Delay In Conducting Disciplinary Enquiry Does Not Ipso Facto Vitiate It: Supreme Court

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Delay In Conducting Disciplinary Enquiry Does Not Ipso Facto Vitiate It

Case: State of Madhya Pradesh vs Akhilesh Jha

Coram: Justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Vikram Nath, and Hima Kohli

Case No: CA 5153 of 2021

Court Observation: “It does not leave the recipient in a measure of doubt or ambiguity over the nature of the case he is required to answer in the disciplinary enquiry. The finding that the charge is vague is palpably in error.”

“This, in our view, was clearly impermissible. Every delay in conducting a disciplinary enquiry does not, ipso facto, lead to the enquiry being vitiated. Whether prejudice is caused to the officer who is being enquired into is a matter which has to be decided on the basis of the circumstances of each case. Prejudice must be demonstrated to have been caused and cannot be a matter of surmise. Apart from submitting that the first respondent was unable to proceed on deputation or to seek promotion, there is no basis on which it could be concluded that his right to defend himself stands prejudicially affected by a delay of two years in concluding the enquiry”

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