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A.M.CHRISTY versus UNION OF INDIA

High Court of Madras

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A.M.Christy v. Union of India - W.P.No.33090 OF 2005 [2005] RD-TN 733 (19 October 2005)



IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS

DATED:19/10/2005

CORAM

THE HONOUABLE MR. JUSTICE P.SATHASIVAM AND

THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.K.KRISHNAN W.P.No.33090 OF 2005

A.M.Christy ...Petitioner -Vs-

1.Union of India

Rep. by Lt. General,

Directorate General Military

Training General Staff Branch,

Army Headquarters,

New Delhi - 110 011.

2.Union of India,

Rep. by The Lt. General,

Commandant,

DSSC/Est/1566/CMD/AMC,

Raksha Seva Staff College

Defence Services Staff College,

Wellington (Nilgiris) - 643 231.

3.Union of India,

Rep. by Lt. Col. Thiru.T.Nandakumar,

Inquiry Officer,

Defence Services Staff College,

Wellington - 643 231. ...Respondents Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for the issuance of a Writ of Certiorari as stated therein. For Petitioner : Mr.S.Periyaswamy

For Respondent : NIL

:O R D E R



(ORDER OF THE COURT WAS MADE BY P.SATHASIVAM,J.)

Aggrieved by the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Chennai Bench, dated 18.08.2005 made in O.A.No.1157 of 2004, confirming the order of the 1st respondent dated 27.10.2004 as well as 2nd respondent dated 04.09.2002, the petitioner has filed the above writ petition to quash those orders.

2. The case of the petitioner is briefly stated hereunder:- (a) According to him, he was serving in the Army and discharged on 31.03.1994 from military service. After retirement as an Exservicemen, he joined the Civil Employment as Driver under the 2nd respondent, namely, the Raksha Seva Staff College, Wellington (Nilgiris), as Driver during February 1997. The 2nd respondent issued a charge memo dated 04.01.2002 stating that on 03.01.2002 at 17.45 hours, he was found intoxicated and so certified by a qualified Medical Officer. The petitioner submitted his explanation. Not satisfied with the said explanation, the 2nd respondent appointed Lt. Col. T. Nandakumar as Enquiry Officer, 3rd respondent herein. The petitioner was permitted to engage one R.P.K.Venkata Raman as defence Assistant. During the course of enquiry, after a particular stage, the petitioner boycotted the enquiry. The Enquiry Officer submitted a report to the 2 nd respondent holding that the charge leveled against the petitioner is proved. The 2nd respondent by his proceedings dated 04.09.2002, passed an order imposing the penalty of compulsory retirement from service under Rule 11 (vii) of Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 (in short CCS (CCA) Rules).

(b) Against the said order, he preferred an appeal before the Appellate Authority. The Appellate Authority, without affording an opportunity to the petitioner, modified the punishment as one of removal from service, instead of compulsory retirement passed by the 2nd respondent. The said order was challenged before the Central Administrative Tribunal in O.A.No.523 of 2003 and by order dated 30.10.2003, the Tribunal, set aside the said order and directed the 1st respondent to issue notice to the petitioner before modifying the punishment as one of removal from service. Thereafter, the 1st respondent issued a notice calling for an explanation to the petitioner, as to why the punishment should not be enhanced. The petitioner submitted a detailed representation. But the 1st respondent, without appreciation of the fact, passed an order dismissing the appeal and modified the punishment by removing the petitioner from service. Aggrieved by the same, the petitioner preferred O.A.No.1157 of 2004 before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Chennai Bench and ultimately the said appeal was also dismissed by order dated 18.08.2005. Questioning the same, the petitioner has filed the present writ petition.

3. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner.

4. After taking us through the impugned order of the Tribunal and the other proceedings, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner would submit that the petitioner was not afforded adequate opportunity in the enquiry and in any event the Disciplinary and Appellate Authorities failed to note that the punishments imposed on earlier occasions are minor.

5. On going through the relevant materials, orders of Original and Appellate Authorities as well as the impugned order of the Tribunal, we are unable to accept the said contention for the following reasons. It is not in dispute that the petitioner/applicant is an Exserviceman and he was discharged on 31.03.1994 and thereafter, he was reemployed as Civilian MT Driver at Defence Services College, Wellington ( Nilgiris) on 11.02.1997. The said post was later re-designated as Civilian Motor Driver (Ordinary Grade) during 1999. The charge against the applicant/petitioner was that, he was found intoxicated at 17.45 hours on 03.01.2002. The fact that he was in a position of intoxication which was also certified by a qualified Medical Officer. Though the petitioner has submitted his explanation, since the same was not acceptable, an enquiry was conducted by appointing Lt. Col. T. Nandakumar as Enquiry Officer.

6. It is further seen that though the petitioner participated in the enquiry, the materials placed show that he stopped attending enquiry in the mid-way. The Enquiry Officer, based on the materials, submitted a report holding that the charges leveled against the applicant are proved. It is also seen that copy of the report was furnished to the applicant. The Disciplinary Authority, after taking note of the Enquiry Proceedings, report and the earlier antecedents of the applicant, concluded that the applicant should not be retained in service in public interest, passed an order compulsorily retiring him from service. Though, initially the said order was modified by the Appellate Authority as one of the removal from service, subsequently, on direction by the Tribunal, fresh notice was issued to the petitioner and after considering his further explanation, the Appellate Authority, confirmed his earlier decision and modified the punishment from compulsory retirement to removal from service.

7. It is clear that after finding that the applicant had consumed alcohol while he was on duty, after framing proper charges, conducting enquiry and based on the report, the Disciplinary Authority passed an order, which was modified by the Appellate Authority, after affording opportunity to the petitioner. Though, it was argued that the earlier punishments are not serious one, the particulars furnished show that the applicant is a habitual drunkard and in his short tenure of six years of service with effect from February 1997 to September 2002, he was awarded the following punishments for having been found in the influence of alcohol while on duty:- a) Warned in writing on 10.07.1997.

b) Minor penalty of censure during December 1999, under Rule 11(i) of CCS (CC&A) Rules, 1965.

c) Minor penalty of with holding of one increment of pay for a period of one year with effect from February 2002, under Rule 11 (iv) of CCS (CC&A) Rules, 1965.

In such circumstances, it cannot be claimed that earlier punishments are not relevant for consideration. It is not the case of the applicant that he had unblemished service. It is also not in dispute that his job is to drive vehicle. Though an argument was advanced that he consumed liquor late in the evening that is at 17.45 hours, the fact remains that he was on duty even at the relevant time. All these aspects have been considered by the Authorities as well as the Tribunal. In the absence of any other material, we are in agreement that the conclusion arrived at by the Tribunal. Accordingly, the writ petition fails and the same is dismissed.

Index : Yes

Internet : Yes

To

1.Lt. General,

Union of India

Directorate General Military

Training General Staff Branch,

Army Headquarters, New Delhi - 110 011.

2.The Lt. General

Union of India,

Commandant,

DSSC/Est/1566/CMD/AMC,

Raksha Seva Staff College,

Wellington (Nilgiris) - 643 231.

3.Lt. Col. Thiru. T.Nandakumar

Inquiry Officer,

Union of India, Defence Services Staff College,

Wellington - 643 231.




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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