The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the matter of Shashi Bhusan Prasad v. Inspector General Central Industrial Security Force and Ors. observed that acquittal in criminal trial doesn’t ipso facto absolve delinquent from the liability in a departmental inquiry.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:
Two proceedings criminal and departmental are entirely different. They operate in different fields and have different objectives. Whereas the object of criminal trial is to inflict appropriate punishment on an offender, the purpose of enquiry proceedings is to deal with the delinquent departmentally and to impose penalty in accordance with the service Rules. (Para 19)
The degree of proof which is necessary to order a conviction is different from the degree of proof necessary to record the commission of delinquency. Even the rule relating to appreciation of evidence in the two proceedings is also not similar. (Para 19)
In criminal law, burden of proof is on the prosecution and unless the prosecution is able to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, he cannot be convicted by a Court of law whereas in the departmental enquiry, penalty can be imposed on the delinquent on a finding recorded on the basis of ‘preponderance of probability’. (Para 19)
Acquittal by the Court of competent jurisdiction in a judicial proceeding does not ipso facto absolve the delinquent from the liability under the disciplinary jurisdiction of the authority. (Para 19)
Copy of judgement: Judgement_01-Aug-2019