G.M. Lodha, J.
1. A Judicial Office of Rajasthan has filed this writ petition against the High Court with following prayer:
It is, therefore prayed that by appropriate writ, order or direction the order dated 23rd June 1981 may be declared illegal and be quashed and the respondent directed to reinstate the petitioner with all consequential benefits as if the order dated 23rd June, 1981 was never passed.
Any other appropriate writ, order or direction which may be considered just and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case may kindly be issued in favour of the petitioner.
2. The principal challenge is to the suspension order dated 13-6-81.
3. Mr. Singhvi learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the suspension order deserves to be quashed, firstly on the ground that an order both for initiation of enquiry as well as suspension can only be passed by a joint consideration of the Chief Justice and Administrative Judge, as required by clause I of the Circular of the Rajasthan High Court dated 30-10-71, which reads as under:
The control under Article 235 is vested in the Full Court, but as it is not convenient for the Full Court to act in all matters the following delegation of powers is made by it:
1. The Chief Justice and the Administrative Judge are empowered to initiate disciplinary action against Judicial Officers including District Judges.
2. The Chief Justice is empowered to place a judge of a subordinate court under suspension under Rule 13(1) and to revoke such an order under rule 13 (5) of the Rajasthan Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1958.
4. Sub-Clause (3) and Sub-Clause (4) read as under:
3. (1) The Administrative Judge or a Judge nominated by the Chief Justice shall have the power to take disciplinary action & impose on a Judicial Officer any of the penalties enumerated in Rule 14 of the Rajasthan Civil-Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1958, except those of removal and dismissal from service.
(ii) The order of the Administrative Judge or a Judge nominated by the Chief Justice recommending removal or dismissal of a subordinate Judicial Officer shall be placed before the Full Court and the Full Court may accept the recommendation or reverse, modify or alter it any manner it thinks proper.
(iii) If the Full Court is of the opinion that a subordinate Judicial Officer should be removed or dismissed from service it shall send its recommendation to that effect to the State Government for necessary action in accordance with the provisions of Article 311 of the Constitution.
4. With regard to the meetings of the Full Court the provisions contained in the Rajasthan High Court Rules will apply'.
5. The second objection was that the disciplinary proceedings have not been initiated on the date the suspension order was passed, because the charge sheet has been served later on. Initiation of proceedings, according to Mr. Singhvi, means, service of the charge sheet, and in the absence of that since the proceedings have not been initiated, the order of suspension could not have been passed.
6. Mr. Singhvi placed reliance on the judgment P R. Nayak v. Union of India : (1972)ILLJ535SC .
7. Mr. Khan appearing for the respondent invited my attention to Annexure-Rule 3 and Rule 4, which read as under:
Annexure Rule 3.
Copy of orders of Hon'ble the Administrative Judge. HA.J.
Persued the reports of D.J. Udaipur and the statements of the witness recorded by D.J, during preliminary enquiry. Initiate Disciplinary proceedings under Rule 16 OCA Rules 1958 against Shri PC. Agarwal.
Looking to the seriousness of the matter, it appears expedient and necessary that Shri P.C. Agrwal be placed under suspension during the course of Disciplinary Proceedings. This matter be placed before Hon'ble the Chief Justice for necessary orders.
Sd. P.D. Kudal,
Copy of orders of Hon'ble the Chief Justice at Para 17 in file No. R./Vig./247/79 regarding complaint against Shri P.C. Agrarwal, R.J.S.
On the basis of the seriousness of the matter Hon'ble the Administrative Judge has not only initiated proceedings under Rule 16 of Rajasthan Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1958 but has also proposed that it will be proper and expedient to place the concerned officer under suspension during the pendency of enquiry against him. I agree with the views of Hon'ble the Administrative Judge in this regard and it is ordered that the during pendency of departmental proceedings, Shri P.C. Agarwal, shall remain under suspension. During the period of suspension his head quarters will be at Bharatpur for the time being and he will be entitled to subsistence allowance as per rules.
Sd. K.D. Sharrna, 23-6-81
8. According to Mr. Khan, the words 'Chief Justice' and 'Administrative Judge' used in the above circular cannot be interpreted to mean a joint action by both in the form of a Committee, but it means that both the Chief Justice as well as the Administrative Judge are independently entitled to initiate the proceedings. In this context, argued Mr. Khan, the word 'and' means 'or'.
9. Reliance was placed on a Division Bench case, Ugam Raj Bhandari v. The State of Rajasthan and Anr. (1779) WLN 737
10. So far as the question of suspension is concerned, my attention was invited by Mr. Khan to Rule 13 of the Rajasthan Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules. It mas pointed out that the Central Rules regarding suspension on which the above decision of the Supreme Court was given, referred to by Mr. Singhvi, are not analogus to Rule 13, Rule 13 in terms empowers suspension where the disciplinary proceedings against an employee are under contemplation or are pending.
11. On the above premises Mr. Khan argued that the Administrative Judge and Chief Justice both having agreed to initiation of the proceedings, it was competent for the Hon'ble Chief Justice to suspend the petitioner, as in any case they were under contemplation. Mr. Khan also argued that the moment an order is passed for initiation of proceedings, the proceedings will be deemed to have been initiated even though the act of framing charges may not have taken place by that time.
12. I have given a thoughtful consideration to the submissions of the learned counsel for the parties and have perused the releva. It circular and the documents placed on record. A perusal of these would show that the Administrative Judge of this Court first of all took notice of the report of District & Sessions Judge, Udaipur, and perused the statements of witnesses recorded by the District Judge during preliminary enquiry and was of the view that that the matter is too serious. In view of that seriousness he he recommended suspension,
Annexure-IV, an order of the High Court dated 23-6-81 mentions that proceedings under Rule 16 have been initiated by the Administrative Judge, and recommendation has been made for suspending the petitioner. The Hon'ble Chief Justice then agreed with the Administrative Judge, and ordered that the petitioner should be kept under suspension during the departmental proceedings. On a careful consideration of Annexures Rule 3 and Rule 4, it is clear that in the instant case, the proceedings have been initiated by the Administrative Judge on the report of the District Judge, and the supension order has been passed by the Chief Justice an the recommendation of the Administrative Judge which again was based on persual of the record of the preliminary enquiry.
13. Irrespective of the distinction sought to be drawn by Mr. Singhvi about the decision of Ugamraj's case (supra), which according to him was a judgment in which 1961 circular was interpreted, where the word was 'or' and not 'and'. I am of the firm view that the circular read as whole makes it patent that both the Chief Justice and Administrative Judge were delegated the powers of initiating the proceedings against a judicial officer. It was never contemplated that they should act as a Committee and the action must be joint What was contemplated was that both the Chief Justice as well as the Administrative Judge are competent to initiate disciplinary proceeding. The word 'and' used in between the Chief Justice and Admistra five Judge means 'either' 'or' and 'as well as'.
14. So far as the question of application of the principles laid down in the above decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court is concerned, it is sufficient to mention that rule 3 of the All India Se vice (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969 reads as under:
Suspension during disciplinary proceedings. (1)' having regard to the nature of charges and the circumstances in any case, the Government which initiates any disciplinary proceeding is satisfied that it is necessary or desirable to place under suspension the member of the service against whom such proceedings are started, that Government may ?
(a) if the member of the service is serving under it, pass an order placing him under suspension.
15. The words in Sub-Clause (3) of these rules are, 'against whom such proceedings are started.'. Thus, the starting of the proceedings is sine quo non for suspension, Contrary to it, Rule 13 of the Rajasthan Civil Service (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules permits suspension even at the stage of contemplation of an enquiry. It cannot be said by any stretch of imagination that when the Chief Justice has read the recommendation of the Administrative Judge mentioning that disciplinary proceedings should be initiated against the petitioner, and as the record of the preliminary enquiry shows, the case is a serious warranting suspension, the enquiry was not under contemplation. It was not only under contemplation, but as a matter of fact formal order for its initiation had been passed. That being so, I am convinced that the order of suspension in the instant case suffers from no infirmity of law or jurisdiction warranting interference under Article 226 of the Constitution.
16. Consequently, the writ application fails and is dismissed in limini.