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Ram Lal Sharma v. Central Administrative Tribunal & Others - WRIT - A No. 36601 of 2002 [2006] RD-AH 11352 (12 July 2006)


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Court No.37

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 36601 of  2002

Ram Lal Sharma v. The Central Administrative Tribunal, Allahabad Bench, Allahabad and others.

Hon'ble R.K.Agrawal, J.

Hon'ble Ran Vijai Singh, J.

(Delivered by R.K.Agrawal, J.)

By means of the present writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, petitioner, Ram Lal Sharma, seeks the following reliefs:

"i)   issue a writ order or direction in the nature of certiorari to quash the order dated 16.4.2002 (Annexure No.8) passed by the respondent No.1 (Central Administrative Tribunal Allahabad and the order dated 6.11.98 passed by the Respondent No.4 (D.G.O.F.Calcutta).

ii) issue a writ order or direction in the nature of mandamus directing the respondent No.3 & 4 to provide all the monetary benefits to the petitioner by regularising his suspension period of 4 years.

iii) issue any other order or direction which this Hon'ble Court may deem fit and proper under the facts and circumstances of the present case.

iv)     award the cost of the petition to petitioner."

Briefly stated the facts giving rise to the present petition are as follows:

According to the petitioner he was appointed as Turner(C-Grade) in the Ordnance Factory, Kanpur on 7th March, 1961.  His work and conduct was always good and satisfactory and in the entire service career he had not been given any bad entry or any punishment.  He has retired from service on 31st March, 2000.  On 25/26th March, 1991, the police personnel of police station  Kakadeo, Kanpur Nagar implicated the petitioner in a criminal case being Case Crime No.153/91 under Section 18/20 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, hereinafter referred to as "the Act". He was tried in Sessions Trial No.665/1991, State of U.P. vs. Ram Lal in the court of VII Additional District & Sessions Judge, Kanpur Nagar, which ended in acquittal vide judgment and order dated 31st July, 1995.  On account of his implication in the aforesaid criminal case the petitioner was suspended by the Senior General Manager, Ordnance Factory, Kanpur, respondent no.3, vide order dated 26th March, 1991and he remained under suspension till 5th February, 1995.   No department proceedings were initiated against the petitioner.   During the trial the petitioner made several representations for revocation of his suspension but it was revoked only on 3rd February, 1995 and he resumed his duties on 6th February, 1995 as 4th and 5th February, 1995 were Saturday and Sunday.  The petitioner after his acquittal on 31st July, 1995, made a representation on 24th August, 1995 before the respondent no.3 claiming the arrears of difference of pay less subsistence allowance paid to him during the period of suspension.  The respondent no.3 vide order dated 31st October, 1995 had declined to pay any further pay and allowance beyond subsistence allowance and further directed that the period from 26th March, 1991 to 2nd February, 1995 will not be counted towards his increment, leave, pension, etc. Feeling aggrieved, the petitioner preferred an appeal before  the next higher authority, who vide order dated 6th November, 1998 rejected the petitioner's appeal.  The petitioner thereafter filed Original Application No.667/98 before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Allahabad, which too has been rejected by the Tribunal vide its order dated 16th April, 2002.  The Tribunal has relied  upon a decision of the Apex Court in the case of Krishnakant Raghunath Bibhavnekar Vs. State of Maharashtra and others, (1997) 3 SCC 636, in which it has been held that in the acquittal based on insufficient evidence in a criminal does not entitle a person to back wages, pensionary benefits and other consequential benefits on his reinstatement.  Where suspension is pertaining to criminal case, the competent authority is empowered to treat the suspension period as not spent on duty after following the principles  of natural justice.  The order dated 16th April, 2002 passed by the Tribunal as also two orders dated 6th November, 1998 and 31st October, 1995 are under challenge in the present writ petition.

We have heard Sri Pratap Vikram Singh, learned counsel for the petitioner and Sri Subodh Kumar, learned counsel appearing for the respondents.

Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that as the police authorities while preparing the seizure memo had not got it witnessed by an independent person or by a Gazetted Officer, which is  mandatory under the provisions of the Act, the whole prosecution case was based on insufficient evidence and material and the petitioner would be deemed to have been acquitted on merits.  He further submitted that even otherwise while withholding full pay and other allowances during the period of suspension the authorities ought to have followed the principles of natural justice as held by the Apex Court in the case of Krishnakant Raghunath Bibhavnekar(supra).

Sri Subodh Kumar, learned counsel appearing for the respondents, however, submitted that the petitioner was acquitted on the ground that the seizure memo was not prepared in the presence of an independent person and a Gazetted Officer, therefore, he was given the benefit of doubt and he was not acquitted on merits.  He further stated that the authorities are well within their power not to pay full pay during the suspension period and to direct that the period of suspension would not be counted for increments and pensionary benefits.  When asked by the Court as to whether the disciplinary authority had followed the principles of natural justice while passing the order dated 31st October, 1995, Sri Subodh Kumar, learned counsel for the respondents,  could not satisfy the Court that the principles of natural justice had been followed while passing the aforesaid order.

In view of the aforesaid discussion, we find that the respondent no.3 had not given opportunity to the petitioner to show cause as to why he should not be paid full salary and other allowances during the period of suspension.  As the respondent  no.3 had not followed the principles of natural justice, we are unable to sustain the orders dated 31st October, 1995, 6th November, 1998 and order of the Tribunal dated 16th April, 2002, filed as Annexure Nos.3, 7 and 8 to the writ petition. They are accordingly set aside. However, it will be open to the respondent no.3 to pass a fresh order in accordance with law after complying the principles of natural justice.  The respondent no.3 shall pass appropriate orders in accordance with law within one month from the date a certified copy of this order is filed before him.

The writ petition succeeds and is allowed.




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