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HC quashes Nursing Assistant’s termination order

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Srinagar: The High Court of J&K & Ladakh has quashed the termination order of a Nursing Assistant by the Border Roads Organization (BR), which according to the court was delivered without valid reasons. 

The court observed that the bar of proving forgery is high but must be supported by sufficient evidence. 

Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal while hearing the case quashed the termination order passed by BRO and observed that if the chronology of the case is taken into account, the petitioner was terminated twice by the authorities on the basis of identical and invalid grounds.  

The termination of the petitioner Rokade Santosh Sadashiv arose from an unjustified communication regarding the authenticity of his experience certificate document. But the facts that came to light revealed that the document in-fact was true and favourable to the petitioners, but were not taken on board by the respondent BRO. 

BRO instead passed the termination orders against the petitioner twice on similar grounds, which implies that there was no application of mind by the authorities while passing the second order, and as such the orders of termination are bad in the eyes of law, the court observed. 

Sadashiv, according to his petition, was appointed in response to an advertisement notice issued in 2008 by the BRO. However, a letter was received by the Organisation complaining about the authenticity of his experience certificate and he was instantly terminated from the service. 

Subsequently, a verification process was initiated by the appointing authority in order to determine the genuineness of his documents. On October 14, 2009, the petitioner submitted a reply to the notice. 

Subsequently, pending inquiry, the notice of termination was withdrawn in respect of Sadashiv on October 23, 2009. By the end of October, the Chief Engineer BRO wrote a letter to the Mahajan Hospital Salapur Maharashtra to verify the genuineness of the experience certificate issued by them to Sadashiv. 

The verification certificate was endorsed by the hospital and declared as genuine. However, on May 30, 2011, another order of termination was passed against Sadashiv whereby he was given one month’s notice for termination of his services. 

This order was challenged by Sadashiv before the court which stayed it even as notice was sent to the authorities for filing a reply.     

The court said, “the punishment of termination from service is a major punishment and cannot be inflicted without following due course of law or conducting detailed enquiry in this regard by associating the petitioner, and the said punishment can only be inflicted with due care and caution.”

It further said that the petitioner duly qualified the test for the post in question and possessed all the requisite qualification as envisaged in the advertisement notice.

The only point which has been canvassed against him, the court said, is the validity of certificate with regard to counter signature and not the experience which he possesses in conformity with the terms and conditions of the advertisement notice.

“The validity of the certificate has not been denied by the issuing authority. It is only the counter signature which is denied by the respondents (authorities),” the court said.

It added: “mere denial of counter signature on a certificate in absence of proper enquiry or finding recorded in this regard does not warrant major punishment of termination of service, which becomes punitive in nature, when the order of termination is not simplicity but the stigma is attached to the order.” 

The court directed the respondents to allow the petitioner to continue his service.

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