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Suresh Chandra Sharma Vs. Delhi Library Board - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petition No. 586 of 1968
Judge
Reported inILR1970Delhi333
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226
AppellantSuresh Chandra Sharma
RespondentDelhi Library Board
Advocates: I. Makwana and; R.L. Tandon, Advs
Excerpt:
constitution of india - art. 226 -- writ of mandamus -- when to be issued -- writ of certiorari -- issue of -- delhi library board -- neither a 'state' within the meaning of articles 12 nor department of government nor a statutory body -- writ of mandamus cannto be issued to delhi library board -- latter is, however, amendable to high court jurisdiction for a writ of certiorari in case of violation of principles, of natural justice.; that so far as a writ of mandamus is concerned, it is well settled that it is issued to direct any person, corporation, inferior court or government requiring him or them to do some particular thing which appertains to his or their office and is in the nature of a public duty. ; as regards a writ of certiorari, it is issued 'wherever any body of persons.....t.v.r. tatachari, j.(1) this writ petition has been filed by the petitioner, suresh chandra sharma, praying (1) for the issuance of a writ of certiorari quashing (i) certain inquiry proceedings conducted against him, (ii) the findings and the report of the inquiry officer dated mar. 6, 1968, and (iii) an order dated june 7, 1968, retiring the petitioner compulsorily from service under respondent no. 1, (2) for the issuance of a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to reinstate the petitioner in the post of head of the department/branch librarian with all the benifits, and (3) for the issuance of such other order or direction as may be considered just and necessary in the 'circumstances of the case. respondent no. i is the delhi library board, a society registered under the societies.....
Judgment:

T.V.R. Tatachari, J.

(1) This writ petition has been filed by the petitioner, Suresh Chandra Sharma, praying (1) for the issuance of a writ of certiorari quashing (i) certain inquiry proceedings conducted against him, (ii) the findings and the report of the inquiry Officer dated Mar. 6, 1968, and (iii) an order dated June 7, 1968, retiring the petitioner compulsorily from service under respondent No. 1, (2) for the issuance of a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to reinstate the petitioner in the post of Head of the Department/Branch Librarian with all the benifits, and (3) for the issuance of such other order or direction as may be considered just and necessary in the 'circumstances of the case. Respondent No. I is the Delhi Library Board, a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, No.XXI of 1860. Respondent No.2 is the Secretary, Ministry of Education, Government of India, New Delhi. In opposition to the writ petition, two counter affidavits ]have been filed, one by Shri A. C. Mehta, Secretary, Delhi Library Board, on behalf of respondent No. 1, and the other by Shri A. S. Talwar, Under Secretary, Ministry of Education, on behalf of respondent No.2.

(2) The petitioner was employed on January 21, 1957, as a Librarian, Grade Ii, by the Library Board. With effect from February 15, 1963, he was appointed (Annexure R-4) as Head of the Department on a purely temporary basis till further notice and on a basic salary of Rs. 325.00 per month in the grade of Rs. 325-15-465-EB-20-575, and was posted as Head of the Lending and Referance Department. Later, he was appointed ' by the Library Board as Head of the Department with effect from March 27, 1963, against a direct quota vacancy. Subsequently, he was confirmed as Head of Department on March 27, 1966 in the scale of Rs. 400-680. From April 1, 1965, he worked as Branch Librarian/Head of the Department at the East Patel Nagar Branch of the Delhi Public Library, and on April 16,1966, A the Director of the Library Board transferred the petitioner from the said Branch to the Social Education Department (located at the Central Library) with effect from April 20,1966 (vide Annexure R-5).

(3) According, to the petitioner, the Central Library was located far away from the place of his residence, and thereforee, he made ^ a representation on April 20,1966, against the said transfer order, but the Director became annoyed and asked the petitioner to desist from such representations, and threatened the petitioner with serious consequences if he makes such representations. On the other hand, according to respondent No. 1, on April 20, 1966, when the petitioner was to report to the Social Education Depart- c ment (Central Library) in accordance with the transfer order already issued, the petitioner, instead of complying with the order, sent a letter (Annexure R-6) couched in objectionable language imputing malafides to the management and demanding withdrawal of the transfer order. According to respondent No. 1, one Shri O. P. Mittal was sent by the Director to take charge from the ^ ' petitioner, and when Shri Mittal went to the East Patel Nagar Branch at 7.45 P.M. on April 20, 1966, the petitioner refused to hand over the charge. Shri Mittal re- ported the same to the Director on April 21, 1966 (vide Annexure R-6). On April 22, 1966, an order (Annexure-B) signed by Shri D. R. Kalia, Secretary, Library Board, was issued placing the petitioner under suspension with immediate effect. Accord- E ing to respondent No. 1, the said order was issued by the Library Board. It was stated in the said order that as disciplinary pro- ceeding against the petitioner was contemplated, the petitioner was placed under suspension with immediate effect in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-rule I of Rule 10 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, p 1965.

(4) It appears that the petitioner thereupon filed a suit on April 25, 1966, for a permanent injunction against the Library Board restraining it from taking any action under the order of suspension and for a direction that the petitioner be allowed to resume duty, and the said suit was dismissed on November 22, 1966. ^ The petitioner did nto prefer any appeal against the said order. and the decree became final.

(5) On October Ii, 1966, the Secretary of the Library Board issued a memorandum (Annexure C) staling that the Library Board proposed to hold an inquiry against the petitioner under ' Rule 14 of the Central Civil Services (Classification. Control and Appeal) Rules. 1965. A statement of six articles of charge framed against the petitioner, a statement of the imputations of mis-conduct or misbehavior in support of each article of charge, and a list of documents by which the articles of charge were proposed to be sustained, were enclosed with the said memorandum. The petitioner was directed by the said memorandum to submit a written statement of his defense, and also to state whether he desired to be heard in person. He was also informed that if he failed to submit his written statement of defense or did nto appear in person before the inquiring authority, or otherwise failed to comply with the provisions of Rule 14 of the aforesaid Rules, the inquiring authority would hold the inquiry ex-par'te. His attention was also drawn to Rule 20 of the Central Civil Service (Conduct) Rules, 1964, and was asked nto to do anything in violation of the said rule.

(6) According to the petitioner, on receiving the memorandum with the statement of charges, etc., he demanded inspection of several documents from respondent No. 1, but respondent No. 1 refused to supply or show the documents, and he was, thereforee, obliged to submit his reply (Annexure D) to the charges on November 11, 1966, without an examination of the documents asked for by him.

(7) On January 1, 1967, the Library Board appointed (Aiinexure E) one Shri Mohinder Singh, as Inquiry Officer to inquire into the charges framed against the petitioner. Shri Mohinder Singh was the Director of Departmental Inquiries at that time, and it appears that he was subsequently appointed as Joint Registrar of Co-operative Societies. The Inquiry Officer, after the completion of his inquiry, submitted his report (vide Annexure G) on March 7, 1968, holding that the articles of charge Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5 only were proved against the petitioner. After considering the reply or written statement of defense submitted by the petitioner to the charges, the records of the case and the Inquiry Officer's report, the Library Board, agreeing with the findings of the Inquiry Officer, held that articles of charge Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5 were proved against the petitioner, and proposed to impose on the petitioner the penalty of dismissal from service. A notice (vide Annexure G) was accordingly issued on April 19, 1968, giving the petitioner an opportunity for making his representation regarding the proposed penalty, and the petitioner submitted his representation. On June 7, 1968, the Library Board passed an order (Annexure H), staling that on a consideration of the entire case and the representation of the petitioner, the Board came to the conclusion that the articles of charge Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5 were fully proved, and that the Library Board decided that the petitioner should be compulsorily retired from the service of the Board with effect from June, 7, 1968, and passed the order accordingly. The petitioner thereupon filed the present writ petition praying for the reliefs which have been already mentioned above.

(8) Shri R. L. Tandon, the learned counsel for respondent No. 1, raised a preliminary objection that although the Delhi Library Board is a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act. it is nto a statutory body or a governmental authority, and, thereforee, no writ of mandamus or certiorari can be issued to it in exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

(9) Article 226 empowers every High Court to issue 'to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases any Government, directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of mandamus, certiorari etc., for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part Iii of the Constitution and 'for any other purpose'. As pointed out by the Supreme Court in P. J. Irani v. State of Madras'), the power of the High Court under Article 226 is nto limited to the issue of 'prerogative writs' or 'writs falling under particular groupings, such as the certiorari, mandamus, etc., as these writs have been understood in England, but the power is general to issue any direction to the authorities, viz-, for enforcement of fundamental rights as well as for other purposes.' Further, as pointed out by the Supreme Court in T. C. Basappa v. T. Nagappa the language used in Article 226 is very wide and the powers of the High Courts in India extend to issuing of directions, order or writs including writs 'in the nature of' habeas corpus, mandamus quo waranto, prohibition and certiorari, as may be considered necessary for the enforcement of the fundamental rights and for other purposes as well. As observed by the Supreme Court in the said decision, the High Court, in view of the express provisions in our Constitution, need nto now look back to the early history or the procedural technicalities of those writs in English Law, but can make an order or issue a writ in the nature of certiorari in all appropriate cases and in appropriate manner, so long as it keeps to the broad and fundamental principles that regulate the exercise of jurisdiction in the matter of granting such writs in English Law.

(10) As regards the meaning of the words 'to any person' used in Article 226, it was held by J. P. Mitter, J. in Carlsbad v. Jagtiani, that the said words mean 'to any person to whom, according to well established principles, a writ lay'. According to S. 3(39) of the General Clauses Act, 1897, 'person' includes any company, or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not. It was accordingly held in B. C. Das Gupta v. Bijoy. that a writ under Article 226 can be issued against a body like the State Medical Faculty of West Bengal though it is nto a body corporate. Similarly, in Jagadish v. University of Punjabi), it was held that a writ under Article 226 can be issued against bodies like the University of Punjab which is a corporate body. Thus, a writ. direction or order can be issued under Article 226 to a company or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, to whom, according to well established principles, writs lie. It has, thereforee, to be seen to whom writs of mandamus and certiorari lie according to established principles.

(11) So far as a writ of mandamus is concerned, it is well settled that it is issued to direct any person, corporation, inferior Court or Government requiring him or them to do some particular thing which appertains to his or their office and is in the nature of a public duty vide Halsbury's Laws of England,Vol. 11, Lord a Simond's Edition, P.84, and Sohan Lal v. Union of lndia,. It is granted only to compel performance of duties of a public nature whether imposed by statute or common law vide State of Bombay v. Hospital Mazdoor Sabha, Commissioner of Police v. Gordhandas, State of Mysore v. Chandrasekhara, and Sohan Lal v. Union of lndia, and it is nto issued against a private body or individual (vide Sohan Lal's case) (Supra). Further, in order to be a public body, it is nto necessary that the body must be construed by a statute. It may be set up by the Government in exercise of its executive functions vide Jaswant Singh v. Board of Secondary Education,.

(12) As regard a writ of certiorari, it is issued 'wherever any body of persons having legal authority to determine questions affecting rights of subjects and having the duty to act judicially,' act without or in excess of jurisdiction, or in contravention of the rules of natural justice, or commit an error of law apparent on the face of the record (vide Province of Bombay v. Kusaldas, Hari Vishnu. v. Ahmed, Naginder Nath v. Commissioner,) Ambika Mills v. Bhatt, and Subramaniam v. State of Madras,. As pointed out by the Supreme Court in Bharat Bank v. Employees of Bharat Bank the object of these writs is simply to keep the exercise of powers by these quasi-judicial Tribunals within the limits of the jurisdiction assigned to them by law and to restrain them from acting in excess of their authority'. As regards the question as to when a body of persons can be said to have the duty to act judicially, it has been pointed out by the Supreme Court in a number of decisions (vide Province of Bombay v. Kusaldas, Radhe Shy am v. State of Madhva Pradesh, Board of High School v. Ghanshyam, Shri Bhagwan v. Ram Chand.C and Shankar Lal v. Shankar Lal, that 'if a statute empowers an authority, nto being a Court in the ordinary sense, to decide disputes arising out of a claim made by one party under the statute which is opposed by another party and to determine the respective rights of the contesting parties who are opposed to each other, there is a lis and prima fade and in the absence of anything in the statute to the contrary it is the duty of the authority to act judicially and the decision of the authority is a quasi-judicial act; and if the statutory authority has power to do any act which will prejudicially affect the subject, then although there are nto two parties apart from the authority and the contest is between the authority proposing to do the act and the subject opposing it, the final determination of the authority will yet be a quasi-judicial act provided the authority is required by the statute to act judicially'. Further, in Board of High School v. G. D. Gupta and Board of Revenue v. Vidyawati, the Supreme Court observed as follows:-

'Now it may be mentioned that the statute is nto likely to provide in so many words that the authority passing the order is required to act judicially; that can only be inferred from the express provisions of the statute in the first instance in each case and no one circumstance alone will be determinative of the question whether the authority set up by the statute has the duty to act judicially or not. The inference whether the authority acting under a statute where it is silent has the duty to act judicially will depend on the express provisions of the statute read along with the nature of the rights affected, the manner of the disposal provided, the objective criterion if any to be adopted, the effect of the decision on the person affected and other indicia afforded by the statute.'

(13) In the present case, the preliminary objection raised by Shri Tandon has to be considered in the light of the principles mentioned above. Shri Tandon submitted that the Delhi Library Board is nto a department of the Government or a statutory body or even a public body, and thereforee, a writ in the nature of mandamus or certiorari cannto be issued to it under Article 226 of the Constitution. According to him, the Library Board is a private body and the relationship between the Library Board and the petitioner is that of master and servant, and in such a case a writ cannto be issued by this Court under Article 226.

(14) On the other hand, Shri 1. Makwana, the learned counsel for the petitioner, contended that the Library Board is an authority under the control of the Government of India and is, as such, 'State' within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India, and is, thereforee, amenable to the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. He further contended that, in any case, the Library Board, is nto a private body but, a 'Public body' having duties of a public nature, and, thereforee, a writ of mandamus can be issued to it. He also contended that the Library Board, is a statutory body as it was registered under the Societies Registration Act, and that, even otherwise, by reason of its own Regulations, is bound to act in accordance with principles of natural justice as provided in the various provisions in the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules and Article 311(2) of the Constitution, and any action by it in contravention of the said principles, Rules and Article, is liable to be quashed by this Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.

(15) For a proper appreciation of the said contentions, it is necessary to state a few facts relating to the constitution of the Library Board and its Regulations. Annexure 'A' is a publication by the Delhi Library Board which contains the constitution and the Regulations of the Delhi Library Board. It shows that in 1951, the Government of India established in co-operation with Unesco a pilto Library in Delhi, called 'Delhi Public Library'. It was decided to place it on a permanent basis with the object of 'providing for the people of Delhi State a Public Library Service and a Community Centre for popular education which may serve as a model for all public library development in India, and offer its advisory services to neighbouring countries if they wish to avail of them'. It was expected that the Library would 'serve the needs of popular education without distinction of class, creed, occupation or race, and cater specially to those of neo-literates and children.'

(16) As it was expedient to establish an organisation to manage the library it was resolved by a resolution No. F.43-43/50-B-1, dated February 7, 1951, inter-alia, as follows:-

'1.A Board called the Delhi Library Board shall be constituted. 2. The headquarters of the Board shall be at Delhi. 3. The Board shall be responsible for its working to the Ministry of Education, Government of India. 4. The Board shall consist of:- (a) Chairman, to be nominated by the Minister for Education, Government of India. (b) Vice-Chairman, who will be Joint Secretary/ Joint Educational Advisor in charge of Social Education in the Ministry of Education. (c) One member to be nominated by the Education Department, Delhi. (d) One member to be nominated by UNESCO. (e) Two members representing the Government of India to be nominated by the Ministry of Education-one of whom will be the Deputy Financial Advisor of that Ministry. (f) One member to be nominated by the Chief Commissioner, Delhi. (g) Two members to be nominated by the Delhi Corporation, Delhi. (h) One member to be nominated by the New Delhi Municipal Committee. (i) Nto more than four experts whose technical qualifications or special experience are likely to be useful to the Board in its work, to be co-opted by the Board. (j) Director of the Library, who will be ex-officio Secretary member of the Board. 5... ..... 6....... 7. The Board shall have the following powers :- (i) ...... (ii) ...... (iii) . . . . . . (iv) ...... (v) ...... (vi) ...... (vii) To deposit all money and funds of the Board with a Bank approved by the Ministry of Education, Government of India. (viii) To engage the necessary staff, other than the Director- who will be appointed by the Ministry of Education, and to secure the services necessary for the efficient running of the Library and to grant, maintain, continue and pay such wages, salaries, pensions, gratuities, contribution towards provident fund or other sums as remuneration of service as may from time to time be sanctioned by the Board, provided that the terms and conditions of service of employees of the Board are nto in any way more favorable than those prescribed for comparable Government servants. (ix) ...... (x) .. 8. The Board shall work under the general direction and control of Government of India, in the Ministry of Education, in particular; (a) The Ministry of Education, shall have the right to address the Board with reference to any work conducted or done by the Board. (b) The Board shall report to the Ministry of Education such action, if any, as is proposed to be taken or has been taken upon the latter's communications. (c) If the Board does not, within a reasonable time, take action to the satisfaction of the Ministry of Education the latter may, after considering any Explanationn furnished or report made by the Board, issue such direction, consistent with this resolution, as it may think: fit and the Board shall comply with them. (d) Iii any emer.a,ency which in the opinion of the Ministry of Education, requires that immediate action should be taken, it may take such action, consistent with this Resolution as it deems necessary without previous consultation with the Board, but shall forthwith inform the Board about it. 9. The following shall be the office holders of the Board:- (i) Chairman, (ii) Vice Chairman, (iii) Secretary 10. (a) Where any vacancy occurs in the office of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman will hold the current charge of duties of Chairman till the appointment of the next Chairman by the Minis- ter of Education. (b) (c) * (d) . * * * - (e) * . * * * 11. 13. 14. The Board may make regulations for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this resolution provided that the regulations of the Board shall nto take effect until they have been approved by the Ministry of Education, who may approve or disallow or remit them to the Board for further consideration. 15....... 16. ...... 17. (a) The accounts of the Board shall be subject to audit by an authority appointed by the Comptroller and auditor General of India. (b)...... (c) A copy each of the audited accounts and the statement of annual income and expenditure together with a copy of the auditor's report shall be submitted to : (i) The Secretary, Ministry of Education. (ii) The Chief Commissioner, Delhi. (iii) Commissioner, Delhi Municipal Corporation. The Ministry, of Education may offer its remarks thereon and communicate the same to the Board. If the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, or the Commissioner, Delhi Municipal Corporation has any comments to offer, he shall communicate them to the Ministry of Education. 18. Any number nto less than three-fifth of the members of the Board with the previous sanction of the Ministry of Education may determine that the Board shall be dissolved and thereupon it shall be dissolved forthwith or at the time then agreed upon by the Board with the permission of the Ministry of Education. If upon the dissolution of the Board, there shall remain after the satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities any property whatsoever, the same shall nto be paid to or distributed among the members of the Board or any of them, but shall be dealt with in such manner as the Ministry of Education may determine. 19. The Government of India shall make every effort to publicize the project and make known the experience acquired in developing it with a view to encouraging the establishment of other public libraries. 20. The Government of India have further decided that the Board shall be registered under the Registration of Societies Act (XXI of 1860). 21. Any modifications or amendments that may be considered necessary in the constitution of the Board shall be made by the Ministry of Education.'

(17) The above resolution 'was published in the Gazette of India, Part I, Section I, dated February 24, 1951. It appears to have been amended from time to time, but it is nto necessary to refer to the said amendments in detail for the purposes of the present case. The Library Board made Regulations called the 'Delhi p Library Board Regulations', which consist of Parts A, B & C. Part-A contains regulations governing the decisions of the Board, Part-B contains regulations governing the powers of the Chairman, Secretary and the Branch Librarians. Part-C contains regulations governing the conditions of service of the employees of the Board. In this part, it was provided that the Fundamental . Rules, the Supplementary Rules and other various rules framed by the Central Government with reference to Fundamental Rules governing the conditions of service of government servants then in force and thereafter to come into force shall apply to the officers of the Delhi Public Library Board in respect of all matters or any of them relating to their leave, pay, leave allowance, subsistence arant and other allowances. The powers of the Board, the Finance and Establishment Committee, the Chairman, the Director, and the Deputy Director were also set out in this part. The relevant powers are as under :-

General Powers Extent ____________________________________________________________________________ Ref. to Fundamental Powers DY- and The Finance Chairman Director Director Supplementary Board & Estabestablishment rules under which the power Committee is determined. ____________________________________________________________________________ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ____________________________________________________________________________ 1. x x x x x x x 2. x x x x x x x 3. x x x x x x x 4. Civil Services Powers to - - Full powers Full powers (CCA) impose all regarding/ regarding Rules the penal- discharge/ Attendents, ties specified dismissal peons, Mali, in on the re- Chowkidars, Rule 49 commendation and Sweepers, of Civil of the full powers Services Director with regard (Classification, subject to to others Control & appeal to excepting Appeal) Rules the Board. discharge/ in respect of dismissal. The officers with a staff concerned basic salary shall of Rs.130.00 have the or less p.m. - - right of subject to appeal to the provisions the Chair- of rules 55 & man. 55A of the said rules and of Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India. 5. - Powers to - - Full powers on - - impose all the recommendation the penal- of the ties specified Director, excepting in the Director. Rule 49 of The staff the Civil concerned shall Services have the right (Classification of appeal to Control the Board. & Appeal) Rules in respect of officers with a basic salary of Rs. 131.00 or more P.M. subject to the provisions of rules 55 & 55A of the said rules and of Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India.

(18) It has to be noted that the above table which is contained in Part C shows that the provisions in Rules 49, 55 and 55-A of the Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1930, are applicable to the employees of the Library Board.

(19) The Library Board was registered under the Societies Registration Act in 1954. A copy of the Memorandum of Association has been filed as Annexure R-2 by the respondents. The provisions in that Memorandum are practically the same as those in the Resolution extracted above. It may be stated here that subsequently the Memorandum of Association, Rules and Regulations were amended by the Library Board in its special meetings held on December 4, 1967, January 4, 1968 and February 7, 1968. Copies of the said amended Memorandum, Rules and Regulations have been filed Along with an affidavit of Shri J. C. Mehta, Secretary, Delhi Library Board. It is nto necessary to set C out the provisions in the amended Memorandum, Rules and Regulations in details. It is sufficient to state that the control of the Government of India over the functions and affairs of the Library Board still continues under the amended Memorandum, Rules and Regulations, though nto to the extent provided in the! original Resolution, Memorandum, Rules and Regulations. It was stated in the affidavit of Shri J. C. Mehta that Parts B and C of the previous Regulations have nto been amended and they continue to be in force. It means that the provisions in the Civil Services Rules and Article 311(2) of the Constitution continue to be applicable to the employees of the Library Board in the matters of disciplinary proceedings and imposition of penalties or punishments.

(20) The first question for consideration is as to whether the Library Board is 'State' within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India. The said Article provides that 'State' includes, inter-alia, all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India. The various provisions contained in the Resolution extracted above show that the Government of India, through the Ministry of Education, has considerable control over the functions and affairs of the Library Board. In K. S. Ramamurti v. Chief Commissioner, Pondichery, the Supreme Court, referring to the words 'all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India' in Article 12 of the Constitution, held that the 'control envisaged by the words under the control of the Government of India' in Article 12 is nto the control which arises out of mere appointment, payment and the right to take disciplinary action, but that 'the control envisaged under Article 12 is a control of the functions of the authorities concerned, and the right of the Government of India by virtue of that control to give direction to the authorities to function in a particular manner with respect to such functions.' The extract from the Resolution set out above show that the Library Board is responsible for its working to the Ministry of Education, and that the Board has to work under the general direction and control of the Government of India, in the Ministry of Education. The said Ministry lias the right to address the Board with reference to any work conducted or done by the Board. If the Board does not, within a reasonable time, take action as required by the Ministry of Education, the latter may issue directions to the Board consistent with the Resolution, and the Board is bound to comply with them. In any emergency which, in the opinion of the Ministry of Education, requires that immediate action should be taken, it may take such action as it deems necessary without previous consultation with the Board. The Board may make Regulations for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of the resolution, but, the Regulations will nto take effect until they have been approved by the Ministry of Education. The accounts of the Board are subject to audit by an authority appointed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. The dissolution of the Board requires the previous sanction of the Ministry of Education. If upon the dissolution of the Board, there remain after the satisfaction of its debts and liabilities any property whatsoever, the same has to be dealt with in such manner as the Ministry of Education may determine. Any modifications or amendments that may be considered necessary in the constitution of the Board have to be made only by the Ministry of Education.

(21) These various provisions in the said Resolution show clearly that the Government of India, through the Ministry of Education, has effective control of the functions of the Library Board, and by virtue of the said control has the right to give directions to the Board to function in a particular manner with regard to the functions of the Library Board laid down in the Resolution. The Library Board is thus 'under the control of the Government of India' within the meaning of Article 12 of the constitution.

(22) Next, it has to be considered whether the Library Board is an 'authority' within the meaning of the term 'other authorities' in Article 12 of the constitution. It is now settled by the decision of Supreme Court in Rajasthan State Electricity Board v. Mohan Lal. that the doctrine of ejusden genris is nto applicable to the interpretation of the expression 'other authorities' in Article 12 of the Constitution. The said decision also laid down that the expression 'other authorities' in the said Article 'will include all constitutional or statutory authorities on whom powers are conferred by law'. The Electricity Board, in that case, was a statutory body constituted under the Electricity (Supply) Act No.54 of 1948, and the question as to whether the expression 'other authorities' includes only statutory bodies and nto non-statutory bodies, did nto directly arise for determination in that case. The question that arose for determination in that case was only as to whether the expression 'other authorities' in the Article includes only authorities invested with sovereign powers of the State or whether it includes authorities invested. with powers for the purpose of carrying on commercial activities also. The view of the majority of Judges in that case was that the expression 'other authorities' includes all constitutional or statutory authorities on whom powers are conferred by law, and it is nto at all material that some of the powers conferred may be for the purpose of carrying on commercial activities, and that 'State', as defined in that Article, includes bodies created for the purpose of promoting the educational and the economic interests of the people. Shah J. took the view that the Electricity Board was invested with certain sovereign power of the State, and, thereforee, agreed with the order proposed by the majority. The learned Judge, however, did nto agree with the majority view that every constitutional or statutory authority on whom powers are conferred by law is 'other authority' within the meaning of Article 12, and held that, in his judgment, those authorities which are invested with sovereign power i.e. power to make rules or regulations and to administer or enforce them to the detriment of citizens and others, fall within the definition of 'State' in Article 12, and constitutional or statutory bodies which do nto share that sovereign power of the State are nto 'State' within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution.

(23) However, the observations in the said decision show that, in order to be 'authority' within the meaning of Article 12, the body concerned has to be a constitutional or statutory body on whom powers are conferred by law. The Library Board was no doubt registered under the Societies Registration Act, and such registration merely makes it a legal entity and places it under the control of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, but, does nto make it a statutory body in the sense that it is constituted by or under a statute. thereforee, though the Library Board is a body under the control of the Government of India, it, being be a non-statutory body, cannto be held to be 'State' as defined in Article 12 of the Constitution. Thus, the Library Board is neither 'State' as defined in Article 12 of the Constitution nor a Department of the Government, nor a statutory body. It is a body constituted or set up by the Government of India in exercise of its executive functions, and is under the control of the Government of India.

(24) The question then is' as to whether a body of such a status is amenable to the writ jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. In Amir-i-Jamia v. Dashrath Raj Kapila (L.P.A. 33 of 1968), by judgment, dated November 25, 1968, a Division Bench of this High Court (1. D. Dua. C.J., and V. S. Deshpande J.) held that the scope of the expression 'any person or authority' in Article 226 is wider than the scope of the expression 'other authorities' in Article 12 of the Constitution. The question that are so for consideration in that case was as to whether Jamia Millia, an educational institution, registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act and deemed to be a University under the University Grants Commission Act, 1966 is amenable to the jurisdiction of this High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. The Division Bench held that Jamia Millia, though non-statutory, is a public authority nto because it was created by a statute, but because it was recognised as a University and given the power to confer degrees under a statute, and, as such, is amenable to the writ jurisdiction of this High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.

(25) In the present case, the Library Board is nto a department of the Government in the strict sense of the term. It is only a body under the control of the Government, and has duties of a public nature, viz., of providing for the people of Delhi State a Public Library Service and Community Centre for popular education which may serve as a model for all public library development in India and offering its advisory services to neighbouring countries if they wish to avail of them, and of serving the needs of popular education without distinction of class, creed, occupation or race, and cater specially to those of neo-literates and children as set out in the Resolution. In other words, the Library Board is a public body set up mainly, if, nto entirely, by the Government of India in exercise of its executive functions, and having to perform duties of a public nature. But, for the issuance of a writ in the nature of mandamus, the duties of a public nature should be duties imposed by a statute or by law. In other words, the said public duties should be legal duties. No doubt, as already stated, the Library Board has been registered under the Societies Registration Act (XXI of 1860). Such registration, however, only makes -the registered society a legal entity and places it under the control of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies as provided in the Act. The registration cannto be said to make the Library Board 'a statutory body' in the sense that it is constituted by or under the statute. Thus the Library Board is neither a department of the Government nor a statutory body. Nor is it a private body. It is a public body set up and controlled by the Government of India through the Ministry of Education, and having duties of a public nature. But, its duties, though of a public nature, are only duties imposed by the Government by a resolution, and are nto duties imposed by a statute or law. It is true that the said duties were incorporated in the Articles of Association. But, such incorporation does nto amount to imposition of duties by a statute or law. It has, thereforee, to be held that a writ in the nature of mandamus cannto be issued to the Library Board.

(26) As regards the issuance of a writ of cecrtiorari, it has to be noted that the Library Board framed Regulations by which the provisions in Rules 49. 55 and 55-A of the Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1930, and Article 311(2) of the Constitution of india were made applicable to the employees of the Board as constituting their conditions of service. In fact, Annexure 'B' shows that the petitioner was placed under suspension by the delhi Library Board in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-rule ( 1 ) of Rule 10 of the Central Civil Services (Classification. Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965. Annexures 'C', 'E', 'R'-7, 'R-8' and 'R-9' show that the Inquiry Officer was appointed and the inquiry against the petitioner was held under Rule 14 of the said Civil Services Rules of 1965. Shri R. L. Tandon. the learned counsel for the respondents, submitted that the Board merely adopted the aforesaid provisions instead of formulating and drawing its own regulations regarding the conditions of service of its employees, and, as such, the employees of the Board cannto be regarded as Government servants merely because of the said adoption. No doubt, such an adoption of the provisions applicable to Government servants does nto necessarily mean that the employees of the Library Board are to be regarded as employees of the Government. Yet, as the Library Board has adopted the said provisions in the Civil Service Rules and Article 311(2) of the Constitution and made them applicable to its employees, it is bound to act in accordance with the said provisions. The provisions mentioned above provide that reasonable opportunity should .be given when disciplinary action is taken against an employee. In other words, the Library Board has to act in a quasi-judicial manner and in accordance with the principles of natural justice in taking disciplinary action against its employees as provided in the aforesaid Rules and Article. Thus, the position is that the Library Board is a public body having duties of a public nature, and, by its own Regulations, is bound to act in a quasi-judicial manner and in accordance with principles of natural justice as provided in Rules 49. 55 and 55.A of the Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1930. and Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India in the matter of taking disciplinary action against the imposing penalties and punishments upon its employees.

(27) The contention of Shri Tandon that the Library Board is a private body and the relationship between the Board and the petitioner is that of master and servant based on contract, and. thereforee, a writ of certiorari cannto be issued, is untenable. In Ridge v. Baldwin. which has since been referred to with approval by the Supreme Court of India in Associated Cement Companies Ltd. v. P. .V. sharma, Bhagwan v. Ram Chand and D. L. Board v. Jaffar Imam, Lord Reid. while dealing with the applicability of principles of natural Justice to cases of dismissal from service. posted out that the said cases of dismissal appear to fall into three classes: dismissal of a servant by his master did dismisal from an office held during pleasure. and dismissal from an office where there must be something , against a man to warrant his dismissal. In the case of master and servant, there cannto be specific performance of the contract of service, and a master can terminate the contract of service at any time and for any reason or lor none, and, there is no question of the master hearing the servant in his defense. If the master dismisses the servant in a manner nto warranted by the contract of service, he may have to pay damages for breach of contract. Similarly, in the case of a person holding an office during pleasure, the officer has no right to be heard before he is dismissed. But, in the third class of cases, the officer or employee cannto lawfully be dismissed without being given an opportunity to show cause against the proposed action. In the present case, the Library Board is nto a private body, but a public body having duties of a public nature, and, as pointed out above, bound to act in a quasi-judicial manner and in accordance with principles of natural justice as provided in Rules 49, 55 and 55-A, of the Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1930, and Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India in the matter of taking disciplinary action against its employees. It does not, thereforee, fall within the first two classes, but falls in the third class mentioned by Lord Reid.

(28) For the above reasons, it has to be held that writ of certiorari can be issued to the Library Board, it it is established that it acted in the case of the petitioner in contravention of principles of natural justice as provided in the aforesaid Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules and Article 311(2) of the Constitution.

(29) Coming to the me; its of the case, Shri Makwana contended firstly that the inquiry against the petitioner should have been conducted in consultation with the Central Vigilance Commission. He relied upon the instructions in certain communications from the Vigilance Commission and the Government of India which have been collectively marked & filed as Annexure F. This contention was raised in paragraph 11 of the writ petition. In answer thereto, Shri J. C. Mehta, the Secretary, Delhi Library Board, stated in his counter affidavit that the instructions contained in the said communications are applicable only to cases involving lack of integrity (or prevention of corruption) or an element of vigilance on the part of gazetted officers and nto in disciplinary matters. The first of the communication is a letter, dated April 13, 1964, sent by the Central Vigilance Commission to all the ministries of the Government of India. The said letter refers to a Resolution of the. Ministry of Home Affairs, dated February 11, 1964. which described the powers and functions of the Central Vigilance Commission, and then sets out certain procedural instructions to He observed in giving effect to the decisions contained in the said Resolution. It is stated in paragraph 4 of the said letter that in all cases relating to gazetted officers the Central Vigilance Commission is to be consulted during the progress of a case at certain stages stated therein. In paragraph 5, it was stated that the Commission for Departmental Inquiries will thereafter function under the Central Vigilance Commission. The second of the communications is another letter, dated October 16, 1964, from the Vigilance Commission. By this letter, a sub-paragraph was added to paragraph 4 of the previous letter, and paragraph 5 of the previous letter was explained. The third communication is a letter, dated July 20, 1965, from the Central Vigilance Commission. In this letter, it was stated, inter alia, that it was decided that in departmental disciplinary proceedings against Gazetted Officers of all grades involving lack of integrity or an element of vigilance, in which an oral inquiry is to be made under Rule 15 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1957, or under the corresponding disciplinary rules, such inquiry should thereafter be entrusted to one of the Commissioners for Departmental Inquiries, and all inquiries for this purpose should be addressed to the Central Vigilance Commission. It was further stated that it was further decided that such inquiries in the case of officials of a public sector or undertakings. Corporate Bodies, etc., having status comparable to that of Gazetted officers should be entrusted to one of the Commissioners for Departmental Inquiries in the Central Vigilance Commission. The last of the communications in Annexure 'F' is a letter, dated December 22, 1966, from the Ministry of Education, Government of India. It was stated in this letter that the instructions contained in the letter of the Vigilance Commission, dated July 7, 1965, will also apply to autonomous organisations, and that such of the Administrative Sections of the Ministry as are concerned with autonomous organisations should take necessary action in the matter in respect of the said organisations as well. Shri Makwana submitted that the petitioner, as an employee of the Library Board, is in a position comparable with that of a gazetted officer, that the Library Board is an autonomous organisation such as is referred to in the aforesaid letter of the Ministry of Education, dated December 22, 1966, and that, thereforee, the instructions in the communications apply to the petitioner also. Even assuming that the position of the petitioner is comparable with that of a gazetted officer, it is clear that the instructions in the communications refer only to departmental proceedings involving lack of integrity or an element of vigilance in which an oral inquiry is to be made under the Service Rules and Disciplinary Rules. The disciplinary proceeding against the petitioner was nto of that nature. It follows that there is no force in the contention of Shri Makwana.

(30) The second contention of Shri Makwana was that the inquiry proceedings were illegal and contrary to law in that the Inquiry Officer did nto supply certain relevant and material documents inspire of repeated requests and demands made by the petitioner, and thus the petitioner was denied a reasonable opportunity to rebut the charges against him and defend his case properly. Shri Makwana referred to sub-rule (12) of Rule 14 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, which runs as under :-

'(12)The inquiring authority shall, on receipt of the notice for the discovery of production of documents, forward the same or copies thereof to the authority in whose custody or possession the documents are kept, with a requisition for the production of the document by such date as may be specified in such requisition : Provided that the inquiring authority may, for reasons to be recorded by it in writing, refuse to requisition such of the documents as are, in its opinion, nto relevant to the case.',

and argued that the non-supply of the relevant documents was a clear violation of the provision in the Service Rules and also of principles of natural justice.

(31) As already stated, the petitioner was served with a statement of six Articles of charge on October Ii, 1966, and he was also furnished with a list of the documents by which the Articles of charge were proposed to be sustained. It is nto disputed, and it is also clear from the record of inquiry proceedings, Parts I & Ii, produced by Shri Tandon, that the petitioner inspected all the said documents except one on March 4, 1967, and March 6, 1967, and took notes thereof. The said one document was inspected by him on March 20, 1967. On March 9, 1967, the petitioner filed an application (Annexure 1) requesting that he may be supplied with copies of 27 documents mentioned in a list attached to the application. He also set out the relevancy of the said documents asked for by him. The said application was opposed by the Presenting Officer, Shri R. P. Puri, on the ground that there was no provision in the Rules for the supply of copies of the documents referred to in sub-rule (3) of Rule 14, and that a provision has been made under sub-rule (ll)(i) of Rule 14 that for the purpose of preparing his defense the Government servant may, by an order of the Inquiry Officer, inspect the documents specified in the list referred to in sub-rule (3) of Rule 14. The Inquiry Officer, accepting the said contention of Shri Puri, passed an order on March 20, 1967, observing that there was no provision in the Rules that a copy of every document be supplied to the person against whom inquiry is being held, that the petitioner had already inspected all those documents and, if necessary, he could inspect them again, and that,

(32) Again on August 23, 1967, the petitioner filed another application (Annexure K) staling that copies of proceedings of the inquiry recorded on August 7, 1967, and August 14, 1967, were nto supplied to him, and that Office Orders, dated February 18, 1958, May 5, 1958, March 15, 1960, No. 114, dated March 4, 1966, and No. 119, dated January 28, 1967, were exhibited on the record of inquiry for the first time on August 3, 1967, but were nto even shown to him, although they were ordered by the Inquiry Officer to form part of the record in the inquiry. He requested that the said copies of the proceedings and Office Orders may be supplied to him. According to the petitioner, he presented the application in person, but the Inquiry Officer refused to receive it, and thereforee, he sent it by post under certificate of posting. On August 25, 1967, the Inquiry Officer passed an order observing that copies of the proceedings from August 7, 1967, to August 21, 1967, were delivered to both the parties and their acknowledgements were obtained, that the petitioner had already seen Office Order No. 114 and obtained a copy thereof and that the remaining documents were again seen on that date in the presence of the Inquiry Officer and relevant abstracts from those documents were taken by him. On the same date i.e., August 25, 1967, the petitioner filed another application (Annexure L) staling that the Inquiry Officer refused to receive the application, dated August 23, 1967, and directed the petitioner to file the same on the next date of hearing, that the Inquiry Officer had been entertaining papers and communications from the Prosecutor (Presenting Officer) on dates other than the dates of hearing, while refusing similar opportunity to the petitioner, and that, in the circumstances, it was nto possible for him (the petitioner) to repose any confidence in the proceedings, and he was finable to further participate in the inquiry, unless (a) copies of the requisite documents are supplied to him. (b) patent illegalities and irregularities involving violation of the rules of natural justice and mandatory rules are cured, and (c) a guarantee of equal treatment. was given to him and to the prosecution. He further slated that in the absence of the requisite documents and in the face of the illegalities resulting in the violation of principles of natural justice, it would nto be of any use to attend to the hearing on that day. The Inquiry Officer passed an order on that application as under :-

'SHRIS. C. Sharma has again produced an application dated 25-8-67 today for an adjournment and has also put up certain conditions of associating himself with the enquiry as given in his application, dated 25-8-67. When the application was argued with him, he admitted in writing in the margin of the application that 'requisite copies have been received by me.' Shri S. C. Sharma was given two chances to see the documents as per my order, dated 14-8-67, on the application of the Presenting Officer, dated 8-8-67, but he did nto avail this opportunity, hence I have no alternative, but to proceed with the inquiry. Announced.'

(33) The Inquiry Officer also made a further note as under :--

'AT this stage Shri S. C. Shanna walked out of the room in protest. Hence ex-parte proceedings be taken against him and the further prosecution evidence be recorded.'

(34) Accordingly, the Inquiry Officer proceeded to record the evidence of Public Witness 12 and Public Witness 13. Thereafter, the Presenting Officer, Shri R. P. Puri, made a statement that he closed the prosecution evidence, and the case was directed to come up for arguments on September 4,1967.

(35) Subsequently, the petitioner presented an application oil August 29, 1967, addressed to the Chairman, Delhi Library Board, and requesting the Chairman to transfer the inquiry to another person. The said application for transfer was rejected by the Chairman on September 12, 1967.

(36) On September 18, 1967, the petitioner again filed an application (Annexure M) requesting (i) that the witnesses examined on August 25, 1967, (P.Ws. 12 and 13) be called again for crossexamination, (ii) that copies of five documents, which were brought a fresh on record be supplied, and (iii) that the said five' documents be removed from the record of proceedings. On September 19, 1967, the Inquiry Officer passed an order as under :-

'AS regards (i), the two witnesses were present on August 25, 1967, along with Shri S. C. Sharma. Shri S. C. Sharma did nto avail the opportunity of cross-examining those witnesses and deliberately walked out of the room in protest. The proceedings were carried ex-parte that day i.e., on August 25, 1967. These two witnesses cannto be summoned again as Public Witness s., as the prosecution has closed its case. As regards (ii) copies of five documents brought afresh on record be supplied to him. As regards (iii) these documents cannto be removed from the record of proceedings.'

(37) The Inquiry Officer paused another order on the same day as under:- .......

'THE prosecution evidence is closed. The respondent to produce list of defense witnesses to be examined in his defense and the defense evidence be recorded on September 27, 1967. Parties informed.'

(38) It is clear from the above narration that the Inquiry Officer refused to supply copies of documents as there was no provision in the rules for such supply. He, however, allowed inspection of the various documents, and the petitioner was also allowed to take such abstracts from the documents as he considered necessary. Where there is a rule, which provides for the supply of copies of documents, the delinquent Officer would, of course, be entitled to be furnished with the copies. Where, however, the rule is silent about the same, inspection of the documents and taking abstracts from them would, normally, be sufficient for the purposes of the Officer in the matter of his defense against the charges, unless the documents are either voluminous or are of such a nature that the taking of abstracts from them is impossible or impracticable or would nto serve the purpose of the Officer in the matter. of his defense. In the present case, the documents in question are short and simple in nature, and the petitioner was allowed to inspect them and take abstracts from them. When the petitioner was thus allowed to inspect and take abstracts, it cannto be said that he was nto given sufficient or reasonable opportunity or that the principles of natural justice were in any manner violated.

(39) The petitioner, however, submitted in paragraph 16 of the writ petition that some material and relevant documents were nto requisitioned by the Inquiry Officer, and thus the said documents were nto made available for inspection by the petitioner, and that if the Inquiry Officer had ordered the production of the said documents, the petitioner would have been in & better position to rebut the charges leveled against him. Out of the various documents mentioned by him in his application, Annexure 1' referred to above, the petitioner set out 12 documents in paragraph 16 of the writ petition and also stated the relevancy of the said documents. His contention regarding the non-production of documents was thus limited by him to the said twelve documents. It is, thereforee. necessary to consider the relevancy of each of the said documents and the reasons given by the respondents or the Inquiry Officer for ' their non-production.

(40) Item No. 1 : This item was item No. 1 in Annexure 1', and was described as under : 'Letter/circular from Ministry of Home regarding appointment of Inquiry Officers from the attached Ministry for the Autonomous Boards'. The relevancy was stated as follows. 'Circular from Ministry of Home regarding appointment of Inquiry Officer from the attached Ministry for the Autonomous Board. In order to prove the malafides of die D.P.L. in the matter appointment of Inquiry Officer against the spirit of Office Order in question.' In paragraph 16 of the writ petition, the relevancy was stated as follows : 'Since appointment of Inquiry Officer was nto according to the order of Government of India and was wholly illegal and malafide'. The objection of respondent No. 1 regarding this item was stated as under in the objections filed before the Inquiry Officer by Shri R. P. Puri, Presenting Officer : 'As no reference of the letters/circulars from the Ministry of Home is given it is nto possible to decide whether these papers are relevant to the charges leveled against Shri Shanna'. Shri R. L. Tandon submitted that the description of the item in Annexure 'I' was vague, and thereforee, it was nto possible to consider the relevancy of the same. The said submission has to be accepted. The description of the document is vague, and in the absence of particulars or references of the letters/ circulars, it was obviously nto possible for respondent No. 1 to produce the same. The petitioner cannot, thereforee, make any complaint regarding the non-production of the document mentioned in item No. 1.

(41) Item No. 2 : This was item No. 15 in Annexure 1'. It was described in Annexure 1' as follows : 'Resolution of the Board where Conduct Rules have been extended to the employees with agenda and minutes', and its relevancy was stated as follows : 'Conduct Rules have never been adopted by the Board on which the charges have been leveled.' The objection of respondent No. 1 was ; 'The employees of Board are governed by Fundamental Rules and Supplementary Rules. Other instructions issued by the Central Government are also followed by the Board and orders to that effect are issued from time to time. As regards Conduct Rules also orders have been issued from time to time.' In the writ petition, the relevancy was stated as : 'To prove that Conuct Rules have never been adopted by the Board so the petitioner cannto be hauled up where the applicability of the rules is in doubt (Charges Iii, V)'. Shri Tandon submitted that according to respondent No. 1 there was no such Resolution as was mentioned by the petitioner. As stated by the respondent No. 1 in the objections, there were only office orders issued from time to time referring to the applicability of the Conduct Rules to the employees of the Library Board. The respondent produced the said orders in the Inquiry proceedings, and the said orders are at pages 103 to 108 of Part Ii of the Inquiry Proceedings Record. The respondents did all that they could, and they could nto obviously produce the Resolution which did nto exist.

(42) Item No. 3 : This item was items Nos. 22 and 23 in Annexure 1', and these were described as : '22-duty list of Registration Assistant of Patel Nagar Branch : 23-Duty List of Office clerk Asst. of Patel Nagar Branch.' The relevancy of the same was stated as : 'It is required to prepare my written defense.' In the writ petition, the relevancy was stated as : 'To prove that charges leveled against petitioner should have been leveled against these clerks (to rebut the charges Iv, VI)'. The reply of respondent No. 1 was : 'The Branch Librarian as Supervisor of the staff working under him assigned duty from time to time as warranted by the exigencies of service.' This reply was supported by Shri O. P. Gupta, Head of the Department, Technical Services, Delhi Public Library, in his statement as D.W. 17. In his cross-examination, Shri Gupta stated that distribution and assignment of the duties of the staff in the Branch is done by the Branch Librarian. The petitioner himself stated in his statement : 'I distinctly remember that in Patel Nagar Branch the procedure and duties allocated by Shri O. P. Trikha and Shri O. P. Mittal were nto changed by me and no fresh instructions for allocation of duties were issued by me. I did nto feel any necessity to bring about any change, keeping in view that the said allocation of duties have been made by more seasoned and experienced Branch Librerian. As per procedure in vogue for remittance, merinos for registration were to be filled up by the Registration Assistant and it was her responsibility to ensure that correct entries were made in the report going to account section and Branch Librarian only countersigned it.' Thus, the petitioner was quite aware of the fact that it is the Branch Librarian who distributes and assigns the duties of the staff in the Branch Library. There was, thereforee, no question of any production of a duty list of the Registration Assistant or the Office Clerk of the Patel Nagar Branch.

(43) Item No. 4 : This item was item No. 5 in Annexure 1', and was described in it as : 'Copy of the Manual containing duties of Branch Librarian, Head of the Department, Administrative Officer or the orders issued in this behalf.' The relevancy of the document was stated as : 'To prove that I am nto connected with dereliction of duties and the duties to this effect has been thrust upon me'. In the writ petition, the item was described as : 'Manual of duties or duty roster of Branch Librarian', and its relevancy was stated as : 'Since it is nto the duty of the Branch Librarian to enter the cards and maintain the card register petitioner had requisitioned it. When it is nto dereliction of duty (to rebut Charge IV(b), (d), (e)'. The reply of respondent No. 1 to this item was: 'There is no such Manual as stated by Shri Sharma. Shri Sharma is fully aware of his duties as Branch Librarian as deposed by him before the Labour Court on 1-6-66, in connection with the suit filed by him against Delhi Library Board claiming certain payments. He is nto concerned with the duties of Head of Department, Administrative Officer or any employee of the Board.' According to respondent No. 1 there was no such Manual. They could nto obviously produce a Manual which did nto exist.

(44) Items Nos. 5 and 6 : These were produced by respondent No. 1 and the same were inspected by the petitioner as is clear from his acknowledgements, dated March 4, 1967, and March 6, 1967.

(45) Item No. 7 : This was item Ii in Annexure I. It was described as 'Files of office orders containing Administrative Orders,' and its relevancy was stated as : 'Office Orders issued from time to time are to be consulted to show the deviation from their own office orders and to establish the malafides of the D.P.L.' In the writ petition, the item was described as : 'Files of Administrative Orders', and the relevancy was stated as '(a) to prove that number of charges are in contravention of Office Orders (Charge Ii, Iv, VI), (b) to prove that telephonic message is enough for the purpose of leave (Charge II), (c) office orders regarding stationery etc., (d) Duties of different assistants.' The reply of respondent No. 1 was that 'he (the petitioner) has nto specified any particular office order relevant to the enquiry.' The description of the documents in this item also was vague, and respondent No. I could nto obviously produce the documents as no particulars of the office orders were mentioned.

(46) Item No. 8 : This was item No. 2 in Annexure 1'. The description was : 'The document/letter where I have refused to hand over the charge of Patel Nagar,' and the relevancy was stated as : 'The document/letter where I have refused to hand over the charge of Patel Nagar, required in order to prove that the allegations of my refusal to hand over the charge is fabricated. One of the statements of Shri O. P. Mittal has been taken under threat and given under duress.' In the writ petition, the description of the document was : 'Documents where I have refused to hand over the charge', and the relevancy was stated as : 'Any written document where petitioner has refused to hand over the charge (This relates to Charge I (a)'. The reply of respondent No. 1 was 'The same as against No. 1' (i.e., that it was vague and no particulars were mentioned). The description was vague and the reply of respondent No. 1 was quite justified.

(47) Item No. 9 : This was item 3 in Annexure 'I'. It was described as: 'Leave record of the following persons (casual as well as earned leave. . . . )', and the relevancy was stated as : 'to prove that the leave taken on 21-4-1966 was obtained through telephone and whereas no such cognisance was taken in my case, more grave irregularities on these incumbents were condoned.' In the writ petition, the description was : 'Leave record of 8 officials', and the relevancy was stated as : 'It has been requisitioned because people remaining on leave for indefinite period without intimation were nto taken to task but petitioner was suspended (Charge II)'. The reply of respondent No. 1 was : 'This is irrelevant. The circumstances under which causal leave to another member of the staff is granted is nto the concern of Shri Sharma'. The reply of respondent No. 1 was quite correct, in my opinion.

(48) Item No. 10 : This was item 4 in Annexure 'I'. It was described as : 'charge report files of Mobile Lending Departments, Patel Nagar Branch', and the relevancy was stated as : 'to prove that document No. 5 is a fabricated one as it is practically impossible to take charge in a single day'. In the writ petition, the description was : 'charge report file of Mobile Lending Department of East Patel Nagar Branch,' and the relevancy was stated as '(a) to prove from the record that it is difficult to take over and hand over the charge in a day, '(b) to prove that cards never remain in the custody of the Branch Librarian (to rebut charge Iv & VI)'. The reply of respondent No. 1 was : 'It is nto clear how the alleged fabrication of document No. 5 in the charge sheet has relevance to the charge reports of other departments. As regards Patel Nagar Branch, it is nto indicated which charge report is demanded.' The description of the document is again vague and general, and the reply of respondent No. 1 was quite justified.

(49) Item No. 11 : This was item 8(a) in Annexure T. The document was described as : 'Sale of membership card registers of Lending (Registration), Mobile, Shahdara and Karolbagh Branches, along with their remittance memos since their inception', and its relevancy was stated as : 'to prove the malafides of the D.P.L. and establish that these are very common errors and so far have been condoned due to faulty procedure.' In the writ petition, it was described as : 'sale of Membership Card Register of different Departments' and the relevancy was stated as : 'to prove correct entries to be made in remittance memos are to be the responsibility of dealing clerk (Charge IV-B). To prove that late entries are a regular feature in all the branches (Charge Iv C). Over-writings, cuttings, are common errors. No notice is taken of it (charge IV-A), and how exception has been taken in the instant case'. The reply of respondent No. 1 was that 'the sale of membership card-register of other departments and remittance memos are irrelevant to the charges framed against Shri Sharma.' The said reply appears to be correct as the registers and remittance memos of other departments are irrelevant to the charges framed against the petitioner. It may be stated that one such register was produced by D.W. 16. Shri Tandon pointed out that the responsibility of the dealing clerk was spoken to by the various witnesses, and that the said responsibility as well as late entries was in a way accepted by the Inquiry Officer in his report, and that the petitioner was in no way prejudiced by the non-production of the above-said registers of the other departments.

(50) Item 12 : This was item No. 8 (b) in Annexure T. It was described as : 'Central Stock Registers of Cards for the years 1963-64, 1964-65, and 1965-66', and its relevancy was stated to be the same as for Item 8A in Annexure I'. In the writ petition, the document was described as : 'Central Stock Register for Cards 1963-64, 1964-65 and 1965-66,' and the relevancy was stated as : 'to prove that grave irregularities have been committed in the stores but no note has been taken of it. But discrimination has been practiced against petitioner.' The reply of the respondent was that 'the word 'Central Stock Register' is nto clear'. Shri Tandon pointed out that respondent No. 1 did nto -understand what was meant by 'Central Stock Register', that the only stock registers are those mentioned as items 28 and 31 in the list of documents appended to the statement of charges, and that the same were shown to the petitioner. When respondent No. 1 made it clear in his comments that the expression 'Central Stock Register' was nto clear, the petitioner could have clarified the same by furnishing particulars. But, he did nto do so. Obviously, the respondent No. 1 could nto be expected to produce a document, the description of which was nto clear to him.

(51) Thus, the contention of Shri Makwana that material and relevant documents were nto produced and made available to the petitioner, cannto beaccepted.

(52) The third contention of Shri Makwana was that the Inquiry Officer recorded the statement of Public Witness s. 12 and 13 behind the back of the petitioner, that the petitioner filed applications, Annexures P. O. and N, to allow him to cross-examine the said witnesses 'but the Inquiry Officer did nto permit him to do so, and that the defense of the petitioner was prejudiced thereby. The statement of Public Witness 12. Som Dutt Sharma, Head Clerk, Delhi Public Library, was partly recorded in the presence of the petitioner on August 3, 1967, and on August 14, 1967. On that date, the Presenting Officer made an application for permission to produce some original documents, copies of which were already seen by the petitioner. The Inquiry Officer gave notice to the petitioner to inspect the said original documents, and adjourned the case to August 21, 1967. The petitioner did not, however, examine the original documents, but filed an application, dated 16/21-8-1967, objecting to the production of the said original documents. On August 21, 1967, the Inquiry Officer rejected the said application holding that the prosecution had a right to produce the original documents and the petitioner could cross-examine the producer of the documents on the subject-matter of the documents. He also gave one more opportunity to the petitioner to examine the original documents by August 25, 1967. As already stated earlier, the petitioner filed an application (Annexure 'K') on August 23, 1967, asking for the copies of the proceedings of inquiry and of certain documents exhibited on record on August 3, 1967. On August 25, 1967, the copies of the proceedings were delivered to both the parties, and the petitioner was shown the remaining documents from which he took relevant extracts. The petitioner then filed an application (Annexure 1.) on that date i.e., August 25, 1967, in which he stated that it was nto possible for him to repose any confidence in the proceedings, that he was unable to participate further in the inquiry, unless (a) copies of requisite documents were supplied to him, (b) patent illegalities and irregularities, involving violation of rules of natural justice and mandatory rules, were cured, and (c)a guarantee of equal treatment with the prosecution was given to him, and that in the absence of requisite documents, and in the face of violation of principles of natural justice, it would nto be of any use to attend the hearing on that day. When that application was being argued on that date, the petitioner noted in the margin of the application as follows :- 'Requisite copies have been received by me.' The Inquiry Officer then passed an order staling that the petitioner was already given two chances to see the documents as per his earlier order. dated August 14, 1967, but the petitioner did nto avail of the opportunity, and hence, he had no alternative but to proceed with the inquiry. At that stage, the petitioner walked out of the room in protest, and the Inquiry Officer passed an order that ex-parte proceedings be taken against the petitioner and the further prosecution evidence be recorded. The statement of Public Witness 12 as well as the statement of Public Witness 13, (Asha Kumari, L.D.C., Delhi Public Library) were recorded on that date. As the petitioner walked out of the room, there was no cross-examination of the witnesses by him. After the statement of Public Witness 13 was recorded, Shri R. P. Puri, Presenting Officer, made a statement that he closed the prosecution evidence. Thereupon, the Inquiry Officer ordered the case to come up for arguments on September 4, 1967.

(53) It appears that the petitioner then filed an application before the Chairman, Delhi Library Board, requesting the Chairman to transfer the inquiry to another Inquiry Officer, and the said application was rejected by the Chairman. The Inquiry Officer received a letter, dated September 12, 1967, informing him about the said rejection of the application for transfer. He, thereforee, passed an order on September 13, 1967, that the petitioner and the Presenting Officer may be summoned to his office on September 19, 1967, so that the inquiry may be continued. On September 19, 1967, the petitioner presented an application (Annexure P) requesting (i) that the witnesses, Public Witness 12 and Public Witness 13, may be called again for cross-examination, (ii) that copies of five documents brought on record may be furnished to him, and (iii) that the said documents may be removed from the record of the proceedings. The Inquiry Officer passed an order on the said date as regards (i) that the two witnesses were present on August 25, 1967, along with the petitioner, and the petitioner did nto avail of the opportunity to cross-examine them and deliberately walked out of the room in protest, and that the proceedings were continued ex-parte on that date, and thereforee, the two witnesses cannto be summoned again as prosecution witnesses as prosecution had closed its case. As regards (ii), the Inquiry Officer ordered that copies of the five documents be supplied to the petitioner, and as regards (iii) he observed that the documents cannto be removed from the record of the proceedings. On the same date, the Inquiry Officer, passed another order that as the prosecution evidence was closed, the petitioner should produce a list of defense witnesses to be examined in his defense, and that the defense evidence be recorded on September 27, 1967, and the parties were informed accordingly.

(54) On September 20, 1967, the petitioner filed a letter (Anne- xure Q) along with a list of 45 witnesses to be examined on his behalf. The Inquiry Officer passed an order that subject to any objection by the prosecution and his decision regarding the same, witnesses Nos. I to 10 may be summoned for defense evidence on September 27, 1967, and that the other defense witnesses will be summoned on subsequent dates.

(55) On November 18, 1967, the petitioner filed another application (Annexure N) along with four other applications, praying, infer alia, that Public Witness s. 12 and 13 may be summoned as they were examined in his absence. It may be stated that Public Witness s. 12 and 13 were included by the petitioner as his witnesses Nos. 24 and 25 in the list of his witnesses. He moved an application on November 10, 1967, for the summoning of various witnesses. On that date, the Inquiry Officer passed an order so far as witnesses Nos. 24 and 25 were concerned, that they were produced as Public Witness s., and the petitioner could have cross-examined them and put forth his defense to those witnesses, but he did nto avail of the opportunity to cross-examine them, and hence the two witnesses Nos. 24 and 25 cannto be called as defense witnesses. In view of the said order, the Inquiry Officer passed an order on November 18, 1967, on the application (Annexure N) staling that he had already passed an order on the subject on November 10, 1967, and a copy of it was given to the petitioner, and that there was no justification to review his order, dated November 10, 1967. The petitioner was informed accordingly.

(56) Shri Makwana argued that the petitioner had a justification for walking out of the room on August 25, 1967, and, in the circumstancees, P.Ws. 12 and 13 should have been recalled for the purposes of cross-examination or they should have been summoned as defense witnesses. The said argument cannto be accepted. As already pointed out earlier in discussing the previous contention, the claim of the petitioner for copies of certain documents and for production of certain other documents was nto an acceptable one. However, copies of requisite documents were given to him on August 25, 1967. Shri Makwana argued that when the copies were given on that very date, the petitioner could nto be expected to study them then and there and cross-examine the witnesses. But, as stated by the Inquiry Officer in his order, the petitioner was given two opportunities previously to examine the documents, and thereforee, when the Inquiry Officer passed an order on August 25, 1967, that the recording of the prosecution evidence would be proceeded with, the petitioner should have, instead of going out of the room in protest, participated in the proceedings and cross-examined the witnesses. Shri J. C. Mehta averred in his counter-affidavit that Public Witness 12 was to produce the originals of certain documents, copies of some of which had already been filed with the case by the prosecution and the petitioner had denied having had any hand in their issue, that the Inquiry Officer had given two further opportunities to inspect the original documents which were produced by Public Witness 12, but the petitioner deliberately avoided doing so, and that on August 25, 1967, thereforee, when the Inquiry Officer ordered the prosecution to proceed with the further examination of Public Witness 12, the petitioner walked out to escape from an awkward position because the documents to be produced on that date by Public Witness 12 (in the issuance of which he had denied having hand) bore writings in the petitioner's own handwriting. Whether the motive of the petitioner in going out of the room on August 25, 1967, was the same as that averred by Shri Mehta or not, the fact remains that there was no justification for the petitioner's refusal to participate in the proceedings. If he had no opportunity to cross-examine the Public Witness s. 12 and 13, it was of his own making, and was entirely due to his deliberate non-participation in the proceedings on August 25, 1967. The prosecution closed their evidence on that date i.e.. August 25, 1967, and the Inquiry Officer was, in my opinion. justified in refusing to re-summon Public Witness s. 12 and 13 for the purpose of cross-examination or to summon them as defense witnesses. The contention of Shri Makwana cannot, thereforee, be accepted.

(57) The fourth contention of Shri Makwana was that some of the petitioner's witnesses were nto summoned by the Inquiry Officer without examining the question about the relevancy of the evidence which they were to give, that the said witnesses were material and necessary to rebut the charges against the petitioner, and that the petitioner was thus denied of a reasonable opportunity of properly defending himself against the charges. As already stated, the Inquiry Officer, in his order dated September 19, 1967, directed the petitioner to produce the list of defense witnesses to be examined in his defense, and posted the case on September 27, 1967, for recording the defense evidence. The petitioner filed a list of 45 witnesses on September 20, 1967. The Inquiry Officer passed an order on that date that subject to any objections that the prosecution might raise after seeing the list, and subject to his decision on the said objections, if any, witnesses Nos. I to 10 in the list be summoned for defense evidence on September 27, 1967. On September 27, 1967, D.Ws. I to 6 were examined, and the case was adjourned to September 29, 1967 for examination of witnesses 26 to 43. The petitioner made a note on the list of witnesses filed by him that witnesses Nos. 26 to 43 would be produced by him personally. The Inquiry Officer made a note that the decision about the remaining witnesses will be given after examining witnesses Nos. 26 to 43. On September 29, 1967, the petitioner submitted a medical certificate through a bearer staling that he was ill and requesting for an adjournment of the case. The Inquiry Officer adjourned the case to October 5, 1967. He also noted in his order that since the number of witnesses 26 to 43 was 18, and could nto be examined in one day, witnesses Nos. 26 to 35 may be produced by the petitioner on October 5, 1967, and witnesses Nos. 36 to 43 may be produced by the petitioner on October 6, 1967. The petitioner was informed accordingly. On October 4, 1967, the Inquiry Officer received a post card from the petitioner staling that the petitioner's father had died and the petitioner would, not, thereforee, be able to attend to the departmental proceedings on October 5, and 6, 1967. The Inquiry Officer passed an order on that day that the witnesses Nos. 26 to 35 maybe produced on October 16, 1967, and the witnesses Nos. 36 to 43 may be produced on 17-10-1967. On October 16, 1967, the petitioner did nto produce the witnesses, but explained that he could nto bring them on account of the death of his father and the short time at his disposal. Thereupon, the Inquiry Officer ordered that the witnesses Nos. 36 to 35 may be produced on October 23, 1967, and the witnesses Nos. 36 to 43 may be produced on October 25, 1967. On October 23, 1967, D.Ws. 7 to 9 were examined and their statements were recorded. On October 25, 1967, the statements of D.W. 10 and D.W. 11 were recorded, and the Inquiry Officer passed an order that the remaining defense witnesses should be produced on November 3, 1967. On November 3, 1967, D.W. 12 only was present and his statement was recorded, and the Inquiry Officer passed an order staling that no other defense witnesses were present on that date, that the respondent was in duty bound to produce his witnesses on the three dates allotted for the purpose, that one more 'adjournment was being given to produce the remaining defense witnesses on November 7, 1967, and that the petitioner was informed about the same. On November 7, 1967, D.W. 13 only was present and his statement was recorded. The Inquiry Officer made a note that no other defense witnesses were present, that many dates were given for the defense witnesses, that the petitioner promised to bring the remaining witnesses on November 10, 1967, and that the remaining witnesses should, thereforee, be produced on November 10, 1967. On November 10, 1967, the petitioner filed an application requesting that witnesses Nos. I to 25, 44 and 45 be summoned as defense witnesses. The Inquiry Officer passed an order on that date staling that out of the said witnesses, witnesses Nos. 1,2,3,5, and 10 had already appeared as defense witnesses, that witness No. 11 was given up by the petitioner, that witnesses Nos. 7, 8, 9, 14, 18 and 21, were considered by the Inquiry Officer as unnecessary and their evidence was irrelevant to the inquiry, that a similar finding was given by him previously in respect of the record which the said witnesses possessed, that the witnesses Nos. 24 and 25 were produced as Public Witness s. 12 and 13 and the petitioner should have cross-examined them and put forth his defense to those witnesses, but he did nto avail of the opportunity to cross-examine them, and hence witnesses Nos. 24 and 25 could nto be called as defense witnesses, that Shri D. R. Kalia, Director of the Delhi Public Library was shown in the list as witness No. 17, that Shri Kalia did nto play any part in the inquiry proceedings and summoning him as a defense witness would be unnecessary harassment, and hence the request for summoning him was refused, and that witnesses Nos. 4,6, 12, 13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 22, 23, 44, 45 and 39 be summoned as defense witnesses for November 18, 1967.

(58) On November 18, 1967, D.Ws. 14, 15 and 16 were examined. The petitioner then filed five applications, one of them being Annexure 'N'. In that application, the petitioner, inter-alia, requested that witnesses Nos. 7, 8, 9, 14, 17, 18, 21, 24 and 25, being material and relevant witnesses, may be summoned. The Inquiry Officer passed an order staling that he had already passed an order regarding the said witnesses on November 10, 1967, a copy of which was given to the petitioner, and that there was no justification to review the said order dated November 10, 1967.

(59) It is as regards those witnesses that the petitioner raised the contention that the Inquiry Officer refused to summon without examining the question about the relevancy of the evidence they were to give. The petitioner set out this contention in paragraph 15(c) of the writ petition. The examination of witnesses Nos. 24 and 25 (P.Ws. 12 and 13) as defense witnesses was already considered above in dealing with the previous contention of Shri Makwana. As regards the other seven witnesses, the petitioner stated in paragraphs 15(k) of the writ petition that the said witnesses whose names appeared in the list of witnesses filed by him before the Inquiry Officer were relevant witnesses and were necessary to rebut the charges framed against him, and that the Inquiry Officer, without caring to determine the relevancy or importance of the evidence of the said witnesses, refused permission for their examination as witnesses. The petitioner set out what the said witnesses would have deposed if they had been allowed to be produced as witnesses as under ;-

'1.Registration Assistant of the lending department was to be called with sale of membership form register since 1963. This witness would have proved that over writing, cuttings, etc., are usually made by the dealing assistant. (This was relevant to rebut charge No. IV(D). 2. Shri R. K. Sharma, Head Extension, whose name appears on the list of witnesses at SI. No. 8 : 1. He would have proved that dealing assistants are responsible for maintenance of the remittance memos. 2. That receipt and stock register of cards remains with the dealing clerk who maintain the card rigister. (This was relevant to rebut charge TV(b)(c)(d). 367 3. The Clerk of the Extension Deptt,, along with the card register :- This witness was to have proved that entries of the receipt of the cards made by the dealing Assistant and the responsibility for proper maintenance of the card register rests with him. (This was relevant to rebut charge No. IV(b)(d)(e) and Vl(b). That for any loss of the cards, the responsibility rests with the dealing Assistant This was relevant to rebut charge Vl(a)(b). 4. Shri S. D. Joshi together with the charge report file of East Patel Nagar Branch :- He would have proved from the records that the cards remain in the custody of the dealing assistant and that when an assistant is transferred he hands over the charge to dealing assistant and nto the Branch Librarian. (This was relevant to rebut charge No. VI. Also he was to have proved that it takes two to three days to take over and hand over the charge). (This was relevant to rebut charge No. I (a). 5. Shri D. R. Kalia :-His name appears in the list of witnesses filed before the Inquiry Officer at SI. No. 17. He was the Secretary, Delhi Library Board, Delhi at the relevant time when the petitioner was placed under suspension. He had to prove:- (a) That no preliminary enquiry was held, (b) That there was no prima facie case for suspension. (c) 'That there was no specific instance of or even general reputation of the petitioner any insubordination and indiscipline (to rebut charge No. 1). (d) That he did nto notice any irregularity in East Patel Nagar Branch. (This was relevant to rebut charge Iv & VI). (e) That C.C.S. (Conduct) Rules have never been adopted by the Board. (f) That further a report is submitted about the visit. In case of adverse report, the action is contemplated against the defaulter. 6. Shri M. P. Sharma :-This witness if allowed to be produced would have proved petitioner's innocence with repaid to charge No. Iv & VI. (a) This witness worked in store would have proved that if there was any loss of the cards, the same is the responsibility of the dealing clerk who receives them from the Stores. (To rebut charge No. VI). (b) That maintenance of the card register is the responsibility of the dealing clerk. (c) That later entries of the cards are to be explained by the dealing clerk. Also in a number of cases late entries were nto viewed seriously. (This is relevant to rebut charge No. Iv (c, d, e). 7. The Driver of the Staff Car, along with log book. (a) Would have revealed that frequent visits were made to the Library by Deputy Director, Director, Administrative Officer. (b) Would have shown the duration of the visit.'

(60) Shri Makwana argued that the Inquiry Officer was nto justified in treating witnesses Nos. 7,8,9,14,18 and 21 as unnecessary and regarding their evidence as irrelevant to the inquiry. There is considerable force in the argument of the learned counsel. The Inquiry Officer did nto give any reason for his view that the aforesaid witnesses were unnecessary and that the evidence which they were to give was irrelevant to the inquiry. The petitioner was entitled to examine such witnesses as he considered necessary, and it was nto for the Inquiry Officer to state whether the witnesses were necessary or not. The relevancy of the evidence which the witnesses were to give is apparent from what was set out by the petitioner in paragraph 15(k) of the writ petition and which has been extracted above. The petitioner set out the relevancy of the evidence of Shri D. R. Kalia, who was the Secretary of the Library Board at the relevant time. The Inquiry Officer was nto justified in refusing to summon Shri Kalia as a witness on the ground that Shri Kalia did nto play any part in the Inquiry proceedings and summoning him would be unnecessary harassment. As regards witness No. 7, Shri Tandon, the learned counsel for respondent No. 1, submitted that he was mentioned by the petitioner in the list of witnesses as Registration Assistant, Lending Department, but did nto mention his name, that the Inquiry Officer noted the name in pencil as Aftab in the list of witnesses, that the name of witness No. 44 also was Aftab Ahmed Khan, and that the said witness No. 44 was subsequently examined as D.W. 20, and the petitioner was not, thereforee, prejudiced in any manner. It is nto clear from a perusal of the deposition of D.W. 20 that he was Registration Assistant in the Lending Department. It cannot, thereforee, be assumed that witnesses Nos. 7 and 44 are the same. As regards the other witnesses, Shri Tandon could submit only that even according to the petitioner, they, if summoned, would have deposed that it was the dealing or Registration Assistant that was responsible for the maintenance of the stock register, remittance memos, etc., that evidence to that effect was given by some of the other defense witnesses, viz., D.Ws. 16, 17, 18, 20 and 22, that the inquiry Officer, in fact, accepted the contention of the petitioner and held in his report that it was the Registration Assistant that was primarily responsible, and thereforee, the petitioner can have no grievance that the witnesses were nto summoned. It is nto correct to say that the Inquiry Officer accepted the contention of the petitioner that it was the Registration Assistant that was responsible for the proper maintenance of the stock register etc. The Inquiry Officer, in dealing with the Article of charge No. Iv, held that 'while it is correct that the preliminary responsibility was of the Registration Assistant, yet the Branch Librarian is always responsible for checking and supervising the work of the subordinate working under him', and that 'in this case, the Branch Librarian in-charge of Patel Nagar Branch (i.e., the petitioner) cannto escape responsibility and he is responsible to the extent of his supervision and proper guidance.' According to the petitioner, it was nto merely the preliminary responsibility but the entire responsibility for the short-comings was of the dealing or Registration Assistant, and the petitioner sought to establish the same by examining the aforesaid seven witnesses. It may be that other defense witnesses gave evidence regarding the matters on which the witnesses in question were to depose. But, there was no certainty at the stage of adducing evidence that the said other witnesses would be believed and their evidence would be accepted by the Inquiry Officer and the disciplinary authorities. thereforee, the refusal by the Inquiry Officer to summon the seven witnesses in question deprived the petitioner of an opportunity to adduce all the evidence which he had desired to adduce, and was- clearly a violation of principles of natural justice which vitiated the inquiry proceedings. The fourth contention of Shri Makwana has, thereforee, to be accepted.

(61) The fifth contention of Shri Makwana was that the Inquiry proceedings were also vitiated by the refusal of the Inquiry Officer to furnish him with a copy of the written arguments/brief submitted by the Presenting Officer. On January 10, 1968, the case was adjourned to January 20, 1968, for arguments. On January 20, 1968, the Presenting Officer filed written arguments consisting of about 45 pages. Rule 14, sub-rule (19) of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1965, provides as follows :-

'RULE14(19). The inquiry authority may, after the completion of the production of evidence, hear the Presenting Officer if any, appointed, and the Government servant, or permit them to file written briefs of their respective case, if they so desire.'

(62) It was under this provision that the Presenting Officer, instead of arguing the case orally, filed a written brief or arguments. The petitioner neither argued orally nor filed a written brief of his arguments. Instead, he filed an application requesting for a copy of the written brief filed by the Presenting Officer so as to enable him to file his written reply to the arguments of the Presenting Officer. The Inquiry Officer refused to furnish a copy but passed an order staling that the petitioner may read the written brief and take abstracts on that day, and that he may file a written brief of advance verbal arguments on January 20, 1968. He added that if the petitioner did nto avail of that opportunity, the case would be proceeded with ex-parte and no further adjournment would be given. On January 20, 1968, the petitioner did nto file a written brief and did nto advance any oral arguments, but, insisted that a copy of the written brief filed by the Presenting Officer should be supplied to him. The Presenting Officer opposed the request of the petitioner on the ground that rule 14(19) did nto provide for the supply of any such copy of the written brief filed by the opposite party. The Inquiry Officer upheld the objection of the Presenting Officer and refused to furnish a copy of the written brief filed by the Presenting Officer. The petitioner thereupon requested for an adjournment of the case on the ground that he could nto contact his counsel. The Inquiry Officer refused the adjournment on the ground that the petitioner was already given two opportunities. The result was that the petitioner did nto either advance his arguments orally or file his arguments in writing, and the inquiry proceeding was closed. The Inquiry Officer submitted his report on March, 7, 1968. Shri Makwana argued that the petitioner was only to reply to the arguments of the Presenting Officer, and it was nto possible for the petitioner to reply unless and until he knew what the arguments on behalf of the prosecution were, and that the refusal to furnish him with a copy of the written arguments was a clear violation of principles of natural justice. In answer to the said argument. Shri Tandon submitted that on January 20, 1968, after the Inquiry Officer passed an order permitting the petitioner to see the written brief and take notes from it, the Presenting Officer filed an application objecting to the same and requesting that the written brief filed by him may nto be shown to the petitioner, and the said objection of the presenting Officer was rejected by the Inquiry Officer. The learned counsel argued that as the petitioner was permitted to see the written brief and take abstracts from it, he was nto prejudiced in any manner and principles of natural justice cannto be said to have been violated. It is true that the rule, as such, did nto provide for the supply of a copy of the written brief filed by either party to the opposite party. It is also true that the petitioner was allowed to read the written brief filed by the said Presenting Officer and take abstracts from it. But, the question is as to whether that was sufficient observance of principles of natural justice. If the rule had provided for the supply of a copy, the petitioner would, no doubt, have been entitled to a copy. Where a rule does nto so provide for the supply of a copy, the question as to whether permission to read the document and take abstracts from it amounts to sufficient compliance with principles of natural justice would depend upon the facts of each case. Where the document is a simple one and can easily be read and notes or abstracts can be taken from it, such permission to read the document and take abstracts from it might be regarded as sufficient compliance with principles of natural justice. Where, however, the document is such that mere reading of the document and taking abstracts from it may nto serve the purpose of the opposite party, it cannto be said that it is sufficient compliance with principles of natural justice. In the present case, the written argument filed by the Presenting Officer consisted of about 45 pages. Detailed references were made to the various portions of the oral and the documentary evidence adduced by the parties. A perusal of the written brief shows that mere reading and taking down abstracts from it would nto be sufficient at all for the petitioner to reply to each of the contentions and arguments in an effective and satisfactory manner. There was no reason or justification at all for the refusal by the Inquiry Officer to furnish a copy of the written arguments to the petitioner. In the application filed by the petitioner on January 20, 1968, he requested that he may be supplied with a copy of the written brief so as to enable him to reply to the same by filing his written arguments in advance. The Inquiry Officer passed an order rejecting the request without even giving any reasons thereforee. He merely stated in his order that a copy of the written brief cannto be supplied at that stage. It is nto clear what he meant by the words 'at this stage'. Various charges were leveled against the petitioner by the prosecution. The petitioner had to defend himself against the charges, contentions and arguments of the prosecution. The Presenting Officer did nto advance any oral arguments but merely filed a written brief. It is obvious that it was at that stage i.e., when the written brief was filed by the Presenting Officer, that the petitioner had to be furnished with a copy thereof so that he could file an effective reply to the contentions 'and arguments of the prosecution. In the circumstances, the contention of Shri Makwana has to be accepted, and it has to be held that the refusal to furnish a copy of the written arguments of the prosecution to the petitioner was a denial of a reasonable opportunity to the petitioner to defend himself effectively against the contentions and arguments of the prosecution, and a violation of principles of natural justice.

(63) The sixth contention of Shri Makwana was that there was considerable delay in the appointment of the Inquiry Officer and that the same was contrary to the provision in Rule 14(7) of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965. There is no substance in this contention. The said sub- rule (7) of Rule 14 merely provides for the appearance of the Government servant before the Inquiry Officer and does nto deal with the appointment of Inquiry Officer. It is under sub-rule (2) of Rule 14 that the inquiry officer is appointed whenever the disciplinary authority is of the opinion that there are grounds for enquiring into the truth of any imputation of mis-conduct or misbehavior, against a Government servant. In the present case, there was no delay in the appointment of the Inquiry Officer. Annexure R-9 shows that Shri M. V. K. Yusufazi, Director of Vigilance, Delhi Administration, was appointed as Inquiry Officer on October 5, 1966, to inquire into the charges framed against the petitioner. The Articles of charge were served upon the petitioner on October Ii, 1966. Subsequently, on December 7, 1966, Library Board passed a Resolution that Shri Mohinder Singh, Director of Departmental Inquiries, Delhi Administration, be appointed as Inquiry Officer in the place of Shri M. V. K. Yusufazi as the latter was pre-occupied with other work. Shri Mohinder Singh appears to have been formally appointed by an order (Annexure E), dated January 9, 1967. Shri Makwana argued that while under sub-rule (7) of Rule 14, the petitioner was to appear before the Inquiry Officer within ten working days from the date of receipt by him of the Articles of charge, Shri Mohinder Singh was appointed long after the said period of ten days from the date on which the petitioner was served with the Articles of charge, and the same was nto in accordance with the provision in sub-rule (7). The fallacy in the argument lies in that the material appointment is that of Shri Yusufazi and nto of Shri Mohinder Singh. The argument ignores the fact that Shri Yusufazi was appointed as Inquiry Officer before the petitioner was served with the Articles of charge. There was thus an Inquiry Officer before whom the petitioner could appear within ten days from the date on which he was served with the Articles of charge. Thus, there was neither delay in the appointment of the Inquiry Officer nor any contravention of sub-rule (7). The contention of the learned counsel has, thereforee, to be rejected.

(64) The seventh contention of Shri Makwana was that under Rule of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1965, he was entitled to take the assistance of another Government servant to. present the case on his behalf, that he sought to take the help of one Dr. O. P. Verma, an employee of Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking, but the Inquiry Officer wrongly disallowed the appearance of Dr. O. P. Verma, that the petitioner then had to seek the assistance of one Shri O. P. Sharma, an employee of the Delhi Administration, that the assistance of Shri O. P. Sharma was available only after a period of two months. and the case remained un-presented for a period of two months, that later on Shri O. P. Sharma was transferred as Personal Assistant to the Chief Secretary, Delhi Administration, and it was nto possible for him to present, the case of the petitioner any longer. that thereafter the l(nquiry Officer allowed the petitioner to take the assistance of one Shri S. M. Puri, an employee of the Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking, and the great injustice was done to the petitioner in that he was nto allowed to take the assistance of Dr. O. P. Verma. There is no substance in this contention also. On February 27, 1967. the petitioner applied for permission to take the help of Dr. O. P. Verma, Statistical Superintendent, Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking, Delhi Municipal Corporation. It was objected to by Shri R. P. Puri, Presenting Officer. The Inquiry Officer passed an order staling that since Dr. Verma was nto a Government servant he was nto qualified to represent the case of the petitioner, and that the petitioner may seek the help of another qualified person as provided under Rule 14(8). On March 20, 1967, the petitioner filed an application for permission of the Inquiry Officer to take the help of Shri O. P. Sharma, an employee of the Delhi Administration. The Inquiry Officer granted the permission. Between February 27, 1967, and March 20, 1967, there was only one formal proceeding on March 10, 1967, on which date the Inquiry Officer merely passed an order recording that the copies of the statements of witnesses, etc. had been delivered to the petitioner. The petitioner himself did nto apply for the assistance of any person during that period, apparently because he did nto require any such assistance in that period. When he applied on March 20, 1967, for permission to take the assistance of Shri O. P. Sharma, the Inquiry Officer granted the permission. Subsequently, on September 9, 1967, when Shri 0. P. Sharma was transferred, the petitioner was permitted to take the assistance of Shri S. M. Puri, an employee of the Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking. Shri Makwana argued that the Inquiry Officer, who allowed Shri S. M. Puri to assist the petitioner although Shri Puri was an employee of the Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking and nto a Government servant, should have allowed Dr. O. P. Verma, who was also an employee of Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking, to assist the petitioner, and that the refusal of permission to the petitioner to take the assistance of Dr. O. P. Verma had resulted in the petitioner nto getting assistance from a person of his choice, and thus great injustice was done to the petitioner. Rule 14(8) provides for taking assistance from any 'Government servant', and the Inquiry Officer was, thereforee, justified in refusing the permission to the petitioner for taking the assistance of Dr. O. P. Verma who was nto a Government servant. Merely because the Inquiry Officer subsequently allowed the petitioner to take the help of Shri S. M. Puri contrary to the provision in Rule 14(8), it cannto reasonably be said that he should have also contravened the provision in Rule 14(8) by allowing the petitioner to take the assistance of Shri Verma. The contention of the learned counsel cannot, thereforee, be accepted.

(65) In the view taken by me regarding the fourth and fifth contentions of Shri Makwana, it has to be held that the Inquiry proceedings are liable to be quashed on the ground that principles of natural justice were violated, and the petitioner was nto given a fair and reasonable opportunity to put forward an effective and satisfactory defense to the charges leveled against him. It follows that the findings and the report of the Inquiry Officer (Annexure 'G') as well as the order of the Library Board which were based on the defective inquiry proceedings cannto also be sustained. A similar view was taken by Hegde C.J. (as he then was) in Prem Nath V. Venkatesan 1967 D.L.T. 210. In that case, a penalty was imposed on the petitioners by an order of the Central Board of Revenue. The said order was confirmed by the Central Government. In the writ petitions filed by the petitioners, the learned Chief Justice came to the conclusion that the order of the Central Board of Revenue was liable to be quashed on the ground that it was nto a speaking order, and then held as follows :-

'IT is true that that order (i.e., the order of the Central Board of Revenue) has been affirmed by the Central Government, but that affirmation cannto be sustained in view of the fact that it is an affirmation of an order, which is per se bad.'

(66) Thus, the findings and report of the Inquiry Officer and the order of the Library Board cannto be sustained as they were based on the Inquiry proceedings which have been held to be defective.

(67) It may be pointed out that in the present case Shri Makwana contended that the findings and the report of the Inquiry Officer (Annexure G) were invalid and liable to be quashed also on the grounds (1) that the Inquiry Officer did nto discuss and consider in detail the evidence of the defense witnesses, and (2) that the findings of the Inquiry Officer do nto follow from the facts and the evidence in the case. The learned counsel also contended that the Memorandum (Annexure G) whereby the Library Board proposed to impose the penalty of dismissal upon the petitioner and required him to show cause against the same, and the final order (Annexure H) whereby the Library Board ordered that the petitioner be compulsorily retired from the service of the Board do nto contain any discussion of the facts and the evidence in the case, but merely adopted the report of the Inquiry Officer, and that the Library Board did nto apply their mind at all to the facts and the evidence in the case. It is true that the Memorandum and the final order do nto contain any discussion or consideration of the evidence in the case. But, it is nto necessary to go into these. contentions of the learned counsel, as the said Memorandum and order cannto be sustained in view of the fact that they were based on the defective Inquiry proceedings.

(68) For the above reasons, I allow the writ petition and quash the Inquiry proceedings, the report of the Inquiry Officer, the Memorandum requiring the petitioner to show cause against the proposed penalty, and the order compulsarily retiring the petitioner from the service of the Library Board. The petitioner is entitled to his costs in this writ petition which are fixed at Rs. 250.00 (Rupees Two Hundred and Fifty only) to be paid to him by respondent No. 1.


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