N.U. Beg, J.
1. This writ petition has been filed by Bhagwan Singh, who was a clerk in the Collectorabe, Sitapur. He was suspected of gross negligence and dereliction of duty in his conduct as a clerk. Departmental proceedings were, therefore, taken against him. Simultaneously with the Departmental proceedings it is stated that a criminal prosecution was also launched under Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code. Learned Counsel for the applicant states that some of the acts which formed the subject-matter of enquiry in the Departmental enquiry are the same in respect of which the petitioner is being charged in the criminal case. The petitioner, therefore, has filed this writ petition for the issue of a writ of mandamus commanding opposite parties Nos. 1 and 2 not to hold the Departmental enquiry against him or to require him to submit an explanation or to give any statement in the Departmental enquiry until the criminal case instituted against him has terminated.
2. Having heard learned Counsel, I am of opinion that there is no provision of law empowering the Court to stay Departmental proceedings merely because the criminal prosecution of the same person is launched in a Court of law. The purpose of two proceedings appears to be quite different. The object of Departmental proceedings is to ascertain, whether the officer concerned is a fit person to be retained in service. On the other hand, the object of the criminal prosecution is to find out whether the ingredients of the offence as defined in the Penal statute have been made out The area covered by the two proceedings is not exactly identical. Learned Counsel states that in so far as the criminal prosecution is concerned, a date has been fixed in the Sessions Court for his trial. That however does not appear to be a reason for staying the Departmental proceedings.
The only provision of law relied on by learned Counsel is Article 20(3) of the Constitution. This Article lays down that no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. To my mind, it appears that this relates to the very case in which a person is being tried of an offence. If a person is being tried for an offence, he cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself in the case in which he is being tried for that offence. In the Departmental proceedings he is not being tried for any criminal offence. He might be found guilty of negligence or dereliction of duty which might not be criminal offences at all. Even if the charges framed against the petitioner in the Departmental proceedings may be construed to be offences in a broad sense, he is not being compelled in those proceedings to be a witness against himself. In those proceedings he would be given an opportunity to give any explanation or to produce any evidence that he likes. Learned Counsel for the petitioner has not stated before me that in the criminal proceedings he is being compelled to appear as a witness or to produce any evidence against himself. Under the circumstances, I am o opinion that this provision of the Constitution has no application to the present case.
3. Learned Counsel for the petitioner relied on the case of Collector of Customs v. Calcutta Motor and Cycle Co., AIR 1958 Cal 682. In that case the accused person was being proceeded under Section 171-A of the Sea Customs Act, which lays down that a person proceeded against under that section was bound to attend in person and also bound to state the truth in respect of any enquiry that was made from him and to produce all documents which he was directed to put before the authority ordering him to do so. It is not alleged in the present case that in the Departmental enquiry any such step has been taken against the petitioner or that the petitioner is bound under any law to appear as a witness against himself or to produce any documents which are in his custody. This case, therefore, appears to be quite distinguishable.
4. Learned Counsel also relied on Paragraph 72 of the Manual of Government Orders which lays down that the Departmental authority should determine whether the misconduct should be dealt with departmentally or should be made the subject-matter of a criminal prosecution. This appears to be a provision which merely gives an option to the Departmental authorities. This provision does not lay down that where there has been a criminal prosecution, Simultaneous Departmental proceedings are barred. Moreover, in the writ petition no ground has been taken that in the present case there has been any breach of Paragraph 72 of the Manual of Government Orders.
5. NO other point was urged before me.
6. This petition, therefore, fails and is dismissed with costs.