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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has held that the disciplinary proceedings including an inquiry against an employee or public servant started during his/her service stand abated if not concluded upon his/her retirement and such government servant is entitled to full pensionary benefits.

The court passed these directions in a petition from Muhammad Khawar Ilyas. The court declared the impugned show cause notice and personal hearing notice issued to him by Chief Commissioner Inland Revenue as illegal and without lawful authority.

The court said the conclusion of the impugned inquiry is not in sight despite the lapse of almost 14 years and the respondents have no plausible explanation and legal excuse for this lapse and directed the respondents to release the pensionary benefits of the petitioner as per law within thirty days.

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The court observed that where a public official can impose liability on a retired employee if the power is exercised within a certain statutory timeframe and there is a delay in the exercise of such power on the part of a public official, no such liability can be imposed after the lapse of the statutory period and directed the government to fast tracked the disciplinary proceedings pending against government servants who are about to superannuate.

The court observed that all the departments are required to abide by the applicable instructions/law for disposal of the disciplinary proceedings of retiring employees as the scheme seems to support the public policy to spare the government employees who served all their lives from undergoing long drawn departmental proceedings during his retired life.

The court observed that the purpose of the departmental inquiry is to maintain and uphold discipline and decorum in the institution and efficiency of the department to strengthen and preserve public confidence, however, the scheme of the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act and other rules are regarding quick disposal of disciplinary proceedings.

The court observed that in view of rule 54-A of the fundamental rules, if the disciplinary proceedings, including an inquiry, against an employee or public servant started during his/her service and are not concluded until the age of superannuation, such proceedings shall stand abated upon retirement and the government servant is entitled to get full pensionary benefits.

The court directed the office to transmit a copy of this judgment to the concerned quarters for information and compliance accordingly and asked the federal and Punjab governments to issue clear instructions to all the departments for strict observance of the law and its provisions without fail.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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