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Political interference in service matters not desirable: Karnataka High Court

A division bench upheld the punishment of compulsory retirement imposed upon an employee of the Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (KFCSC).
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 02:16 IST

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The Karnataka High Court has observed that political interference in service matters is undesirable, to say the least since irrelevant factors would figure and affect public administration and the interest of the employer.

In a recent judgement, a division bench, comprising Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice Ramachandra D Huddar, said this while upholding the punishment of compulsory retirement imposed upon an employee of the Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (KFCSC).

The KFCSC had moved the bench challenging the order of the single-judge bench.

M Veena, the employee in the case who was working as a junior assistant, was transferred on July 12, 2002, from Bengaluru to Mangaluru. It is the averment of the KFCSC that Veena applied for leave on medical grounds and produced a medical certificate instead of reporting for duty at Mangaluru.

Doubting the genuineness of the medical certificate, she was subjected to examination before the Medical Board at Udupi District Hospital. The doctors specifically stated that she had no justification for availing leave on health grounds, although she was suffering from little allergy. She was compulsorily retired from service in July 2004.

After the Appellate Authority confirmed this order, Veena moved the high court and the single bench quashed the order of compulsory retirement and directed reinstatement without back wages.

Challenging this order, the KFCSC argued that merely because there was some health problem, an employee cannot refuse to work in the place of posting. It was further argued that the very conduct of the employee in bringing political influence through a particular Member of Parliament itself disentitled her to the discretionary remedy.

“There may be some exceptional cases where a citizen complains to the elected representatives seeking minutes for favour, are a case apart.  However, the act of public servants causing political influence is a matter of deprecation and that may constitute a sole ground for declining relief in constitutional jurisdiction. A person knocking at the doors of a writ court should not have blemish-worthy conduct, hardly needs to be reiterated. Even this aspect (influence) of the matter has not been adverted to by the single bench despite a specific plea taken up by the appellants in their statement of Objections,” the bench said.

The bench further said, “Whatever benefits accruing on account of compulsory retirement should be handed to the employee within an outer limit of eight weeks reckoned from this day, she complying with the prerequisites therefore. Delay would entitle her interest at the rate of 2% per mensem till monetary benefits, if any, are remitted to her account.”

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Published 02 July 2024, 02:16 IST

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