Application of Rule for Conversion of Minor Penalty into Major Penalty

Application of Rule for Conversion of Minor Penalty into Major Penalty Case Laws Civil Law Employment & Incentives Lahore High Court Litigation & Arbitration Public & Admin Law Mr. Justice Faisal Zaman Khan in his judgment has decided the issue regarding application of rule for conversion of minor penalty into major penalty in Service Appeal No. 18 of 2011.

1. This appeal under Section 5 of the Punjab Subordinate Judiciary Service Tribunal Act, 1994 calls in question notification No.68/RHC/AD&SJ dated 28.03.2011 issued by respondent no. 1 on behalf of the Administration Committee of the Lahore High Court Lahore (AC), whereby appellant has been awarded major penalty of compulsory retirement from service.

2. Succinctly, the facts of the case are that appellant was appointed as Civil Judge in 1988, was promoted as Senior Civil Judge in 2001 and lastly was promoted as Additional District & Sessions Judge in 2003. In pursuance of a complaint filed by ex-Civil Nazir, Civil Court, Khanewal against the appellant, initially a show cause notice dated 07.08.2009 was issued to the appellant under the Punjab Civil Servants (Efficiency & Discipline) Rules, 1999 (Rules) dispensing with the regular inquiry upon which reply was filed by the appellant, whereafter, the said notice was withdrawn. Subsequent thereto, on 05.12.2009, a fresh charge-sheet was issued and a regular inquiry was ordered to be conducted, whereupon, District & Sessions Judge, Multan was appointed as Inquiry Officer, who conducted a detailed inquiry and on 26.07.2010 while making recommendations proposed imposition of minor penalty of withholding of promotion of the appellant for a period of four years. Thereafter, for imposition of recommended penalty Inquiry Officer issued a show cause notice to the appellant which was duly replied, whereafter, complete inquiry proceedings, show cause notice and the reply were forwarded to respondent No.1 for placing it before the A.C.

3. On 30.08.2010, a show cause notice for enhancement of penalty was issued by respondent No.1 on behalf of the AC upon which a reply was filed by the appellant which was found unsatisfactory, whereupon, on 18.01.2011, a final show cause notice was issued to the appellant, which was duly replied, whereafter, the Hearing Officer conducted the hearing and recommended imposition of major penalty. Consequently vide notification dated 28.03.2011, major penalty of compulsory retirement was imposed. Feeling aggrieved a review petition was filed on 11.04.2011, which was not decided within the stipulated time, therefore, this appeal.

4. Learned counsel for the appellant submits that AC had no lawful authority under the law to issue notice of enhancement of penalty; that the AC could assume jurisdiction to enhance punishment if the inquiry officer had imposed minor penalty; and, that since the minor penalty was not imposed, the subsequent proceedings culminating in the impugned notification are void ab initio.

5. Replying to the above, learned counsel for the respondent submits that the penalty, which has been enhanced by the AC is in accordance with law, therefore, this appeal is not maintainable.

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