New Delhi: A government official cannot be punished on the basis of a mere complaint by his senior, unless the allegations are proved as per the principles of natural justice, the Central Administrative Tribunal has held.
"A mere complaint by an officer, howsoever senior to the delinquent official he may be, shall not be the sole basis for awarding a punishment to him unless the contents of the complaint are proved by examination and cross-examination of witnesses in accordance with principles of natural justice," said the principal bench of CAT.
The tribunal order came on Delhi government employee Bular Pal`s plea against the decisions of his disciplinary authority and the appellate authority which had held him guilty of misconduct on a 2001 complaint by the then Additional District Magistrate (ADM) (West) Devesh Singh.
Bular, who was deputed as ADM Singh`s driver in 2001, had been charged with reporting late to duty on two occasions without prior permission and then misbehaving with the ADM and using foul language.
In his plea, he had said the charges against him were not sustainable as no witnesses were produced nor was he provided copies of the documents relied upon to hold him guilty.
The state government in its defence had said as there was a written complaint by the then ADM who was a senior officer, no other witness was necessary.
The government also said the standard of proof required in departmental proceedings does not have to be proof beyond doubts.