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Mere Expiry Of Employee’s Deputation Period Does Not Divest Disciplinary Authority From Initiating Enquiry For Misconduct: Delhi High Court

[18 May 2022] The Delhi High Court has observed that merely because the period of deputation of an employee may have come to an end, it would not divest the Disciplinary Authority of the company, Power Finance Corporation Limited (PFCL) in the present matter, from initiating an enquiry. Justice Yashwant Varma dismissed a petition filed by a man, employed as an Executive Director in the Power Finance Corporation Limited, challenging a chargesheet wherein he was proposed to be proceeded against in disciplinary action in accordance with the provisions made in Rules 28 and 30 of the Power Finance Corporation Limited (Conduct Discipline and Appeal) Rules. The Court said the fact that the alleged misdemeanour was committed while the petitioner was serving on deputation does not detract from the Commission of misconduct. “An act of alleged misconduct is a fact which would remain and survive to be tried notwithstanding the deputation having come to an end. Merely because the period of deputation may have come to an end, it would not divest the Disciplinary Authority of PFCL from initiating an enquiry,” the Court added. It said “If the submission of Mr. Gupta (counsel for petitioner) were to be accepted, it would amount to laying down a principle that misconduct when committed during deputation cannot be enquired into once the same comes to an end. The Court finds itself unable to accord a legal imprimatur to the aforenoted submission bearing in mind the serious repercussions that would ensue if the same were accepted.” This since it would essentially mean that the right of an employer to enquire into an act of alleged misconduct would stand lost forever merely because the authority in the borrowing department had failed to initiate action.

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