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University is refusing to reinstate me after acquittal in the criminal case

By Shivendra Pratap Singh

University is refusing to reinstate after acquittal. I was working as a clerk in the university. The University has initiated a departmental proceeding against me and filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Corruption Act. University has made an allegation that I take a bribe for submission of the thesis. The court has acquitted me because the prosecution failed to produce any credible evidence of illegal gratification.

When the court acquitted me, I approached the Vice-Chancellor to reinstate me immediately. He does not want to reinstate therefore causing a delay in taking a decision in my case. I have written a letter to him to reinstate me as early as possible. He replied that a departmental enquiry is still pending, therefore, reinstatement is not possible.

The departmental enquiry is pending because the enquiry officer is still waiting for the copy of the statement from the investigating officer. The investigating officer said that he had produced the police report to the concerned court therefore it was not possible to provide a copy of the statement of the witness.

Question from: Uttar Pradesh

Refusing to reinstate

The university will reinstate you because the departmental enquiry is based upon the finding of the criminal case. You have acquitted in the criminal proceeding because the prosecution did not produce any credible evidence to prove your guilt. The court did not give the benefit of the doubt but explicitly acquitted you due to lack of evidence.

Acquittal in the criminal case

University may reinstate you after acquittal in the criminal proceeding. The departmental proceeding is still pending. So you should approach the High Court for expediting the aforesaid departmental proceeding. The High Court may order to conclude the departmental proceeding within the stipulated time. It may give three or four months to conclude the preceding.

It is evident from the facts of the case that departmental proceedings are depending upon the finding of a criminal case. When you have been acquitted by the court so most probably you may also be exonerated in the departmental proceeding.

Reinstate after acquittal

The employer has an absolute right to reinstate the employee after acquittal in the criminal proceeding. If the employer has lost the confidence in the employee then he may refuse to reinstate. The university may ascertain the loss of confidence on the finding of departmental proceeding. If the departmental proceeding is dependent upon the finding of criminal proceeding then the employer cannot exercise its discretion to reinstate.

In Addition Collector, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation versus M G Vittal Rao (2012) 1 SCC 442; the supreme court held that a delinquent employee does not acquire the right of automatic reinstatement on being acquitted in the criminal proceeding.

Your reinstatement is possible because the finding of departmental enquiry is depending upon the criminal case. When you have been acquitted by the court then you may also be exonerated in the departmental proceeding. Therefore, the verdict of the Supreme Court about automatic reinstatement will not apply in your case.

Send a representation to the concerned authority

You should send representation to the concerned authority for your reinstatement. When the concerned authority does not take any action on your representation then you should move a writ petition before the High Court under article 226 of the Constitution of India.

The court will order to decide your representation within the stipulated time. If the concerned authority allows your representation then it will reinstate you. When he rejects your representation then you can again across the high court under article 226. The high court will decide your case as per the service rule and may reinstate after acquittal order of the court.

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