Question: I am an upper division assistant in the government department. Can the department suspend me on the basis of a false FIR and charge sheet? When I was at my friend’s marriage ceremony. Some friends were also present in that ceremony. When we were returning from the venue of marriage my car had an accident with a cow. Then hit a person who was drunk and coming on the wrong side. He died immediately on the spot. One of my friends was driving the car.
The local police lodged an FIR and filed a charge sheet. He did not examine any witness of the incident but stated in the charge sheet that the deceased was in a state of intoxication and going on the wrong side. The department has initiated a departmental inquiry against me immediately after FIR and suspended me after filing of charge sheet. Can the department suspend me on the basis of a false FIR?
Asked from: Rajasthan
Criminal proceedings and departmental inquiry both are entirely different. The purpose of criminal proceedings is to inflict appropriate punishment as per the penal laws. But in the departmental inquiry the purpose is to maintain discipline in the service.
The result of the criminal case does not affect the finding of departmental inquiry. Hence, the department is bound to conduct a preliminary inquiry before imposing any punishment. It should not entirely depend upon the corollary of a criminal case.
Thus, your suspension is illegal and against the settled principles of law. The suspension or termination must be made after following the procedure given in the service rule.
The Supreme Court in State of Rajasthan v. B.K.Meena and Others (1996) 6 SCC 417 held that In certain situations, it may not be ‘desirable’, ‘advisable’, or ‘appropriate’ to proceed with the disciplinary enquiry when a criminal case is pending on identical charges.
Where the charges are the same in the criminal and departmental proceeding, the department should stay its proceedings till the framing of charges against you in the criminal case.
In the criminal case the court has not framed charges against you. It means the court has not taken any decision on the finding of the investigation. You have a right to file a discharge petition against the charge sheet or file a quashing petition in the High Court.
You can challenge the suspension order in the High Court. File a writ petition under Article 226 of the constitution. Seek a certiorari writ for quashing of suspension order because it has been made without conducting preliminary inquiry.
Simultaneously, you should file a quashing petition under Section 482 crpc for quashing the charge sheet. These are the anomalies or peculiarities in the charge sheet:
- There is no witness of incident
- The FIR is hearsay
- Charge sheet has submitted without recording the statement of ocular witness
- Charge sheet itself indicates that deceased was on wrong side thus he was also negligent
- There no evidence that who was driving the car
- You had no criminal intention to kill that man
- In the criminal proceeding accused cannot be punished on the vicarious liability
- There was no mens rea hence accusation cannot be vicariously shifted on you
The High Court may quash the charge sheet because it has been submitted without having credible evidence. In absence of incriminating evidence the High Court may quash the baseless and bald criminal proceeding under Section 482 crpc. Upon quashing the charge sheet the High Court may also quash the suspension order.