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Onkar Lal Meena vs State & Anr on 11 December, 2017

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN AT
JODHPUR
S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 497 / 2016
Onkar Lal Meena S/o. Sh. Mohan Lal Meena, aged about 60 years,
B/c. Meena, R/o. A-28, Patel Nagar, behind Panchayat Samiti
Devli, Tehsil Devli, District Tonk (Raj.).

—-Petitioner
Versus

1. The State of Rajasthan Department of Revenue (Group-I),
Secretariat, Rajasthan, Jaipur through its Secretary.

2. The Chairman, Board of Revenue, Ajmer.

—-Respondents
__
For Petitioner(s) : Mr. H.S. Sidhu.

For Respondent(s) : Dr. Pratishtha Dave, Dy. G.C.
__
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ARUN BHANSALI
Order
11/12/2017

This writ petition has been filed by the petitioner aggrieved

against the order dated 05.11.2015 (Annex.-P/7), whereby the

appellate authority has though set aside the order of disciplinary

authority, it has substituted the punishment of reversion from the

post of Tehsildar to Nayab Tehsildar to censure. Further prayer has

been made that respondents be directed to pay full salary and

emoluments to the petitioner for the period of suspension i.e. from

26.10.2012 to 18.18.2014.

The petitioner was served with a charge-sheet (Annex.-P/1),

wherein 3 charges were levelled against the petitioner. After

evidence was led before the inquiry officer, the inquiry officer

found charge No.1 and 3 proved and held that the charge No.2

was not proved. The disciplinary authority by its order dated

23.12.2014 (Annex.-P/4), punished the petitioner with the

punishment of reversion to the post of Nayab Tehsildar and also

ordered that though the period of suspension would be counted
(2 of 5)
[CW-497/2016]

for all other purposes, the petitioner would not be entitled to any

amount beyond the subsistence allowances.

Feeling aggrieved, the petitioner filed the appeal. The

appellate authority by its order dated 05.11.2015 (Annex.-P/7)

observed that the petitioner should have conducted himself

appropriately, however, it came to the conclusion that the

punishment imposed was disproportionate and partly accepting

the appeal, set aside the order passed by the disciplinary authority

and imposed the punishment of censure.

It is submitted by learned counsel for the petitioner that the

appellate authority was not justified in imposing the punishment

of censure, once the order passed by the disciplinary authority

was set aside by it. Further submissions were made that the

appellate authority once apparently found the petitioner not guilty

of the charges No. 1 and 3, there was no reason to make

observations based on the charge No.2, which charge was already

decided in favour of the petitioner by the disciplinary authority

and, therefore, the order impugned passed by the appellate

authority imposing punishment of censure deserves to be quashed

and set aside. Further submissions were made that once the order

of disciplinary authority forfeiting the pay allowances during the

period of suspension was set aside by the appellate authority,

there was no reasons for the respondents in not paying the

difference between the subsistence allowances and pay

allowances, to which, the petitioner was entitled for the period of

suspension and on that count, the action of the respondents in
(3 of 5)
[CW-497/2016]

this regard is also incorrect and directions deserves to be issued to

them to make payment of the said amount.

Learned counsel for the respondents supported the order

passed by the appellate authority. It was submitted that though

the petitioner was acquitted by the criminal court, still a finding

could have been recorded by the inquiry officer/disciplinary

authority pertaining to the conduct of the petitioner. Further

submissions were made that even if the order of the disciplinary

authority has been set aside, the same has been set aside on the

appellate authority coming to the conclusion that the punishment

imposed was excessive and on no other ground and as the appeal

was party allowed, the denial of difference between the amount of

pay allowances and subsistence allowances, is justified and the

order passed by the appellate authority does not call for any

interference.

I have considered submissions made by learned counsel for

the parties and have perused the material available on record.

A bare look at the charges levelled against the petitioner

reveals that charges No. 1 and 3 pertained to the absence of the

petitioner and charge No.2 pertained to the lodging of a criminal

case under Section 354/342 IPC against the petitioner. The inquiry

officer found charges No.1 and 3 proved against the petitioner and

charge No.2 on account of acquittal of the petitioner by the

criminal court was found not proved.

The disciplinary authority, discussed all the charges as well

as the material available including charge No.2, wherein the

petitioner was exonerated and, thereafter imposed punishment of
(4 of 5)
[CW-497/2016]

reversion as well as forfeiting the difference of amount between

the pay allowances and subsistence allowances. The appellate

authority by its order (Annex.-P/7) again dealt with all the three

issues in unison and after noticing that the petitioner had placed

material, wherein the leave for the period, for which, charges No.

1 and 3 were levelled against the petitioner had already been

sanctioned by the competent authority, noticed charge No.2 and

observed as under:-

“ysfdu vkjksih vf/kdkjh dks vius in dh xfjek ds vUrxZr
jktdk;Z fu’Bk ds lkFk lEikfnr fd;k tkuk pkfg;s FkkA”

The observations made by the appellate authority apparently

pertains to the charge No.2 as the said charge pertained to a

criminal case against the petitioner on charges inter alia under

Section 354 IPC. However, once the inquiry officer/disciplinary

authority had found the charge against the petitioner as not

proved, the said aspect or allegations as made in charge No.2

could not form the basis either for the disciplinary authority or for

the appellate authority to hold anything against the petitioner,

inasmuch as on the said finding, no disagreement was noticed

and/or the petitioner was called upon to reply on the said aspect.

Once the said finding of the inquiry officer was accepted even by

the disciplinary authority and no notice was issued to the

petitioner, the same could not be used either by the disciplinary

authority or the appellate authority to impose punishment on the

petitioner.

As noticed hereinbefore, once the charges No.1 and 3, which

pertained to the unauthorized absence and/or the petitioner not
(5 of 5)
[CW-497/2016]

reporting for duty despite notice, it was held that the leave for the

said period was sanctioned by the competent authority, there was

apparently no reason for imposing punishment on the petitioner

for the said charges.

In view thereof, once the appellate authority accepted the

appeal of the petitioner qua the charges No. 1 and 3, apparently

imposing of the punishment of censure based on the charge No.2

cannot be sustained and, therefore, the order passed by the

appellate authority dated 05.11.2015 (Annex.-P/7) imposing

punishment of censure deserves to be and is set aside.

Once the order of punishment of censure is set aside, the

petitioner on account of full exoneration automatically becomes

entitled to the grant of difference between the pay allowances

and subsistence allowance on reinstatement under Rule 54 of the

Rajasthan Service Rules, 1951 for the period of his suspension i.e.

from 26.10.2012 to 18.08.2014.

In view of the above discussion, the writ petition filed by the

petitioner is allowed. The order dated 05.11.2015 (Annex.-P/7) to

the extent it has imposed penalty of censure on the petitioner is

quashed and set aside. The petitioner would be entitled to all

consequential benefits including the difference between pay

allowances and subsistence allowances for the period 26.10.2012

to 18.08.2014.

The needful be done by the respondents within a period of

three weeks.

(ARUN BHANSALI)J.

PKS-99

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