A.S. Qureshi, J.
1. Rule: Mr. M.A. Panchal appears and waives notice for the respondent.
2. This is a petition filed by the four petitioners against whom a departmental inquiry is ordered. The departmental inquiry is to be a joint inquiry. The petitioners contend that they would be prejudiced by the joint inquiry. Hence they pray, inter alia, for an order directing separate inquiry for each one of the petitioners.
3. Mr. M.A. Panchal, the learned Counsel for the respondents states that in principle the respondent has no objection to holding separate inquiry for each one of the petitioners, but he submits that prima facie there is nothing to show that the petitioners would be prejudiced by the joint inquiry. Mr. I.S. Supehia, the learned Counsel for the petitioners submits that the petitioners will not be able to cross-examine separately and independently every witness who is examined at the inquiry. Mr. Supehia also points out that it may be that each one of the petitioners may have to cross-examine the other petitioner who is co-accused who would be examined only if there is separate inquiry held against each one of them. This argument of Mr. Supehia is sound and must be upheld. It is the right of every person against whom an inquiry is instituted to cross-examine every witness who deposes against him even if the witness happens to be his co-delinquent. In the circumstances the contention of the petitioners is upheld and it is hereby directed that a separate inquiry shall be held against each one of the petitioners and a separate charge-sheet will be given to each of them. In the circumstances, the petition is allowed. Rule is made absolute. But as and by way of clarification it is observed that the other contentions raised in this petition are not gone into at this stage and it will be open to the petitioners to take up these contentions as and when it becomes necessary to do so. In the circumstances of the case there will be no order as to costs.