The Patna High Court reiterated that furnishing clear, concise, and coherent reasoning in support of the impugned order is an indispensable component of the decision-making process.

The Court set aside the impugned order passed by the Special Secretary of the Social Welfare Department while noting that the order was cryptic and depicted a complete non-application of mind.

Justice Mohit Kumar Shah observed, “It is a trite law that furnishing of clear, cogent and succinct reasons in support of the impugned order, is an indispensable component of a decision making process. Reference, in this connection, be had to a judgment, rendered by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of ORYX Fisheries Pvt. Ltd. vs. Union of India, reported in (2010) 13 SCC 427”.

This Court further finds that the impugned order dated 30.6.2015 is not only cryptic but also an unreasoned order, depicting complete non-application of mind inasmuch as the same has not taken into account the defence put forth by the petitioner, apart from no clear, cogent and succinct reasons, having been furnished by the Respondent No. 3, for coming to a decision warranting infliction of punishment upon the petitioner”, the Court noted.

Advocate Subodh Kumar Sinha appeared for the Petitioners, and Advocate Aditya Nath Jha appeared for the Respondents.

A departmental proceeding was started against the Petitioner (Child Development Officer), and a memo of charge was served to her. The Inquiry Officer then conducted the departmental proceeding and submitted a report exonerating the Petitioner. However, the disciplinary authority passed an order of punishment which entailed a stoppage of three increments with a cumulative effect. The Petitioner filed an appeal, but it was dismissed. A Writ Petition was filed challenging the order of the Special Secretary, Social Welfare Department (Respondent no 3).

The Court observed that there was no evidence to support the case and noted that the order was not only unclear but it lacked proper reasoning without considering the Petitioner's defense. Additionally, the Court noted that the Respondent did not provide sufficient, concise reasons for their decision to punish the Petitioner. The Court reiterated that clear and concise reasoning is essential in decision-making processes while relying on the case of ORYX Fisheries Pvt. Ltd. v Union of India, [(2010) 13 SCC 427].

Accordingly, the Court allowed the Petition and set aside the impugned order.

Cause Title: Smt. Abha Kumari v The State of Bihar

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