Decided on January 21,1970



- (1.) THE petitioner jointed the service of the Hindu Religious Endowments Board on 1-4-1949. He was confirmed in the cadre of clerk on 10-10-1960. The post of inspector also belonged to that cadre. He was promoted to the cadre of Upper division Inspector on 1-4-1961 and confirmed in the said cadre on Assistants, including Inspectors, from 1-7-1966. When the petitioner was functioning as inspectors, Dharapuram from 5-5-1958 to 3-11-1959, he was alleged to be guilty of certain irregularities in the discharge of his duties. Consequently, on 14-4-1960 the Assistant Commissioner Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board (Administration Department), Coimbatore, framed four charges against the petitioner and called upon him to submit his explanation within three weeks from the date of the receipt of the charges. On 25-5-1960 the petitioner submitted his explanation with reference to the said charges. By a communication dated 6-21961 the said Assistant Commissioner required the petitioner to state within fifteen days from the receipt of the communication whether he desired an oral enquiry or only to be heard on person. Not having received any rely from the petitioner, the Assistant Commissioner sent a reminder, on 5-3-1961 asking the petitioner to acknowledged the receipt of the communication dated 6-2-1961. On 16-3-1961 the petitioner acknowledged the receipt of the communication dated 62-1961. Notwithstanding this acknowledgment, the petitioner did not inform the assistant Commissioner whether he wanted an oral enquiry or to be heard only in heard only in person. Under these circumstances, the Assistant Commissioner on 30-9-1961 came to the conclusion, as a result of a perusal of the explanation of the petitioner and the records, that the charges framed against the petitioner were established. He was of the view that, as punishment, increment might to be stopped for a period of one year with cumulative effect and he also recommended that the Commissioner might be addressed to revert the petitioner as a clerk and never to post as Inspector in view of the fact that he was thoroughly unreliable, the Assistant Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (Administration) Department, Tirunelveli sent a communication dated 19-10-1961 enclosing a copy of the report of the Assistant Commissioner, Coimbatore, and stating: "the following punishments have been proposed to be awarded: (i) To withhold the increment for one year with cumulative effect; (ii) To revert the incumbent as clerk and never to post him as inspector as he is thoroughly unreliable. Sri E. S. Athithyaraman, Inspector, Tuticorin is requested to show cause within one month from the date of receiving this communication why the above said two punishments should not be awarded to him. If no explanation is received within the stipulated time, orders will be passed on materials available. "
(2.) THIS communication came to be sent by the Assistant Commissioner, tirunelveli, because at that time the petitioner was working under him as inspector, Tuticorin. The petitioner sent his explanation of 14-12-1961 with reference to the finding of the Assistant Commissioner, Coimbatore. Subsequent to this date till August, 1965, the petitioner did not hear anything about the matter. However, during this interval, by an order dated 1-4-1963 the temporary promotion of the petitioner to the post of Upper Division Clerk was regularised with effect from 1-4-1961. While so, the petitioner of 25-8-1965 received a communication D/-20-8-1965 from the Assistant Commissioner, ramanathapuram at Madurai, since the petitioner was at that time working as inspector, Sivaganga. The said communication is as follows: ''sub: Disciplinary proceedings--against Sri E. S. Athithyaraman--former inspector--Dharapuram Devasthanam--charges framed--Explanation-Enquiry--Notice--sent. Ref: 1. From the Assistant Commissioner, H. R. and C. E. , Coimbatore Rc. 1903/61-A1, dated 30-9-1961. 2. Rc. No. 10931/61 A5, dated 19-10-1961 of the Assistant commissioner, Tirunelveli, issued to Sri E. S. Athithayaraman, former inspector, Tuticorin.
(3.) FROM Sri E. S. Athithyaraman, Explanation dated 14-12-1961 and other connection records. An enquiry into the above matter will beheld by the Assistant commissioner, Ramnad at Madurai at his office at 9, Gokhale Street, tallakulam, Madurai-2 at 3 p. m. on 1-9-1965. Sri E. S. Athithyaraman, now Inspector, H. R. and C. E. , Sivaganga, is required to appear before the asst. Commissioner at the time of enquiry on the above said date. " 3. The petitioner appeared before the said Assistant Commissioner as required by the said communication, on 1-9-1965, but no enquiry as mentioned in the said communication was conducted by the Assistant Commissioner. Subsequently by an order dated 5-7-1966 the Commissioner confirmed the petitioner in the cadre of assistant (including Inspector) from 1-7-1966. Thereafter a communication dated 4-11-1967 was sent by the Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable endowments (Administration Department), Madras, calling upon the petitioner to show cause why the punishment of reduction from the rank of Assistant (including inspector) to that of clerk should not be imposed on the petitioner. This communication referred to the finding of the Assistant Commissioner, Coimbatore, dated 30-9-1961 and the explanation of the petitioner dated 14-12-1961. On 1812-1967 the petitioner sent his explanation. In that explanation he pointed out that inasmuch as the Commissioner had found that all the charges had been proved and as it was unlikely that the Commissioner would arrive at the finding of 'not guilty' on repetitious contentions', and the opportunity given to the petitioner was also limited in its scope, he was anxious to pled for the reduction in the quantum of punishment proposed. He also stated that he had already submitted his explanation to the charges on 25-5-1960 and a further explanation on 14-121961 denying the charges categorically and he craved leave of the Commissioner that the said explanation might be read as part and parcel of his representations. He once again pleaded that the charges did not stand scrutiny. After considering this explanation of the petitioner, the Commissioner, on 10-7-1968 passed an order reducing the petitioner from the rank of Assistant (including Inspector) to that of the clerk. The Commissioner pointed out that the charges had been completely examined by the Assistant Commissioner and after going through the explanation submitted by the delinquent (petitioner herein) the Assistant commissioner had come to the conclusion that all the charges had been proved. He was, further, of the view that a careful reading of the findings, of the Assistant Commissioner, Coimbatore, dated 30-9-1961, established beyond doubt that the petitioner had not only been negligent in his duties, but on the contrary, he was submitting reports without any reference to the real facts and that he was also suppressing facts. It is to quash this order of the Commissioner that the present writ petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India has been filed.;

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