P.K. Banerjee, J.
1. This rule is directed against an order of removal passed by the authorities concerned against the petitioner.
2. The petitioner was appointed as Mate If in the Ministry of Agriculture Government of India, at the Central State Farm, Suratgarh. The petitioner was placed under suspension pending inquiry on February 3, 1969 by the Director of the Central State Farm, Suratgarh. An inquiry was held under Rule 14 of the Centre Civil Services (Classification, Coatiol and Appeal) Rules, 1965 on the charges enumerated in the charge-sheet. The petitioner replied to the charge-sheet, An inquiry officer was appointed for holding the inquiry. No inquiry was held from December 29, 1969 upto May 27, 1971. There was change of inquiry officer during the inquiry proceedings. On September 18, 1971 the newly appointed inquiry officer told the petitioner that since Shri C.L Sharma, the representative appointed by the petitioner was on leave preparatory to retirement, therefore, he must appoint some other officer to defend him and the inquiry would be held on September 20, 19 I. On September 20, 1971 the inquiry was not held as the presenting officer was not there. The matter was fixed on November 15, 1971. Even then the presenting officer was not present and the inquiry proceeding was adjourned to November 25, 1971, which was still adjourned to December 4, 1971, which was again adjourned to December 10, 1971. On December 10, 1971 the inquiry commenced and before the inquiry officer R.D Smt, Kirat Singh, Gurnam Singh were called as witnesses, The presenting officer did not give the statement of the case h support of the charges and again the inquiry was adjourned. Kirat Singh and Gurnam Singh, both drivers were examined ft is alleged that when the statement of one witness was being recorded, other witnesses were present in the room. Be that as it may the inquiry, was held and inquiry report was made against the petitioner. A second show cause notice was issued to the petitioner and he was removed from service on the basis of firdings on the charge-sheet.
3. Being aggrieved by the said order, the petitioner moved this Court and obtained the present rule.
4. Mr Mridul on behalf of the petitioner contended for two points for my consideration Firstly, he contended that the petitioner was not allowed to be represented by the Government Officer as he was going to be retired. There is no denial of this fact in the affidavit in opposition. In a case reported in CIT and Ors. v. Rabindra Nath Chatterjee (1969) 3 SCC 575 it has been held inter alia that a government servant has right to employ another government servant to defend him. but subsequently if the said government servant resigns and becomes an advocate, it is fit and proper that he should be allowed to continue to have the services of that advocate, who has asked for services of government servant in order to defend him. Not allowing to do so is violative of the principles of natural justice. The present case, However, stands on a better footing. The Government servant here was going to retire and was on leave preparatory to retirement. Therefore, there was no justification in not allowing the government servant to defend the petitioner. The rules of natural justice, therefore, have been patently violated in not allowing the petitioner to be defended by the government servant of his choice.
5. The second argument, Mr. Mirdul contended that defence evidence was not allowed and no document was proved, as the copies of the documents have not been given. In the affidavit in opposition filed by the respondent, there is no denial of these facts except to the extent that the delinquent was given every opportunity to produce his witnesses, but he stated by letter dated January 19, 1973 that he would not examined any witness on his behalf. That letter, however, is not coming. Therefore, on the bald statement it cannot be said that the petitioner did not want to produce any evidence except his own statement. Even he was not examined, because it is alleged that he said that he would give statement only if required as he has already submitted his statement in defence, and from affidavit in opposition it does not appear that this is so. So far as the documents as concerned, there is no doubt that some documents were considered by the inquiry officer. Admittedly copies of these documents were not given to the petitioner, nor he was allowed inspection of these documents. In the circumstances, therefore, in my opinion, the whole proceedings were vitiated and were violative of the principles of natural justice.
6. This rule, therefore, must be made absolute. The impugned order of removal from service is quashed including any appellate order and the petitioner will be deemed to be in service as if no such order of removal has been passed in April 10, 1975.
7. The rule is, therefore, made absolute and there will be no order as to costs.