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Raghav Ram Tripathi v. State Of U.P. And Others - WRIT - A No. 8617 of 2004  RD-AH 9534 (18 May 2007)
RESERVED ON 11.04.2005
DELIVERED ON 18.05.2007
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 8617 of 2004
Raghav Ram Tripathi ............................................................. Petitioner
State of Uttar Pradesh & others ............................... Respondents
Hon'ble Ashok Bhushan, J.
Heard Sri Y.K. Saxena, learned counsel for the petitioner and Sri Shiv Nath Singh appearing for the respondents No. 2 and 3.
By this writ petition the petitioner has prayed for quashing the order dated 29.5.2002 passed by the Managing Director, U.P. State Hand Loom Corporation dismissing the petitioner from service and the order dated 15.12.2003 passed by the appellate authority dismissing the appeal.
The facts relevant for deciding the writ petition briefly noted are :
The petitioner was appointed as class III employee in the U.P. State Hand Loom Corporation. In the year 1996 the petitioner was working as Assistant Manager (Production ) posted at Etawah. The Corporation started Clearance Sale Scheme vide order dated 30.9.1995. The Scheme provided that cloths of D & X category be removed from the Showrooms and be stocked at one place and in the Showrooms there shall be only fresh stock. The order further mentioned that in next five years, if in any, Showroom the cloth belonging to CS-1, CS-2, D & X category is found, action will be taken against the Depot Manager. By order dated 27.3.1996 the Managing Director again directed that in no Showrooms the cloth belonging to category CS-1, CS-2, D & X should remain which will be removed form the Showrooms and kept in godown and the cloth be sold by organising exhibition, the Depot In-charge, Regional Marketing Manager and Senior Marketing Manager were directed to give certificate. Similarly classification of the cloths in central Godown be also done and classified category of cloths D & X be removed from the central Godown and be placed in Nishat and Zena place. Subsequently, an order was issued by the Managing Director on 22.6.1996 directing that all Showrooms Incharge Regional Marketing Manager and Senior Marketing Manager shall give certificate that in showrooms under them no cloth of category D & X remains. The Regional Marketing Manager and Senior Marketing Manager were again given clear direction to personally verify those cloths which were not earlier kept in category D & X and prepare a listof D & X category and present the same in the meeting of the Head Quarter on 28.6.1996. Another letter dated 12.12.1996 was written by the Managing Director noticing that the information from the Depot In-charge, Senior Marketing Manager and Regional Marketing Manager regarding classification of cloths of D & X category has been received. Certain directions were issued by the said letter for further action. Technical staff was directed to go in the places where classified D & X category cloths are stocked and put stamp before 25.12.1996. It was provided that the stamping will be made on both the corners of running material of the cloths. After stamping details be submitted to Deputy General Manager for physical verification. The cloths of the area will be sent where the clearance sale is going on. Letter dated 16.12.1996 was written by the Deputy General Manager to the petitioner in compliance with the letter dated 12.12.1996 of the Managing Director informing that in different area the cloths have been classified in D & X category, the petitioner was directed to go in the area and after contacting the Regional Marketing Manager and Senior Marketing Manager stamp the cloths classified in category D & X. Regional Marketing Manager vide letter dated 21.1.1997 wrote to the petitioner for stamping on the cloths of D & X category for the value of Rs.42,63,176=00. In different places at new Delhi cloths were stamped and lists were prepared of the cloths after physical verification giving their value, the list was signed by Regional Marketing Manager, Depot In-charge and the petitioner. A letter was written tot he petitioner on 20.5.1999 stating that the Regional Marketing Manager vide letter dated 25.9.1996 has informed that there was no D & X category cloths in Sales Centres under him whereas within a short period of one year cloths of worth Rs.42,00,000/- were stamped. Petitioner was asked to explain as to where and in what circumstances he has put stamp of D & X category cloths. Petitioner submitted a reply tot he show cause notice on 15.6.1999. A charge sheet dated 17.12.1999 was issued alleging only one charge. The charge on the petitioner was that without permission of the Head Quarter in the financial year 1996-1997 cloths of Rs.42,00,000/- were classified and stamped in D & X category whereas K.A. Azmi Regional Marketing Manager vide letter dated 25.9.1996 had informed that there is no D & X category cloths in the Sales Centres under him and in second stage classification goods of 6.11 lacs of D & X category cloths were found. Petitioner's report dated 5.2.1997 was mentioned in which he mentioned of stamping of D & X category cloths. It was alleged that for such stamping the petitioner was required to obtain permission from the Head Quarter which was not taken causing loss tot he Corporation. A charge sheet was also issued to K. A. Azami, Regional Marketing Manager making several allegations including the charges which were levelled against the petitioner. The petitioner submitted reply and denied the charges. Petitioner submitted that whatsoever acts were done by him was in pursuance of the order of the Managing Director dated 12.12.1996 and the letter dated 16.12.1996. Petitioner prayed for giving certain letters and documents referred to in the charge sheet. Certain quarries were also raised by the petitioner. The petitioner specifically stated that in view of the order of the Managing Director dated 22.6.1996 the Regional Marketing Manager and Senior Marketing Manager were authorised to classify the cloths and in July, 1996 the cloths of D & X category were stocked at Moti Nagar and the petitioner performed his duties as per letter dated 27.1.1997 of Regional Manager, K. A. Azami. The list of D & X category cloths was provided, out of which certain D & X category cloths were already sold and balance stock was verified which were already stamped by other persons. The balance stock amounting to Rs. 37,68,260/- of D category and Rs.88,572/- of X category was verified and stamped in pursuance of the above mentioned orders and letters. The Enquiry Officer submitted a report holding the charge proved. A show cause notice dated 8.6.2001 was issued to the petitioner which was replied. The Managing Director passed an order dated 25.9.2002 dismissing the petitioner from service. An order of dismissal was also passed on the same day of K. A. Azam against whom recovery of amount of Rs.12,88,386.00 was also directed, which was said to be loss caused to the Corporation. Petitioner filed an appeal against the said order which appeal was also dismissed in the meeting dated 4.9.2003. The petitioner has challenged the aforesaid two orders in this writ petition.
Learned counsel for the petitioner challenging the order contended that the petitioner was authorised by the letter of the Managing Director dated 12.12.1996 and by letter dated 16.12.1996 of the Deputy General Manager to do the work of stamping hence there could not have been any charge of conducting any stamping without permission of the Head Quarter. It was contended that the petitioner was authorised to stamp the category X & D cloths which were classified earlier by the Depot In-charge, Regional Marketing Manager and Senior Marketing Manager and the subsequent certification was required by the Deputy General Manager and Senior Marketing Manager upon the cloths so classified. There was no role assigned to the petitioner for making the classification of different category of cloths for clearance sale. No dereliction or negligence or breach of trust was alleged to have been committed in this regard till Smt. Johara Chatterji , Managing Director was transferred and Sri Deepti Vilas new Managing Director had taken over the charge. The charge sheet was given for the first time after the expiry of about three years from the date of the accomplishment of the duties assigned to the petitioner. No misconduct was committed by the petitioner and initiation of proceeding was without any basis. The order of penalty imposed on the petitioner is unreasonable and arbitrary and the petitioner has been subjected to the personal vendetta between the superior authorities. Learned counsel for the petitioner contended that Sri K. A. Azmi Regional Marketing Manager has been charge sheeted for the charges which are sought to be levelled against the petitioner and Sri K. A. Azami having already been dismissed on proof of the aforesaid charges and against him an order for recovery was also passed. There was no occasion to dismiss the petitioner on those charges for which Sri . K. A. Azami was found guilty.
Sri Shiv Nath Singh, learned counsel appearing for the respondents refuting the submissions of the counsel for the petitioner contended that the petitioner carried out the verification and stamping without there being any permission from the Head Quarter. The order dated 12.12.1996 did not authorise the petitioner to stamp x & D category cloths. All procedure was followed by the Enquiry Officer who held the charges proved. There is no illegality in the order dismissing the petitioner from service.
I have considered the submissions of the parties and perused the record.
Charge sheet dated 17.12.1999 indicates that there was only one charge against the petitioner. The charge against the petitioner was that in the financial year 1996-97 without permission of the Head Quarter the petitioner has classified and stamped the cloths of Rs.42,00,000/- as D & X category. The charge also refers that K.A.Azami, Regional Marketing Manager vide letter dated 25.9.1996 had informed that there are no D & X category cloths in the Sale Centres. The report dated 5.2.1997 of the petitioner was referred to.
The first question is as to whether the petitioner had done the work of stamping and verification without there being any permission of the Head Quarter. The order dated 12.12.1996 passed by the Managing Director has been brought on the record as Annexure-3 to the writ petition which order clearly mentions that the stamping has to be done by the technical employee on classified D & X. category cloths by going at places where they are stocked. In pursuance of the letter of the Managing Director dated 12.12.1996 a letter dated 16.12.1996 was written by the Deputy General Manager asking the petitioner to go and put stamp on classified cloths. The petitioner was working at the relevant time at Etawah and in pursuance of the order he went to Delhi and after contacting the Regional Marketing Manager and Senior Marketing Manager he after making verification stamped the cloths. The job of classifying cloths as D & X was not the duty of the petitioner and which duty was entrusted to the higher authorities i.e. Senior Marketing Manager, Regional Marketing Manager and Depot Manager. Petitioner's duty was only to verify and stamp those cloths which were already classified as X & D category cloths. The petitioner in his reply has categorically stated that he was assigned the work of stamping of classified category cloths by Depot Manager and Regional Marketing Manager which was clearly mentioned in his report dated 5.2.1997. The report further made that out of D category cloth worth Rs. 41,07,642.00 and X category cloth of Rs. 93,719.00 the cloths worth Rs.3,39,381.00 and 5147 of X & D category cloths were already sold which were not stamped by the petitioner. On the rest of the stock after verification the stamp was put in pursuance of the orders of the higher authorities. In the charge sheet the petitioner was charged of classifying and stamping of cloths worth Rs.42,00,000/- in the year 1996-1997 . The charge further mentioned that the said action was done without obtaining permission of the Head Quarter. The charge that the petitioner did not obtain the permission of the Head Quarter could not have been levelled against the petitioner in view of the specific order issued tot he petitioner dated 16.12.1996 by the Deputy General Manager asking the petitioner to go tot he relevant places and stamp the X & D category cloths as per order of the Managing Director dated 12.12.1996. The Enquiry Officer clearly observed that no charge was levelled against the petitioner regarding classification of cloths in the year 1995-1996. It is relevant to note that whatever job was performed by the petitioner the same was informed by letter dated 5.2.1997 to the Head Quarter and the show cause notice for verifying and stamping cloths of worth Rs. 42,00,000/- was issued after about more than 2-1/2 years. Had the verification and stamping was done beyond the authority there was no difficulty in stopping the sale of X & D category cloths but the verification and stamping was verified by the higher authorities and no objection was raised. Thus the charge that the acts which were done by the petitioner were beyond his authority and he was required to obtain prior approval of the Head Quarter could not have been levelled nor has been proved against the petitioner in view of the specific authorisation and direction dated 16.12.1996. As noticed above, and as found by the Enquiry Officer there was no allegation against the petitioner regarding classification of cloth. Classification of cloths was required to be done by the higher authorities i.e. Depot In-charge , Senior Marketing Manager and Regional Marketing Manager and in the present case Sri K. A. Azami; was Regional Marketing Manager under whose direction the petitioner has done verification and stamping work. The list was given to the petitioner by the Depot Manager and Senior Marketing Manager on which stamping was done.
After receipt of the enquiry report the show cause notice was given tot he petitioner which was duly replied. The petitioner replied to the show cause notice vide his letter dated 11.9.2001copy of which has been filed as Annexure-19 to the writ petition. In the reply the petitioner again reiterated that the classification of cloths was to be done by the Senior Marketing Manager , Regional Marketing Manager and Depot In-charge and after classification the cloths were required to be stocked at Motinagar centre and all the cloths were transferred in the month of June and July, 1996 itself and the petitioner was only to put stamp on the classified cloths . Before stamping, a part of the X & D category cloths were sold. On stamping report the Depot In-charge Sri Muktesh Chandra, Regional Marketing Manager Sri K. A. Azami, had put signatures. The report of the petitioner dated 5.2.1996 was also explained. The dismissal order was passed thereafter on 29.5.2003 , copy of which is annexed as Annexure-20 to the writ petition . From perusal of the order it is apparent that the Disciplinary authority after noticing the charge has only referred to the reply of the notice and observed that no such facts have been mentioned by the Tripathi by which he can be exonerated from the charge. The Disciplinary authority observded that Corporation suffered loss of Rs.12,88,381.00 due to verification and stamping by the petitioner. In the dismissal order there is no consideration of the reply submitted by the petitioner. When a show cause notice is issued on the enquiry report which has been replied in detail, the Disciplinary authority was obliged to examine the reply and take his decision. The dismissal order shows the non consideration of the reply. One more relevant fact needs to be noted at this place. The Disciplinary authority while passing the order has observed that the Corporation has suffered loss of Rs. 12,88,381.00 on account of verification and stamping by the petitioner. The allegation of loss to the tune of Rs.12,88,381.00 was not mentioned in the charge sheet. Further on the allegations which were levelled against the petitioner the Regional Marketing Manager K.A. Azami was also dismissed by the order dated 29.5.2002 and a recovery of the amount of Rs.12,88,386.00 was directed from K. A. Azami, the Regional Marketing Manager against whom all the charges were proved. Copy of the dismissal order passed by the Managing Director against Sri K. A. Azami has been field as Annexure -21 to the writ petition. Charge No. 1 and 2 against Sri K. A. Azami was classifying the cloths of Rs. 41.07. 142.00 in D category and cloths worth Rs.93,719.00 in X category whereas those cloths were never declared D & X category. Charge No. 1 and 2 was found proved against Sri Azami and recovery of Rs. 12,88,386.95 was directed against Sri Azami. The charge of putting the above cloths in D & X category; is proved against K.A. Azami, the Regional Marketing Manager and recovery had been directed of the loss against him.
In the charge sheet given tot he petitioner there was no charge that the petitioner was in collusion with K.A. Azami and in verification and stamping of the cloths he helped Sri K. A. Azmi in changing the classification of those cloths. The role of the petitioner being of only verification and stamping of D & X category cloths already classified, the charge can not be said to be proved against the petitioner. The findings recorded by the Enquiry Officer are perverse and no reasonable person can come to the said conclusion on the evidence on record. Further more, when the charges have been found proved against Sri K. A. Azami, Regional Marketing Manager of changing the category of cloths and causing loss to the Corporation which has been directed to be recovered from the Regional Marketing Manager and there being no charge that the petitioner had been in collusion with Sri K. A. Azami or party to his mis-deeds, dismissing the petitioner from service is wholly unjustified and is arbitrary.
For all the reasons mentioned above, the dismissal order as well as the appellate order cannot be sustained and are hereby set aside. The writ petition is allowed. The impugned orders dated 29.5.2002 and 15.12.2003 Annexures 20 and 25 to the writ petition are quashed. The petitioner is entitled for all consequential benefits. Parties shall bear their own costs.
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