Don't dismiss government employees on grounds of extramarital affair: HC
The Rajasthan HC has recently ruled out against the state government for taking action against two government employees for having an extra-marital affair. It was hearing a petition by an inspector and a woman constable, who were suspended in March 2001, for having a relationship outside marriage. The single-judge bench said that although the act is considered as adultery, the government's action was illegal.
'It's best to proceed against him/her in civil law'
Although the court has put a stay on their suspension order till the proceedings are over, it has directed the couple and the woman's child to take a DNA test. The single-judge Jaipur bench, headed by Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma said, "It's (extramarital affair) no ground for initiating departmental proceedings by the employer. It will be best to proceed against him/her in civil law."
'Morality has to be understood according to change of society'
In addition, the judgment read, "While it is true that the Constitution of India depicts the history of India i.e. 'Bharat', however, as held by the Supreme Court, the evolution of a human mind is a continuous process." "The concept of morality has to be understood according to change of society. The lawmakers have to keep pace with the advancement of society," it added.
Petition questioned Section 4 of Rajasthan Conduct Rules of 1971
The couple, after being suspended, had filed a written petition against it in the Rajasthan High Court. The petition had questioned whether Section 4 of the Rajasthan Conduct Rules of 1971, which binds a government servant to lead a moral life, would also consider a consensual relationship between two adults as a reason for the government department to act against its personnel.
No room for individuals with illicit relationship, argues government counsel
Defending the government's side, Additional Advocate General GS Gill submitted that the government department has right over its employees under the service law. He said, "Any conduct which creates conflict in society has to be treated as immoral. There is no room for allowing an individual to enter into an illicit relationship, and therefore the employer has to take departmental action."
Rajasthan-cadre IPS was also dismissed this month on same grounds
This is not the first case where government officers are being suspended by their departments for their personal lives, or relationships outside marriage. A 2009-batch IPS officer, Pankaj Kumar Choudhary, was also dismissed on March 6 by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Choudhary, who has decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections 2019, challenged the decision in the Central Administrative Tribunal.
What is CAT or the Central Administrative Tribunal?
The Central or State Administrative Tribunal or CAT hears all the disputes and complaints regarding the issues public sector employees face at their place of work, like suspension or dismissal from the job. Under Article 323A, the Parliament authorizes the Central government to establish it.