Question: Departmental inquiry has been initiated against me after the recording of FIR. That FIR is false and frivolous because it is very much influenced by the political vendetta. Since I am a General Manager (Project) and have issued several contracts to the contractors who have affinity to the particular political party. Now that political party is ousted from power. Therefore, an FIR has been lodged against me by making allegations of irregularity in disbursement of contract. Can departmental inquiry be initiated after the FIR?
Asked from: Uttar Pradesh
If the first information report (FIR) is well founded and a prima facie case of corruption has been made out then the government has the power to initiate departmental inquiry on the basis of those facts mentioned in the FIR.
The FIR initiates or sets the criminal law in motion. Judiciary cannot interfere in investigation if FIR is based on solid grounds. (Emperor vs Khwaja Najeer Ahmed, AIR 1945 PC 18). Hence, the department can launch disciplinary proceedings on the facts of the FIR.
Therefore, if there is a prima facie case against you then you cannot challenge the validity of disciplinary proceedings. In this situation you can seek a stay of departmental inquiry on certain grounds.
Criminal and departmental proceedings can run simultaneously
The purpose and scope of both proceedings are different. They are not based upon the result of each other. If you get acquittal in the criminal case it does not give you a right to drop the departmental or disciplinary proceedings. Hence, both proceedings can run simultaneously.
In Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan v. T. Srinivas [(2004) 7 SCC 442] the Supreme Court has held that “Each case requires to be considered in the backdrop of its own facts and circumstances. There would be no bar to proceed simultaneously with departmental enquiry and trial of a criminal case unless the charge in the criminal trial is of grave nature involving complicated questions of fact and law.”
If you think that the criminal proceeding (FIR) is false and frivolous, it does not confer a right to keep the disciplinary proceeding in abeyance. The Supreme Court in Union of India v. Bihari Lal Sidhana [(1997) 4 SCC 385 : 1997 SCC (L&S) 1076] has held that
Mere acquittal of a government employee does not automatically entitle the government servant to reinstatement. As stated earlier, it would be open to the appropriate competent authority to take a decision whether the enquiry into the conduct is required to be done before directing reinstatement or appropriate action should be taken as per law, if otherwise, available.
When no prima facie case is made out from the FIR you can move a writ petition in the High Court under Article 226 of Constitution. The High Court has the power to quash the false and frivolous FIR if no case is made out and it is influenced by political vendetta.