Decided on April 14,1971



Sambasiva Rao, J. - (1.) This is an appeal against the order of Chinnappa Reddy,. J. dismissing W.P. No. 2540 of 1968. The appellant who was the petitioner in the writ petition was a machinist in the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation. He was served with a charge-sheet dated 4th July, 1965 and called upon to offer his explanation for two charges viz., (1) that he had committed forgery of the signature of tne Supervisor on a gate pass on 16th June, 1065 with a view to go out of the Workshop illegally and (2) that he unauthorisedly absented himself from duty from 17th June, 1965 to 30th June 1965 Without intimating the authorities. On the appellant submitting: his explanation, the Labour Welfare Officer of the Corporation held an enquiry wherein he examined some witnesses on behalf of the Management who Were cross-examined by the appellant. One witness, however, could not be examined orally at the enquiry and consequently the appellant was given the opportunity of putting questions by way of interrogatories. The answers given by the witness to those interrogatories were also obtained. Then the enquiry was closed and the enquiry officer submitted his report to the Works Manager on 16th june, 1966. Thereupon the latter officer issued a notice to the appellant on 23rd August, 1966 calling upon him to show cause why the punishment of removal from service should not be imposed on him. To this the petitioner sent up his explanation on 30th of August 1966 Wherein he reiterated his former defence. The substance of the same if may be mentioned here, is that he did not forge the signature and the opinion of a handwriting expert might be obtained. The Works Manager who was not impressed with the explanation imposed the punishment of removal. The appellant's appeal to the Chief Engineer was rejected on 14th October 1966. The writ petition was filed seeking that these orders be quashed by a certiorari and a mandamus to reinstate the petitioner in service.
(2.) The principal ground on which the Writ petition was pressed before the learned single Judge was that copies of the report of the enquiry officer and of the answers furnished by the witness to the appellant's interrogatories were not furnished to the appellant resulting in serious violation of the principles of natural justice and non-compliance with the relevant rules. This contention has failed to find acceptance at the hands of our learned brother. That was for two reasons. One is that the appellant himself never made a grievance of the fact anywhere till the writ petition was filed. Secondly the appellant was aware of the report and the answer to the interrogatories from the beginning and Was probably aware of the contents too. The latter should have been the reason for the former. In this view the learned Judge held that there was no denial of natural justice and the non-compliance with the rules had not in any manner prejudiced the appellant. The Writ petition was accordingly dismissed With costs.
(3.) Sri P.A. Chowdary appearing for the appellant demurs to the view taken by the learned Judge. He points out that this is a case of clear non-compliance with the mandatory requirements of the relevant rules and of violation of the principles of natural justice. He objects to the opinion that the appellant had probably an idea of the contents of the report of the enquiry officer and that no prejudice was caused to him. Sri Balamukunda Reddy appearing for the respondents who are the Works Manager the Chief Engineer and the General Manager of the Road Transport Corporation fairly admits that a copy of the enquiry report was not sent to the appellant. All the same he maintains that no prejudice had been caused to the appellant by the failure to supply the copy inasmuch as the records would disclose that he was fully aware of the contents of the enquiry report.;

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