1. This is an application under Article 226 of the Constitution for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the orders passed from time to time by the officers of the Madras Corporation and by the Standing. Committee to which the petitioner appealed against the orders of these officers.
2. The petitioner was employed in 1950 as the Head-master of one of the elementary schools maintained by the Corporation of Madras. On 23-8-1950 two charges were framed against him and he was called upon to explain. The petitioner applied for copies of certain documents to enable him to submit his explanation. But on 12-2-1951 the very act of asking for copies was treated among other things as an act of insubordination, and the petitioner's pay was reduced from Rs. 80 to Rs. 78. He was also transferred. Apparently the petitioner did not join his new post.
The petitioner applied for leave with permission to retire. The petitioner's contention was that though it was the Commissioner of the Corporation that was the competent authority to grant the leave and the permission to retire that the petitioner sought on 10-3-1951 the Educational Officer refused the leave and framed fresh charges against the petitioner for disobedience, in that he did not join duty at the post to which he had been transferred.
On 14-3-1951 the petitioner made a written representation asking for a personal hearing. That was followed up on 8-11-1951 by appearance of the petitioner before the Deputy Commissioner and the Educational Officer, when four further charges were framed against him, that he was called, upon to furnish an immediate explanation. He furnishedan explanation and asked for a further opportunity. But on 13-11-19S1 orders were passed reducing the pay of the petitioner still further from Rs. 76 to Rs. 70. He was also reverted as art assistant. The petitioner appealed to the Standing Committee against this order dated 13-11-1951 and that appeal was discussed.
3. With the correctness or otherwise of the orders set out above I do not propose to concern myself at this stage. I merely set out these facts to explain what followed:
4. On 9-9-1952 the petitioner applied to the Commissioner of the Corporation for permission to move this court under Article 226 of the Constitution to question the validity of the orders, particularly those reducing the pay once front Rs. 80 to Rs. 76 and subsequently from Rs. 76 to Rs. 70. On 25-10-1952 the Commissioner called upon the petitioner to withdraw that application. The petitioner did not withdraw that application, though apparently at one stage he had offered to withdraw that later if he was accorded an interview by the Commissioner. The Commissioner accorded the interview, but nonetheless the petitioner did not withdraw his application.
On 5-11-1952 a charge was framed against the petitioner that he had been disobedient, in that he had failed to carry out the orders of the Commissioner to withdraw the application he had preferred to the Commissioner for permission to move the court under Article 226 of the Constitution. Pending enquiry into' that charge the petitioner was suspended from service. On 4-12-1952 the petitioner submitted his written representation to the charges dated 5-11-1952. On 28-12-1952 the Commissioner directed the removal of the petitioner from the service of the Corporation. The petitioner appealed to the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee modified the order of the Commissioner and directed that the petitioner should be reinstated in service, but that his pay should be further reduced from Rs. 70 to Rs. 65. The period of absence from duty was directed to be treated as leave on loss of pay.
5. I propose to go only into the validity of theorder of the Commissioner dated 28-12-1952 andthe order on appeal of the Standing Committeedated 6-6-1953 modifying the punishments awardedby the Commissioner. (6) The charge on the basis of which the punishments awarded by the Commissioner and modifiedby the Standing Committee was that the petitionerhad disobeyed the Commissioner who ordered thatthe petitioner should withdraw his request for permission to move this court under Article 226 of theConstitution. If that had been a legal order disobedience of such a legal order could certainlyhave been met with disciplinary action. I amhowever unable to subscribe to the view, that anyauthority can issue an order that a given personshall not exercise the right conferred upon him bythe Constitution to move the court under Article 226of the Constitution and call it a lawful order. Whether the petitioner required the Commissioner's permission or not to move this Court under Article 228of the Constitution to question the validity of anyof the orders that had been passed by the Commissioner or other officers of the corporation, itis not necessary for me to decide. The petitionerdid ask for permission, and instead of granting that permission the Commissioner directed the petitioner to withdraw that application for the grant of such permission. Such an order the Commissioner bad no legal authority to issue; and the disobedience of such an order can by no stretch of imagination be viewed as disobedience of any lawful order which the Commissioner was competent to issue. The basis of further proceedings was this unlawful order, and therefore there could really be no question of punishment of the petitioner for not obeying an order which the Commissioner had no legal authority to issue. That the petitioner did not withdraw his request is obvious. Even if the petitioner had undertaken subject to conditions that he would withdraw the request and subsequently failed or even refused to withdraw, the Commissioner had no authority to countermand his exercise of the rights of the petitioner conferred upon him under Article 226 of the Constitution.
7. Since the basis of the whole disciplinary enquiry was an unlawful order issued by the Commissioner, the entire proceedings taken by the Commissioner and subsequently by the Standing Committee are without jurisdiction. Therefore direct that all the proceedings commencing with the charges dated 5-11-1952 be quashed as without jurisdiction.
8. As I said I am not going into the validity or otherwise of the prior orders. The petitioner should have confined himself to one relief in this application for a writ and he is not entitled to ask this court to review the entire history. But I trust the Commissioner or the legally constituted authority will review the past orders also; and if any of them was not lawful or if any of them was passed without observing the due formalities including a real opportunity being given to the petitioner for any defence, I am sure the Commissioner will himself correct the errors, if any. I have confined myself to the order of removal from service dated 28-12-1952 and the subsequent order of the Standing Committee on appeal, and these I have held to be without jurisdiction.
9. The petition is allowed. The rule is madeabsolute. The petitioner will be entitled to hiscosts from tbe first respondent, that is the Corporation. Counsel's fee Rs. 100.