1. This rule is obtained by the petitioner against an order of dismissal passed against him by the Punjab Government dated 25-8-1053 (Annexure 'Q' attached to the petition).
2. The petitioner was a temporary Engineer, in the Irrigation Department and he was called upon to show cause why he should not be dismissed from the service for having secured his appointment fraudulently by making a wrong statement in his application dated 9-9-1946 in which he stated that he had passed the examination of A. M. I. Mech. E. which as a matter of fact he had not passed. On 6-12-1950 the petitioner was charge-sheeted and in the statement of reasons relating to Charge No. 1 it was stated: 'In your application (or the post of a Temporary Engineer (Mechanical) in the P. W. D., Irrigation Branch, dated 9-9-46 under item No. 21 which reads as follows:
'Give particulars of all Examinations passed and degrees and technical qualifications obtained at the University or other places of higher education or instruction (commencing with the Matriculation or equivalent Exam.:'
You stated at No. 6 that you had passed the A. M. I. Mech. E. (London) at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London in the year, 1944-45, and for the subjects taken you referred App. II which is reproduced below: (1) Subjects of the A. M. I. Mech. E. (London examination-
(1) English Language
(2) Fundamentals of Industrial Administration
(3) Applied Mathematics
(4) Physics and Chemistry
(5) Workshop Organization and Managementetc.'
An enquiry from the Secretary of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London had elicited that you passed Section 1 which at that time was Mathematics and a Science paper, and Section C, Economics of Engineering in October 1943 and passed the remainder of Section A in 1945. You were not successful in passing Section B and in fact had failed in that section. Further, that, you are neither a member of the Institution in any class nor have a right to claim any connection whatsoever with the Institution.
In view of this categorical information, your statement made in September, 1946 to the effect that you had passed the A. M. I. Mech. E. (London) examination in 1944-45 is a clear misstatement made to secure an appointment In the Irrigation Department.
The plea of your having made this statement on the strength of a Post Card from the Secretary of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers,London, declaring you successful in passingSection B of the Associate Membership Examination in October 1946 also does not holdgood * * *'
In the second charge the allegation was that the petitioner had deliberately, in order to continue in employment, for which he was not eligible, delayed compliance with letters dated 8-6-1949 and 11-1-1950. The first letter called upon the petitioner to submit the original letter from the Secretary of the Institute of Mechanical Engineer declaring that he had passed in Section E of the examination. In the second letter he was again called upon to forward in original the letter dated 13-9-1949 from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
The enquiry started on 31-3-1951, the enquiring Officer being the Chief Engineer, Mr. D. D. Jaini. The petitioner objected to the enquiry being conducted by Mr. Jaini on the ground that he had conducted the preliminary investigation and he moved this Court under Article 227 for transfer of the enquiry from Mr. Jaini to some other Chief Engineer and order of stay was made by Soni, J., but before the matter could he heard Mr. Jaini had retired and therefore the petition became in-fructuous. The enquiry was then taken up by Mr. Sud. .
3. The petitioner before Mr. Jaini applied for the summoning of seven witnesses in defence. Of these Nos. 2 and 4 in the Annexure 'C' were retired British officers who had left for England and No. 5 was the Secretary of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. Nos. 1 and 3 were members of the Punjab Public Service Commission and the 7th was the Enquiring Officer Mr. D. D. Jaini. Another witness was Kishan Singh Gill S. D. O. Nangal.
4. Another application was made to Mr. Jaini asking for an opportunity to produce defence and to examine the seven witnesses mentioned and it was also stated in this application that the statement of the petitioner on oath should be recorded.
5. The petitioner then made an application to Mr. Sud complaining that the previous enquiry was perfunctory and sketchy and a fresh enquiry should be held and also that witnesses in support of the charges should be called and examined so that the petitioner may be able to show from the cross-examination that the charges were without any substance, and he also applied that the petitioner should be allowed to see his record. It appears from Annexure 'H' which has been filed with the petition that the personal file was shown to the petitioner on 5-5-1951 and Mr. Sud required the petitioner to appear before him on 1-8-1952 for recording 'your evidence in person'.
6. It appears that the enquiry officer without examining the petitioner personally had recommended his dismissal and when the matter was sent to the Public Service Commission they required that the statement of the petitioner should be recorded and he was called upon to make a statement find the petitioner submits that he wentto the new enquiry Officer on 13-10-1953 for the purpose of making a statement in person but he was not allowed to do so and-therefore he sent an express delivery letter to the enquiry officer stating all these facts. This express-delivery letter which was sent is Annexure 'L' and is a very significant document.
At page 67 of the record (Ann. L) he has stated that he would not be in a position to make a statement unless certain preliminaries, as he calls them, have been gone through and they were (1) calling of 'prosecution witnesses' as required by the Rules, (2) Secretariat files to be made available to him, (3) witnesses outside India to be examined on commission, (4) evidence of Sardar Bahadur Mohan Singh at Patiala to be recorded and also Chaudhry Bharat Singh and S. Kishan Singh to be examined afresh, (5) points on which the oral statement was required be made known to him, and (6) full opportunity be given to him to cross-examine witnesses. It is thus clear that the petitioner was not prepared to make an oral statement as was required by the Public Service Commission.
7. The Government have denied the various allegations made by the petitioner and have stated that he was given full opportunity to meet the case which was made against him and that he refrained from making a statement before the enquiry officer.
8. The petitioner has raised several objections to the enquiry. It must be stated that the enquiry was held under Appendix 24 of the Punjab-Civil Services Rules Volume I, Part II. The case against the petitioner was that he had represented to the appointing authorities that ha had passed a particular examination which he as a matter of fact, had not. In the charge-sheet which was brought against him he was told what exactly the complaint was. Of course it was for the petitioner to decide how he was going to meet the case, but in a simple case like this one would have thought that all that was required was a certificate from the Secretary of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers stating that he had passed the examinations which he said he had passed.
And then as to the defence witnesses, again it was for the petitioner to make up his mind as to whom he would produce, but no commissions could issue to the witnesses in England, nor could they be brought here. These are matters which were entirely within the jurisdiction of the Enquiry officer & this court is not a Court of Appeal against the Enquiry Officer and unless there is a contravention of the principles of natural justice and of the rules which the Government have made this Court will be loathe to interfere. It is within the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission to look into these matters and as we find that on a previous occasion they did interfere and asked the Enquiry Officer to allow the petitioner to make a statement before him which was not availed of by the petitioner.
9. It was then submitted that the procedure which is given in the Punjab Civil Services Rules, Appendix 24, contravened Article 14, Constitutionof India. According to the petitioner there are two modes of enquiry open to the State-one is to take action under Public Servants (Inquiries) Act, 1850, and the other is to proceed under Appendix 24. In the first place I do not think that the petitioner has in any manner been prejudiced because the rules laid down in Appendix 24 are in consonance with the concept of natural justice in so far as they provide for definite charges being framed and communicated to a person charged and calling upon him to give his explanation and if the person so charged desires he can be heard in person and he is entitled to cross-examine wit-nesses, to give evidence and to produce defence evidence.
But the question still remains as to whether there is a contravention of the principle of equality before the law because of these two different provisions. In my opinion there is no contravention. The Public Servants (Inquiries) Act, 1850, is a Central Act and these rules are made by the State in regard to their own servants. The Act of 1850 applies to public servants who are not removable from their appointments without the sanction of the Government and that is a distinguishing feature between that Act and the Rules made in Appendix 24, and I do not think that there was any contravention of Article 14 on the ground that the petitioner was proceeded against under Appendix 24.
10. I hold therefore that in this case there has neither been a contravention of the rules of natural justice, nor any of the Rules made by the Punjab Government; still less has there been a contravention of equal protection of the law clause. The proper machinery for advising the Government as to whether a person should be punished or not is the Public Service Commission and they have in this case been consulted and unless there is such a breach of the forms of law or there is a contravention of the rules of natural justice this Court would be loathe to interfere; and as I have found no such contravention I would dismiss this petition and discharge the rule. The petitioner should pay the costs of the opposite party. I asked the Advocate-General to produce the original application before me which he has done and I have seen it and I have also shown It to Mr. Bhagat Singh Chawla. Counsel's fee Rs. 100/-.