Madras High Court K.P. Selvarajan-vs-The Chairman & Managing Director, on 20 March, 2003
Equivalent citations:2003 (3) CTC 51
Author: P Dinakaran
Bench: P Dinakaran
P.D. Dinakaran, J.
1. The petitioner seeks to quash the proceedings of the first respondent dated 27.6.1997, refusing to reinstate the petitioner in service, who was dismissed from service by an order of the second respondent dated 8.1.1985, which was subsequently confirmed by the appellate authority, namely, the first respondent herein by proceedings dated 19.6.1987, pursuant to a disciplinary action initiated against him for certain serious charges of illicit movement of 9 tonnes of rice from the godown of the respondent Corporation at Dharmapuri, where the petitioner was working as a Godown Superintendent.
2.1. The facts of the case are briefly stated hereunder.
The petitioner was charged by a memo dated 2.6.1982, with regard to an illicit movement of 9 tonnes of rice from the godown of the respondent Corporation at Dharmapuri, violating the instructions of the Corporation in that regard, as found by the District Supply Officer, Dharmapuri, during his inspection on 19.12.1981. Explanation was called for from the petitioner against the said charge memo dated 2.6.1982 and the petitioner submitted his explanation on 12.7.1982. Even though due opportunity was given to the petitioner to cross examine the evidence relied upon by the Department, the petitioner failed to avail the same and therefore, the enquiry officer held that the charges leveled against the petitioner in the memo dated 2.6.1982 were proved.
2.2. The respondent-Corporation framed three more charges by another charge memo dated 10.5.1983, to which the petitioner submitted his explanation on 10.6.1983 and enquiry was also conducted in that regard. However, the petitioner, again, failed to avail the opportunity to cross examine the evidence relied upon by the Corporation. Hence, the charges framed by memo dated 10.5.1983 were also found proved.
2.3. Based on the findings of the enquiry officer, the second respondent, viz. the punishing authority, dismissed the petitioner from service, by proceedings dated 8.1.1985.
2.4. Aggrieved by the said order of dismissal, the petitioner preferred an appeal before the first respondent, alleging that the petitioner was a new comer to the post and there was no financial loss to the respondent Corporation. However, the petitioner did not complain any irregularity or illegality in the procedure adopted in the enquiry as well as in the disciplinary action. However, the appellate authority, by order dated 9.6.1987 dismissed the appeal for want of good and sufficient reason.
2.5. In the meanwhile, the petitioner was also booked in a criminal case in Crime No. 718 of 1981 under Sections 120-B, 409 and 498A, I.P.C. on the file of the Inspector of Police, Krishnagiri, which was tried in Calendar Case No. 145 of 1985, by the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Dharmapuri, at Krishnagiri, who convicted the petitioner, by order dated 9.2.1987.
2.6. But, on appeal, the learned Sessions Judge, Dharmapuri at Krishnagiri, acquitted the petitioner by judgment dated 4.11.1991 in Criminal Appeal No. 22 of 1987, setting aside the judgment dated 9.2.1987 in Calendar Case No. 145 of 1985 on the file of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Krishnagiri.
2.7. Based on the said order of acquittal dated 9.2.1987, the petitioner made a representation to the first respondent on 1.6.1992 to reinstate him in service. The first respondent, after careful consideration of the representation of the petitioner dated 1.6.1992, by proceedings dated 29.7.1993, refused to reinstate the petitioner on the ground that the petitioner was not honourably acquitted. The said proceedings dated 29.7.1993 had become final.
2.8. Again, a fresh representation was made to the first respondent by the petitioner on 25.9.1996 to review the earlier proceedings of the first respondent dated 29.7.1993. The first respondent, by proceedings dated 27.6.1997, rejected the representation of the petitioner holding that the same is devoid of merits. Hence, the above writ petition.
3. Mr. V. Ramasubramaniam, learned counsel for the petitioner, contends that there are procedural lapses in the enquiry conducted by the Enquiry Officer, which culminated into the order of dismissal dated 8.1.1985 and that the appellate authority failed to take into account the order of acquittal made by the learned Sessions Judge, Dharmapuri, in Criminal Appeal No. 22 of 1987 in proper perspective.
4. Unfortunately, the respondent Corporation is not represented by his counsel.
5.1. However, this Court, looking into the records, finds that the petitioner never agitated against any procedural lapses in the impugned disciplinary action at any point of time, either while filing an appeal challenging the order of dismissal dated 8.1.1985 before the appellate authority; nor the order passed by the appellate authority, namely, dated 19.6.1987 was challenged by the petitioner at any point of time, all these years.
5.2. That apart, the proceedings of the appellate authority dated 27.6.1997 also had become final, as the same was not challenged till date.
5.3. It is true that the petitioner was acquitted by the criminal Court. But, it is trite law that acquittal by the criminal Court does not automatically give right to reinstate the petitioner in service. In any event, the order dated 9.7.1993 refusing to reinstate the petitioner in service, passed by the respondent Corporation has become final, as the same remain unchallenged in the manner known to law.
5.4. It is also well settled law that the jurisdiction of this Court, under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, is very limited to interfere with the findings and the punishment imposed on the delinquent by the disciplinary and punishing authority, when the delinquent has not complained as to the procedural lapses in the enquiry as well as in the disciplinary action initiated against him.
5.5. For all these reasons, no interference to the impugned proceedings dated 27.6.1997 at this belated point of time is required, as it would only amount to setting aside the earlier proceedings of the appellate authority dated 19.6.1987 and the impugned order dated 27.6.1997 confirming the order dated 29.7.1993 refusing to reinstate him in service, which had become final.
5.6. The writ petition, therefore, fails and the same is dismissed. No costs.