Suspension of a University Professor
I am a Professor working in a Deemed University fully funded by HRD Ministry through UGC, for last 30years and governed by Univesity’s Sevice Rules and CCA Rules. It does not come under CAT. I have been suspended by the Vice-chancellor in the end of March, 2016 for an allegation of acting to the detriment of the University. After 3 weeks I have been charged with violation of the provisions of Sub rule (i), (ii), (iii), (vi), (xv), (xviii) & (xxi) of Rule 3(1), Rule 11 and Rule 15(1) (a) & (b) of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964. The Imputations of Misconduct being creating a WhatsApp Group as virtual business of placement service soliciting students and alumni attached to the University, using University’s logo, resources, knowledge and information and directly or indirectly using, disclosing the official communication or any classified information acquired by me during my official duties. A 20 Page conversation of the Whatsapp group has been supplied to substantiate the Imputations of Misconduct and thereby the Article of Charges.
Univesity has an Alumni Association which is housed in, registered and funded by the University. I am Secretary General of the Association and created a Whatsapp group in good faith for the benefit of the Alums where the members shared career related information including Jobs, Fellowship, Research fund, Travel Grants, etc There is no transaction of money involved in this group in anyway. No Information/resource of the University has been used either. University’s Logo was inadvertently used for sometime, which was rectified soon.
I replied to the charges denying all of them and explaining the correct picture. I also submitted an appeal to the Chancellor (appellate authority) requesting to revoke the suspension. I do not know the status of my Appeal, but have received a letter from the Vice chancellor stating that they are not satisfied with my reply and want to go ahead for a Departmental Inquiry.
My Queries are as follows:
(a) According to you in view of applicable laws what is the strength/future of the allegations /charges in front of the Inquiry officer and Court of Law?
(b) Can my employer introduce different/new material evidence not related to Whatsapp group to substantiate the Article of Charges (Annexure-I)? If they bring different/new material evidence, what will be my stand under the CCA Rules?
(c) Can my employer add different/new Statement of Imputations (Annexure-II) to substantiate the Article of Charges? If they bring different/new Statement of Imputations, what will be my stand under the CCA Rules?
(d) If the employer finds the current Suspension Order is weak, can the employer issue another suspension order to bring in new Charges/ Statement of Imputations/ Material Evidence? If they do so, what will be my stand under the CCA Rules?
(e) What are the general course of stand that I should take during the enquiry proceeding?
(f) Annexure IV ie. List of witnesses by whom the articles of charge are proposed to be sustained has not been attached to the chargesheet. Is the employer allowed to bring in during the course of enquiry proceeding?
(g) Is the chat log print out admissible as evidence in DE/court of law?
(h) Under what legal provisions/sections I can seek relief in High court at current state/ during the Enquiry/after the punishment is notified?