Termination of driver over Facebook post: HC summons Haryana financial commissioner

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday summoned financial commissioner, revenue, Haryana government for January 8 in the controversy surrounding sacking of a driver in Hisar district over his Facebook post against deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala.

The order was passed by high court bench of Justice Anil Kshetarpal as the bench was not satisfied with the response of the state government. “Detailed order is awaited. However, the court has summoned financial commissioner, revenue, for January 8,” Anil Mehta, counsel for Panna Lal, said.

On December 29, the government had admitted to sacking of a driver, Panna Lal, who was a contractual employee with subdivision officer (civil), Hansi, and was terminated from services on December 15. It had reasoned that the driver’s conduct and work were not satisfactory as he wrote a post on social media against the deputy chief minister, which is a serious offence. After conducting preliminary inquiry, his service was dispensed with.

State’s response had come on the plea of Panna Lal, who had alleged that he was terminated without being afforded an opportunity of personal hearing and without following the principles of natural justice.

As per the government, he was appointed in May 2018 for one year and thereafter his term was extended up to July 25, 2020. He has no right of continuity in service. On violation of Article 311 (2) by the government in his termination, which lays down that a chargesheet has to be issued and the employee has to be afforded a reasonable time to put across his stand, the government had argued that him being a contractual employee, these provisions do not apply in his case.

Lal had further claimed the posts in question against the deputy chief minister were made by someone else and not him and that too in 2018-2019, when he was not even a deputy chief minister. However, state had countered it by stating that the posts in question were put out recently.

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