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State of Assam and anr. Vs. J.N. Roy Biswas - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Appeal No. 899 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1975SC2277; [1975(31)FLR355]; 1975LabIC1681; (1976)IILLJ17SC; (1976)1SCC234; [1976]2SCR128; 1975(7)LC901(SC)
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226
AppellantState of Assam and anr.
RespondentJ.N. Roy Biswas
Appellant Advocate Naunit Lal, Adv
Respondent Advocate Sukumar Ghose, Adv.
Prior historyAppeal by Special Leave from the Judgment and Order dated February 15, 1967 of the Assam and Nagaland High Court in C. Rule No. 231 of 1965
Excerpt:
- [g.k. mitter,; p. jaganmohan reddy and; s.m. sikri, jj.] a first information report was lodged on sept. 11, 1967 regarding the loss of life of a person when two groups of people clashed. on sept. 20, 1967 the first appellant made a statement charging one of the groups being guilty of deliberate conspiracy to commit the murder and alleging that a prominent member of that party had given instructions for this. the respondent along with his two brothers was arrested on sept. 23, 1967 and on the next day the magistrate remanded the accused to police custody. in its issue dated sept. 23, 1967 a newspaper of which the second appellant was the editor printed the statement of the first appellant. later on all the three accused were produced before the magistrate. the respondent filed a..........will follow.2. ...3. ...the findings and orders, together with the regularisation of the period of suspension of shri j.n, roy biswas, with effect from 5-1-61 to the date of his reporting for duty at east harinagar livestock farm will be communicated separately. the date of joining of shri biswas may be informed to this office separately.sd/- b.k. das fordirector of animal hy. & vety.2. it is noteworthy that no reasoned findings were recorded. that particular officer retired and his successor wrote to the joint secretary to government that from the materials of the case the 'delinquent' merited punishment and the proceedings be re-opened. this was done and as the de novo recording of evidence progressed the resopndent moved the high court under article 226 for a writ of prohibition as,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

NO. 81 dated 11-12-62

Shri J.N. Roy Biswas, Manager, East Harinagar Livestock Farm (Cachar) who was placed under suspension vide this office order No. 42 dated 23-12-60, is re-instated in the same post of Manager, at East Harinagar Livestock Farm with effect from the date he reports for duty.

Sd/- G.K. Mehra, Director of Animal Husbandry & Vety, Department, Assam, Gauhati.

Memo No. PI-918/26822 Dated Gauhati, the 13th Dec. '62. Copy forwarded to:

1. Shri J.N. Roy Biswas, Manager, East Harinagar Livestock Farm (under suspension) C/o Brahamachari Maharaj Shri Dawarikanath. Ram-krishna Seva Samity, Chatribari, Gauhati, for information and necessary action. The findings and orders of the proceeding will follow.

2. ...

3. ...

The findings and orders, together with the regularisation of the period of suspension of Shri J.N, Roy Biswas, with effect from 5-1-61 to the date of his reporting for duty at East Harinagar Livestock Farm will be communicated separately. The date of Joining of Shri Biswas may be informed to this office separately.

Sd/- B.K. Das for

Director of Animal Hy. & Vety.

2. It is noteworthy that no reasoned findings were recorded. That particular officer retired and his successor wrote to the Joint Secretary to Government that from the materials of the case the 'delinquent' merited punishment and the proceedings be re-opened. This was done and as the de novo recording of evidence progressed the resopndent moved the High Court under Article 226 for a writ of prohibition as, in his submission, there was no power to re-open a case concluded by exoneration and reinstatement and the illegal vexation of a second enquiry should be arrested. This grievance was held good by the High Court which granted the relief sought.

3. What is the conspectus of circumstances? A small veterinary official, a long enquiry for misconduct, a final direction cancelling suspension and reinstating him, the likelihood of the man having retired (15 years have gone by) and nothing on record to substantiate any fatal infirmity in the earlier enquiry or dereliction of duty by the disciplinary authority except that a reasoned record of findings was to be forthcoming, but did not, because he had retired in the meanwhile? No action against the retired Director for this alleged omission was felt justified and perhaps was not warranted, but with persistent litigative zeal Government has come in appeal to this Court against a petty official. Had he misappropriated Government money he should have been punished expeditiously. But having been exculpated after enquiry, the State could go at him by re-opening the proceedings only if the rules vested some such revisory power. None such has been shown to exist although one wonders why a rule vesting such a residuary power of a supervisory nature to be exercised in the event of a subordinate disciplinary authority not having handled a delinquent adequately or rightly is brought to the attention of Government has not been made. No rule of double jeopardy bars but absence of power under a rule inhibits a second inquiry by the Disciplinary Authority after the delinquent had once been absolved. The appeal must fail and is dismissed with costs.

4. We may however make it clear that no government servant can urge that if for some technical or other good ground, procedural or other, the first enquiry or punishment or exoneration is found bad in law that a second enquiry cannot be launched. It can be; but once a disciplinary case has closed and the official reinstated, presumably on full exoneration, a chagrined Government cannot re-start the exercise in the absence of specific power to review or revise, vested by rules in some authority. The basics of the rule of law cannot be breached without legal provision or other vitiating factor invalidating the earlier enquiry. For the present, this is theoretical because no such deadly defect is apparent on the record.


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