1. This is an application under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India for the issue of a writ of mandamus directing the respondent to reinstate the petitioner in the post of Co-operative Sub-Registrar, Vijayawada.
2. The petitioner entered service as a junior inspector of co-operative societies in the year 1932 and was promoted as senior inspector in December, 1944. Sometime later, i.e., on 13 July, 1946, he was appointed as Secretary to Kalidindi Land Colonization Society for Ex-service Men and he worked in that capacity till 6 March, 1950. During this period, he was given a further promotion as co-operative sub-registrar. After he was relieved from that office, he seems to have been directed to hold an enquiry into the affairs of Central Cooperative Stores, Vijayawada. Whilst things stood thus, he received a notice from the Registrar of Co-operative Societies to the effect that he was suspended in view of certain charges that were pending against him. This was on 7 March, 1951. Thereafter, a charge was framed against him which reads thus :
'That, actuated by corrupt motives and in abuse of your position and authority, you had, between 29 May, 1949 and 6 May, 1950, in your capacity as secretary-cum-ex-officio treasurer of the Kalidindi Ex-Servicemen Land Colonization Co-operative Society, made unauthorized advances involving huge amounts in cash, in utter disregard of the provisions of the bylaws of the society, to certain persons whose identity is not known and whose existence is imaginary, misappropriated the amounts so advanced for your own benefit and, with a view to cover up such acts of misappropriation, deliberately fabricated the records of the society by showing such advances as having been made and subsequently recovered, as detailed in the annexure attached hereto.'
3. This charge was communicated to the petitioner by the tribunal for disciplinary proceedings and he was called upon to submit his explanation within a stated time. After consideration of the explanation offered by the petitioner and the evidence on record, the tribunal came to the conclusion that the petitioner was guilty of the charge. Accordingly, a report was sent by the tribunal to the Government of Madras on 8 January, 1953. After a scrutiny of the report, the Government issued a notice to the petitioner on 28 March, 1953 to show cause within a month from the date of its receipt why he should not be dismissed from service. Before the expiry of this period, the petitioner asked for extension of time and time was extended upto 15 August, 1953. Without complying with the notice, the petitioner seems to have requested a further extension but this was not granted and on 22 September 1953 the order of dismissal was served on him.
4. In this petition, three points are urged :
(1) While the rules require that the enquiry should be held by two members, in this case, it was done only by one;
(2) a reasonable opportunity was not given to the petitioner to show that the punishment proposed was out of all proportion to the crime committed by him; and
(3) the tribunal did not insist upon the Government producing all the documents which were required by the petitioner to substantiate his defence.
5. Rule 3(A) of the Disciplinary Proceedings Tribunal Rules, 1948, lays down :
'The tribunal shall consist of two judicial officers of the status of District and Sessions Judge.'
6. Rule 3(d) provides :
'The chairman and the other member of the tribunal may sit together or singly as may be decided by the chairman having regard to the importance of the case and the status of the accused officers.'
7. It is seen that although the tribunal should consist of two members, it was competent for the chairman to decide whether a particular enquiry should be held by two or one of the members, taking into account the circumstances indicated therein. It appears that in this case the chairman did pass an order that one of the members could enquire into the matter. Mr. Krishnamurti urged that in spite of rule 3(d), it to obligatory that both the members should hold an enquiry. We cannot give effect to this contention. When there is a specific provision in the shape of Cl. (d) permitting one of the officers to hold an enquiry, we do not see how the tribunal could be insisted upon to have the enquiry by two of the members. In our opinion, the enquiry by one is a sufficient compliance with rule 3 of the Disciplinary Proceedings Tribunal Rules. This contention therefore fails and is rejected.
8. As regards the second point, we think it is utterly devoid of substance. It should be remembered that the petitioner had more than five and a half months to answer the notice and it is idle to contend that this was not sufficient to file an explanation, etc. This objection is also overruled.
9. Coming now to the third issue, we think it is equally untenable. It is clear from the counter-affidavit that such of the documents as did exist and were available were produced before the tribunal. Further reference to the list of documents which the petitioner in alleged to have requested the other side to produce would show that most of them have really no bearing at all on the question whether he is guilty of misappropriation or not. Sri Krishnamurti says that these documents would have established that for two or three years no action was taken against the petitioner. Independent of these documents, the fact does appear that the proceedings were started against the petitioner only about two years after the defalcation. Merely because his misdemeanours were not detected for two years, it would not in any way minimize the nature of the charge. However, that need not detain us as, as already stated, it is pointed out in the counter-affidavit that most of the documents which were required by the Petitioner were filed before the tribunal. In these circumstances, we do not find any grounds to issue a writ of certiorari. The petition is dismissed without costs.