‘A housekeeper cannot be expected to serve as butler too’: Punjab & Haryana HC

The employee of Haryana government had challenged a chargesheet filed against him over a decade ago for not serving 'butter chicken’ to some guest at the Haryana Raj Bhavan

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When Jai Chand, who was a housekeeper at the Haryana Raj Bhavan in 2010, served butter chicken to all the guests save one, he created an embarrassing situation for he hosts of the gathering at the Haryana Raj Bhavan. This resulted in him being charged with delinquency.

Years later, another chargesheet was issued accusing him of misbehaviour. It was alleged that he had used foul language against a co-worker, that is, a caretaker at the Haryana Raj Bhavan.

Following an inquiry into the matter, show-cause notices were issued against him and it was proposed that he be punished.

The then Secretary to the Governor had pointed out that he had observed nothing wrong with Jai Chand’s conduct and that his behaviour and work had been appropriate. Therefore, he saw no reason to punish Jai Chand severely.

He was eventually transferred to the Hospitality Department.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled that since Jai Chand was a housekeeper, it wasn’t really his duty to serve as a butler too. So, even though the hosts were embarrassed because he failed to serve a single guest a dish that had been served to others, this act of inhospitality was not entirely his fault. Also, the preparation and serving of food is a collective effort by many, so the petitioner, Jai Chaind alone cannot be held accountable for a lapse in service.

The authorities had, therefore, been told to be lenient with him.

The court disposed of the petition “with an expectation of the respondents that pursuant to the submission of petitioner’s reply to the show-cause notices, a wholesome view will be taken”.

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