NATWARLAL KESHAVLAL SHETH Vs. JAMNAGAR MUNICIPALITY
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
NATWARLAL KESHAVLAL SHETH
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(1.) The petitioner is the resident of Jamnagar and he was serving as Chief Officer of Jamnagar Municipality. It appears that he was first appointed on 2 1963 as an Engineer in Jamnagar Municipality. Thereafter he was placed in charge as Chief Officer on 12-8-1971. From 14-11-1975 he served as officiating Chief Officer of the Municipality. Ultimately Jamnagar Municipal Public Service Commission made recommendation that he was fit to be appointed as Chief Officer of Jamnagar Municipality and that recommendation was made on 20-2-1976. Thus the petitioner at the relevant time was working as Chief Officer of Jamnagar Municipality. Ultimately on 27-9- 1976 Jamnagar Municipality was superseded. It appears that as the Municipality came to be superseded an Administrative Officer was appointed and he took over the charge. While he was holding the charge he had ordered the physical verification of various departments and ultimately between 5-10-1976 and 10-11-1976 physical verification of Electrical and Mechanical stores was done by the Auditor. The Auditor was helped by Store clerks and ultimately the Auditor submitted two reports; one report was submitted on 10-11-1976 and another report was submitted on 9-12-1976. As a result of the reports of the Auditor on 10-12-1976 the Administrator issued a memo to the petitioner and also to the Issue Clerk of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering Stores. In this petition we are not concerned with the memo issued to the Issue Clerk of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Stores because he is not party to this petition. In the memo it was stated that there was difference between the existing electrical-materials in the department and the books maintained for the purpose and the value of the difference came to Rs. 4 21 421 The petitioner was asked to submit explanation on or before 14-12-1976 and it was stated that the responsibility will thereafter be fixed. Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Store Issue Clerk wrote a letter on 10-12-1976 to the Chief Officer stating that the posting of several issue orders was not done and the accounts were incomplete and the verification was required to be done and that he would try to complete the work by 14-12-1976. It appears that thereafter ultimately on 18-12-1976 the Administrator issued a charge-sheet against the present petitioner. Five allegations were made in the Charge-sheet. The first allegation was that the Chief Officer failed to perform his duty inasmuch as according to Rule 138 of the Bombay Municipal Account Code 1961 the physical verification of the Stores was not regularly done and that he again failed in his duty inasmuch as as per Jamnagar Municipal Committee Rule 31 he did not get the verification done of the stores from Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Stores Issue Clerk and that he did not obtain a proper certificate from him and did not submit the same to the President. The second allegation was that he did not supervise the stores which were in charge of the said Issue Clerk and pal particularly the Water Works Stores and Light Branch stores and thus failed in his duty in keeping proper control over the subordinates and that he did not check the registers Bin-cards of the Electrical and Mechanical Stores regularly and did not Sign them regularly or signed them mechanically or knowingly and thus he was negligent in his duty. It is not necessary to mention charge no. 3 because that charge is held not proved by the Inquiry Officer who was ultimately appointed. Charge no. 4 was that according to the report of the Auditor dated 9-12-1976 there was deficit to the tune of Rs 4 20 916 and though the time was given no effort was made to complete the deficit by taking proper regular measures. Charge no. 5 was that during checking on 16-12-1976 it was found that he had failed to keep proper supervision and control over his subordinates and that the Store clerks in the Electrical and Mechanical Departments had failed to give proper explanation. On that very day one Shri B. C. Hathi a retired Deputy Collector came to be appointed as an Inquiry Officer. Immediately therefter on 22-12-1976 the petitioner applied for inspection of the documents and in fact he had asked for the inspection of 20 documents and it was stated by him that for explanation the time given of four days was so short that is was necessary to extend that time. On 24-12-1976 the Administrator gave a reply and in that reply it was stated that he was permitted to inspect the documents at serial nos. 4 6 7 and 8. He was also told that the document at sr. no. 10 was given to him along with the charge-sheet. It was further stated that the documents at sr. nos. 9 11 12 and 15 will be shown to him during the inquiry. It was also stated that the documents at serial nos. 5 16 and 17 were not in existence and the other documents were not relevant. Thereafter it appears that written arguments were submitted on 21-2- 1977 On 14-4-1977 the Inquiry Officer gave a report. The Inquiry Officer came to the conclusion that the allegations at sr. nos. 1 2 and 4 stated in the charge-sheet were proved and the allegations at sr. nos. 3 and 5 were not proved.
(2.) The petitioner was given second show-cause notice on 22-4-1977 and he was asked to show cause as to why he should not be dismissed. He gave reply on 11-5-1977. After considering that reply an order was passed on 1-8-1977 and the petitioner came to be dismissed. That order is now challenged by filing this petition before this Court.
(3.) Learned advocate Shri Vakil who appeared on behalf of the petitioner submitted three points so far as the petitioner is concerned. The first point submitted was that the order was bad because the relevant documents were not supplied to the petitioner. The second point which was taken was that Shri Hathi who was appointed as Inquiry Officer had no jurisdiction and his appointment was bad. The third point which was raised was that the order was not a speaking order and it suffered from non-application of mind.;
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