Recently, the Allahabad High Court ruled that unless there is a specific law that allows it, an employer cannot start or continue disciplinary action against an employee after they retire. The court referred to a previous Supreme Court case and emphasized that disciplinary action cannot continue without proper legal authority once an employee retires.
In this specific case, a senior warehouse superintendent faced disciplinary proceedings that started in 2005 but continued even after their retirement in 2009. No final decisions were made during their employment. Later, the company’s managing director imposed a financial penalty on the retired employee.
However, the petitioner appealed the decision and argued that the disciplinary authority lacked jurisdiction over a retired employee. After a delay of nine years in informing the petitioner about the appeal status, they approached the writ court seeking to have the orders annulled.
The court noted the undue delay in rejecting the petitioner’s appeal and then addressed the case on its merits. It emphasized that departmental remedies should not be used as a means of indefinitely postponing the resolution of an employee’s rights.
Furthermore, the court pointed out that in government establishments, like the Corporation in this case, the relationship between employer and employee is typically regulated by laws, not contracts. The petitioner’s employment was governed by the Corporation’s rules under the Warehousing Corporations Act, 1962.
The court also highlighted that disciplinary inquiries after retirement can only be extended if provided for in the statute governing the employee’s service conditions. Referring to a previous judgment, the court found no provision in the Corporation’s regulations that enabled disciplinary action after an employee’s retirement.