Madhya Pradesh HC: Principle of Natural Justice Needs to Be Followed After Serving Show Cause Notice

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The Petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India against the order of Collector of District Morena dated on 26.7.2018 which the aggrieved filed an appeal to the Commissioner of Chambal Division, Morena dated 18.12.2018 which resulted in dismissal and therefore, the Applicant approached this Court for challenging the punishment of stoppage of two increment without cumulative effect.

Brief Facts of the Case 

The Petitioner is the assistant professor and was discharged while performing his duties as invigilator on the date of examination on 01.06.2018 at the examination centre in  Saraswati Hall No.1, Govt. District Institute of Education Training (DIET), Morena. During examination, astonish check by SDO (Revenue) revealed the unfair practice by a student of DIET in 2018 examination.

Thereafter, it was alleged that the Petitioner acted in a negligent way in performing duties assigned to him which stands in violation of Rule 3 of the Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1965 and punishable under Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1966.

Therefore, show cause notice was served to the Petitioner in order to respond as on to what ground two increment without cumulative effect should not be allowed. 

The Petitioner responded to the reply but Respondent did not give any attention to such consideration and in return rejected the reply on ground of unsatisfactory. The Respondent without conducting any enquiry for such allegation contradicted the Rule 14 of CCA Rules, 1966  but otherwise passed the order dated on 26.7.2018 on stoppage of two increments without cumulative effect. 

Respondent’s Arguments 

The Counsel submits that the reply reached to the Respondent was duly considered and scrutinised in detail and thereafter, imposition of such minor penalty does not require any construction of enquiry.

Therefore, the decision of competent authority stands justified and valid through punishment of stoppage of two increments without cumulative effect.

Court’s Observation 

The Court took the reference of the Oryx Fisheries Private Limited vs. Union of India and Others, (2010) 13 SCC 427 in which the Supreme Court held that the reply to show cause notice given by Appellant but in order of Respondent no.3, cancelled Appellant registration certificate with no reference of reply because they were of opinion that reply was not satisfactory. The cancellation of such nature is non-speaking.

O.K. Bhardwaj vs. Union of India and Others, reported in (2001) 9 SCC 180, Apex Court held that the opportunity to be heard and represented with their statement or explanation with respect to charges alleged on him. If the allegations were denied by Appellant in his reply to show cause notice, thereafter enquiry must be conducted for fulfilling the requirement of natural justice.

Court’s Decision 

Under Rule 16(1)(b) of CCA Rules, 1966, it can be inferred that if disciplinary authority is of considered opinion that conducting enquiry is necessary for the purpose of allegation then in such instances, minor penalty can be imposed through conducting enquiry under sub-rules(3) to (23) of Rule 14 of CCA Rules, 1966. 

Rule 16(1)(d) of CCA Rules, 1966 mentions accusation of misconduct or misbehaviour but such facts were never revealed by the Collector, Merona rather insisted on an unsatisfactory reply to show cause notice by petitioner.

Thereafter, order passed by the Commissioner, Chambal Division, Morena on 18.12.2018 and Collector, district Morena deserved to be set aside and quashed but respondent can proceed to the petitioner after issuing the application of chargesheet.

Click here to read the judgment.


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