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Madhya Pradesh HC: Dismisses Misconduct Charge Against Lower Court Judge

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Published on: February 12, 2024 at 17:13 IST

In a recent ruling, the Madhya Pradesh High Court addressed the interpretation of Clause 39(1)(d) in the LIC (Staff Regulations, 1960), stating that the expression ‘lower’ grade/post also includes punishment to the ‘lowest’/’minimum’ grade or post.

Justices Sujoy Paul and Vivek Jain emphasized that the intention of the regulation makers was not to impose a restrictive meaning on this provision.

The bench noted that if the regulation makers intended to limit punishment to a lower grade/post and not the minimum/lowest grade, they would have explicitly stated so.

The Court found that the punishment imposed in the case falls within the scope of enabling Regulation 39(1)(d). The ruling, based on a case in Jabalpur, clarified the ambiguity in the language of the regulation.

To support its conclusion, the Court referred to a previous decision regarding the Kshetriya Gramin Bank’s Staff Service Regulations, where it was observed that ‘a lower stage in the incremental scale’ includes any one of the lower stages, including the lowest.

The penalty outlined in Regulation 39(1)(d) of LIC Staff Regulations involves “reduction to a lower service, or post, or to a lower time scale, or to a lower stage in a time-scale.”

The case involved LIC’s disciplinary proceedings against Yashwanth Singh, an employee whose pay was reduced to the minimum in the time scale of pay applicable to his cadre in 2016.

The division bench overturned the single-judge bench’s interpretation of Regulation 39(1)(d), stating that it was not in line with the law.

The Court highlighted that the single-judge bench had erred in stating that punishment to the ‘minimum’ grade or post is not prescribed in the regulation.

The Division Bench emphasized that the term ‘lower’ in the context of the existing scale can be inclusive of the term ‘minimum’ when tested against Regulation 39(1)(d) of Staff Regulations.

Case Title: Life Insurance Corporation of India, Through Its Chairman & Ors. v. Yeshwant Singh Garewal,