T. Venkatadri, J.
1. This is a writ petition to quash an order, dated 4th February, 1964 of the Assistant Collector, Pudukkottai, removing the petitioner from service as attender.
2. The petitioner joined service in 1953 as attender in the Deputy Tahsildar's Office, Pudukottai. He completed his probation in the cadre of attender on 9th September, 1957. He was given a fitness certificate to sit for the Madras Public Service Commission examination held by the Commission in October, 1957., As he failed to come out successful, the petitioner again applied in 1958. But this time, the Commission rejected his application, on the ground that he had unauthorisedly altered his date of birth in the S.S.L.C. book from 6th April, 1931 to 6th April, 1933. He was also directed to show cause as to why he should not be debarred from appearing for the future selections and examinations conducted by the Madras Public Service Commission. The petitioner's S.S.L.C. book was sent to the Commissioner for Government Examinations, Madras.. The petitioner was asked to submit an explanation on a similar charge by the Commissioner for Government Examinations. The petitioner submitted his explanation to the Secretary of the Madras Public Service Commission and also to the Commissioner, Government Examinations. Not satisfied with his explanation, the Director of Public Instruction, in memorandum, dated 24th October, 1958, suspended the certificate for one year with effect from 23rd October, 1958.
3. In the meantime, the/Assistant Collector of Pudukottai (Kumari Satyabama) also framed a charge that the petitioner unauthorisedly altered the date of his birth in his S.S.L.C. book from 6th April, 1931 to 6th April, 1933. The petitioner was directed to show cause why he should not be removed from service. Finally, in proceedings L. Dis. 34266/58, dated 7th December, 1958, the Assistant Collector ordered that, as the petitioner had been punished once by the Director of Public Instruction for the unauthorised alteration of his date of birth in his S.S.L.C. book, and that, inasmuch as the rule prohibited punishment for the same offence twice, further action was dropped. The Public Service Commission also, by its Memorandum, dated 5th January, 1959, debarred the petitioner from appearing for the future selections and examinations to be conducted by the Commission.
4. However, in G.O. Ms. No. 900 Public (Services-B) Department, dated 18th March, 1959, the Government ordered that the petitioner be debarred, in pursuance of the letter of the Commission, dated 14th February, 1958 containing a list of black-listed persons. The Collector of Tiruchirapalli in his letter, dated 3rd March, 1959 directed the Assistant Collector of Pudukkottai to take disciplinary action. The petitioner was accordingly issued a charge memo. on 31st July, 1959. Meanwhile the appeal 1 of the petitioner against the order of the Public Service Commission Was also rejected. The petitioner submitted his explanation to the fresh charge. Finally, the Assistant Collector of Pudukkottai (Kumari Satyabama had been transferred by this time) passed the impugned order removing the petitioner from service.
5. Learned Counsel for the petitioner contended that the charge framed against the petitioner a second time for the same offence was in violation of all principles of natural justice and was also opposed to Article 20 (2) of the Constitution of India.
6. The only point for consideration is whether the order of the Assistant Collector, dated 4th February, 1964 is illegal as opposed to Article 20 (2) of the Constitution.
7. It is common case that the offence committed by the petitioner was that he unauthorisedly altered the date of his birth in his S.S.L.C. book from 6th April, 1931 to 6th April, 1933. For that offence, the Director of Public Instruction suspended his certificate for one year. The Madras Public Service Commission' also dabarred the petitioner from appearing for the future selections and examinations to be conducted by the Commission. As the petitioner was punished once by a department of the Government, the Assistant Collector dropped further action in the matter. The order of the Assistant Collector of Pudukottai, dated 7th December, 1958, in so far as is relevant to the present case, runs thus:
As the individual has been punished once and as the rule prohibit punishment for the same offence twice, further action is dropped.
Article 20 (2) of the Constitution provides that no person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once. The conditions for the applicability of this Article are (1) there must have been a previous prosecution, (2) the accused person must have been punished at such a prosecution, (3) the subsequent proceedings must also be one for the prosecution and punishment of the accused person, and (4) the proceedings on both the occasions must be in relation to the same offence. Applying the conditions to the facts of the present case, we find that there Was a previous proceeding against the petitioner by the Public Service Commission as Well as by a department of the Government. That proceeding ended in a punishment to the petitioner. That department of the State Government was quite competent to inflict the punishment on the petitioner, and it had jurisdiction to do so. It was because of that, the then Assistant Collector dropped further action by the department wherein the petitioner was working.
8. For the same offence of alteration of date of his birth in the S.S.L.C. book, the petitioner was charged again by the Assistant Collector of Pudukottai, under Rule 17-B of the Madras Civil Services Classification and Control Order. This I think the Government cannot do, in this case. For the same offence, one department of the State Government competent to proceed against the petitioner has charged him and punished him also. The petitioner has also been debarred by the Public Service Commission. That was why the then Assistant Collector (Kumari Satyabama) dropped further action by her department. I think that the Government cannot revive the proceedings once again by framing a different charge for the same offence and punish the petitioner severely. While I agree that departmental proceedings against public servants are not criminal prosecution and so such proceeding.-; can be taken against a person who has already been prosecuted, convicted and sentenced in a criminal case, I cannot agree, that, when one department of the Government has punished a person for an offence, another department of the same Government can proceed against the person for the same offence, in order to give him a more deterrent punishment. This is opposed to what is contained in Article 20 (2) of the Constitution. The order passed by the Assistant Collector on 4th February, 1964 is, therefore, illegal, and it is quashed.
The writ petition is allowed. There will be no order as to costs.