$~2. * + IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI WRIT PETITIN (C) No.6811/2015 Date of decision:
19. h October, 2016 RAM KUMAR SHARMA ........ Petitioner
Through Mr. Shesh Datt Sharma, Advocate. versus UNION OF INDIA AND ORS. ........ RESPONDENTS
Through Mr. Harsh Ahuja, Advocate for Ms. Manika Arora, CGSC for UOI-respondent Nos. 1 to 4. CORAM: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJIV KHANNA HON'BLE MS. JUSTICE SUNITA GUPTA SANJIV KHANNA, J.
(ORAL): The petitioner-Ram Kumar Sharma in this writ petition impugns the order dated 1st April, 2015 passed by the Principal Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal, for short) whereby OA No.3312/2014 has been rejected.
2. Ram Kumar Sharma had challenged the order dated 4th April, 2014, passed by the Revisionary Authority imposing an enhanced penalty of withholding of next increment of pay for a period of three years without cumulative effect. Earlier, vide order dated 14th February, 2012, the W.P. (C) No.6811/2015 Page 1 of 7 Disciplinary Authority had imposed a penalty of censure.
3. Learned counsel for the petitioner asserts that the petitioner has been harassed and persecuted as one Virender Sonkar, S.D.I. (East) was in the habit of victimising and vilifying his subordinate staff. He would force and compel them to pay bribes and money. Reliance is placed on the suicide note by Kiran Pal who was working as a postman.
4. We have considered the said contentions, but find that they are extraneous and not relevant for the issue in question. The petitioner was chargesheeted on 13th October, 2011 under Rule 16 of the Central Civil Services (CCA) Rules, 1965 on the following allegations:-
"“Whereas, on 4-07-2011 and 05-07-2011, Sri Ram Kumar Sharma, while discharging his duties as „Dak Sahayak‟ Mail & Sub-Account Assistant, Khatauli, had given dak relating to the election of doctors of all the beats to Sri Rajender Kumar Post-man. This resulted in wrong delivery and caused public complaints. Hence, Sri Ram Kumar Sharma, Dak Sahayak has violated the provision of Rule 3(1)(ii)(iii) of Govt. Conduct Rules, 1964.” 5. The petitioner had submitted his reply dated 20th October, 2011. By letter dated 4th November, 2011, the petitioner was given ten days‟ time for inspection of the documents. The documents were inspected on 10th January, 2012. The statement of defence was furnished on 16th January, 2012.
6. The Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Muzzafarnagar Division W.P. (C) No.6811/2015 Page 2 of 7 passed an order dated 14th February, 2011, imposing a penalty of censure. The sympathetic view was taken in view of the petitioner‟s past service and conduct and on account of his promise to not commit any mistake in future.
7. The Director of Postal Services, Bareilly Region, Bareilly, by memo dated 3rd August, 2012, informed the petitioner that prima facie it was felt that the punishment awarded did not commensurate with the gravity of the charge established. The Revisionary Authority, under Rule 29 of the CCS(CCA) Rules, 1965, had proposed enhancement of the penalty to withholding of next increment of pay for three years without cumulative effect. The petitioner was asked to submit his reply within ten days of the receipt of the memo.
8. The petitioner submitted his reply dated 18th August, 2012. In the reply, the petitioner has not made any allegation or assertion that the charge sheet was issued malafidely or at the behest and at the instance of Virender Sonkar, S.D.I. (East). Pertinently, the petitioner had accepted that seven postmen were posted at Khatauli Post Office and the mails were sorted and handed to each postman as per their beats. The postmen had left the office and gone to their beats for delivery of mail. The petitioner asserted that the delivery slip dated 5th July, 2011 was not made available to him for inspection. This contention has been examined and discussed below.
9. By the order dated 4th April, 2014, the Director Postal Services, W.P. (C) No.6811/2015 Page 3 of 7 Bareilly after considering the factual matrix, the charge proved, and the reply by the petitioner held that the petitioner was guilty of the acts of misconduct attributed to him and had failed to put forth any convincing argument. The charges were serious and the punishment of censure did not commensurate with the gravity of charges proved. He, substituted the punishment and enhanced the penalty of censure to that of withholding of next increment of pay for next three years without cumulative effect.
10. On the merits, three contentions are raised by the petitioner. It is submitted that the petitioner had accepted the penalty of censure and, therefore, there was no need and requirement for the Director, Postal Services, Bareilly to enhance the punishment. The Doctrine of Proportionality is pleaded. Secondly, it is submitted that there was substantial delay in passing of the order dated 4th April, 2014, whereas show cause notice was issued on 3rd August, 2012. Thirdly, it is submitted that the charge was not proved.
11. It is correct there is delay in passing of the revisionary order dated 4th April, 2014, whilst the show cause notice for enhancement of penalty was issued on 3rd August, 2012 and the petitioner had submitted his reply on 18th August, 2012. However, this would not be sufficient to strike down the revisionary order, which is detailed and refers to various factual facets and the charge proved. Prejudice on this account is not alleged or asserted. On merits, it is noticed that complaints were received regarding non- W.P. (C) No.6811/2015 Page 4 of 7 delivery of registered AD parcels/letters. The petitioner was confronted with evidence and his statement recorded on 26th July, 2011, is placed on record along with the counter affidavit. The petitioner had accepted that the postmen used to exchange the registered AD letter/parcels. In the evening, all postmen would return the delivery chart of the post given to them for distribution. The petitioner was responsible and would check and match the said delivery chart with the post given for delivery. Thereafter he would relieve the postmen from duty. The delivery chart for 4th July, 2011, reflects and establishes that the registered post at serial Nos. 345 and 391, had not been delivered. The petitioner was confronted for the said serial numbers did not bear the signature of the receivers. The petitioner admitted that he had failed to make inquiries from the concerned postmen. He did not note the same himself. The petitioner had accepted his fault and professed that the mistake might have happened during the distribution. A second statement of the petitioner was recorded. The petitioner again affirmed that the distribution sheets should have been verified and the signatures matched. The delivery sheet was accepted, when all the articles were distributed correctly. In response to question No.10, the petitioner confessed his mistake, stating that distribution of two registered parcels was omitted by him and signatures for acknowledgment of deliveries were missing.
12. The Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, vide the letter dated 4th W.P. (C) No.6811/2015 Page 5 of 7 November, 2011, had informed the petitioner that the distribution detail sheets dated 4th July, 2011 and 5th July, 2011 and the statements of the petitioner were available on record and these could be verified. By the letter dated 10th January, 2012, the petitioner affirmed having verified all the documents in terms of the letter dated 4th November, 2011. Thus, the assertion of the petitioner that he was unaware and the charge was ambiguous is wrong and fallacious. The delivery charts were shown and confronted. Thereafter the petitioner had furnished his explanation.
13. The petitioner claims that he had not been shown the public grievance complaint, i.e., the complaint received from third parties that the registered letter had not been received by the addressees. This was inconsequential and had not caused any prejudice. The fact is that the registered posts were not delivered and this was the admitted position. Non furnishing of the complaint had not made any difference.
14. On the question of proportionality, there is no ground or reason to interfere with the charge relating to non-delivery of registered post and failure of the petitioner to check the delivery chart and take corrective steps. The punishment awarded is not disproportionate. It is not excessive, as shocking one's conscience. It requires no argument to record the importance of delivery of registered post letters and accept the significance of the requirement to check delivery charts. This was the prime job.
15. In view of the aforesaid discussion, we do not find any merit in the W.P. (C) No.6811/2015 Page 6 of 7 present writ petition and the same is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs. OCTOBER19 2016 VKR SANJIV KHANNA, J.
SUNITA GUPTA, J.
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