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K. PARKUNAM versus THE CHAIRMAN

High Court of Madras

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K. Parkunam v. The Chairman - WRIT PETITION NO.510 OF 2001 [2003] RD-TN 756 (9 September 2003)



IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS



DATED: 09/09/2003

CORAM

THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P.K. MISRA

WRIT PETITION NO.510 OF 2001

K. Parkunam,

No.256, II Middle Street,

Thiagaraja Nagar,

Tirunelveli 627 011. .. Petitioner

-Vs-

1. The Chairman,

Tamil Nadu Electricity Board,

Anna Salai,

Chennai 600 002.

2. The Chief Engineer,

Personnel,

Tamil Nadu Electricity Board,

Anna Salai, Chennai 600 002.

3. The Chief Engineer,

Distribution,

Tamil Nadu Electricity Board,

Tirunelveli.

4. The Superintending Engineer,

Tirunelveli Kattabomman District,

EDC, Tirunelveli 11. .. Respondents Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for the issuance of Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus as stated therein. For Petitioner : Mr.M.S. Soundara Rajan

For Respondents : Mr.V.Radhakrishnan

:O R D E R



Heard the learned counsels appearing for the parties. The petitioner has prayed for quashing the order passed by the third respondent, the Chief Engineer, Distribution, dated 16.7.1999, imposing punishment of stoppage of increment. Such order has been confirmed in appeal by order dated 27.10.2000. Appellate order itself indicates that based on the suo motu power of review, the Chief Engineer had revived the charges against the petitioner and had imposed the punishment.

2. As a matter of fact, the Superintending Engineer had passed an order in November 1993 to the following effect :-  . . . The explanation given by the Assistant Engineer is accepted due to the reasons putforth by him.

He is instructed to be careful in future. . . .

3. It is the contention of the petitioner that the order which had been passed on 23.11.1993 could not have been passed suo motu review by the Chief Engineer after the lapse of period of limitation. In this respect, he has invited my attention to the provisions contained in Regulation 25 of the Manual on Conduct Regulations and Disciplinary Proceedings issued by the Board. Regulation 25 is to the following effect :-  25. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in these regulations : (i) the Board or the Chairman, at any time or, (ii) the appellate authority, within six months of the date of the order proposed to be reviewed, may, on its/his own motion call for the records of any inquiry and review any order made under these regulations, and may confirm or enhance the penalty imposed by the order, or impose any penalty where no penalty has been imposed.

Provided that no order imposing or enhancing any penalty shall be made by any reviewing authority unless the employee concerned has been given a reasonable opportunity of making representation against the penalty proposed, and where it is proposed to impose any of the penalties specified in clauses, (iii), iv(c), (v), (vi) and (vii) of regulation 5 or to enhance the penalty imposed by the order sought to be reviewed to any of the penalties specified in those clauses, no such penalty shall be imposed except after an inquiry in the manner laid down in sub-regulation (b) of regulation 8. (2) No proceedings for review under sub-regulation (1) shall be commenced until after -

(i) the expiry of the period of limitation for any appeal, or (ii) the disposal of the appeal, where any such appeal has been preferred, or

(iii) the disposal of the memorial where such memorial has been submitted.

(3) The Board may, at any time, on its own motion, review for good and sufficient reason to be recorded in writing, an original order passed by it or an order passed by it on appeal, and the provisions of sub-regulation (1) in so far as they are applicable to review, shall apply to the review of an original order passed by it or an order passed by it on appeal.

4. The present case relates to Review by the Chief Engineer, that is to say, the appellate authority. As per Regulation 25(ii), the appellate authority is empowered to initiate such proceedings within six months from the order proposed to be reviewed. Even though such power can be exercised suo motu, there cannot be any doubt that any such proceeding has to be initiated within the period prescribed. In the present case, the order having been passed in November, 1993, the proceedings which had been initiated in January 1996 should be taken to be hopelessly barred by limitation.

5. Learned counsel for the respondents has submitted that under Regulation 6(c) or 6(e), the higher authority has got power to impose punishment. I do not think that the provisions contained in 6(c) or 6(e) have any independent application bereft of the provisions contained in Regulation 25. In the present case, the order passed by the Chief Engineer is purported to be in exercise of suo motu power of review and obviously such review power could not have been invoked after the period of limitation.

6. Learned counsel for the respondents has further submitted that the Board or the Chairman can initiate proceedings at any time and in the present case, since the order has been confirmed by the Chairman, it must be taken that the order is valid.

7. In A.I.R. 1976 SC 1899 (BARADAKANTA MISHRA v. HIGH COURT OF ORISSA) it has been held that where the order of the original authority itself is void, the confirmation order passed by the appellate authority is also void. It was observed :-

 . . . Further, the contention of the High Court that the orders of dismissal passed by the High Court merged in the orders passed by the Governor cannot be accepted. If the order of the initial authority is void an order of the appellate authority cannot make it valid. The order of the Governor used the word confirm. The appellant filed appeals to the Government. The appeals were dismissed. The confirmation by the Governor cannot have any legal effect because that which is valid can be confirmed and not that which is void. . . .

8. In the present case, neither the Board nor the Chairman had purported to initiate any review proceedings. On the other hand, the review proceedings has been initiated by the Chief Engineer, who has no jurisdiction to initiate such proceedings after the period of limitation and the appellate authority had purported to confirm such order.

9. For the aforesaid reasons, the writ petition is allowed and the impugned order dated 16.7.1999 passed by the third respondent is quashed. No costs.

Index : Yes

Internet : Yes

dpk

To

1. The Chairman,

Tamil Nadu Electricity Board,

Anna Salai,

Chennai 600 002.

2. The Chief Engineer,

Personnel,

Tamil Nadu Electricity Board,

Anna Salai, Chennai 600 002.

3. The Chief Engineer,

Distribution,

Tamil Nadu Electricity Board,

Tirunelveli.

4. The Superintending Engineer,

Tirunelveli Kattabomman District,

EDC, Tirunelveli 11.




Copyright

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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