‘Hurried Invocation Of Art 311(2)(b)’: Calcutta High Court Quashes A Dismissal Order For Want Of Reasons For Dispensing With Inquiry

‘Hurried Invocation Of Art 311(2)(b)’: Calcutta High Court Quashes A Dismissal Order For Want Of Reasons For Dispensing With Inquiry

Case: Kunjumole v. The Union of India and others

Coram: Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya and Justice Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee

Case No.: WP.CT/1/2022

Court Observation: “The underlying presumption in Article 311 is that dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of a person employed in a civil capacity under the Union or State is not to be taken lightly or done without following due process. The threshold to prove dispensation of due process and compliance with the principles of natural justice is high in all matters but particularly heightened in Article 311(2)(b) of the Constitution of India. In essence, the constitutional obligation of recording reasons for departing from the norm must strictly be conformed with.”

“Not a single instance has been cited or relied upon to show that the “intimidation or common experience” with regard to witnesses deposing against delinquents actually took place with regard to the petitioner’s husband. The justification is that “this kind of intimidation is a common tactic adopted by the unscrupulous police personnel”. There is no reference to whether any such threat or intimidation was made by the petitioner’s husband on proposed or probable witnesses. The conclusion arrived at of “compelling circumstances” for invoking Article 311(2)(b) is wholly unsupported by facts or even a credible justification.”

“The position taken is that the departmental inquiry was not feasible since the complainant turned hostile reflecting the influence of Mr. Mathai. This is entirely unacceptable to us since no connection has been established between the power exerted by the petitioner’s husband, if at all, and the complainant turning hostile. In any event, the complainant turning hostile is a event subsequent to the order of dismissal and hence cannot be a material reason for circumventing due process before passing the order of dismissal”

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Hurried Invocation Of Art 311, Dispensing With Inquiry