V SUBASH CHANDRA DAS Vs. INSPECTOR OF POST OFFICES TRIVANDRUM NORTH SUB DIVISION
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
V.SUBASH CHANDRA DAS
INSPECTOR OF POST OFFICES, TRIVANDRUM, NORTH SUB DIVISION
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(1.) The question referred for decision is the ambit of the representation that a Government servant is entitled to make on the penalty proposed under clause (2) of Art.311 of the Constitution. That the representation can be only on the basis of the evidence adduced at the inquiry into the charges framed against him is clear from the wording of the clause itself.
(2.) Clause (1) of Art.311 provides that no person who is a member of a civil service of the Union or an all India service or a civil service of a State or holds a civil post under the Union or a State shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed. And clause (2), after its amendment by the Constitution [Fifteenth Amendment] Act, 1963, and omitting the proviso thereto which is not material to the case before us, reads as follows:
"No such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges and where it is proposed, after such inquiry, to impose on him any such penalty until he has been given a reasonable opportunity of making representation on the penalty proposed, but only on the basis of the evidence adduced during such inquiry:"
(3.) What clause (2) of Art.311 stipulates is 'a reasonable opportunity of making representation on the penalty proposed". Such an opportunity should naturally permit not only a representation that the penalty proposed is excessive in quantum or character but also a representation that he is innocent of the charges and that the penalty proposed should not hence be imposed at all. That such is the ambit of the representation that can be made is clear from the following passage in Khem Chand v. Union of India, AIR 1958 SC 300 :
"In order that the opportunity to show cause against the proposed action may be regarded as a reasonable one, it is quite obviously necessary that the government servant should have the opportunity, to say, if that be his case, that he has not been guilty of any misconduct to merit any punishment at all and also that the particular punishment proposed to be given is much more drastic and severe than he deserves. Both the pleas have a direct bearing on the question of punishment and will be put forward in showing cause against the proposed punishment.";
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