V B PATEL Vs. STATE OF GUJARAT
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
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(1.) The main grievance of the petitioner - a public servant in the present petition is that before the impugned orders of dismissal Annexures M and N both dated 18th March 1576 were passed against him he was not given the copies of the previous statements made by the important witnesses who deposed against the petitioner and hence it was impossible for the petitioner to confront the said witnesses with their prior statements which resulted in the loss or the petitioners valuable right to cross-examine the witnesses who deposed against him in the departmental inquiry. On these premises the grievance of the petitioner is that the entire departmental inquiry suffers from the vice of not respecting the rules of natural justice as held by the Supreme Court in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Chintaman Sadashiva A.I.R. 1961 Supreme Court 1623 wherein it is observed inter alia that Stating it broadly and without intending it to be exhaustive it may be observed that rules of natural justice require that a party should have the opportunity of adducing all relevant evidence on which he relies that the evidence of the opponent should be taken in his presence and that he should be given the opportunity of cross-examining the witnesses examined by than. Party and that no materials should be relied on against him without his being given an opportunity of explaining them. The tight to cross-examine the witnesses who give evidence against him is a very valuable right and if it appears that effective exercise of this right has been prevented by the enquiry officer by not giving to the officer relevant documents to which he is entitled that inevitably would mean that the enquiry had not been held in accordance with rules of natural justice.
(2.) But Mr. Patel the learned Assistant Government Pleader urged before me that in the instant case the petitioner had given in writing on June 17 1972 to the Enquiry Officer that he was given full opportunity for his defence and that he had no complaint in that record and hence nonsupply of Shri Patels report and the copies of the report do not amount a denial of reasonable opportunity. In substance the submission of the learned Assistant Government Pleader was that if the petitioner had any grievance in regard to the non-supply of the statements made by the labourers before Shri Patel he should not have given in writing on June 17 1972 to the Enquiry Officer that he was given the full opportunity to defend his case and that he had no complaint in that behalf.
(3.) With respect it is not possibLe for me to agree or accept the said submission of Mr. patel is it conceivable that the said writing of the petitioner of June 17 1972 should affect a very valuable and a constutional right of a public servant ? Ultimately what importance can be assigned to such a writing in the departmental proceedings particularly when Article 311(2) of the Constitution confers on a public Servant a very valuable right of having a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of any charge or accusation which may be levelled against him and that more particularly when a public servant cannot be removed except inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him. After all the submission made by Mr. Patel is of a very technical nature. In this behalf I may usefully refer to the observations made by the Supreme Court in Bennet Coleman & Co. v P. P. Das Gupta Labour Law Journal Volume II 1969 554 at page 562 the observations are as under:
" The next contention was that the respondent having signed the said receipt in full settlement of all his claims and having thereby induced the company to accept his resignation without insisting on a full months notice was estopped from making claims in respect of his leave for one month the car allowance and the free telephone and newspaper and for including the as part of his wages for calculating gratuity. Certain decisions of this Court seem however to have eXpressed doubt whether technical pleas such as acquiescence estoppel and waiver suitably apply to industrial adjudication. But assuming that the rule of estoppel as inCorporated in Sec. 115 of the Evidence Act were to apples the foundation of that rule is that it is inequitable and unjust to a person that if another person by a representation induces him to act as he would not have otherwise acted the person who made the representation should be allowed to deny the effect of his farmer statement on the loss and injury of the person who has acted on it (See Sarut v. Gopal I.L.R. 19 I.A. 203). The rule is one of evidence only and does not create any substantive light or confer any cause of action on the other. It comes into operation if a statement as to the existence of a fact has been made with the intention that the other person to whom it is made should believe and act on it and that that another person does in fact act upon the faith of it. The question whether the respondent is estopped from making his said claims may be looked at firstly as regards his leave period and secondly as regards his claims for car allowance and free telephone and news papers .It is therefore manifest that the respondent did not make any representation been he signed the said receipt that he had waived his claim for leaveperiod or that the company did any act on any such representation which otherwise it would not have done".;
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