UCO Bank & Ors. vs Rajendra Shankar Shukla - Supreme Court Important Judgment
UCO Bank & Ors. vs Rajendra Shankar Shukla - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2018 -
On 15th February, 2018, in the case of UCO Bank & Ors. v. Rajendra Shankar Shukla [Civil Appeal No.2693 of 2013], the issue for consideration was access to justice in a departmental enquiry.
It was held that “an employee is entitled to subsistence allowance during an inquiry pending against him or her but if that employee is starved of finances by zero payment, it would be unreasonable to expect the employee to meaningfully participate in a departmental inquiry. Access to justice is a valuable right available to every person, even to a criminal, and indeed free legal representation is provided even to a criminal. In the case of a departmental inquiry, the delinquent is at best guilty of a misconduct but that is no ground to deny access to pension (wherever applicable) or subsistence allowance (wherever applicable).”
In the facts and circumstances of the case, it was held that the employee concerned, namely, respondent, “was not given a fair opportunity to defend himself by denying him financial resources.” While observing that respondent “was denied his pension as well as subsistence allowance which prevented him from effectively participating in the disciplinary inquiry”, it was held that on this ground as well, the disciplinary proceedings against respondent were vitiated.