Director of SKIMS lacks the authority to impose significant penalties

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Government Holds Dismissal Authority, Not SKIMS Director: High Court

The High Court ruled that the Director of SKIMS lacks the authority to impose significant penalties, such as dismissal from service. Consequently, the termination order of Dr B A Wani, a Professor in the Department of Cardiology, issued in 1993, was overturned.

Justice Sanjeev Kumar said that only the Government holds the competence to make decisions regarding major punishments like termination or rank reduction, and such authority cannot be delegated to subordinates

Justice Kumar concurred with Senior Counsel R A Jan’s arguments that the Director of SKIMS lacked the authority to terminate the petitioner, Dr Wani. At the time of termination, Dr Wani held the position of Professor and Head of the Department of Cardiology at SKIMS

“I am more inclined to accept this plea for the simple reason that to the specific averments made by the petitioner- Wani in respect of the incompetence of the Director, SKIMS to issue the impugned order, there is no specific reply or rebuttal by the respondent-SKIMS”, Justice Kumar recorded.

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“That is the disciplinary action that the competent authority may initiate, the petitioner shall be given adequate opportunity to defend himself strictly adhered to in such disciplinary proceedings, which shall be concluded within two months from the date charges are served upon the petitioner”, reads the judgment, as reported by the Daily Excelsior.

The newspaper reported that the court has also made it clear that in case no such proceedings are envisaged or initiated against the petitioner, his application for voluntary retirement under Article 230 of the CSR shall be considered and appropriate orders passed within one month from the date of expiry of time stipulated herein above for conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings.

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Court on the reply in opposition to the plea of the aggrieved Doctor said the Director of the Institute, has not made any attempt to explain his competence to impose a penalty of removal from service of a gazetted officer. “It is also not demonstrated by the respondent-SKIMS whether the status of the Professor and other faculty positions of SKIMS is that of a gazetted officer or not”, reads the judgment.

Justice Kumar, however, said that if this Court holds that the impugned order is traceable to Article 128 of the CSR, yet in the absence of specific delegation made by the Government to the Director, SKIMS, the impugned order would be without jurisdiction and competence of the Director.

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