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K.C. Chandrasekharan, S/O K.C. Chamu Vs. State of Kerala - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Appeal No. 85 of 1962
Judge
Reported inAIR1964Ker87; [1963(7)FLR367]
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 310 and 311(2); Kerala Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1957 - Rule 17(5)
AppellantK.C. Chandrasekharan, S/O K.C. Chamu
RespondentState of Kerala
Appellant Advocate P.K. Subramonia Iyer and; C.S. Ananthakrishna Iyer, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateGovernment Pleader
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases Referred and U. R. Bhatt v. Union of India
Excerpt:
- - government then consulted the public service commission, who, by their letter dated july 23, 1959, concurred with the findings of the inquiring authority and recommended the appellant's dismissal from service on 7-8-1959 the appellant was asked why he should not be dismissed from service, the explanation he offered on april 14, 1960, did not find favour with the government who dismissed him from service by the order ext. p 4 that a writ was sought from this court and that motion having failed before a learned judge the appellant has come up with this appeal......on may 16, 1959 finding corruption on the part of the appellant and recommencing his removal from service.government then consulted the public service commission, who, by their letter dated july 23, 1959, concurred with the findings of the inquiring authority and recommended the appellant's dismissal from service on 7-8-1959 the appellant was asked why he should not be dismissed from service, the explanation he offered on april 14, 1960, did not find favour with the government who dismissed him from service by the order ext. p 4 dated june 21, 1960. it was to quash the order ext. p 4 that a writ was sought from this court and that motion having failed before a learned judge the appellant has come up with this appeal.3. the complaint is that under rule 17 (5) of the kerala civil services.....
Judgment:

Madhavan Nair, J.

1. This appeal is against the refusal by a learned Single Judge to issue a writ of certiorari to quash me Government's order dismissing the appellant from service for proved corruption.

2. The Government having received reports that the appellant, while he was Special Forest Officer, Kutnuparamba, received illegal gratification and helped illicit transport of timber from the forest areas under his jurisdiction, conducted a preliminary investigation which disclosed a prima fade case, placed the appellant under suspensions, framed specific charges against him, served them on him, and finding his explanation thereto unsatisfactory, ordered art enquiry by the Enquiry Commissioner and special Judge, who submitted his report to Government on May 16, 1959 finding corruption on the part of the appellant and recommencing his removal from service.

Government then consulted the Public Service commission, who, by their letter dated July 23, 1959, concurred with the findings of the Inquiring Authority and recommended the appellant's dismissal from service on 7-8-1959 the appellant was asked why he should not be dismissed from service, the explanation he offered on April 14, 1960, did not find favour with the Government who dismissed him from service by the order Ext. P 4 dated June 21, 1960. It was to quash the order Ext. P 4 that a writ was sought from this Court and that motion having failed before a learned judge the appellant has come up with this appeal.

3. The complaint is that under Rule 17 (5) of the Kerala Civil Services (Classification, control and Appeal) Rules, 1957, the inquiring Authority should have submitted his report to the Appointing Authority, who, in this case, was the Conservator of Forests, in which case me appellant would have had a right of appeal to Government from the penalty that rightly have been imposed on him by the Appointing Authority, that as the report was submitted to the Government and the punishment imposed on him by the Government he was deprived of his right of appeal and that that amounted to a denial of reasonable opportunity guaranteed in Article 311(2) of me Constitution.

4. under Article 310 of the Constitution a government servant holds office during the pleasure of me Governor, the only limitations on the exercise of that pleasure being what are provided in Article 311, viz., that he should not be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed, and that, before dismissal, removal or reduction in rank he should be given reasonable opportunity to show cause against the action proposed to be taken in regard to him. There is no complaint that the first guarantee has been violated in the appellant's case. In fact, his dismissal was by the order of the Governor who is the highest authority in the State. His complaint is that reasonable opportunity' assured by Article 311(2) has not been afforded to him, what is reasonable opportunity is not defined in the Constitution. Its contents nave now-ever been defined by the Supreme Court in Khem Chand v. Union of India, AIR 1958 SC 300, at p. 307 and reiterated in Kapur Singh v. Union of India, AIR 1960 SC 493, at p. 498, Jagannath Prasad Sharma v. state of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1961 SC 1245, at p. 1253 and U. R. Bhatt v. Union of India, AIR 1962 SC 1344, at p. 1347. Reasonable opportunity comprises:

'(a) an opportunity to deny his guilt and establish his innocence, which he can only do if he is told what the charges levelled against him are and the allegations on which such charges are based : (b) an opportunity to defend himself by cross-examining the witness produced against him and by examining himself or any other witness in support of his defence; and finally (c) an opportunity to make his representation as to why the proposed punishment should not be indicted on him, which he can only do if the competent authority, after the enquiry is over and after applying his mind to the gravity or otherwise of the charges proved against the Government servant tentatively proposes to inflict one or the three punishments and communicates the same to the Government servant'.

5. The constitutional guarantee a Government servant is entitled to is one of being afterded a reasonable opportunity of the above content in an enquiry under the Civil Services (Classification, control and Appeal) Rules. The complaint here is not that the appellant was not afforded any of the three opportunities mentioned above, but that he had been deprived of the right of appeal to the Government from the order of the appointing authority if it had imposed the penalty on him by the Government having received the report of the Inquiring Authority and passed orders thereon. Whether opportunity afforded to a Government servant in a particular case is reasonable will depend upon the circumstances of each case, me enquiry In this case was held by the Enquiry commissioner and Special Judge, who was a Judge of the High court of Travancore-cochin mere is no complaint that the appellant had not been given opportunity to participate in the proceeding and vindicate his innocence we do not think that a right of appeal is a necessary postulate of an opportunity of showing cause within the meaning of Article 311(2) of the Constitution, and do not the any force in the plea that the appellant was deprived of the constitutional protection of that Article because me Government, who is appellate authority, itself scrutnnised the report of the Inquiring Authority, consulted the Public Service Commission and imposed the punishment on him. The fact that the Kerala Civil services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1957, provided for as appeal to Government in case the Government servant had been punished by an authority subordinate to it are not mean that the Government could, not itself undertake the disciplinary proceedings against its offices, to fact, Rule 13 of the Kerala Civil services (Classification Control and Appeal) Rules provided that the authority which might impose the penalty of dismissal from the civil service on a member of a subordinate service was the appointing authority or any higher authority, which LATTER must necessarily include the Government. Under Rule 17 (2) the authority concerned, that is to say, either the appointing authority or any higher authority could direct an enquiry to be held by a spectal officer or tribunal appointed by the Government for the purpose or any other person mentioned, in Sub-rule (3). Rule 17 (5) provided that the report of the Inquiring Authority should be forwarded to the appointing authority, who should proceed to impose the appropriate penalty on the delinquent officer. There was a lacuna in the rules as to whom the report was to be submitted in case the Government Itself had undertaken the disciplinary proceedings and ordered enquiry into the charges transfer against the officer. As the enquiry had been ordered by the Government, the report of the Inquiring Authority should be submitted to the Government itself. The operation of Rule 17 (5) could therefore be confined only to cases where the appointing authority was to imposed the penalty as the sub-rule itself indicated. We do not see any impropriety, much less any illegarity, in the Government itself having received the report of findings by the Enquiry Commissioner and Special judge and imposed the penalty on the appellant in this case. As THE proceedings snow that reasonable opportunity to prove his innocence had been afforded to the appellant before the Inquiring Authority and to show cause against me proposed imposition of the penalty of dismissal from service before the Government, no violation of the guarantee or reasonable opportunity previded in Article 311(2) or the Constitution had occurred in the impugned proceed-ings.

6. It follows that there Is no force In this appeal,which has therefore to be dismissed. Order accordingly.But in the circumstances of the case, we do not make anyorder as to costs here.


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