(1) This is an appeal from the judgment and decree of Rajagopala Aiyangar J. in a suit on the original side of this court. C. S. No. 11 of 1952, filed in forma pauperis by the respondent, Jayaram Damodar Timiri, for the recovery of sums of money from the Union of India in the following circumstances. The plaintiff-respondent was appointed temporary clerk in the Military Accounts section of the Defence department of the Union of India on 6-9-1943. It is common ground that one of the terms of the appointment was that if the Government or the appointing officer shall at any time become desirous of dispensing with the service of the employee, the Government or the appointing officer shall give the employee one calendar month's notice in writing of such desire, and the Government or the appointing officer may, at any time without notice, dispense with the services of the employee for gross misconduct, of which misconduct the officer dispensing with the services of the employee shall be the sole judge.
On 20-6-1947, the plaintiff was placed under suspension pending investigation into certain charges of defalcation against him. A case was laid against him before the Magistrate at Poona in July 1947, but it was withdrawn. Subsequently, a second chargesheet was preferred against him in December 1948, before the Resident Magistrate of Poona who committed him to be tried in the sessions court for offences under Ss. 420, 467, 468, 471 and 474 I.P.C. The learned Sessions Judge of Poona who tried the case passed an order on 23-6-1950 acquitting the accused.
It may be mentioned that the case was tried with a Jury in so far as the offences fell under Ss. 447 and 471 I.P.C. The jury and the assessors were unanimously of opinion that the plaintiff was not guilty of the offences with which he was charged. Though the acquittal was on 23-6-1950, the plaintiff was not reinstated in spite of requests from him. Finally, on 29-8-1950 two orders were passed. One of them ran thus:
" Sri T. D. Jayaraman (plaintiff) A/c. No. 23933, temporary U. D. C., who is undr suspension, is reinstated in service on 1-9-1950. The subsistence allowance and the dearness allowance up to and for 31-8-1950, paid to him have been treated as the salary and allowances to be paid to him for the period of suspension under Art. 193(b) C. S. R."
The second order passed on the same date ran thus:
"T. D. Jayaraman, Ty. U. D. C., who was under suspension and has been reinstated in service (vide part 1, G. O.) is discharged from service from 1-9-1950 F. N. his services being no longer required. He will be paid one month's pay in lieu of notice."
Thereupon the plaintiff filed the suit, out of which this appeal arises, for recovery of a sum of Rs. 3083-8-6 representing the balance of his salary and allowances for the period from the date of suspension to the date of reinstatement after giving credit to the interim subsistence allowance paid to him from 21-6-1947 to 31-8-1950, and a sum of Rs. 50,715 representing his salary from 1-10-1950 to 1979 when the plaintiff would attain the age of 56, at Rs. 147 per month. This latter relief was claimed as an alternative to the main relief of reinstatement in service.
(2) The suit was tried by Rajagopala Aiyangar J. who granted the plaintiff's first prayer and passed a decree in his favour for Rs. 3083-8-6, but dismissed the other claim for Rs. 50,715. The Government have filed the above appeal. But the plaintiff has not challenged the correctness of the finding of the learned Judge as regards his claim for damages for improper termination of his services. However, he filed a memorandum of cross objections in respect of costs which were allowed in favour of the defendant for the amount claimed, which the learn Judge had negatived. The amount involved was Rs. 2170.
(3) The case for the Government was rested entirely on the provision contained in Art. 193(b) of the Civil Service Regulations. Article 193(a) provides that a subsistence allowance may be granted by the authority suspending him, to an officer removed from office pending enquiry into his alleged misconduct at certain rates. He may also be paid in addition any compensatory allowance, of which he was in receipt on the date of suspension to such extent and subject to such conditions as the suspending authority may direct. Clause (b) is in the following terms:
"When the suspension of a Government servant is held to have been unjustifiable or not wholly justifiable, or, when a Government servant who has been dismissed, removed or suspended is reinstated, the revising or appellate authority may grant to him for the period of his absence from duty--(a) if he is honourably acquitted, the full salary to which he would have been entitled if he had not been dismissed, removed or suspended, and by an order to be separately recorded, any allowance of which he was in receipt prior to his dismissal, removal or suspension; or (b) if otherwise, such proportion of such salary and allowances as the revising or appellate authority may prescribe."
The argument was that the criminal court had acquitted the plaintiff only by giving him the benefit of doubt and that there was no positive finding that he was innocent. It was only in this sense that it was urged that he was not honourably acquitted. In the first place, we are unable to understand the legal significance of an expression like "Honourably acquitted." Certainly, the Code of Criminal Procedure does not support this conception. The onus of establishing the guilt of accused is on the prosecution, and, if it failed to establish the guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the accused is entitled to be acquitted.
Moreover, it appears clear to us that the provision of Art. 193(b) was intended only to apply to cases of departmental enquiries into misconduct. In this case, the plaintiff was placed under suspension, because there were charges pending against him in a criminal court. Once he was acquitted, in the absence of any further disciplinary proceedings launched by the Government, the plaintiff would be entitled to continue in the employment and he should be reinstated. It is evidently for this reason that, though at a later date, the plaintiff was formally reinstated and then discharged from service in accordance with the provisions of Cls. 5 and 6 of the agreement between the plaintiff and the Union Government.
Even the order of discharge mentioned above did not say that the plaintiff's services were being terminated on account of any misconduct. The only reason was that his services were no longer required, and the Government was entitled to say that, because the respondent was only holding a temporary post.
(4) Once the plaintiff was acquitted he was, as we have said above, entitled to be restored to the office which he was holding, and ordinarily, he would be entitled to full salary which he would have drawn, if he had not been suspended, for the period of suspension. The only question is whether the provisions of Art. 193 would deprive him of his right and confer on the authorities the right to grant to him such proportion of salary and allowances as might be prescribed by the authorities. As we have held that Art. 193 was totally inapplicable, it follows that, under the general law, the plaintiff was entitled to arrears of salary for the period of suspension, of course, deducting the pay and allowances paid to him during that period. That appeal by the Government fails and is dismissed with the costs of the respondent.
(5) The memorandum of cross objections relates to costs of the suit. The learned Judge, while granting to the plaintiff costs on the sum of Rs. 3083-8-6-in respect of which he passed a decree in plaintiff's favour, also directed the plaintiff to pay to the Government costs on the amount claimed, but disallowed by the court. The result would be that, though the plaintiff had succeeded in establishing a part of his claim, he would have to pay a large amount to the Government for costs. We think the interests of justice will be served if we direct both the plaintiff and Government to bear their own costs of the suit.
(6) The court fee due to the Government on the plaint will be paid to the Government by the plaintiff. So far as the appeal by the Government is concerned, we have already directed it to be dismissed with costs. The memorandum of objections is allowed in part but without costs. The plaintiff will pay the court fee on the memorandum of cross objections to the Government Order accordingly.