HC quashes nursing assistant’s termination order by BRO

‘Termination from service is a major punishment, cannot be inflicted without conducting detailed enquiry’
 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: Underscoring that termination from service is a major punishment and cannot be inflicted without following due course of law, the High Court of J&K and Ladakh has quashed an order regarding termination of a Nursing Assistant by the Border Roads Organization(BRO) on 13 June 2011.

“The punishment of termination from service is a major punishment and cannot be inflicted without following due course of law or conducting detailed enquiry in this regard by associating the petitioner and the said punishment can only be inflicted with due care and caution,” a bench of Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal observed while quashing BRO’s order terminating service of Rokade Santosh Sandashiv, a Nursing Assistant.

The Court observed that the bar of proving forgery is high and must be supported by sufficient evidence.

According to Sandashiv’s plea, he was appointed in response to an advertisement notice issued in 2008 by the Border Roads Organization. Subsequently, a verification process was initiated by the appointing authority for determining genuineness of the documents submitted by the selected candidates. However, the authorities found that the experience certificate of Sandashiv was allegedly forged and as a consequence of which, a notice of termination was issued against him on September 26 , 2009 by the Chief Engineer, Beacon.

On 14 October 2009, the petitioner submitted a reply to the notice. Subsequently, pending inquiry, the notice of termination was withdrawn in respect of Sandashiv on October 23, 2009. Later, on October 31, 2009, Chief Engineer wrote a letter to the Mahajan Hospital Salapur Maharashtra to verify the genuineness of the certificate issued by them as regards Sandashiv. Subsequently, on November 14, 2009 verification certificate was endorsed by Mahajan Hospital in respect of Sandashiv and it was verified by them that he had gained the requisite experience in their hospital and the certificate was genuine. However, on May 30, 2011, another order of termination was passed against Sandashiv whereby he was given one month's notice for termination of his services. The order was challenged by Sandashiv before the court which stayed it even as notice was sent to the authorities for filing a reply.

The Court underscored that the only point which had been canvassed against him was the validity of certificate with regard to counter signature and not the experience which he possessed in conformity with the terms and conditions of the advertisement notice.

“The validity of the certificate has not been denied by the issuing authority. It is only the counter signature which is denied by the respondents,” the court said.

“Mere denial of counter signature on a certificate in absence of proper enquiry or finding recorded in this regard does not warrant major punishment of termination of service, which becomes punitive in nature, when the order of termination is not simpliciter but the stigma is attached to the order.”

Pointing out that the order was already stayed by the Court on the very first date of hearing that is June 29, 2011 and continues to be operative as on date, the court said: “ The petitioner is continuing uninterruptedly”. The Court directed the respondents to allow the petitioner to continue his service.

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