District Magistrate (City) Agra Vs. Prabhakar
Chaturvedi & Anr  INSC 29 (8 January 1996)
N.P. (J) Singh N.P. (J) Ahmadi A.M. (Cj) Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J) S.B.. Majmudar.
1996 SCC (1) 718 JT 1996 (1) 111 1996 SCALE (1)142
consent of learned advocates of parties the appeal was finally heard and is
being disposed of by this judgment.
No.1 was an employee of the appellant. He was alleged to have misappropriated
an amount of Rs.21,094.80.
said misconduct was detected on 8th December 1984. The amount was collected by him partly in March 1984 and
partly in August 1984. The said amount was payable to Class III and IV
employees of the appellant on account of bonus and other allowances after
deduction from provident fund. This amount was required to be deposited in the
Post Office Account of employees individually by respondent no.1 along with his
associate and for that purpose he had taken this amount from the office of
appellant. Instead of depositing the said amount it was kept by respondent no.1
and on detection the amount was tendered only on 14th December 1984. Thus there was temporary misappropriation of this amount
for a period of eight months and less. Respondent No.1 and his associate have
admitted this fact in writing and deposited the amount on 15th December 1984. After a departmental enquiry the
respondent no.1 was dismissed from service on 29th November 1985. Respondent No.1's statutory appeal before the appellate
authority failed. He thereafter filed writ petition in the High Court of
Judicature at Allahabad. His writ petition came to be
allowed by the learned Single Judge on the ground that the authorities had not
given adequate opportunity to respondent no.1 to defend as he was not permitted
to examine witnesses nor was he supplied documents asked for by him.
Accordingly the dismissal order was quashed and set aside Appellant was
directed to reinstate respondent no.1 with full back wages. It is this order of
the High Court which is brought in challenge by the appellant.
learned counsel for the appellant vehemently submitted that when respondent
no.1 had himself admitted in clearest terms that he had failed to deposit the
amount entrusted to him and that it was due to his negligence, carelessness and
fault, nothing further survived and he was rightly dismissed from service. So
far as the non-supply of documents and non-examination of witnesses is
concerned it was submitted that respondent himself had stated before the enquiry
officer that he had not to give any documentary or oral evidence. There was no
question of the enquiry getting vitiated on account of rejection of the
subsequent request of the respondent no.1 to examine four witnesses. Learned
counsel for the respondent on the other hand submitted that the decision
rendered by the High Court was quite justified on the facts of the case and in
addition he submitted that even the copy of the enquiry report should have been
given to the respondent no.1 and as that was not done the order of dismissal
had got vitiated. Learned counsel also filed his written submissions in support
of the aforesaid oral submissions.
considered the rival contentions and also having gone through the written
submissions filed on behalf of respondent no.1 we find that the order of the
High Court cannot be sustained. So far as non-supply of Enquiry Officer's
report is concerned it has to be kept in view that no such contention was
raised in the writ petition before the High Court. The High Court has noted
could be pointed out to us by learned counsel for respondent to controvert this
observation of the High Court.
the pleadings in the writ petition should be treated as pleadings in a suit or
not is not relevant for deciding this question. Reliance placed in the written
submission on R V. Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council 1976 (3) All England Law Reports 452 also is of no avail
to respondent no.1. The said decision cannot support the contention canvassed
on behalf of the respondent no.1 that even if there is no grievance made in the
writ petition the High Court is bound to consider the said grievance. So far as
the grievance about the non-examination of witnesses and non- supply of
documents is concerned, in our view, the High Court has erred in ignoring the
salient features of the case, namely, that respondent no.1 himself by his
statement dated 14th December 1984 admitted to have received an amount of Rs.
21,000/- and odd and which could not be deposited by him along with his
associate on account of their carelessness and fault. It is difficult to
appreciate how the said statement could be said to have been brought about by
any coercion as tried to be submitted on behalf of respondent no.1. But even
apart from that the order sheet of the Enquiry Officer clearly shows that
respondent no.1 Prabhakar as well as Sajan Kumar had submitted that they have
not to give any documentary or oral evidence and that is how their evidence was
closed. Under these circumstances the subsequent request by respondent no.1 to
examine four more witnesses was rightly considered by the Enquiry Officer to be
an after thought and accordingly such request was rightly rejected. In fact on
account of the clear admission contained in writing given by respondent no.1 on
14th December 1984 the charge against him stood proved
on admission and the only question that remained to be considered was about the
nature of punishment to be imposed on him. When respondent no.1 was guilty of
misappropriation of such a large amount of Rs.21,000/- and odd for couple of
months it could not be said that the punishment of dismissal as imposed on him
was in any way uncalled for or was grossly disproportionate to the nature of
the misconduct proved against respondent no.1. For all these reasons the order
of the High Court cannot be sustained and is, therefore, quashed and set aside.
The writ petition filed in the High Court will stand dismissed. However, in the
facts and circumstances of the case there will be no order as to costs.