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Rama Shanker Ram v. State Of U.P. & Others - WRIT - A No. 33504 of 1999  RD-AH 811 (16 September 2004)
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 33504 of 1999
Rama Shanker Vs. State of U.P. through District Magistrate, Ghazipur and others
Hon'ble Dilip Gupta, J.
This writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India has been filed for quashing the order dated 13th July 1999 passed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Saidpur, Ghazipur terminating the services of the petitioner and the order dated 29th October 1998 suspending the petitioner during the pendency of the inquiry proceedings.
The petitioner was a Lekhpal in the revenue department of District Ghazipur. He was suspended by means of the order dated 29th October 1998. A charge-sheet dated 11th December 1998 was served upon him containing three charges. The first charge was that on the basis of the sale deed dated 6th August 1977 executed by Sri Ganesh Lal in respect of plot no. 315 measuring 1-5-0 in favour of Smt. Kaushalya Devi wife of Chhedi(brother of petitioner) and Smt. Rama Devi wife of Rama Shanker (petitioner) he had got the mutation done on the basis of the order dated 13th April 1978 passed by the court of Tehsildar in Suit No. 941. Subsequently when the consolidation proceedings commenced he again on the basis of the same sale deed dated 6th August 1977 got his wife's name and the name of his brother's wife mutated in the revenue records on the basis of the order dated 27th November 1987 passed by the Assistant Consolidation Officer in suit no. 275. Thus on the basis of the aforesaid sale deed dated 6th August 1977 he was instrumental in getting transferred twice the area measuring 2-10-0 in favour of his wife and his brother's wife instead of 1-5-0. The second charge levelled against the petitioner was that the petitioner had knowingly got the aforesaid orders since he had filed applications for return of the documents in the two suits. The third charge levelled against him was that by playing fraud he had withdrawn an excess amount of Rs. 5,000/-.
Upon receipt of the charge-sheet the petitioner submitted an application dated 21st January 1999 demanding certain documents which were also supplied to him on 27th January 1999. Thereafter the petitioner submitted a detailed reply dated 9th February 1999. The Inquiry Officer on the basis of the material available on record and the reply submitted by the petitioner submitted his inquiry report dated 25th February 1999 holding that charges nos. 1 and 2 levelled against the petitioner were found to be proved whereas the third charge could not be proved. A show-cause notice dated 31st May 1999 was then served upon the petitioner reproducing in detail the inquiry report by which the first two charges levelled against the petitioner were found to be proved and the petitioner was asked to submit his reply within 15 days as to why his services may not be terminated. The petitioner submitted a reply dated 16th June 1999 to the aforesaid show-cause notice. After a consideration of the aforesaid documents, an order dated 13th July 1999 was passed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Saidpur, terminating the services of the petitioner.
I have heard learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned counsel appearing for the respondents.
Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that he cannot be held responsible for the charges contained in the charge-sheet because he was posted el sewhere and the sale deed has also had not been executed in his favour but in favour of his wife and his brother's wife. He further submitted that a reasonable opportunity had not been given to him since oral inquiry was not held. Learned counsel for the respondents, however, submitted that from the evidence on record it was clearly established that the petitioner was guilty of charges nos. 1 and 2 and that reasonable opportunity had been granted to the petitioner. He further submitted that even earlier the petitioner was suspended five times.
A perusal of the termination order dated 13th July 1999 clearly indicates that a categorical finding has been recorded that on the basis of the sale deed dated 6th August 1977 the petitioner had managed to obtain the order dated 13th April 1978 in Suit No. 941 for mutation of the name of his wife and his brother's wife in respect of an area measuring 1-5-0 in plot no. 315 and on the basis of the same sale deed he had again obtained an order dated 27th November 1987 from the Assistant Consolidation Officer in Suit No. 275 in respect of an area measuring 1-5-0. Thus even though the sale deed was executed for an area measuring 1-5-0 Bighas, an area of 2-10-0 was transferred in the name of his wife and his brother's wife. He had also subsequently filed an application for return of the documents in the aforesaid two cases. The finding is based on the report submitted by the Inquiry Officer on the basis of the evidence on record. The order further indicates that the Sub-Divisional Magistrate had also examined the records and had also considered the reply filed by the petitioner to the show-cause notice issued by him.
The submission advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner was not at all involved in the matter cannot be accepted. In the inquiry report it has clearly come out that the petitioner had a positive hand in getting double the area transferred in favour of his wife and his brother's wife. This is a finding of fact which is based on evidence. Learned counsel for the petitioner has not been able to substantiate that the finding is perverse.
Learned counsel for the petitioner than submitted that since no oral inquiry was conducted by the Inquiry Officer the entire disciplinary inquiry stands vitiated. In the instant case, the charge-sheet and the documents were supplied to the petitioner who was asked to submit his reply. He did not express any desire of either leading any oral evidence or examining any person. The Inquiry Officer submitted his report on the basis of which a show-cause notice was also issued to him. Even in reply to this show cause notice he did not raise such a contention as has now been raised by the petitioner. Such a ground was not even taken in the writ petition because the only averment that was made by the petitioner was to the effect that within 20 days the inquiry report was submitted without affording proper opportunity of hearing to the petitioner. It is only during the course of hearing this argument was sought to be raised. Thus this submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner cannot be accepted. Even otherwise, it is well settled that Rules of natural justice are not a straight jacket formula but are flexible and in a departmental inquiry the Inquiry Officer is not bound by the strict rules of evidence and procedure contained in the Evidence Act or in the Code of Civil Procedure. In the facts and circumstances of the case I am satisfied that the principles of natural justice were not violated. In any view of the matter this is not a fit case for interference under Article 226 of the Constitution of India in view of the nature of charges levelled against the petitioner.
Since none of the contentions raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner has any force, the writ petition is liable to be dismissed and is, accordingly, dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.
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