Deputy Registrar, Co-Operative Societies, Faizabad. Vs. Sachindra Nath Pandey
& Ors  INSC 144 (21 February 1995)
Reddy, B.P. (J) Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J) Manohar Sujata V. (J)
1995 SCC (3) 134 JT 1995 (2) 407 1995 SCALE (1)848
Leave granted. Heard counsel for the parties.
This appeal is preferred against the judgment of a learned Single Judge of the
Allahabad High Court (Lucknow Bench) allowing the writ petition filed by the
first respondent herein.
first respondent was appointed as a Co-operative Supervisor in 1961. In August
1976, he was working as Seed Store Incharge-cum-Secretary, Sahkari Sangh, Raniwan.
On 19th August, 1976 he was transferred to Gonda, but he
did not hand over the charge. It is alleged that he took the records of the
society with him and absconded.' On inspection of the Raniwan Seed Store in
October 1976, the irregularities and misappropriation allegedly committed by
the respondent came to light. A FIR was lodged against the first respondent for
criminal breach of trust in November 1976 and on 13.12.1976, the first
respondent was placed under suspension pending inquiry into charges against
him, 409 and an Inquiry Officer appointed. Memo of charges was issued to the
first respondent but the case of the appellant is that it could not be served
upon the first respondent because he was avoiding service and did not also
co-operate in the conduct of the inquiry. Ultimately the first respon- dent was
dismissed by an order dated 20th April, 1978
made by the Deputy Registrar. The respondent filed an appeal but while the
appeal was pending he filed a writ petition in the High Court and requested for
dismissal of his appeal as withdrawn. The Appellate Authority, however,
dismissed the appeal on merits.
4. On 15th January, 1992 the High Court allowed the writ
petition (W.P.No.2990 of 1979) on the only ground that a copy of the Inquiry
Officer's Report was not furnished to the first respondent before dismissing
him and that it is a violation of the principle of natural justice. Reliance
was placed upon the decision of this Court in Union of India and Others v. Mohd.
Ramzan Khan (1991 (1) SCC 588). On an appeal being preferred by the appellant
against that order, this Court set aside the Judgment of the High Court and
remitted the matter for disposing of the writ petition afresh after considering
the other grounds raised by the first respondent. It is then that the impugned
order was made on 7th
allowing the writ petition again.
only ground on which the High Court has allowed the writ petition on this
occasion is that the Inquiry Officer ought to have held an inquiry "by
recording the statements of witnesses and send his report to the Disciplinary
Authority" even if the first respondent failed to co-operate with the
Inquiry Officer. Since it was not done, the order of dismissal has been held to
learned counsel for the appellant submits that in this case the first
respondent adopted a course of total noncooperation and procrastination and
that inspite of repeated opportunities being given he did not respond or
participate in the inquiry. The first respondent did not even care to file an
explanation or reply to the memo of charges. In the circumstances, the authorities
had no option but to hold that the charges are proved. Even after the report of
the Inquiry Officer was submitted, a number of opportunities were given which
he again failed to avail of.
submitted that though the whole history of the case has been set out in the
counter affidavit filed in the High Court, the learned Judge did not notice any
of those facts and yet allowed the writ petition on an untenable ground.
further contended that according to Regulation 68 of the Cooperative Federal Authority
(Business) Regulations, 1976, it was not obligatory upon the Inquiry Officer to
record the evidence of the witnesses where the first re- spondcnt did neither
submit a reply nor an explanation to the memo of charges. Though he was
apprised of the inquiry, he did not care to attend inspite of repeated
such a situation, he cannot complain of not recording the evidence of witnesses
and other evidence, it is submitted.
the other hand, Shri Raju Ramachandran, learned counsel for the first
respondent submitted that it is not a case where the first respondent refused
or failed to submit his reply/explanation to the memo of charges but that he
could not do so in view of the refusal of the authorities to grant him
inspection of the relevant documents. Learned counsel submitted that the charge
of non-co-operation is 410 unsustainable in the facts and circumstances of the
also impressed upon us that though the proceedings against the first respondent
were initiated as far back as 1978, proceeding in that behalf arc still
continuing even after the expiry of about 16 years.
a perusal of charges, we find that the charges are very serious. We arc,
therefore, not inclined to close the matter only on the ground that about 16 years
have elapsed since the date of commencement of disciplinary proceedings, more
particularly when the appellant alone cannot be held responsible for this
delay. So far as the merits are concerned, we regret to say that the High Court
has not dealt with the submission of the appellant - that inspite of being
given a number of opportunities the first respondent has, failed to avail of
them. If the appellant's allegta- tions are true then the appellant cannot be fitulted
for not holding a regular inquiry (recording the evidence of witnesses and so
on). The High Court has assumed, even without referring to Regulation 68
aforesaid that holding of an oral inquiry was obligatory. Indeed, one of the
questions in the writ petition may be the interpretation of Regulation 68. On
facts, the first respondent has his own version. In the circumstances, the writ
petition could not have been allowed unless it was held that the appellant's
version of events is not true and that the first respondent's version is true.
In the circumstances, we have no alternative but to set aside the order under
appeal and remit the matter to the High Court once again for disposal of the
writ petition afresh in the light of the observations made herein. Since the
matter is a very old one it is but appropriate that the matter is dealt with
it would be appropriate if the Court looks into the records relating to the
disciplinary proceedings also.
appeal is accordingly allowed with the above directions. No costs.