Somnath Ayyar, J.
1. The petitioner was an assistant teacher working in the Primary Boy's School, Kanakapura, at the relevant time. He had by then put in ten years of service. In the year 1959 he made an application for admission to the Mysore Secondary School Leaving Certificate public examination and that application was presented to the Inspector of Schools. He was issued a hall-ticket and he was declared as having passed the examination.
2. On 6 March, 1960, he was however asked to surrender the marks card, and, he was informed that since he had not passed the middle school examination or an equivalent examination he could not have sat for the S.S.L.C. Examination. Nothing was done about it for some considerable time. But on 17 October, 1961 the District Educational officer called upon him to show cause against three charges which he formulated. The first of them was that although the petitioner knew that he did not possess the required qualification to appear as a teacher-candidate for the S.S.L.C. examination, he nevertheless applied for permission to attend it. The second charge was that he misrepresented facts to the Inspector of Schools and persuaded him to forward his application. The third was that he had directly addressed the higher authority and had violated the Government Servants' Conduct Rules. The petitioner submitted his explanation on 24 October, 1961 and after that explanation was submitted, the proceedings were not continued.
3. Meanwhile on 20 October, 1961, the Commissioner for Examinations cancelled the marks-card which had been issued to the petitioner on the ground that he was ineligible to attend the examination.
4. One should have thought that the matter ended there. But it did not. On 26 March, 1964 the District Educational officer issued another show-cause notice asking him to show cause in respect of two charges. Those two charges were the same as the first two charges which the first show-cause notice of the year 1961 incorporated, although there was a slight difference in phraseology.
5. It is at that stage that the petitioner approached this Court with this writ petition in which he asks us to quash the new disciplinary proceeding which had been commenced against him and also to quash the order made by the Commissioner of Examinations cancelling the marks card.
6. It is not disputed that the petitioner could not have sat for the S.S.L.C. examination, which was conducted in the year 1959 since he had not passed the middle school examination or an equivalent examination. So it is obvious that the Commissioner for Examinations was right in cancelling the marks card. So, the prayer of the petitioner that we should quash the Commissioner's order is unsustainable.
7. Sri Mohandas Hegde appearing for the petitioner, however, submitted that the commencement of the disciplinary proceeding on the second occasion after the discontinuance of the proceeding commenced on the first occasion in the year 1961, was beyond the competence of the District Educational officer. His further submission was that the charges brought against the petitioner were on their face unsustainable and groundless. In regard to the second submission it was urged that the second submission it was urged that the petitioner did not conceal from the concerned authorities the fact that he had not passed the middle school examination or an equivalent examination. Sri Hegde pointed out to us that in the relevant columns of the application form, the petitioner made it clear that he had passed only the upper primary examination, and that he appended to the application form a copy of that certificate. It was pressed on us that the petitioner was probably under the honest and bona fide belief that the upper primary examination was an examination equivalent to the middle school examination, and that it was that honest belief which must have produced an impression in mind of the petitioner that he was eligible to take the S.S.L.C. examination.
8. We are not concerned with that aspect of the matter. In this writ petition in which all that we have to investigate is whether there was no competence in the District Educational Officer to commence a second disciplinary proceeding after the abandonment of the first. It appears to us that our answer to this question should be in favour of the petitioner, and, we may state briefly the reasons which impel that conclusion.
9. The first disciplinary proceeding was commenced on 10 October, 1961, and two of the charges brought against the petitioner on that occasion are the charges which are now brought against him. The petitioner showed cause on 24 October, 1961, through his explanation. In the course of which he submitted that he had made no misrepresentation to any one and that he was under the impression that his success in the upper primary examination constituted the required eligibility for taking the S.S.L.C. examination. He pointed out that he had produced the upper primary examination certificate before the Inspector of schools and that that Inspector shared the belief of the petitioner that there was the required eligibility.
10. If, after the production of this explanation, the disciplinary proceeding was not continued, what should reasonably follow is that the disciplinary authority was satisfied with the explanation and dropped the charges. The strength of that inference receives reinforcement from the fact that it was only after a period of three and a half years that the charges were once again revived. The great and inordinate delay in the revival of those charges and the antecedent discontinuance of the earlier disciplinary proceeding over a long tract of time, can have no other meaning than that the disciplinary authority was satisfied with the explanation offered by the petitioner on 24 October, 1961 and that in consequence, the proceedings against him were discontinued and abandoned. If that was how the earlier disciplinary proceeding terminated, it was not within the competence of the disciplinary authority to exhume those charges and to make them the subject-matter of another disciplinary proceeding, as late as in the year 1964.
11. We do not say that it is not permissible for a disciplinary authority to discontinue a disciplinary proceeding and start another in respect of the same matter, if there be a defect or other analogous reason for the discontinuance of one proceeding and for the commencement of another. But that was not what happened in the case before us. The circumstances in which the first disciplinary proceeding was discontinued support no other inference than that the discontinuance was the outcome of the acceptance of the explanation offered by the petitioner.
12. We, therefore, quash the disciplinary proceeding commenced on 26 March, 1964 as incompetent.
13. This writ petition succeeds only to the extent indicated and so there will be no order as to costs.