"The present writ petition is allowed. The findings of the Inquiry Officer are quashed. Punishment order dated 23 rd June, Appellate Authority's 20th November, 1997 and order dated 6th May, 1998 passed in review are also set aside.
"Under the above said circumstances, the petitioner is entitled to all the consequential benefits including pay and allowances, seniority etc", a bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Manmohan Singh said.
Following the disciplinary proceedings, the RAC, on June 23, 1997, awarded punishment to Constable Mukesh Chand stopping one future annual increment. Also, the suspension period from July 27, 1996 was to be treated as time spent on duty for all financial purposes.
Among three charges of misconduct, one of the allegations against Chand was that he remained absent from his duty at the Delhi High Court building from July 17 to July 20 in 1996 and "remained wandering with some unknown strangers for 4-5 hours leaving his duty...".
Coming to the rescue of the constable, the court said, "it is clear that the inquiry has not been conducted as per Rule 16 of the Rajasthan Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules."
"The petitioner has not been given any opportunity to defend himself in the matter. The request of the petitioner was rejected without assigning any reason. The charges framed against the petitioner are vague," it said, adding that the plea of constable that he be provided with a defence assistant was twice rejected by the inquiry officer. (More)