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RAGHAV RAM TRIPATHI versus STATE OF U.P. AND OTHERS

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Raghav Ram Tripathi v. State Of U.P. And Others - WRIT - A No. 8617 of 2004 [2007] RD-AH 9534 (18 May 2007)

 

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HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

RESERVED  ON 11.04.2005

DELIVERED ON 18.05.2007

Civil Misc. Writ Petition   No.    8617     of     2004

Raghav Ram Tripathi .............................................................    Petitioner

Versus

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.

D/-18.5.2007

SCS                                      


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Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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