of Gujarat Vs. Gajanand M. Dalwadi (D) by Lrs.
 Insc 1307 (14
Sinha & Harjit Singh Bedi S.B. Sinha, J :
M. Dalwadi, since deceased (delinquent officer) was working in the Regional
Transport Office under the Commissioner of Transport in the State of Gujarat. He had been working in the
Department for Grant of Licence. At the relevant time, however, he was serving
in the Accounts Department as a Summary Clerk.
inspection was conducted in the Licence Branch of the Regional Transport Office
during the period 21.8.1995 to 13.9.1995.
Several misconducts committed by the delinquent officer came to the notice of
the authorities. It was found that a forged license was granted to one Narendra
Kumar who had met with an accident although at the relevant point of time, he was
possessing a valid driving licence. A chargesheet was issued against him. Upon
holding a disciplinary proceeding, the enquiry officer submitted a Report on
6.12.1997 stating that the charges against him have been proved. The
disciplinary authority directed his removal from service by an Order dated
26.10.1998. Aggrieved by the said Order imposing punishment upon him, he filed
an application before the Gujarat Civil Services Tribunal. The said application
was allowed holding that misconduct on his part, if any, was committed by him
at the request of another clerk; viz. one Dudhrechia. It was further held;
From the Department, it is submitted that Dudhrechia has denied entrusting the
work to appellant but as stated above Dudhrechia would never admit and the
submission of appellant gets credence that this is not an after thought in the
appeal but it was put to the concerned clerk at the enquiry, at first in point
Also the order is too harsh. The Disciplinary Authority must given reasons why
it is proper to pass such orders. In the Discipline Appeals and Rules providing
for major penalties step by step, the punishments are given with a view that
penalty must be inconsonance with the act complained or charges proved or the mis-conduct
of the staff. The appellant is not a chip of dead wood that he must be removed.
Also punishment such as harsh as this would also required (sic) to consider
rising an employment in the state. Not that we want to protect dishonest or bad
people but reasons must be given and satisfaction must be reached that this
punishment is proper.
learned Single Judge of the said Court allowed the Writ Petition filed by the
appellant holding that the delinquent had all the opportunities to reply to the
chargesheet and take part in the disciplinary proceeding. The learned Single
Judge held that the decision of the Tribunal resulted in miscarriage of justice
warranting the Courts intervention under the supervisory jurisdiction
conferred upon the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India
is evident that on the date when Driver Narendra Kumar met with the accident,
he did not possess a valid driving licence. In the circumstances the owner of
the vehicle Sugarmal Bherumal, could not have claimed insurance money for the
damage caused to the vehicle.
view to facilitating the insurance claim, the said Sagarmal Bherumal arranged
for issuance of a duplicate licence in the name of driver-Narendra Kumar for
the period covering the date of the accident. Indisputably, the duplicate licence
was issued by the delinquent.
the duplicate licence was obtained by the owner Sagarmal Bherumal with an
intention to defraud the insurance Company. The delinquent played an Important
role in this fraudulent scheme by issuing duplicate licence.
it was neither the function of the delinquent to issue such licence nor was it
his defence that the said licence was issued by him at the request of the
concerned Clerk Shri Dudhrejia or any other officer. Such defence was taken by
the delinquent at a much later stage in the disciplinary inquiry, though
quite possible that apart from the delinquent, there were other persons
involved in the aforesaid fraudulent scheme and a further inquiry could have
revealed the names of the other persons involved. However, merely because
further inquiry was not made, the delinquent cannot be exonerated even though
by evidence on record the charge against him has been proved.
the second charge, there is no denial by the delinquent that he had left
certain licence numbers blank while issuing the licence numbers. He has not
even explained why such blanks were maintained nor he has denied that the said
blanks were maintained with an ulterior intention to issue bogus licence at a
later date. In absence of even a bare denial, the charge has rightly been held
to be proved by the disciplinary authority. The fact that no licence was issued
in the said numbers at any point of time thereafter is of no consequence.
the third charge has been proved by the statement of the concerned persons i.e.
Shri B.K. Chauhan and Shri N.P. Ptni. It should also be noted that even in
answer to the report of the inquiry officer, the delinquent has not made out
any case based on the evidence on record. Even the said reply is evasive.
Division Bench of the High Court, however, on an appeal preferred by the
delinquent officer, allowed the said appeal holding;
the deceased Gajanand Dalwadi should have been more careful while preparing the
duplicate licence, he may have acted designedly.
all, he may not have understood the nature of work and manner of transacting it
since it was not his function since he was working in the accounts. Therefore,
the conclusions drawn by the Tribunal were justified and there could be no
reason to upturn them. (emphasis supplied)
Yashank Adhyaru, the learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant
submitted that the approach of the Division Bench of the High Court is wholly
erroneous and thus is liable to be set aside.
H.K. Puri, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent, on the other
hand, would support the judgment.
Forgery of a licence is a serious charge. It cannot be condoned only because it
has been done at the instance of a colleague, even if it be so assumed. As
noticed hereinbefore, even the employee concerned has denied that the licence
was issued at his instance.
learned Tribunal as also the Division Bench of the High Court, with respect,
misdirected themselves in law, as they posed unto themselves wrong questions. Misconduct,
of such a magnitude, when proved, cannot be ignored on surmises and
conjectures. Equity, in a case of this nature, would have no role to play.
When a forgery is committed with a view to assist a person to make unlawful
gain for himself or to cause unlawful loss to another, the matter should be
viewed seriously. The Tribunal is not an appellate authority, its jurisdiction
was also limited. It could not have ordinarily interfered with the quantum of
punishment unless it was held to be wholly disproportionate to the imputation
of charges. If ordinarily in regard to the commission of the offence of
forgery, an Order of dismissal/removal is an appropriate punishment; as has
been held in a large number of case, the same could not [(2007) 6 SCC 694].
The approach of the learned Single Judge, in our opinion was the correct one.
it was held that the delinquent had acted designedly, it could not have also
been held that he might not have understood the nature of work or manner of
transacting it, since it was not his function as he had been working in the
accounts. Finding of fact arrived at by the Enquiry Officer which was accepted
by the learned Single Judge, was that the issuance of licence, which it was not
his job, was itself a misconduct. The Division Bench of the High Court clearly
overlooked the fact that it is the positive case of the State that the
delinquent officer was working in the Licence Department prior to his transfer
to the Accounts Department and, therefore, he knew about the modalities of
grant of licence. An application for grant of licence must be processed having
regard to the provisions of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules. An application in
Form 4 is required to be filed as envisaged under Rule 14. Only, upon proper
scrutiny thereof, a licence could be granted in Form 6 as envisaged under Rule
16 of the Rules.
of a forged licence, having regard to the said provisions, is a serious matter,
which could not have been ignored on the ipse dixit of the Tribunal.
the reasons aforementioned, the impugned Judgment cannot be sustained which is
set aside accordingly. Appeal is allowed. No costs..