Punjab and Haryana High Court Asserts Limited Scope of Court Intervention in Employee Proceedings

The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently dismissed a petition filed by an employee of Punjabi University, Punjab, seeking the quashing of a chargesheet and subsequent proceedings initiated against him. The court, in its ruling, emphasized that the mere apprehension of an unfavorable outcome for the employee does not warrant interference under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.

In the case titled “Pushpinder Singh Gill v. Punjabi University and Anr.,” a single-judge bench led by Justice Pankaj Jain clarified the legal boundaries regarding court intervention in disciplinary proceedings against employees at an early stage. The court relied on a precedent set by the Supreme Court in the case of Union of India and another v. Kunisetty Satyanarayana, where it was held that a writ petition should not be entertained based solely on a show-cause notice or a chargesheet since these documents do not amount to an adverse order affecting the rights of any party.

The petitioner, who had been employed by Punjabi University for approximately 37 years, relocated to Canada after obtaining permanent residency. However, the petitioner claimed that his residency was revoked in 2015. He asserted that he had been visiting his family in Canada with prior leave approvals from the university. Furthermore, the petitioner contended that he had been an active member of the Teacher’s Association and had raised concerns about the university’s governance. He alleged that the vice-chancellor, viewing him as a nuisance, had initiated disciplinary proceedings against him with malicious intent.

The petitioner argued that the charges mentioned in the accompanying statement of allegations did not constitute substantive misconduct and were merely an attempt to victimize him. Conversely, the respondents argued that the university possessed sufficient evidence of the petitioner’s misconduct, given his employment in Canada and the presence of an appointment letter in the university’s records.

After careful consideration, the bench concluded that the petitioner had only been issued a chargesheet, which did not give rise to a cause of action. The court emphasized that the disciplinary procedure prescribed by the university contained adequate safeguards to address such concerns. It further noted that instead of responding to the chargesheet, the petitioner had prematurely initiated the present litigation.

Consequently, the bench dismissed the petition and declined the counsel’s request to hold any potential disciplinary orders against the petitioner in abeyance. The court expressed confidence that the authorities would proceed in accordance with the law if the petitioner were to respond to the chargesheet and notice.

The ruling reinforces the limited scope of court interference in employee disciplinary proceedings and underscores the importance of adhering to prescribed procedures. By maintaining a balanced approach, the court promotes the fair resolution of disputes between employees and employers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Scroll to Top