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A.V. Krishnamurthy Vs. Govt. of Tamilnadu and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.A. 696 and 697 of 1982
Judge
Reported in(1985)ILLJ46Mad
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226
AppellantA.V. Krishnamurthy
RespondentGovt. of Tamilnadu and ors.
Excerpt:
.....for and which led to order of dismissal passed against petitioner - petitioner not actuated by corrupt motive - second respondent arrived at conclusions against petitioner without acceptable evidence acting only on presumptions and assumptions - charges levelled against petitioner not proved and in particular corrupt motive against petitioner not proved - petition allowed. - - the second respondent held that the charge framed against the petitioner and the two others stood proved and recommended the removal from service of the petitioner and sabapathy and the dismissal of shanmugam. the second respondent found the charge proved and recommended that the petitioner and sabapathy be removed from service. 8, it has clearly expressed the opinion that the second respondent has based..........in the case, most likely, on the assumption that there is acceptable evidence in support of the charge levelled against the petitioner. but, as we pointed out above, this is a case of total lack of acceptable evidence on the charge levelled and hence the findings of the second respondent cannot be held to be perverse so far as the petitioner is concerned. 6. coming to the other departmental enquiry, d.e. no. 10 of 1977, the charge levelled against the petitioner is that actuated by corrupt motive while reviewing the revised lay-outs, as detailed in as many as nine instances mentioned in the memorandum of charge, the petitioner justified the action of the other officer, sabapathi. the lay-outs were sanctioned long prior to the petitioner taking the post in question. we find that.....
Judgment:

Nainar Sundaram, J.

1. These two writ appeals are directed against the common order of Padmanabhan, J., in W.P. Nos. 2052 and 2053 of 1981. The parties in both the writ appeals are the same. The appellant in the writ appeals is the petitioner in the writ petitions. The respondents in the writ appeals are the respondents in the writ petitions. For the sake of convenience, we propose to refer to the parties by their application in the writ petitions.

2. The necessary facts have been summed up by Padmanabhan, J. and we can usefully refer to them also. The petitioner joined the State Government Service as a Town Planning Assistant in the year 1953. In 1971, he got appointed as Joint Director in the Directorate of Town and country-planning. He was posted as Project Director of the Pilot Research Project in Growth Centre at Salem. In November, 1973, he was transferred and posted as Joint Director in the Directorate of Town and Country Planning, Madras. In October, 1975, the Director of Vigilance and Anti Corruption, Madras, brought to the notice of the Tamil Nadu Vigilance Commission that the petitioner, along with one Sabapathy, the then Deputy Director, and one Shanmugam, the then Draftsmen, Grade-2, had indulged in malpractices and corrupt activities. This led to the suspension of the petitioner and the two others with effect from 5th November, 1975. Thereafter, the second respondent, Commissioner of Disciplinary Proceedings, Madras, was asked to enquire into the charges against the petitioner and the two others. The second respondent conducted two enquiries, one in D.E. No. 9 of 1977 and the other D.E. No. 10 of 1977. D.E. No. 9 of 1977 related to the alleged irregularities committed jointly by all the three persons. D.E. No. 10 of 1977 dealt with the alleged irregularities committed by the petitioner and Sabapathy. In D.E. No. 9 of 1977, a single charge containing eighty instances, was framed against the petitioner. The second respondent held that the charge framed against the petitioner and the two others stood proved and recommended the removal from service of the petitioner and Sabapathy and the dismissal of Shanmugam. D.E. No. 10 of 1977, the second respondent framed a single charge with nine instances. The second respondent found the charge proved and recommended that the petitioner and Sabapathy be removed from service. The State Government, the first respondent, accepted the findings of the second respondent. A provisional conclusion was reached to dismiss the petitioner and the others from service and a show-cause notice was issued separately to all the three individuals enclosing a copy of the enquiry report. The petitioner submitted his further explanation. Thereafter, the first respondent consulted the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, the third respondent, and the third respondent opined that all the three persons should be dismissed from service. Accordingly the first respondent passed the impugned orders dismissing the petitioner and the others from service. W.P. No. 2052 of 1981 was directed against G.O. Ms. No. 64, Housing and Urban Development Department, dated 2nd February, 1981, which was the outcome of the result of D.E. No. 9 of 1977. W.P. No. 2953/81 was directed against G.O. Ms. No. 65, Housing and Urban Development, dated 2nd February 1981, which resulted from D.E. No. 10 of 1977.

3. Very many contentions were raised before Padmanabhan, J., on behalf of the petitioner to set at naught the orders of dississl passed against against him. The learned Single Judge appraised the contentions and came to the conclusion that there were ample materials to sustain the charges levelled against the petitioner. In this view, the writ petitions were dismissed. That is how these writ appeals have come to be preferred by the petitioner.

4. Mr. S. Govind Swaminathan, learned counsel for the petitioner, would submit that the gravamen of the charges levelled against the petitioner related to corrupt motive and in the instant case there was absolutely no evidences to substantiate the allegations and the findings rendered by the second respondent which formed the basis for and which led to the orders of dismissal passed against the petitioner, do not at all substantiate the corrupt motive imputed to the petitioner.

5. For the purpose of appreciating the submissions of the learned counsel, we must advert to the charges levelled against the petitioner in the two enquiries. In D.E. No. 9 of 1977, the charge was that the petitioner was actuated by corrupt motive and in abuse of his position and authority and in collusion with other, violated the Town Planning Rules, contravened the normal official procedure, fabricated the records and received illegal gratification in according sanction to lay-outs and revised layouts for lands as per eight instances quoted in the memorandum of charges. We have been taken through every piece of relevant materials relating to this departmental enquiry and our attention has not been drawn to any material which makes out that the petitioner had a hand in fabrication of any record. That he received illegal gratification, is not the case at all. On the other hand, instance No. 8 merely states that the other officers demanded money for the petitioner. That actually the money reached the hands of the petitioner, is also not the case at all. Our attention has been drawn to the recommendation of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, the third respondent, where, in respect of instance No. 8, it has clearly expressed the opinion that the second respondent has based his finding that the petitioner demanded moneys on what the other accused officers had told the witnesses concerned and that the finding of the second respondent in this behalf is not legally supportable and the petitioner is entitled to the benefit of doubt with regard to instance No. 8. In the said circumstances, the allegation of corruption covered by this charge is patently a puerile one and stands totally unsubstantiated. Even the very counter filed by the respondent expresses a stand that the Director of Town and Country Planning being the Head of the Department, is in charge of the entire Department of Town and Country Planning and the others are only under his control. This practically militates against the case put forth against the petitioner. This is a case where there is total absence of acceptable evidence with regard to the allegations of corruption as well as fabrication of records. The Learned Single Judge has, of course, referred to the findings rendered by the second respondent and has refrained from assessing the actual materials placed in the case, most likely, on the assumption that there is acceptable evidence in support of the charge levelled against the petitioner. But, as we pointed out above, this is a case of total lack of acceptable evidence on the charge levelled and hence the findings of the second respondent cannot be held to be perverse so far as the petitioner is concerned.

6. Coming to the other Departmental Enquiry, D.E. No. 10 of 1977, the charge levelled against the petitioner is that actuated by corrupt motive while reviewing the revised lay-outs, as detailed in as many as nine instances mentioned in the memorandum of charge, the petitioner justified the action of the other officer, Sabapathi. The lay-outs were sanctioned long prior to the petitioner taking the post in question. We find that Padmanabhan, J., has not adverted to the gravamen of the charge levelled against the petitioner, viz, that the petitioner was actuated by corrupt motive. Here again, we find a case where there is total lack of acceptable evidence on the charge levelled against the petitioner that he was actuated by corrupt motive. At the risk of repetition, we must point out that the cases are those where the findings of the second respondent must be held to be perverse and unsupported by acceptable evidence. The second respondent assessed the evidence in common not only with reference to the petitioner but also others and in a sweeping manner, without adverting to the gravamen of the charge, viz., corrupt motive, levelled against the petitioner held that the chargers against the petitioner have also been proved. These conclusions are mostly surmises and not the result of appraisal of any concrete and positive evidence. It is well-settled that disciplinary proceedings before a Departmental Tribunal are quasi-judicial in character and any conclusion to be reached by such Tribunal must be on the basis of acceptable evidence. Such evidence must have some degree of definiteness. It is true that the enquiry held by the Departmental Tribunal is not governed by the strict and technical rules of evidence. But, if the Departmental Tribunal has rendered a finding abased on no acceptable evidence, that could be regarded as an error of law to be corrected by a writ of certiorari. Suspicion, inference, assumption and presumption cannot take the place of proof by means of acceptable evidence in disciplinary proceedings before a Departmental Tribunal. Though this Court shall not interfere in writ jurisdiction assessing the factual materials once again as if it is an appellate court, yet, if this Court finds that there is a branch of the well accepted principle governing departmental enquiry, it can definitely interfere. This Court under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India, has jurisdiction to enquire as to whether the conclusion of the Departmental Tribunal is not supported by any acceptable evidence at all. The facts disclosed before us clearly established that the second respondent arrived at the conclusions against the petitioner without acceptable evidence, acting only on presumptions and assumptions and hence, his findings must be held to be per se perverse and they cannot form the basis for the further action leading to dismissal of the petitioner. No attempt was made before us to demonstrate that there is any piece of acceptable evidence establishing the charges levelled and in particular, corrupt motive against the petitioner.

7. The reasonings expressed by us as above oblige us to interfere in writ appeals and accordingly, the writ appeals are allowed, the order of Padmanabhan, J., is set aside. Consequently, the writ petitions will stand allowed. However, we make no order as to costs in both the writ appeals as well as in the writ petitioners.


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