NEW DELHI: An employee who fails to attend the departmental inquiry has no right to claim later that he was sacked in violation of the “principles of natural justice”, the Supreme Court has said.
“To sustain a complaint of non-compliance of principles of natural justice one must establish that he has been prejudiced,” a bench of Justices H K Sema and Markandeya Katju observed upholding the termination of an inspector of the Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation (HPTC).
The apex court passed the observation while quashing the directions of the state high court which had ordered the reinstatement of K C Rahi on the ground that the principles of natural justice were violated by the Corporation.
The Corporation claimed Rahi was chargesheeted for irregularities and was asked to participate in the disciplinary proceedings but he failed to respond. A notice was published in a newspaper but he again failed to respond.
Thereafter, he was sacked after the Corporation conducted an ex-parte departmental inquiry.
Rahi challenged his dismissal before the state administrative tribunal on the plea that conducting an ex-parte departmental inquiry amounted to denial of the principles of natural justice.
The tribunal after noting that the employee had intentionally avoided the notice and, therefore, could not claim that the ex-parte proceedings prejudiced his cause. Following this, Rahi move the apex court