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KESH DUTT PANDEY versus SENIOR REGIONAL MANAGER,F.C.I. LUCKNOW & OTHERS

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Kesh Dutt Pandey v. Senior Regional Manager,F.C.I. Lucknow & Others - WRIT - A No. 13171 of 2001 [2001] RD-AH 27 (3 May 2001)

 

This is an UNCERTIFIED copy for information/reference. For authentic copy please refer to certified copy only. In case of any mistake, please bring it to the notice of Joint Registrar(Copying).

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

                                        2001 (2) AWC 1546

AFR

      Reserved

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.13171 Of 2001

Kesh Dutt Pandey … … Petitioner

Vs

Senior Regional Manager, FCI,

UP Lucknow and others. …           Respondents

HON'BLE YATINDRA SINGH, J.

1. This writ petition involves with the interpretation of regulation 67 and 68 of the Food Corporation of India Staff Regulations, 1971 (the Regulations).  The question is whether an appeal lies against the order of dismissal under regulation 68(ii) or is it barred under regulation 67(ii)?

The Facts

2. The petitioner was an employee of the Food Corporation of India (the FCI). He was charge-sheeted on 30.3.2000 for misappropriating of rice stocks during November 1991, thus causing a financial loss to the FCI. An inquiry officer was appointed who submitted his report. The inquiry report was served upon the petitioner. He was dismissed from service on 8.2.2001 after considering his explanation. Hence the writ petition.

The Parties' Submission

3. I have heard Sri Somesh Khare, counsel for the petitioner and Sri Satya Prakash, counsel for the FCI. The respondents have raised preliminary objection that,

An appeal lies against the order dated 8.2.2001 dismissing the petitioner from service under Regulation 68(ii) of the Regulations;

The appellate authority can go in question of facts and is more efficacious than the writ jurisdiction.

The petitioner may be relegated to the alternative remedy.

4. The petitioner submits that in view of Regulation 67(ii) no appeal lies under Regulation 68(ii) and as such writ petition can not be dismissed on the ground of the alternative remedy. He submits that no appeal lies because of following reasons.

Regulation 671 starts with the words 'Notwithstanding anything contained in these regulations' and it prevails over any other provision in the Regulations.

Regulation 682 begins with the words 'Subject to provision of Regulation 67' and it is subordinate to Regulation 67.

Regulation 67(ii) says that no appeal shall lie against the final disposal of any disciplinary proceedings.

The order dismissing the petitioner from service is final disposal of disciplinary proceeding.

5. The petitioner has cited two decisions3. The first one is a division bench decision of this Court that explains,

'When the words are clear and unambiguous, then there is no room for intendment and the words should be given their plain and clear meaning, as they appear to be'.

The other one is a decision of the Apex court that says,

'[I]n cases of conflict between a specific provision and a general provision the specific provision prevails over the general provision and the general provision applies only to such cases which are not covered by the special provision.'

6. There is no dispute with the above propositions. There is no doubt that regulation 67 prevails over regulation 68.  But the question is what is the correct interpretation of the Regulation 67(ii)? Does it bar an appeal against the order imposing penalty.

7. The relevant part of regulation 67 is as follows:

67. Notwithstanding anything contained in these regulations, no appeal shall lie against:

(ii) any order of an interlocutory nature or of the nature of a step-in-aid or the final disposal of a disciplinary proceeding, other than an order of suspension;

8. The petitioner lays emphasis on the word 'or' between the clause 'of the nature of a step-in-aid' and the clause 'the final disposal of the disciplinary proceedings'. According to him this shows clause final disposal of disciplinary proceeding is independent of the earlier clause and the appeal against final disposal of disciplinary proceeding is barred. According to him regulation 67(ii) should be broken into three different clauses and no appeal lies against any order.

(i)of  interlocutory nature, or

(ii)of the nature of step-in-aid, or

(iii)the final disposal of disciplinary proceedings (other than order of suspension).

9. The petitioner submits that:

the petitioner has been dismissed from service;

it is final disposal of disciplinary proceedings; and

no appeal lies.

10. The respondents submit that:

This interpretation is literal and arises out of use of words 'or' after the words 'step-in-aid' in regulation 67(ii).

It renders regulation 67(ii) awkward.  

In case this interpretation is accepted then regulation 68(ii) will become redundant.  

This sub-regulation is as follows:

68. Subject to the provisions of Regulation 67, an employee of the Corporation may prefer an appeal against all or any of the following orders, namely;

(ii) an order imposing any of the penalties specified in Regulation 54 whether made by the disciplinary authority or by any appellate or reviewing authority;

Decision

11. It is said that while interpreting a provision, intention or purpose behind it may be seen. Justice Franfurther once observed, 'There is no surer way to misread a document than to read it literally.' On the other occasion, Justice Holmes said  'The meaning of the sentence is to be felt rather than proved.' So should be the case here.

12. It is settled law that while interpreting different provisions harmonious construction is to be adopted and no provision should be interpreted in such a way so as to render any other provision redundant. The Apex Court in JKCSW Mills vs. State of UP4 observed,

'In the interpretations of the Statutes the courts always presume that the legislature inserted every part there for a purpose and legislative intent in is that every part of the statute should have effect.'

In case interpretation suggested by the petitioner is accepted, it would make part of regulation 68 redundant.

13. The Apex Court in Maharashtra SFC vs. Jaycee Drugs and Pharma5 said,

'It is a settled rule of interpretation of statutes that if the language and the words used are plain and unambiguous, full effect must be given to them as they stand and in the garb of fining out the intention of legislature no words should be added thereto or substracted therefrom. Likewise it is again a settled rule of interpretation that statutory provisions should be construed in a manner which subserves the purpose of the enactment and does not defeat it and that no part thereof is rendered surplus or otiose'

Regulations 67 (ii) and 68(ii) have to be interpreted in light of these principles.

14. Regulation 68(ii) shows that appeal will lie against the order imposing penalty. The order finally deciding the disciplinary proceeding dismissing the petitioner imposes penalty under regulation 54.  In case petitioner's submission is accepted then this clause will become redundant.

15. The disciplinary proceedings should end quickly.  The intention of regulation 67 is to bar appeal at interlocutory stage so that disciplinary proceedings may not prolong. If this is the purpose of regulation 67 and some meaning is to be given to regulation 68, then regulation 67 (ii) is restricted to interlocutory orders or orders step in aid of final disposal of disciplinary proceedings (except in a case of a suspension order): leaving the scope of final order imposing penalty to regulation 68(ii). If these provisions are so read then the order dismissing the petitioner is appealable under Regulation 68(ii) of the Regulation. The appellate authority can go into factual position: it is more efficacious than a writ petition. The writ petition is dismissed on the ground of alternative remedy.

16. I am deciding the writ petition on the ground of alternative remedy. Some time has already been spent, in view of this, in case any appeal is filed the appellate authority may decide the same on merits at an early date.

The Word 'Or' Is Misplaced

17. I have interpreted regulation 67(ii) according to its purpose so that regulation 68(ii) may not become redundant. But use of the word 'or' in regulation 68(ii) after the words 'step-in-aid' is odd. Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 contains similar provisions. Rule 22 and 23 are similar to regulations 67 and 68. The word 'or' was initially there in Rule 22 between the words 'step-in-aid' and the words 'the final disposal of disciplinary proceedings'. This was amended by Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Amendment Rules, 1996.  Now in place word 'or' the word 'of' has been substituted.  This has clarified the meaning.  The FCI may also remove this ambiguity.

CONCLUSION

18. My conclusions are as follows:

(i)Regulation 67(ii) does not bar filing of an appeal against final disposal imposing penalty under regulation 54.

(ii)An appeal lies against the final order imposing penalty under Regulation 68(ii).

(iii)The order dated 8.2.2001 imposes penalty and the petitioner can file appal against the same.

(iv)The writ petition is dismissed on the ground of alternative remedy. In case appeal is filed it may be decided on merits, at an early date.

With these observations the writ petition is disposed off.

Dated:  May 3, 2001

BBL


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