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C/M Jeevan Ram Inter College Maunath Bhanjan & Others v. U.P.Secondary Education S.S.B. Allahabad & Others - WRIT - A No. 1797 of 2001  RD-AH 9 (19 February 2001)
CIVIL MISC. WRIT PETITION NO.1797 OF 2001
Committee of Management, Jeevan Ram Inter College, Maunath Bhanjan, Mau and another
U.P.Secondary Education Services Commission & Selection Board, U.P., Allahabad and others.
Hon'ble R.K.Agrawal, J.
The Committee of Management, Jeevan Ram Inter College, Maunath Bhanjan, Mau and another, through its Manager Sri Jhabar Mal Khandelwal and Sri Jhabar Mal Khandelwal as Manager of the said College have filed the present petition under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India, seeking a writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari quashing the decision of the U.P. Secondary Education Services Commission & Selection Board, U.P., Allahabad, dated 11.12.2000 as communicated by the letter of the Secretary, U.P. Secondary Education Services Commission & Selection Board, Allahabad, dated 23.12.2000[ filed as Annexure-39 to the writ petition]. They further seek a writ, order or direction restraining the respondents from taking any action on the basis of the aforesaid decision.
Briefly stated the facts giving rise to the present petition are as follows :
Jeevan Ram Inter College, Maunath Bhanjan, Mau, is a recognised College under the provisions of U.P. Intermediate Education Act,1921 [hereinafter referred to as the 'College']. The post of Principal of the said college fell vacant whereupon, U.P. Secondary Education Services Commission & Selection Board, Allahabad [hereinafter referred to as the 'Board'] recommended the appointment of one Dr. Pramod Kumar Singh, the respondent no.4. He was given appointment on 24.8.96, which he joined on 2.9.96. According to the petitioner, the respondent no.4 committed serious misconduct including embezzlement of fund from different heads. The Committee of management in its meeting held on 18.1.1998 decided to initiate departmental proceedings against the respondentno.4 and for that purpose constituted a three members enquiry committee. It also decided to place the respondentno.4 under suspension. The respondent no.4 was placed under suspension on 22.1.1998, pending enquiry against the respondent no.4. It appears that the District Magistrate had also constituted a three members committee consisting of the District Development Officer, Mau, District Inspector of Schools, Mau and the District Social Welfare Officer, Mau, to conduct an enquiry with regard to the allegations of embezzlement and other charges against the respondent no.4. The said enquiry committee submitted its report on 22.1.98. The District Inspector of schools after considering the representation made by the respondentno.4, and the report submitted by three members committee constituted by the District Magistrate, granted approval to the suspension of respondent no.4 vide order dated 8.4.98. The enquiry committee constituted by the committee of management issued charge sheet to the respondent no.4 and when no reply/explanation was forthcoming from the respondentno.4, it concluded the enquiry and submitted its report on 17.3.1998, holding the various charges against the respondentno.4 to be proved. The committee of management considered the enquiry report and decided to send a copy of the said enquiry report alongwith the propose punishment to the respondentno.4. The notice was also published in the newspaper PURVANCHAL SANDESH dated 28.4.1998. According to the petitioner, the respondent no.4 did not appear before the committee of management on 3.5.98, which was the date fixed. Since the respondentno.4 did not appear on that day before the committee of management and the matter for taking action was fixed for 10.5.98. The Committee of Management decided to terminate the services of respondent no.4. It forwarded all the relevant papers including the resolution proposing to dispense with the services of respondentno.4 to the District Inspector of Schools for being forwarded to the Board for its approval as required under section 21 of U.P. Act No.5 of 1982. The Board constituted a sub committee consisting of only one of its member and the sub committee heard the petitioner as also the respondentno.4 and gave its recommendation on 1.11.2000, which was considered by the Board in its meeting held on 11.12.2000. The recommendation of the sub committee was accepted and approved by the Board and the punishment proposed by the committee of management was disapproved. It had had that none of the charges have been proved against the respondent no.4. The said order is under challenge in the present petition.
I have heard Sri Ashok Khare, learned Senior Counsel assisted by Sri V.K. Singh on behalf of the petitioners, Sri R.P. Dubey, who represents the respondent no.1, the learned standing counsel, who represents the respondent nos.2 and 3 and Sri V.K. Shukla, learned counsel representing the respondent no.4.
Sri Khare, learned Senior Counsel submitted that the respondent no.4 had submitted his reply dated 27.5.99, which was running into 259 pages. Neither the Sub Committee nor the Board gave a copy of the said reply to the petitioner nor the petitioner was aware about the documents which the respondent no.4 had filed alongwith the said reply. The Sub Committee on the basis of the reply had come to the conclusion that the charges levelled against the respondent no.4 have not been established. According to Sri Khare, the approach of the sub committee was contrary to the principles of equity, fair play and natural justice. He submitted that the petitioners were thus, deprived of an opportunity to meet the case set up by respondentno.4 in his reply, which has caused great prejudice to the petitioners. He further submitted that the respondentno.4 did not submit any reply before the enquiry committee in the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him by the committee of management and he submitted his explanation for the first time before the sub committee. Thus, the petitioners were entitled for a copy of the reply submitted by the respondent no.4 before the said reply could have been taken into consideration by the Board or its sub committee. He further submitted that the sub committee had not considered the various materials placed by the petitioner before it and specially the report submitted by the District Development Officer, Mau, which had found some of the charges of financial irregularities proved against the respondent no.4, which vitiates the entire order.
Sri V.K. Shukla, learned counsel appearing for the respondent no.4, however, submitted that full opportunity of hearing was given to the parties as would be clear from the impugned order/report of the sub committee and it was only when both the parties have stated before the sub committee that they do not want to say anything further, then the sub committee proceeded to decide the matter. He further submitted that whatever documents the petitioners wanted, they had applied, which was given served on them and therefore, there was no violation of the principles of equity, fair play and natural justice. In support of his plea, the learned counsel has relied upon a decision of this Court in the case of Committee of Management, D.A.V. Inter College, Aligarh and another v. U.P. Secondary Education Services Commission & Selection Board, Allahabad and others, reported in 1998 UPLBEC-1532, wherein this Court had held as follows :
"The Commission is not supposed to act as a Court and comply with the strict procedure of providing opportunity of hearing and cross-examination to the concerned parties. The Commission is required to hear the concerned teacher as well as also to take into consideration the view point of the management. No personal hearing is contemplated in these proceedings. The view point of the Management and the teacher can be examined on the basis of the documents submitted by both of them. In the instant case, the Commission was in effect was examining the record placed before it by the management of the institution and the record placed by the charged Principal of the institution. The entire record relating to the termination of services of Saraswat was before the Commission and on examining the entire record, the Commission arrived at the finding that no charge has been made out against Saraswat and the mandatory procedure for terminating the services of the teacher has not been complied with as is contemplated under Regulations 35,36,37 and 44 and consequently, the Commission has disapproved the proposal to terminate the services of Saraswat. In these circumstances, the requirement of observance of the principles of natural justice is not at all attracted and the order passed by the Commission cannot be said to be in violation of the principles of natural justice or cannot be faulted on the ground of the order being in flagrant violation of the principles of fair play."
He further submitted that the report submitted by the District Development Officer, Mau had found the committee of management also guilty of various charges and did not hold the respondent no.4 alone to be responsible and, therefore, the conclusion drawn by the sub committee as approved by the Board is based on appreciation of evidence and material on record and calls for no interference.
Vide order dated 18.1.2001 Sri R.P. Dubey, who represented the Board was directed to produce the record relating to the proceedings in question. The records have been produced and the Court has perused the same. It is not disputed by the learned counsel for the Board that the sub committee had not given a copy of the reply filed by respondent no.4, which is running into 259 pages to the petitioner. Further, from the notes taken by the member heading the Sub Committee, which contains the arguments made by the parties, it does not appear that the respondent no.4 had made any submission in respect of the documents filed alongwith his reply. From a reading of the report of the sub committee, I find that the Sub Committee had relied upon the documents filed by the respondentno.4 alongwith his reply in coming to the conclusion that the charges having not been proved. Further, I find that the sub committee had not taken into consideration the report of the District Development Officer, Mau, wherein he had found the respondentno.4 to have indulged in financial irregularities.
So far as the decision of this Court in the case of Committee of Management, D.A.V. Inter College, Aligarh and another [supra] is concerned, no doubt, the Board is not supposed to act as a Court and comply with the strict procedure of providing opportunity of hearing and cross examination to the concerned parties and has to examine the entire record relating to the termination of services of the person concerned. But it is also well settled that where documents, which did not form part of the record of the departmental proceedings and are being filed for the first time before the Board, then due observance of the principles of natural justice and fair play do require that copies of such documents, which are being filed by either of the party for the first time before the authorities, should be made available to the other party, so as to enable it to meet the case set up by the person filing the said document. It may be mentioned that in the departmental proceedings, the respondentno.4 had not at all participated and the enquiry was conducted exparte. All the documents, which the respondent no.4 had filed before the Board , were filed for the first time, without giving any copy of the said document or providing any opportunity to the petitioner to meet them. The petitioners were not at all aware about the documents, which the respondent no.4 had filed. Thus, the Board has not acted fairly in relying upon the documents filed by the respondentno.4, without giving a copy of the said document to the petitioner, which has resulted in miscarriage of justice. Therefore, the impugned order cannot be sustained and is liable to be set aside .
In view of the foregoing discussions, it is not necessary to go into other questions raised by the learned counsel for the petitioners. Since the respondent no.4 is continuing under suspension from 22.1.1998 and more than three years have passed, the respondent no.1 is directed to complete the proceedings expeditiously, preferably within a period of two months from the date of production of the certified copy of this order before him.
In the result, the writ petition succeeds and is allowed. The impugned order dated 11.12.2000 passed by the Board as communicated vide letter dated 23.12.2000 [filed as Annexure-39 to the writ petition] is hereby setaside. The U.P. Secondary Education Services Commission & Selection Board, U.P., Allahabad, respondent no.1, is directed to decide the matter afresh after providing a the copy of the reply and the documents submitted by the respondent no.4 to the petitioners.
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