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Jagdish Chandra BhasIn Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. App. No. 67 of 1955
Judge
Reported inAIR1957All436
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 310, 311, 366 and 372; Indian Penal Code (IPC) - Sections 161
AppellantJagdish Chandra Bhasin
RespondentState of Uttar Pradesh
Appellant AdvocateN. Banerji, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateB.N. Roy, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....servant - criminal trial - witnesses called to cross examine - petitioner pleaded adjournment - inquiry officer did not give permission on ground as witness cannot be called number of times - held, opportunity is given to cross examine (ii) service - suspension during criminal proceedings - articles 311, 372 and 366 of constitution of india - criminal trial - after acquittal reinstatement only through order of officer concerned - dismissal of non-gazetted officer can not be questioned on ground public service commission not consulted. - - 3. the grounds on which the applicant seeks the aid of this court under its writ jurisdiction, mainly are that he was not given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself by the inquiring officer and secondly that the order of suspension came to..........action in departmental proceedings. nothing further was done for some time for inquiring into the charges served upon the petitioner in the departmental inquiry, presumably because he was undergoing a trial on similar other charges. the applicant was ultimately acquitted by the criminal court on 30-11-1951 but no orders reinstating him were, however, passed. during the pendency of the trial another charge sheet in respect of some other charges was also served upon the applicant on 16-5-1951. these charges were supplementary to the charges already served upon the applicant on 4-1-1951. the applicant applied to the opposite party for reinstatement after his acquittal on 30-11-1951. he sent another letter in this connection on 2-1-1952 which was delivered to the chief inspector of shops.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Randhir Singh, J.

1. This is a petition for the issue of a writ of certiorari for the quashing of an order of dismissal of the applicant passed by the opposite party and for a direction to the opposite party to reinstate the applicant to his post.

2. It appears that the petitioner was an Inspector of Shops and Commercial Establishments in the employ of the opposite party in 1950. Complaints were received against the applicant of corruption and a trap was laid for the detection of the crime. As a sequel to the trap laid, the applicant was prosecuted under Section 161, I. P. C. and Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. He was arrested on 20-12-1950 and was placed under suspension with effect from that date by the opposite party. On 4-1-1951, about a couple of weeks after the prosecution was launched, a charge-sheet was submitted in connection with disciplinary action in departmental proceedings. Nothing further was done for some time for inquiring into the charges served upon the petitioner in the departmental inquiry, presumably because he was undergoing a trial on similar other charges.

The applicant was ultimately acquitted by the criminal court on 30-11-1951 but no orders reinstating him were, however, passed. During the pendency of the trial another charge sheet in respect of some other charges was also served upon the applicant on 16-5-1951. These charges were supplementary to the charges already served upon the applicant on 4-1-1951. The applicant applied to the opposite party for reinstatement after his acquittal on 30-11-1951. He sent another letter in this connection on 2-1-1952 which was delivered to the Chief Inspector of Shops and Commercial Establishments. On the same day an order was passed intimating to the applicant that he shall continue to remain under suspension on the charges communicated to him in the office letter dated the 16th May, 1951. An inquiry into the charges was then made by the Chief Inspector of Factories and ultimately he sent his report to the Labour Commissioner. The Labour Commissioner sent a copy of the report of the inquiring officer to the applicant and served him with a notice to show cause why he should not be dismissed from service. After the applicant had beer, heard by the Labour Commissioner he ultimately passed an order dismissing the applicant from service. The applicant then went up in appeal which was dismissed but the orders were communicated to the applicant on 15-4-1955. He then made the petition for a writ which is before me.

3. The grounds on which the applicant seeks the aid of this Court under its writ jurisdiction, mainly are that he was not given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself by the inquiring officer and secondly that the order of suspension came to an end on 30-11-1951 and it was not open to the opposite party to put him retrospectively under suspension with effect from 30-11-1951. A third point was also raised that the Public Service Commission had not been consulted before disciplinary action was taken against the applicant and as such the order of dismissal which followed the disciplinary action was bad.

4. The first point, therefore, which arises for consideration in this case is whether a reasonable opportunity had been afforded to the applicant by the officer conducting the inquiry. It appears that the inquiry was originally started by one Shri K.K. Batlivala but he seems to have quitted office or gone away before the inquiry was completed and it was then made over to his successor. Some evidence was heard by Shri Batlivala but a request was made by the applicant for cross-examining those witnesses. The successor of Sri Batlivala who ultimately concluded the inquiry then resummoned the witnesses and their statements were recorded in the presence of the applicant. He was asked to cross-examine these witnesses but he stated that he would like to cross-examine them only after the statements of all of them had been recorded. The enquiring officer, however, did not agree to the request of the applicant. A written application was then made by the applicant but that was also rejected. At no stage, of the proceedings it appears the inquiring officer agreed to the applicant postponing the cross-examination to a later date. It has to be noted that the witnesses were persons who had been summoned to appear before the inquiring officer and they could not be called a number of times only to enable the applicant to cross-examine them at his will. It cannot, therefore, be said that no opportunity was given to the applicant to cross examine the witnesses. It is also significant that the applicant never made a grievance of this before the Labour Commissioner when he served him with a notice to show cause why the punishment proposed by the inquiring officer should not be imposed. I am unable, therefore, to agree with the contention that the applicant was notafforded reasonable opportunity by the officer conducting the inquiry to cross-examine the witnesses or produce his defence.

5. The next point raised in argument is that the order of suspension which became operative from the 9th of December, 1950 came to an end on 30-11-1931 when the applicant was acquitted by the Criminal Court. Reliance has been placed on a reported case of the Calcutta High Court, Viz. Hemanta Kumar Bhattacharjee v. Section N. Mukherjee AIR 1954 Cal 340 (A) in which an observation has been made that suspension would come to an end when a person is acquitted. The prosecution of the applicant in the criminal court was a wholly independent affair and the applicant was placed under suspension only because he had been arrested and was being prosecuted. An order from the officer empowered to suspend the applicant was, therefore, necessary, before the applicant could be reinstated and the applicant could not be deemed to have been automatically reinstated after the termination of the criminal case. It would be a wholly different case if in a departmental proceeding the person proceeded against is dismissed and subsequently his dismissal is set aside. In that case the suspension would evidently terminate because it was the departmental inquiry which ended in dismissal and the suspension ceased from that date. It would, however, be wholly different if the order of suspension is independent of the criminal charge, Moreover, the applicant had been served with charges of a departmental nature during the pendency of the criminal case and he was informed after the criminal case had terminated that his suspension would continue as charges had been framed and served on him before the criminal case had terminated. The suspension of the applicant on charges framed against him in 1951, therefore, continued even after the termination of the criminal case and the argument that the suspension automatically terminated with the acquittal of the applicant in the criminal case cannot be accepted.

6. The last point urged was that the Public Service Commission had not been consulted before disciplinary action was taken against the applicant. It is not seriously disputed that under the regulations framed it was provided that the Public Service Commission will not be consulted with regard to disciplinary matters in the case of non-gazetted staff. These regulations were framed under the Government of India Act and under Article 372 read with Article 366 of the Constitution of India these regulations continued to be in force till they were amended. The regulations which were, therefore, in force at the time when the applicant's case was decided did not require any reference to the Public Service Commission before disciplinary proceedings, were taken or before the applicant was dismissed. This last point also, therefore, has no force,

7. The petition has, therefore, no forceand is dismissed. I however, make no order asto costs.


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