1. This is a writ petition filed by the petitioner who was appointed as a lower division clerk against an order of dismissal of his services in the circumstances hereinafter stated.
2. On 1 November 1952 the petitioner joined as a lower division clerk in Bhanjanagar Community Project. Thereafter he was promoted as an upper division clerk on 1 January 1964. On 9 June 1956 the petitioner was appointed as junior accountant. Within a few months thereafter, the petitioner was promoted as head clerk with effect from 1 October 1956. On 26 August 1959 charges were framed against the petitioner by the Additional Secretary to Government, Political and Services Department, Bhubaneswar, that the petitioner was alleged to have committed certain irregularities during the period between 2 December 1952 and 1 December 1955 as stated in the said charges. The charges against the petitioner were, in substance, these:
(1) You misappropriated a sum of Rs. 1,374 said to have been paid for the Bahadapadar Drainage Project in collusion with R.N. Mohanti, the then Project Executive Officer, Bhanjanagar Community Project, and Simadri Patnaik, head clerk of the Bhanjanagar Community Project Office.
(2) You misappropriated Rs. 1,050 said to have been paid for Bahadapadar Tank Project in collusion with R.N. Mohanti and S. Patnaik.
(3) You misappropriated a sum of Rs. 1,765 said to have been paid for Gayaganda Link Road in collusion with R.N. Mohanti. I.A.S., Project Executive Officer, Bhanjanagar Community Project, and S. Patnaik.
(4) You misappropriated a sum of Rs. 1,524-4-0 said to have been paid to Krushna Murty Patra of Kalingapadar for Kalingapadar Road in collusion with R.N. Mohanti, I.A.S , Project Executive Officer, Bhanjatsagar and S. Patnaik.
(5) You misappropriated a sum of Rs. 320 relating to the construction of the tank at Gambharigochha in collusion with R.N. Mohanti. I.A.S., Project Executive Officer, and S. Patnaik.
(6) You misappropriated Rs. 500 relating to renovation of a tank in Halandkhalla in collusion with R.N. Mohanti, I.A.S., Project Executive Officer.
On the said charges the petitioner was called upon to explain and the matter in due course was put up before Sri I.C. Misra, Administrative Tribunal, for hearing and disposal.
3. In the course of such enquiry Sri I.C. Misra (inquiring officer) reported to the Government for framing of an additional charge which the enquiring officer felt it was necessary to add on a perusal of the records. In a report of the inquiring officer dated 21 February 1962 to the Joint Secretary to Government, Political and Services Department, Bhubaneswar, he stated that on a perusal of the record he felt that it was necessary to add another charge to the six charges already made against the petitioner and that as the recording of evidence had not yet begun, it would not be irregular to add a charge at that stage: accordingly, he proposed the framing of the following charge against the petitioner:
7. You have failed to discharge your duties as a Government servant properly by making the following false entries in the books of accounts, registers and receipts of the Community Project office, Bhanjanagar:
(a) You showed in the accounts of 2 December 1955 and 5 November 1955 disbursements of Rs. 1,237-8-0 to Nayana Pradhau, Rs. 1,765 to Kalia Naik, Rs. 1,525-4-0 to Krishnamurti Patro, Rs. 820 to Iswar Pradhan, Rs. 1,374 and Rs. 1,050 to P. Kamaraju Patro, though such payments were not actually made.
(b) You made false entries and interpolations in the watch registers relating to the works mentioned in the first six charges.
(c) You prepared false receipts for Rs. 1,765 and Rs. 1,204 respectively on 20 April 1957 and 21 April 1957 in favour of village committees of Gayaganda and Bahadapadar though in fact no money was realized from those committees on those dates, and
(d) You assisted Simadari Patnaik in getting two forged receipts for Rs. 1,374 and Rs. 1,050 purported to have been granted by P. Kamaraju Patro, Executive Officer, on 5 December 1955 for payment.
4. In his final report dated 3 March 1963 the inquiring officer Sri I.C. Misra gave a finding that the first six charges levelled against the petitioner wore not established but the additional charge subsequently framed against him as aforesaid was fully established.
5. The petitioner's point in this writ petition is, as it would appear from the report of the inquiring officer, that he had utilized his own conclusions in the proceedings against the other two officers, namely, R.N. Mohanti and S. Patnaik, to which the petitioner was not a party and that his opinion in such a case based upon the material is gathered behind the back of the petitioner has been taken to be the basis for his conclusion In the present proceeding.
6. As we find from the records, this was a gross irregularity by which the petitioner has been prejudiced. This our view is supported by the fact, as appears from the order sheet of the inquiring officer dated 5 November 1962 produced by the learned Government Advocate in the course of hearing of this case. The order sheet shows that the evidence of the five witnesses was used against S. Patnaik in his presence. The order sheet however does not show that the earns evidence was admitted in the presence of the petitioner although it appears from the ultimate findings of the inquiring officer that the said evidence which was taken against the other two officers was relied upon in support of the findings Against the petitioner.
7. In our view, this was against the principles of natural justice in that the petitioner had no opportunity of meeting the evidence on which findings were given by the inquiring officer against the petitioner. In this view of the case, the order of dismissal of the petitioner is quashed. This writ petition is accordingly allowed with costs. Hearing fee Rs. 100.
8. I agree.