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Shankerlal Chaube Vs. Jabalpur Corporation (by L.P. Tiwari, Commissioner) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1966)IILLJ204MP; 1965MPLJ934
AppellantShankerlal Chaube
RespondentJabalpur Corporation (by L.P. Tiwari, Commissioner) and ors.
Cases ReferredOm Prakash Gupta v. State of Uttar Pradesh
Excerpt:
- - it may be that an incompetent order like the one passed by the commissioner cannot be confirmed with retrospective effect, but there can be no doubt that the appropriate municipal authority, namely, the standing committee, assented to the suspension of the petitioner as from 5 november 1964. therefore, the petitioner's suspension, which is valid and effective from that date, cannot be interfered with......directed against-(i) a memorandum no. 12909/346/xviii-u-ii, dated 27 october 1964, whereby the state government required the municipal corporation, jabalpur, to suspend the petitioner with immediate effect and to take suitable punitive action against him according to rules because he was negligent in the discharge of his duties;(ii) an order, dated 31 october 1964, passed by the commissioner of the corporation by which the petitioner was pending disposal of the departmental enquiry against him, suspended with immediate effect; and(iii) a resolution, dated 5 november 1964, by which the standing committee of the corporation confirmed the commissioner's order dated 31 october 1964.2. the facts giving rise to this petition, shortly stated, are these. the petitioner is an employee of the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.L. Pandey, J.

1. This petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution is mainly directed against-

(i) a memorandum No. 12909/346/XVIII-U-II, dated 27 October 1964, whereby the State Government required the Municipal Corporation, Jabalpur, to suspend the petitioner with immediate effect and to take suitable punitive action against him according to rules because he was negligent in the discharge of his duties;

(ii) an order, dated 31 October 1964, passed by the Commissioner of the corporation by which the petitioner was pending disposal of the departmental enquiry against him, suspended with immediate effect; and

(iii) a resolution, dated 5 November 1964, by which the standing Committee of the corporation confirmed the Commissioner's order dated 31 October 1964.

2. The facts giving rise to this petition, shortly stated, are these. The petitioner is an employee of the Municipal Corporation Jabalpur, and has been working for the last several years as internal audit officer in a permanent capacity. On the death of Sri B. P, Wadia, the then secretary of the corporation, the standing committee of the corporation, by its resolution, dated 10 August 1962, appointed the petitioner to hold, In addition to his own duties the current charge of the post of secretary. On 8 August 1963, the Commissioner of the corporation reverted the petitioner to his substantive post. By a resolution dated 10 August 1963, the standing committee decided to reappoint him temporarily as secretary of the corporation. However, the corporation, by its resolution passed on the same day, directed that the abovementioned resolution of the standing committee be not implemented and also confirmed the Commissioner's order dated 8 August 1963. Being aggrieved, the petitioner filed Miscellaneous Petition No. 292 of 1963 in this Court. On 5 December 1963, we allowed that petition, quashed the Commissioner's order, dated 8 August 1963, and the corporation's resolution, dated 10 August 1963, and directed that effect be given to the standing committee's resolution, dated 10 August 1963. On 13 December 1963, the petitioner was placed in charge of the poet of secretary. Thereupon, on receipt of the State Government's memorandum, dated 27 October 1964, the Commissioner, by his order, dated 31 October 1964, suspended the petitioner and this action of the Commissioner was confirmed by the standing committee by its resolution dated 5 November 1964.

3. The petitioner has challenged the action taken in regard to him on the several grounds mentioned in Para. 15 of the petition. The learned Counsel for the petitioner, however, pressed only two grounds each of which is, in our opinion, unsubstantial.

4. The first ground is that the State Government's memorandum dated 27 October 1964 directed that the petitioner be suspended from the post of secretary and, therefore, he could not be suspended from the post of Internal audit officer which he held sub-stantively. The aforesaid memorandum reads:

I am directed to say that Shankerlal Chaube, internal audit officer, now secretary, Municipal Corporation, Jabalpur, is negligent in the discharge of his duties in the opinion of the Government. The Government require the corporation to suspend him with immediate effect and take suitable punitive action against him according' to rules.

In our opinion, the two words 'now secretary' merely described the petitioner and did not mean, or imply, that the order of suspension would affect only the post of secretary which he held temporarily and he would continue to be entitled to work on the lower post previously held by him. If that were intended, he would have been simply reverted to the lower post. It Is not that when, for the purpose of holding a departmental enquiry, an employee is suspended, it affects only the post currently held by him. The disciplinary authority thinks that, pending the enquiry and with a view to facilitating it, the delinquent employee should be suspended so that he may not work at all. Such an order affects the entire relationship of employer and employee and, as pointed out by the Supreme Court in Om Prakash Gupta v. State of Uttar Pradesh 1956-I L.L.J. 1, it exhauste itself with the termination of the departmental enquiry. This ground thus fails.

5. The second ground is that, as directed by the State Government's memorandum dated 27 October 1964, the corporation itself should have suspended the petitioner and that neither the Commissioner nor the standing committee could do so. Sri Dabir, learned Counsel for the municipal corporation, drew our attention to Section 69(3) of the Municipal Corporation Act, 1956, and urged that, as the chief executive authority of the corporation, the Commissioner, was entitled to pass the order dated 31 October 1964 for giving effect to the State Government's order under Section 420 of the Act. We are unable to accept this argument which implies that the corporation itself had to take action in the matter. Section 420 of the Act provides as follows:

Notwithstanding anything contained In this Act, if in the opinion of the Government any officer or servant of the corporation is negligent in the discharge of his duties, the corporation shall, on the requirement of the Government, suspend, fine or otherwise punish him, and if in the opinion of the Government he Is unfit for his employment, the corporation shall dismiss him.

We think that this section, which occurs in Chap. XXXVI dealing with control exercisable by the State Government over the affairs of a corporation, empowers the State Government to demand that any officer or servant of the corporation be punished or dismissed and further enacts that, if so required by the State Government, it shall be the duty of the corporation to carry it out. In our opinion, the section, without giving any power to the corporation, which it did not possess by virtue of other provisions of the Act, postulates that the duty of giving effect to any requirement of the State Government under the section shall be carried out by the appropriate municipal authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 69 of the Act. Our attention was, however, drawn to the non castanets clause occurring in the beginning of the section and it was urged that other provisions in the Act could not be regarded as standing in the way of the corporation itself carrying out the directions of the State Government. The short answer to this contention is that the non obstante clause refers to the overriding power with which this section clothed the State Government.

6. In the view we have taken of the true meaning and effect of Section 420 of the Act, it is the standing committee, which is the appointing authority, and not the Commissioner, that can suspend that petitioner and take punitive action against him according to rules. That being so, the Commissioner's order dated 31 October 1964 was incompetent. But, on 5 November 1964, that order was confirmed by the standing committee which also ordered that a departmental enquiry be held against the petitioner and appointed a subcommittee for the purpose. It may be that an incompetent order like the one passed by the Commissioner cannot be confirmed with retrospective effect, but there can be no doubt that the appropriate municipal authority, namely, the standing committee, assented to the suspension of the petitioner as from 5 November 1964. Therefore, the petitioner's suspension, which is valid and effective from that date, cannot be interfered with.

7. Since no other point was pressed before us, this petition fails and is dismissed. The petitioner shall bear his own costs and pay out of the security amount those incurred by the respondents. There shall be two sets of costs, one for respondents 1 and 2 and Anr. for respondent 3. The remaining amount of security shall be refunded. Hearing fee Rs. 75.


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