Punjab and Haryana High Court held that levelling serious allegations against a public officer before the highest court of state without any substantial proof “not only lowers the morale of these officers but also puts them in constant fear”. The High Court also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the petitioner.
A petition was moved by an Abohar-based petitioner Jagdish Kumar. He had sought directions to transfer the probe in connection to the illegal cutting of a tree from BDPO Abohar to some other independent officer.
“We would like to add that levelling serious allegations against an officer holding public office before the highest court of state without any substantial proof, is not only uncalled for but also falls in the category of grave misconduct on the part of petitioner. This not only leads to lowering down the morale of officers who are duty bound to assist the public but also puts them in constant fear, which is bound to affect them in discharge of their duties. It is true that the results expected by the public may not be desirable always but at the same time, it does not give the public the right to blemish the character of an officer by doubting his integrity,” observed the division bench comprising Justice Sawant Singh and Justice Sant Prakash.
The bench further noted that unsubstantiated allegations have been levelled against the BDPO, Abohar, doubting his integrity although admittedly, the inquiry has been conducted by the official on a complaint moved by the petitioner.
“Mere non-conclusion of the inquiry or dis-satisfactory reply of the legal notice given by the petitioner cannot ipso facto give him the right to doubt the integrity of an official and approach this court for redressal, especially without approaching the higher authorities or taking legal recourse available with him under law with relevant proofs, if any,” said Justice Sawant Singh.
“We find that apart from dismissing the petition, the petitioner is liable to be burdened with heavy costs for his contemptible conduct. We find no merit in the writ petition and the same is ordered to be dismissed with costs of Rs 25,000 to be deposited with the District Legal Services Authority, Fazilka (Punjab), within one month,” the bench said.