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Lalita Dash Vs. State of Orissa and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial;Constitution
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Case NumberOriginal Jurisdiction Case No. 14310 of 1999
Judge
Reported in2004(I)OLR619
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 226 and 227
AppellantLalita Dash
RespondentState of Orissa and ors.
Appellant AdvocateB. Mohanty-1 and S. Patra
Respondent AdvocateAddl. Standing Counsel
Cases ReferredMinati Sana v. State of Orissa and Yobati Nial
Excerpt:
.....center was alleged against the petitioner. copy of the show cause notice is annexed to the counter as annexure-a series, perusal of the said show- cause clearly reveals that as many as 3 charges were levied against the petitioner being (i) the petitioner was using less quantity of oil while preparation of food and sometimes even not using oil at all and misappropriating the same. 30/- from the destitute, poor ladies and pregnant mothers, which she admitted at the time of enquiry. if the authorities were not satisfied with the cause shown, it was open for them to initiate a disciplinary proceeding and pass appropriate orders. the allegations on which the enquiry was conducted vis a vis the allegations mentioned in the show cause notice are distinctly separate. 7. but then, fact remains..........such allegations. thus, there is discrepancy between the allegations mentioned in the show cause notice, the allegations on which the enquiry was conducted, that too behind the back of the petitioner, and also the grounds on which the petitioner's service was terminated. 6. in view of the aforesaid patent irregularities the order of termination of the services of the petitioner cannot be sustained and accordingly the order dated 11.8.1999, annexure-5 is quashed. 7. but then, fact remains that there were certain allegations against the petitioner, i therefore, give liberty to the opposite party-authorities to issue a fresh show cause notice to the petitioner clearly indicating the allegations levelled against her and on receipt of her reply to the same, to pass such orders as deemed.....
Judgment:

A.S. Naidu, J.

1. In this writ petition, the petitioner who was working as an Anganwadi Worker at Gajabahal-I Anganwadi centre seeks to challenge the order dated 8.11.1999 passed by the District Social Welfare Officer, Kalahandi terminating her engagement.

2. According to the petitioner, she was not given any opportunity to meet the charges and the order grossly violates the principle of natural justice and equity. Relying upon the ratio of the decision of this Court in the case of Minati Sana v. State of Orissa and Yobati Nial v. State of Orissa, reported in 2001 (1) OLR page 340 and 477 respectively, learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that before dis-engaging the petitioner, the authorities were bound to issue show cause notice and to follow the principles of natural justice and equity. This having not been done, the order in Annexure-5 needs to be set aside.

3. On receiving rule, a detailed counter affidavit was filed on behalf of the opposite parties 2 and 3. In the counter, the submissions made by the petitioners in the writ application are forcefully repudiated. It is submitted that number of allegations of malfeasance and misfeasance as well as misappropriation of food stuff supplied to the Center was alleged against the petitioner. After receiving the allegations, show cause notice was served on the petitioner on 29.12.1998 calling upon her to show cause. Copy of the show cause notice is annexed to the counter as Annexure-A series, perusal of the said show- cause clearly reveals that as many as 3 charges were levied against the petitioner being

(i) The petitioner was using less quantity of oil while preparation of food and sometimes even not using oil at all and misappropriating the same.

(ii) The petitioner was not carrying out the orders given by her superiors; and

(iii) The petitioner was demanding a sum of Rs. 30/- from the destitute, poor ladies and pregnant mothers, which she admitted at the time of enquiry.

4. It further reveals that the petitioner had shown cause According to the learned counsel for the State after perusing the show cause and the enquiry report submitted by the CD.P.O., Karalamunda, the authorities took a decision to disengage the petitioner. Learned counsel for the petitioner relying upon the letter of engagement issued in favour of the petitioner vide Annexure-I submitted that the engagement of the petitioner as Anganwadi Worker under the scheme wag purely temporary and as the letter of engagement itself reveals that the siad order of engagement can be revoked at any time without notice to the petitioner. However, as certain allegations were received against the petitioner and that too with regard to the allegations of misappropriation of food stuff meant to be distributed among the children, destitute ladies and mothers belonging to below poverty line, the authorities thought it just and proper that the continuance of the petitioner in the post would not be in the interest of the project.

5. The petitioner was asked to show cause as it appears that showed cause. If the authorities were not satisfied with the cause shown, it was open for them to initiate a disciplinary proceeding and pass appropriate orders. After resorting to a particular procedure, the authorities cannot all of a sudden change the course. The show cause notice dated 29.12.1998 has been annexed to the counter affidavit filed by opposite parties 2 and 3. it is revealed therefrom that the petitioner was calledupon to show cause on three counts. A reply to the said show cause notice filed by the petitioner is annexed as Annexure-B to the counter affidavit. It reveals that an enquiry was conducted by the Child Development Project Officer. There is no material to show that the petitioner was at any time directed to take part in such enquiry. There is also no document to show that any enquiry was conducted in presence of the petitioner. The report of the enquiry reflects about a police case against the petitioner and shortage of food stuff. The allegations on which the enquiry was conducted vis a vis the allegations mentioned in the show cause notice are distinctly separate. That apart the order terminating the services of the petitioner reveals that the same was passed on the allegation of misappropriation of food stuff and negligence of service. Strictly speaking, the petitioner was not called upon to show cause about such allegations. Thus, there is discrepancy between the allegations mentioned in the show cause notice, the allegations on which the enquiry was conducted, that too behind the back of the petitioner, and also the grounds on which the petitioner's service was terminated.

6. In view of the aforesaid patent irregularities the order of termination of the services of the petitioner cannot be sustained and accordingly the order dated 11.8.1999, Annexure-5 is quashed.

7. But then, fact remains that there were certain allegations against the petitioner, I therefore, give liberty to the opposite party-authorities to issue a fresh show cause notice to the petitioner clearly indicating the allegations levelled against her and on receipt of her reply to the same, to pass such orders as deemed just and proper in consonance with law. With the aforesaid observation, the writ application is disposed of.

8. It is needless to say that as the petitioner has not discharged any duty, she will not be entitled to any back remuneration and the question of her reinstatement shall depend upon the result of the disciplinary proceeding, if any. The entire process will be completed within six months from the date of communication of this order.


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