondents imposed a penalty of "Censure‟ upon the Petitioner under Staff Regulation 39(1)(a). This was despite the fact that the Secretary, Chief Vigilance Commission, Government of India had recommended minor penalty against the Petitioner in the year 2008 vide letter dated 4 th July 2008 and had also admitted that the name of the Petitioner did not figure in the CBI Report but was figured in the internal investigational enquiry."
The Court further noted that "No evidence has been led by the Respondents before imposing a penalty of "Censure‟ on the Petitioner leave alone the opportunity of cross-examination. No copy of enquiry report as well as the supporting materials have been made available to the Petitioner. The entire law on the subject has been looked with a blind eye in the present case."
The Court held that there was no justification as to why the penalty has been imposed on the Petitioner after a lacuna of around 5 years even after the Central Vigilance Commission had recommended minor penalty of "Censure‟ against the Petitioner in the year 2008.
"In view of the aforesaid observations as well as the law settled by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the Petitioner is entitled to be considered for promotion from the year when her promotion was due and consequently entitled to be considered for all the benefits retrospectively, including financial benefits, from that year itself.", the Court held.
Cause Title- Erina Michael v. Life Insurance Corporation of India and Anr