S GOVINDA MENON Vs. STATE OF KERALA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA
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(1.)IN this writ petition, Mr. M. K. Nambiar, learned counsel for the petitioner, challenges as illegal and void, the order Ex. P-11, passed by the State Government on 8-3-1963 placing, under suspension, the petitioner, who was at the material time, the 1st Member of the Board of Revenue, in the State. The order shows that the petitioner has been placed under suspension under Rule 7 of the All India services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1955, till the disciplinary proceedings initiated against the petitioner are completed. It is necessary to state the matters which are mentioned in the order, Ex. P-11, which will show, the circumstances under which the State Government decided to take action under Rule 7.
(2.)IT is mentioned that the Government have received several petitions containing serious allegations of official misconduct against the petitioner who is a member of the Indian Administrative Service and the First Member of the Board of Revenue and was also formerly Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (Administration ). Preliminary enquiries are stated to have been conducted into the allegations and they reveal prima facie, according to the State Government, that the officer is guilty of corruption, nepotism and other irregularities of a grave nature. They also refer to certain comments made by a learned Judge of this court, on the conduct of the petitioner as Commissioner, in O. P. No. 2306 of 1962, in which, judgment was delivered on 12th February 1963.
(3.)AFTER adverting to the observations of the High Court that the affairs regarding the disposal of valuable forest lands belonging to a religious institution known as the Pulpulli Devas-wom, reveal a very disquieting state of affairs and, that due notice will have to be taken by the competent authority in the interest of public administration and in the preservation of the forest wealth, no less than in the interest of the institution itself, Ex. P-u proceeds to state that the judgment in the said original petition, and the preliminary report of the X-Branch Police, have disclosed the following grave charges of serious irregularity and official misconduct on the part oi the accused officer :
1. "notwithstanding the provisions in the Madras Hindu Religious and charitable Endowment Act and the Rule issued thereunder, the accused officer had in several cases initiated proposals for the disposal of valuable properties belonging to several Devaswoms and then sanctioned those proposals under Section 29 of the Act. 2. One of the persons to whom the accused officer had sanctioned the lease of 200 acres of land belonging to the Pulpally Devaswom, was his own direct nephew. The action of the officer was contrary to the provision in Rules 3 of the AH India Services (Conduct) Rules 1954 which enjoin every member to maintain absolute integrity in official matters. 3. The accused officer after obtaining applications from persons, in whose favour he had sanctioned the grant of leases made out applications in their name in forms cyclostyled in his office (even making corrections in the applications in his own handwriting) and forwarded them to the "fit person" for signature and transmission to the Collector for sanction to fell the trees on the land. The accused officer also made his Personal Assistant to write a D. O. letter to the Personal Assistant to the Collector to see that applications were granted. The accused officer thereby interfered with the District Collector who was his subordinate officer, in the discharge of his statutory responsibilities. The accused officer also permitted persons whose leases applications were pending sanction by him, to enter upon the lands, construct sheds and post watchmen. He had also interested himself in the actual allocation of the lands between the several nominees and demarcated on a sketch prepared for the purpose, the particular portions to be given to each".
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