international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

India: Pendency of a criminal trial has no bearing on disciplinary proceedings.

The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and upheld the dismissal order. The key positions in the judgments are as follows:

The Labour Court should have restricted itself to merely examining the correctness of the punishment of dismissal imposed when the departmental enquiry was held. The Supreme Court clarified that a departmental enquiry is held independently of the criminal case and the enquiry can continue regardless of the decision of acquittal or conviction in the criminal case.

  1. The Employer had dismissed the employees based on the findings of the departmental enquiry, which is an employer’s right, and not based on the findings of the Criminal Court.
  • Even if a person stood acquitted by the criminal Court, domestic enquiry can still be held because the standard of proof required in a domestic enquiry and that in criminal case are altogether different. In a criminal case, standard of proof required is beyond reasonable doubt while in a domestic enquiry; it is the preponderance of probabilities.