of Directors, H.P.T.C.& Anr Vs. K.C. Rahi  Insc 222 (20 February 2008)
Sema & Markandey Katju
O R D
APPEAL NO.4524 OF 2006
by the order of the High Court dated 23.12.2004 setting aside the order of the
Tribunal dated 28.06.1999 this appeal is preferred by the Himachal Pradesh
have heard the parties.
stated the facts are as follows:
relevant time the respondent was working as Inspector in Himachal Pradesh
Transport Corporation. He was charge-sheeted. A notice was sent to him followed
by a publication in the Tribune. However, the respondent did not participate in
the enquiry proceedings. The enquiry was proceeded ex parte. The Inquiry
Officer submitted his report on 22.05.1990 found him guilty of all the charges levelled
against him. The disciplinary authority after perusing the inquiry report and
after the application of mind terminated the services of the respondent by its
order dated 16.06.1994.
thereby, the respondent filed original application before the State
Administration Tribunal. One of the contentions raised before the Tribunal was
that the inquiry proceeded ex parte and the order of termination is passed
without hearing the respondent and, therefore, the order of termination
suffered from the non-compliance of principle of natural justice. This
contention was repelled by the Tribunal after examining the inquiry report and
documents holding that the respondent was served with the notice by publication
in the Tribune. The Tribunal also held that from the representation dated
09.08.1993 and 19.10.1993 it would clearly show that the respondent was well
aware of the departmental enquiry which was initiated against him, however, he
intentionally avoided service of notice and did not participate in the enquiry
proceedings and, therefore, he was estopped from raising the question of
non-compliance of the principle of natural justice. On that premise the
Tribunal dismissed his original application.
thereby, the respondent filed writ petition before the Division Bench of the
High Court and by the impugned order his writ petition was allowed solely on
the ground that no proper service was effected upon the respondent and,
therefore, there was violation of principle of natural justice.
the respondent was served with a notice recorded by the Tribunal is finding of
fact. In our view, therefore, the High Court has exceeded its jurisdiction by
reversing the fact recorded by the Tribunal in exercise of its power under
Article 226. Power under Article 226 is to interfere only when there is
miscarriage of justice or an error of law on the face of the record but not to
re-appreciate the evidence recorded by the court of first instance.
principles of natural justice cannot be put in a straight jacket formula. Its
application depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. To sustain a
complaint of non-compliance of the principle of natural justice, one must
establish that he has been prejudiced thereby for non-compliance of principle
of natural justice.
instant case we have been taken through various documents and also from
representation dated 19.10.1993 filed by the respondent himself it would
clearly show that he knew that a departmental enquiry was initiated against him
yet he chose not to participate in the enquiry proceedings at his own risk. In
such event plea of principle of natural justice is deemed to have been waived
and he is estopped from raising the question of non-compliance of principle of
natural justice. In the representation submitted by him on 19.10.1993 the
subject itself reads
stated at the Bar that the respondent is a law graduate, therefore, he cannot
take a plea of ignorance of law. Ignorance of law is of no excuse much less by
a person who is a law graduate himself.
the reasons aforesaid, the High Court fell in error in re-appreciating the
facts recorded by the Tribunal. The order of the High Court is accordingly set
appeal is allowed. The order of the Tribunal is restored. The writ petition
filed by the respondent in the High Court stands dismissed.
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