Decided on December 04,1968



- (1.) THE petitioner was in the service of the Southern Railway as a second fireman attached to the loco-shad in Mettupalayam station. He was removed from service by the order Ex. P. 5 dated 30 June 1965 passed by the Divisional Personnel Officer, Olavakkot on his having been found guilty of the charge of absenting from duty unauthorizedly from the afternoon of 8 September 1964 onwards. The petitioner filed an appeal before the Divisional Superintendent, Olavakkot, but the appeal petition was reject-ed by the latter authority by his proceedings dated 22 October 1965 evidenced by Ex. P. 7. A further representation was made by the petitioner before the same authority in the nature of a review application, but that was also rejected as per Ex. P. 9 order dated 14 March 1966. The petitioner has thereupon come up to this Court seeking to quash the aforesaid orders evidenced by Exs. P. 5, P. 7 and P. 9.
(2.) THE main contention advanced before me by the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that the enquiry help against his client was vitiated by clear contravention of the principles of natural justice and that the consequential order passed by the disciplinary authority based on the result of such enquiry must, therefore, be quashed. It is farther contended that there has not been a proper consideration of the report at the enquiry and an independent appreciation of the evidence by the disciplinary authority after applying his mind to the relevant factors as is required by Rule 171. 3 of the Conduct and Discipline Rules governing the railway establishment.
(3.) EXHIBIT P. 1 is the statement of charge framed against the petitioner and it is seen there from that the crux of the charge was that the petitioner while functioning as a second fireman at Mettupalaym absented from duty unauthorizedly on 8 September 1964 and was continuing to absent himself from that date onwards until the duet of framing of the charge, namely, 31 October 1984. In the statement of allegations contained in Ex. P. 1 it is stated that the petitioner was to pick up his duties on 8 September 1964 at 15-15 hours but had failed to turn up for duty and was absenting himself from duty from that date onwards. It is further stated that even though a notice was issued to the petitioner directing him to resume duty and it was tendered to him by a messenger, the petitioner deliberately refused to accept it. An oral enquiry was conducted by the Assistant Personnel Officer on 13 April 1965 after due notice to the petitioner. At this enquiry five witness were examined in the petitioner's presence, namely, head train examiner, timekeeper, loco khalasi, one shunter and one call boy, all attached to the Mettupalayam Railway Station. The petitioner was given due opportunity to cross-examine all these wit-nesses. Exhibit P. 3 is the report of enquiry drawn up by the inquiry officer and therein he has recorded a finding that it had been proved that the petitioner was absenting himself from duty unauthorizedly from the afternoon of 8 September 1964 onwards. The disciplinary authority to whom the report had been submitted by the inquiry officer tentatively agreed with the finding of guilt arrivad at by the latter and issued to the petitioner the notice Ex. P. 4 dated 31 May 1965 calling upon him to show cause why he should not be removed from service. The petitioner submitted his explanation in response thereto and after considering the point raised therein the disciplinary authority passed the order Ex. P. 5 removing the petitioner from service.;

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