(Marketing) Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd. & Anr Vs. Santosh Kumar  Insc 339 (23 May 2006)
Ar. Lakshmanan & Lokeshwar Singh Panta
J U D
G M E N T Dr. AR. LAKSHMANAN, J.
(Marketing) and General Manager (Operations), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. are
the appellants before us. The respondent is a dismissed employee of the
Appellant-Corporation. The respondent joined the appellant - Indian Oil
Corporation Limited (hereinafter referred to as "The Corporation") in
the year 1987. He was posted as Assistant Manager (Operation) at Hissar Depot
of the Corporation in the year 1995. He was charge-sheeted on account of
irregular supply of High Speed Diesel to the purchasers without following the
procedure. The incident happened at Hissar Depot and 12 KL of High Speed Diesel
was supplied twice from 17.6.1996 to 19.6.1996 against the same challan by the
respondent. A charge-sheet was issued to the respondent. Eight charges were
framed against the respondent. The Enquiry Officer submitted his report which
is available at page 26 to 40 of the paper book.
Enquiry Officer found the respondent guilty of charge Nos. 1,4,5,6,7 and 8. The
other charges have not been proved. The Disciplinary Authority agreed with the
findings of the Enquiry Officer after taking into all aspects of the case into
consideration. The Enquiry Officer proposed to inflict upon the respondent the
major penalty of "dismissal" as a measure of disciplinary action
against him. All papers relating to this case, in respect of respondent, were
placed before General Manager (Operations), CDA for his perusal and orders. The
Disciplinary Authority after perusing the records and the replies submitted to
the show cause notice together with all papers relating to the disciplinary
proceedings and after applying his mind ordered for inflicting upon the
respondent the penalty of "dismissal" as a measure of disciplinary
action against him. The period of suspension of respondent was, however,
treated as suspension only.
appeal was filed against the order of penalty of "dismissal". The
Disciplinary Authority placed all the papers relating to the case before the
Director (Marketing), Appellate Authority for his perusal and orders.
Director (Marketing)- Appellate Authority passed the order rejecting the appeal
of the respondent.
against the order of dismissal, the respondent preferred Civil Writ No. 11144
of 2000 before the High Court of Punjab & Haryana alleging that even though
a detailed reply and representation was submitted to the show cause notice, the
same has not been gone into and without appreciating the stand taken by the
respondent, the Disciplinary Authority and the Appellate Authority have
mechanically passed an order affirming the penalty of dismissal upon the
other grounds had also been taken on merits of the claim by the writ petitioner
(respondent herein). The Writ Petition was contested by the Corporation by
filing its counter in the affidavit. It was also specifically stated in the
counter-affidavit about the punishment awarded to the respondent for theft and
fraud etc. and the imposition of punishment of "dismissal" from the
the High Court, a solitary contention was raised on behalf of respondent
stating that despite a detailed response preferred by the respondent herein,
the Appellate Authority passed the order dated 15.5.2000 without considering
any of the issues raised by the respondent herein as petitioner in the writ
petition. The learned Judges of the High Court had also perused the records
placed before them by the Corporation. It is seen from the impugned order
passed by the High Court that the Judges were satisfied that no reasons
whatever had been recorded in either not accepting the issues raised by the
respondent in response to the show cause notice nor had the claim of the
respondent made in the various grounds raised by him in his appeal been
considered. The learned Judges of the Division Bench felt that the orders of
punishment dated 30.12.1999 as well as the order dated 15.5.2000 by which the
respondent's appeal had been rejected are cryptic and non-speaking orders and,
therefore, the orders passed by the Disciplinary Authority and Appellate
Authority are liable to be set-aside on the ground of non-application of mind.
The High Court also held that the action taken by the authorities is arbitrary.
However, the learned Judges, while setting- aside the order of dismissal as
well as the appellate order, issued a direction to the appellant-Corporation to
reinstate into service with continuity in service with all consequential
benefits. Liberty was also reserved to the appellant
to re-initiate the enquiry from the stage of consideration by the Punishing
Authority and pass appropriate orders in accordance with law.
by the above judgment, the Corporation has come up in appeal before us.
have heard Mr. Jagat Arora, learned counsel for the appellant and Mr. Manjit
Singer, learned counsel for the respondent. The learned counsel for the
Corporation submitted that all the documentary records were placed before the
Disciplinary Authority and also before the Appellate Authority and that the
Disciplinary Authority and the Appellate Authority after perusing the entire
record and the report of the Enquiry Officer came to the conclusion that the
order of dismissal passed by the Disciplinary Authority and the Appellate
Authority does not call for any interference. The learned counsel also
submitted that the findings of fact recorded by the Disciplinary Authority and
the Appellate Authority is not liable to be interferred with and that there is
no requirement for giving detailed reasons when the Disciplinary Authority and
Appellate Authority are in agreement with the findings of the Enquiry Officer.
In support of the above contentions, the learned counsel for the appellant
placed strong reliance on the judgment reported as National Fertilizers Ltd.
and (Hon. Lakshmanan, J.) was a party. Alternatively the learned counsel for
the appellant also submitted that the direction issued by the High Court
ordering reinstatement into service with continuity in service and all
consequential benefits ought not to have been issued at the stage when the High
Court itself found that the enquiry had not been properly conducted and the
officers had not applied their minds before passing the order of dismissal.
have also perused the order passed by the General Manager (Operations) which is
available at page 51 and the order passed by the Director (Marketing) who is
the appellate authority. A close scrutiny of both the orders would only go to
show that the Appellate Authority has simply adopted the language employed by
the Disciplinary Authority and inflicted the punishment of dismissal on the
the sake of convenience, we extract both the orders available at page 51-52 of
the paper book:
have carefully gone through Shri Santosh Kumar, Emp. No. 19957, Ex-AM(Ops)
Hissar Depot's appeal dated 25.3.2000 together with all papers relating to the
disciplinary case initiated against him vide charge-sheet No. IR/1461/(N-113)
dated 24.6.97 in the capacity of the Competent Disciplinary Authority.
applied my mind and I find that Shri Santosh Kumar has not brought out any
point in his appeal dated 25.3.2000 which may warrant any change in the said
final order passed by me as the Competent Disciplinary Authority.
appeal of Shri Santosh Kumar is hereby forwarded to Director(M)-the Appellate
Authority for his kind consideration and orders.
Manager (Operations ) I have carefully gone through Shri Santosh Kumar, Emp.
No. 19957, Ex-AM(Ops) Hissar Depot's appeal dated 25.3.2000 together with all
papers relating to the disciplinary case initiated against him vide
charge-sheet No. IR/1461/(N-113) dated 24.6.97. Shri Santosh Kumar has
preferred an appeal against the order of penalty of "Dismissal",
inflicted upon him by GM(Ops.) - the Competent Disciplinary Authority vide
reference No. IR/1461/(N-113) dated 30.12.1999 as a measure of disciplinary
action against Shri Santosh Kumar.
applied my mind and I find that Shri Santosh Kumar has not brought out any
point which may warrant my interference with the said orders passed by the
Competent Disciplinary Authority. Accordingly, I hereby reject the appeal of
Shri Santosh Kumar. Let Shri Santosh Kumar be advised accordingly.
(Marketing)" A perusal of the order passed by the Appellate Authority
would only reveal the total non-application of mind by the Appellate Authority.
We, therefore, have no other option except to set-aside the order passed by the
Disciplinary Authority and the Appellate Authority and remit the matter for
fresh disposal to the Disciplinary Authority.
Disciplinary Authority shall consider the detailed representation made by the
respondent and also consider the detailed report of the Enquiry Officer and the
records placed before him in its proper perspective and decide the matter
afresh on merits. The Disciplinary Authority is directed to consider the entire
case only on the basis of records already on record. The respondent is not
permitted to place any further material or record before the Disciplinary
Authority. The order passed by the High Court is set-aside for the above
reason. We also set-aside the direction issued by the High Court ordering re-instatement
into service with continuity in service and all consequential benefits. The
Disciplinary Authority is also directed to dispose of the matter, within three
months from the date of receipt of this order, after affording an opportunity
to both the parties. The Civil Appeal is disposed of accordingly.
order as to costs.