Promotion cannot be denied due to pending criminal proceedings, rules J-K High Court

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The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court reiterated that promotion cannot be withheld merely because some disciplinary or criminal proceedings are pending against the employee, reported Live Law.

Justice Javed Iqbal Wani was hearing a plea in terms of which the petitioner had challenged orders whereby he had been deprived of his promotion and barred for being considered for any promotions in the future.

The petitioner contended that by issuing the impugned order, the respondents have tried to achieve something indirectly that they could not do directly, reported Daily Excelsior.

The petitioner further argued that in essence it was not just a case of debarring future promotion but also a case of demotion achieved by first taking away accrued promotion and then stopping further promotion from retrospective date and such course cannot be adopted.

The petitioner, an employee of the respondent Board of School Education, was posted in the Secrecy unit III KD in the year 2014 and during his posting there, in liaison room of the said section, it got revealed that one candidate had in connivance with some officials of the BOSE written answers on his already evaluated answer sheet. An FIR was registered for the fraud committed by the said candidate and the petitioner got allegedly implicated therein the case and as a consequence whereof the respondent constituted a committee to enquire into the matter.

The respondent Board in the meanwhile issued an order dated 21 July 2014 promoting two orderlies to the posts of Junior Assistants excluding the petitioner though being senior and in the said promotion order one post of Junior Assistant for the petitioner had been reserved subject to the clearance from the crime Branch.

Subsequently, the BOSE issued another impugned order dated 06.03.2017 debarring the petitioner from future promotions for six years retrospectively w.e.f. 21.07.2014 and both these orders were the subject matter of challenge before the court.

Quoting Supreme Court observations that the right to be considered for promotion is a fundamental right and the promotion cannot be withheld because some disciplinary/criminal proceedings are pending against the employee, Justice Iqbal Wani quashed the impugned orders and directed the respondents to promote the petitioner to the post of Junior Assistant with effect from 21.07.2014 with all consequential benefits to which he has become entitled thereto.

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