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K. Mallappa Vs. State of Karnataka - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWP No. 15671 of 1982
Judge
Reported inILR1985KAR2030; 1985(2)KarLJ199
ActsKarnataka Civil Service Rules, 1958 - Rule 214
AppellantK. Mallappa
RespondentState of Karnataka
Appellant AdvocateU.L. Narayana Rao, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.V. Narasimhan, HCGP
DispositionWrit petition allowed
Excerpt:
.....rules are - (i) pecuniary loss to the state; and (ii) that loss must have occurred on account of grave misconduct or negligence. epithet `grave' connotes enormity of misconduct in juxta position with technical, trifle or misconduct simpliciter. misconduct is a generic term and means to conduct amiss; to mismanage; wrong or improper conduct; bad behavior; unlawful behaviour and conduct. the word grave intent to indicate supereminent or a very high degree of misconduct. bare allegation in articles of charges; that loss has been caused on account of negligence or misconduct will not meet the requirement of rule 214 of the rules. essence of the charge must be that loss has been caused or occasioned on account of grave misconduct or negligence, let alone characterise the offence as grave...........rules are- (i) pecuniary loss to the state; and(ii) that loss must have occurred on account of grave misconduct or negligence.cardinal rule is to give effect to all words and pharases,clauses contained in a statute and nothing can be treated assuperfluous or insignificant. epithet `grave' is not entirely without significance. it connotes enormity of misconduct injuxta position with technical trifle or misconduct simpliciter.'misconduct is a generic term and means to conduct amiss;to mismanage; wrong or improper conduct; bad behaviour;unlawful behaviour or conduct' and includes malfeasance,misdemeanour, delinquency and other offences. the term'misconduct' does not necessarily mean corruption orcriminal intent. in bhagwat parshad - v. - inspector generalof police it is stated:'the word.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Doddakale Gowda, J.

1. Articles of Charges framed under Rule 214 of theKarnataka Civil Services Rules as against petitioner readthus:-

The report of investigation disclosed that Sri K. Mallappawhile functioning as Director of Public Instruction (Pry. Edn.) Bangaloregave approval in January 1978 to the appointment of five teachers for thesaid Institution in excess of the number of teachers that could have beenprovided to that school as per the norms prescribed by Governmentunder the Grant-in-Aid Code for primary Schools. The strength of thestudents in the Kamala Nehru Makkala Mandir, Bangalore as on 1-6-1976was 505 and there were 9 teaches. With the appointment of 5 moreteachers, the total strength of teachers increased to 14 with effect from1-6-1976. Though the required number of teachers as per the said codewas only 12, Sri K. Mallappa approved the appointment of the five moreteachers resulting in the total strength of teachers to 14, when there wasprovision to appoint only three more teachers. Thus, Sri K.Mallappaexceeded the limit prescribed in the grant-in aid Code and caused loss ofRs. 53, 055-60 to Government on account of salary of the two surplus teachers.

Government have considered the report of the State VigilanceCommission and have decided that since Sri K. Mallappa has sustainedpecuniary loss to Government to the tune of Rs. 53,055-60. Departmental Enquiry should be conducted against him for recovering the saidamount and accordingly pass the followings orders.'

2. Validity or correctness of this proceedings in challengedmainly on three grounds viz., (i) after settlement ofpension payable to petitioner there remained nothing for thedepartment to hold an enquiry; (ii) statement of imputationas contained in charge will not constitute misconduct ornegligence; and (iii) in the absence of essential ingredientsof Rule 214 of the Rules, proceedings initiated or action takento hold an enquiry is without jurisdiction and illegal.

3. Undisputed facts are:

Petitioner retired from service on 15.5.1980. Article ofcharge is framed on 8-12-1981, but served on petitioner on10-12-1981 in respect of an incident that has occurred in theyear 1978. Pension claim has been settled as per endorsementdated 26-8-1980, vide Annexure-B and 75 per cent of DCRGhas also been ordered to be paid-vide Annexure-C, and whatremains to be paid is only 25 per cent of DCRG. Thoughthere is nothing left with Department to withhold, it issubmitted on behalf of Respondent that State is competent todeduct out of payment to be made every month, hence, I findno substance in the first contention.

4. Now, coming to second contention, it is urged by SriU.L.N.Narayana Rao that petitioner has not transgressed anyprovisions of law, rules or regulation which has resulted inloss to State. In support of his contention, it is contendedthat what was permitted by petitioner is in consonance withprovisions contained in Grant-in-Aid Code. Particular averment on this aspect in additional statement of facts filed reads thus:-

'It is further submitted that as seen from the impugned notice-Annexure-D, that the allegation made against the Petitioner is that thePetitioner made an order in January 1978 for appointment of five moreteachers in respect of Kamala Nehru Makkala Mandira, Bangalore, inexcess of the number of teachers that could have been provided to thesaid school as per the norms prescribed by the Government under theGrant-in-Aid Code for primary Schools. It is further averred in the saidnotices that he strength of the students in the said Institution in questionas on 1-6-1976 was 505 and that there were 9 teachers, as a result of which,with the appointment of 5 more teachers, the total strength of teachersincreased to 14 with effect from 1-6-1976 and though the required numberof teachers as per the Grant-in-Aid Code was only 12, the PetitionerPurported to have approved five more teachers, rendering a pecuniaryloss of Rs. 53,055-60 ps to Government on account of salary of twosurplus teachers. In this connection, it is seen that there shall be oneteacher for every 40 pupils on the roll and 30 pupils on the averageattending the school. Where these norms are exceeded by 50% in anySection, i.e., where the pupils strength in a class exceeds 60 on the roll,with 45 attending on the average, the Section shall be bifurcated andadditional teacher sanctioned.'

The relevant Rule in Grant-in-Aid Code on this aspectreads thus:-

'There shall be one teacher for every forty pupils on the roll andthirty pupils on the average attending the school. Where these norms areexceeded by fifty per cent in any section, i.e., (where the pupil strength in aclass exceed sixty on the roll with forty five attending on the average thesection shall be bifurcated and an additional teacher sanctioned. Anyadditional teacher exceeding this limit shall be disallowed for purposes ofgrant-in-aid. If the number of teachers is more than ten, one additionalteacher, preferably a trained graduate may be admitted who will be thehead of the institution.'

5. It is with reference to these facts and provisions, it iscontended by Sri U.L. Narayana Rao, Learned Counsel forthe petitioner, that sanction accorded for additional staffwas well within its province and exigencies demanded suchsanction. It is contended that exercise of power, having dueregard to strength of pupils, will not constitute misconductor negligence. In other words, so long as the strength ofpupils and power to sanction remain undisputed he has notcommitted any sin to be visited with this agony after retirement. Sanction of excess staff strength, if any, may under thecircumstances, at best, be an error of judgment and does notsuffer from malice or bad faith. It may lie in realm ofappreciation of material placed on record as contended bythe Government Pleader or may not. As last contention is aformidable one on which petitioner has to succeed, there isno necessity to dwelve much on this aspect.

6. Two essential ingredients required to initiate or tocontinue proceedings under Rule 214 of the KarnatakaCivil Services Rules are- (i) Pecuniary loss to the State; and(ii) that loss must have occurred on account of grave misconduct or negligence.

Cardinal rule is to give effect to all words and pharases,clauses contained in a statute and nothing can be treated assuperfluous or insignificant. Epithet `grave' is not entirely without significance. It connotes enormity of misconduct injuxta position with technical trifle or misconduct simpliciter.

'Misconduct is a generic term and means to conduct amiss;to mismanage; wrong or improper conduct; bad behaviour;unlawful behaviour or conduct' and includes malfeasance,misdemeanour, delinquency and other offences. The term'misconduct' does not necessarily mean corruption orcriminal intent. In Bhagwat Parshad - v. - Inspector Generalof Police it is stated:'The word 'grave' is used in many senses and implies seriousness,importance, weight etc. There is, however, a distinction between misconduct,and grave misconduct. The adjective 'grave' in this contextmakes the character of the conduct, serious or very seriou.......'Misconduct' in order to earn the epithet of gravity has to be gross orflagrant.'

The word 'grave' intent to indicate super eminent or a veryhigh degree of misconduct. Bare allegation in articles ofcharges, that loss has been caused on account of negligenceor misconduct will not meet the requirement of Rule 214 f ofthe Rules. Essence of the charge must be that loss has beencaused or occasioned on account of grave misconduct ornegligence. Let alone characterises the offence as grave.Charge does not even specify whether loss is caused onaccount of misconduct or negligence or both.

A Division Bench of this Court in C. Krishnappa - v. - the State of Mysore & Others has held that right of with-holding or withdrawing pension or any part of it can beresorted to, if pensioner is found guilty of causing loss on1. 2. W. P. 5040 of 1969account of grave misconduct or negligence during the periodof his tenure. Further it is stated-

'as Rule 214 is the only rule, on the strength of which, enquiry alreadyinstituted, is sought to be continued and the condition necessary therefordoes not exist, it is impossible to sustain the order for continuance of thedepartmental enquiry.'

As article of charges extracted above, lacks essentialingredient, it must be held that proceedings initiated oraction taken is without jurisdiction and illegal.

7. For the reasons stated above, Writ Petition succeeds.Impugned proceedings initiated under Rule 214 of K.C.S.Rules as per Annexure-D is hereby quashed. Rule madeabsolute.


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