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G.S. Satsangi Vs. the Life Insurance Corporation of India and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 153 of 1978
Judge
Reported in1985WLN(UC)525
AppellantG.S. Satsangi
RespondentThe Life Insurance Corporation of India and ors.
Cases ReferredSiemens Engg. & Mfg. Co. v. Union of India
Excerpt:
.....no. 1 & 2 not supplied--held, inquiry is in violation of principles of natural justice;the inquiry officer acted illegally and in violation of principles of natural justice in not giving the copies of the documents asked for, namely, items no. 23, 26 and 27 in respect of charge no. 1 and in respect of charge no. 2 item no. 27. therefore, the inquiry report which is base on such infirmity cannot be sustained.;(b) life insurance corporation of india (staff) regulations, 1960 - regulation 21, 24, 26 & 39--speaking order--disciplinary authority, must pass speaking order though it may not be as passed by judicial officer;there is no doubt about that, it is imperative that the order must be a speaking order but not that an order as the judges hearing matters on a judicial side..........the consideration of the court, (i)the enquiry report is defective as the inquiry conducted by the inquiry officer is violative of principles of natural justice; (ii) the order of the disciplinary authority is not a speaking order. similarly (iii) the appellate order and the order of chairman of the lic are not speaking orders and, therefore, bad in law. it appears to me clear from the order of the inquiry officer that the very relevant papers including this, charge-sheet were not given to the petitioner and were refused. the petitioner asked for number of papers viz. exs. 11, 12 and 13 of anx. 2 in so far as. charge no. 1 is concerned, but it was refused by the inquiry officer. he was. asked to get the information through the banker in so far as items no. 23, 26 and 27 are concerned......
Judgment:

P.K. Baneerjee, C.J.

1. In this rule the petitioner challenges the order of dismissal passed by the Divisional Manager of the Life Insurance Corporation Jaipur and affirmed by the Appellate Authority i.e. the Zonal Manager. On August 13, 1975, a charge-sheet was given to the petitioner which is in the following terms:

Charge Sheet

You, Shri G.S. Satsangi, Development Officer (under suspension), Branch Office, Bikaner, are hereby charged for the following:

1(a) That you introduced one Shri Ram Chander on 29-5-73 for opening the saving Bank Account No. 1193 in his name in the Union Bank of India, Bikaner without knowing him as per your written statement dated 25-4-75;

(b) That inspite of your not knowing the said Ram Chander you had again attested on 29-12-73 his signature on his refund application for Rs. 348.80 though he was not physically present at the time of attestation, as per your written statement dated 25-4-75;

You have thus caused the opening of the said Saving Bank Account in the name of unknown person as admitted by you, as a result of which cheque No. 059867 dated 23-5-73 for Rs. 413.20 and cheque No. 677366 dated 2-1-74 for Rs. 348.20 were got deposited in the Saving Bank Account No. 1193 of the said Ram Chander being the refund of deposits under fresh proposal and policy No. 25495079 respectively.

You have thus acted in a very irresponsible manner and have directly aligned yourself in this defalcation and have put the Corporation to financial loss to the extent of the aforesaid amounts thereby committing fraud on the Corporation. These acts on your part are prejudicial to good conduct and detorimental to the interest of the Corporation and tantamount to breach of Regulation Nos. 21, 24 & 39 of LIC of India, Staff Regulations, 1960.

(2) That the cheques, particulars of which are given in the attached schedule, issued to the various parties have been got credited by you to your current account No. 11007 with Union Bank of India, Bikaner without any justification and legal authority.

You have thus misused your position as Development Officer in the Corporation and have wrongfuly appropriated these amounts to your interest. These acts on your part clearly indicate that you have acted in a manner prejudicial to good conduct and detrimental to the interest of the Corporation, in violation of Regulation Nos. 21, 24 & 39 of LIC of India, Staff Regulations, 1960;

You are, therefore, called upon to state whether you plead guilty to the charges mentioned above. If not, you are directed to put in your written statement together with such documents as you propose rely on in support of your defence within seven days from the date of service of this Charge Sheet;

In case you propose to cite any witness(es) you are further directed to furnish their name(s), designation(s) and address(es) and the nature of evidence that they would lead, within seven days of the service of this Charge Sheet ;

In case your written statement is not received within the period stipulated above, we shall proceed in the matter as we deem fit.

On receipt of the charge-sheet the petitioner applied for some documents which is on the record of the respondents relating to the charges Documents were 26 in number, of which some were related to the charge No. 1 and others were related to charge No. 2. The petitioner in reply to the charge-sheet denied the liability but be was found guilty of both the charges excepting charge No. 2 (Item No. 2) and thereafter a show cause notice was given to the petitioner by letter Ex. 12 and on reply being given the Disciplinary Authority held the petitioner guilty of the charges and penalty of dismisal was inflicted on the petitioner. This is Anx. 15, which runs as follows:

A Show Cause Notice Ref: Per/A dated the 18th March, 1976 was served upon Shri G.S. Satsangi proposing the penalty of 'Dismissal under Regulation 39(l)(g) of Life Insurance Corporation of India (Staff) Regulations, 1960 and recovery of Rs. 1,264.74P. from him for the pecuniary loss caused to the Corporation in terms of Regulation 39(l)(c) of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (Staff) Regulations, 1960 in connection with Charge-sheet Ref: Estt/Per/A dated 13-8-1975 issued to him;

Shri G.S. Sastangi was directed, in terms of the said Show Cause Notice dated 18-3-1976, to submit his witnesses representation within seven days from the date of receipt of the said Show Cause Notice by him. Shri G.S. Sastsangi received the aforesaid Show Cause Notice on 19-3-1976 and requested for extension in time limit for seven days for submitting his reply to the Show Cause Notice dated 18-3-1976 and he was allowed extension in time limit for submitting his reply upto 1st April, 1976;

I have perused the reply dated 31st March, 1976 submitted by Shri G.S. Satsangi to the aforesaid Show Cause Notice, which has not been found satisfactory. Shri Satsangi has not shown any reasonable and sufficient cause as to why the penalties, as proposed in the Show Cause Notice dated 18-3-1976, be not imposed upon him;

I, therefore, order that the following penalties be and are hereby imposed upon Shri G.S. Satsangi:

(i) Dismissal under Regulation 39(l)(g) of Life Insurance Corporation of India (Staff) Regulations, 1960;

(ii) Recovery of Rs. 1,264.75P. from Shri G.S. Satsangi being the pecuniary loss caused to the Corporation in terms of Regulation 39(l)(e) of Life Insurance Corporation of India (Staff) Regulations, 1960;

I further order that the period for which Shri G.S. Satsangi remained under suspension i.e. from 5-8-1975 to the date of dismissal be and is hereby treated as dies-non.

An appeal was taken by the petitioner and by order dated 28th of September, 1976 the appeal was dismissed and the rejection of appeal was communicated to the petitioner by the said order. A representation was made by the petitioner to the Chairman of the LIC, but by order dated 3rd October, 1977, the memorial was rejected. Being aggrieved of these orders, the petitioner moved this Court by way of the present Rule.

2. Mr. Mridul, Advocate for the petitioner, raised three questions for the consideration of the Court, (i)the Enquiry Report is defective as the inquiry conducted by the Inquiry Officer is violative of principles of natural justice; (ii) the order of the Disciplinary Authority is not a speaking order. Similarly (iii) the appellate order and the order of Chairman of the LIC are not speaking orders and, therefore, bad in law. It appears to me clear from the order of the Inquiry Officer that the very relevant papers including this, charge-sheet were not given to the petitioner and were refused. The petitioner asked for number of papers viz. Exs. 11, 12 and 13 of Anx. 2 in so far as. charge No. 1 is concerned, but it was refused by the Inquiry Officer. He was. asked to get the information through the Banker in so far as items No. 23, 26 and 27 are concerned. Hems No. 23, 26 and 27 according to me are very important documents as all dealings of assistants and other employees are received or recorded by the Life Insurance Corporation in relation to the above cheques, in respect of charge, No. 2. Item (No. 2) is a letter in reply issued by the LIC to Mr. B.S. Rajpurohit and the reply thereto by the said Shri Rajpurohit who was still an Officer of the LIC Copy of the preliminary report made by LIC in December 1974 was refused. The case of the respondents was that he introduced Ramchandra for opening a bank account in the Union Bank of India on being asked by Mr. Rajpurohit. Mr. Rajpurohit is an Officer of the LIC and his reply to these assertions is a very relevant document which however according to the Inquiry Officer is not at all relevant. In my opinion, these documents which were relevant to the inquiry were denied to the petitioner in order that he can put his case that he was acting at the instance of senior Officer of the LIC itself In so far as addresses of the persons whose cheques were deposited in the petitioner's account which were refunded in my opinion, illegally, is also violative of the principles of natural justice. They were of policy-holder Ram Chandra. They were all being issued (the cheques) on different occasions. All these cheques are alleged to have been encashed by the petitioner being a policy holder. The LIC has their addresses but unfortunately the Inquiry Officer did not give addresses to the petitioner who could call them as witnesses or to prove his innocence on the ground that he can get from the Bankers. It is beyond me to consider how the payee's address can be in the Banker's Account because the payee was not a holder of the Bank Account otherwise he would not have given the cheque to the petitioner for encashing the same and moreover if they are policy-holder of the LIC it was fit & proper for the Inquiry Officer to ask the LIC to give the addresses of the persons so that the petitioner could have every chance to prove his innocence. In both the matters, therefore, in my opinion, the Inquiry Officer acted illegally and in violation of principles of natural justice in not giving the copies of the documents asked for, namely, items No. 23, 26 and 27 in respect of charge No, 1 and in respect of charge No. 2 item No. 27. Therefore, the Inquiry Officer which is based on such infirmity cannot be sustained.

3. The next argument of Mr. Mridul is that the Disciplinary Authority did not pass a speaking order. It has been held by the Supreme Court in Siemens Engg. & Mfg. Co. v. Union of India : AIR1976SC1785 that all quasi-judicial orders and appellate orders must be speaking orders and every quasi judicial order must be supported by reasons. It has been held by the Supreme Court that 'It is now well settled law that where an Authority makes an order in exercise of quasi-judicial function it must record reasons in support of the order it makes. Every quasi judicial order must be supported by reasons.' It is, however, clear as argued by Mr. Goyal that it is not the requirement that they must make an order like in a judicial proceeding. There is no doubt about that. It is imperative that the order must be a speaking order but not that an order as the Judges hearing matters on a judicial side should make. In the circumstances, therefore, in my opinion, the order of the Disciplinary Authority cannot also be sustained on the ground as has been posed. In the circumstances, therefore, the Report of the Enquiry Officer as well as order of dismissal from service and the appellate order and the order on the representation by the Chairman of the LIC cannot be sustained and must be set aside which I hereby do and the petitioner will be deemed to have been in service from the date of the dismissal till the date of his retirement and he will be entitled to all benefits inasmuch as the petitioner moved his petition in 1978 when he was 53 years of age and has retired by now. The retirement age of the petitioner is 58. The petitioner will be entitled to ail the benefits and will be deemed to have been in service all the time from the date of the dismissal till the date of his retirement, as if no order of dismissal has been passed against him.

4. The Rule is made absolute to the extent as indicated above.

5. There will be no order as to costs.


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