Vivek Rusia,J. -
(1.) The petitioner has filed the present petition being aggrieved by the order dated 21.5.2018 passed by the Prescribed Authority and Chief Executive Officer, Zila Panchayat Ujjain u/s. 92 of the Panchayat Raj Avam Gram Swaraj Adhiniyam, 1993 (hereinafter referred to as "the Adhiniyam, 1993") and order dated 8.4.2019 passed by the appellate authority - Commissioner, Ujjain in the exercise of powers conferred u/s. 91 of the Adhiniyam 1993.
(2.) Facts of the case, in short, are as under :
An amount of Rs.12,51,000/- was sanctioned for Rajeev Gandhi Seva Kendra and Gram Panchayat Borkheda Pitramal was authorised as a construction agency. Out of Rs. 12,51,000/-, Rs.5,75,150/- was sanctioned by the MNREGA and Rs.1,00,000/- was sanctioned from the fund allocated to the Member of Parliament. Accordingly, Rs.6,75,150/- was transferred to the Account of Gram Panchayat.
On 28.2.2013 the construction work was started and closed on 13.6.2014. During this period, the work completed by the Gram Panchayat was measured and certified by the present petitioner who was posted as Sub Engineer of the Gram Panchayat. As per the MB/ valuation report, the work up to the plinth level valued at Rs.1,22,766/- was completed. The Gram Panchayat had withdrawn the excess amount of Rs.5,52,213/- for purchasing the steel, cement and other construction material and all the Bills/Vouchers were duly certified by the petitioner.
A complaint was made to the competent authority about the excess withdrawal of the amount by the Gram Panchayat . A two members committee was constituted to inquire about the illegality and irregularity in the construction of Rajeev Gandhi Seva Kendra as well as in withdrawal of the excess amount. The committee comprising of Project Officer, MNREGA and Account Officer, MNREGA, Zila Panchayat Ujjain visited the construction site on 19.12.2017 and found that only foundation work was completed. The documents and records pertain got construction work was demanded from Gram Rojgar Sahayak but the same was not available in the office of Gram Panchayat. Later on Lokendra Singh - Secretary of the Gram Panchayat provided the Muster, sale & purchase register, measurement book, etc. to the committee. The committee found that the construction work valued at Rs.1,22,766/- was approved and certified by the present petitioner and payments were made to five agencies for the purchase of construction material valued at Rs.5,25,355/- and an amount of Rs.49,795/- was spent for payment of labour charges. The committee gave a report that an amount of Rs.4,27,364/- is liable to be recovered from the then Accounts Officer, Surpanch, Secretary and the Sub Engineer i.e. the present petitioner.
On the basis of the aforesaid report, a show-cause notice dated 13.9.2017 was issued to the petitioner by the Chief Executive Officer , Zila Panchayat Ujjain as to on what basis, the excess money was spent during his tenure. Similar notices have been issued to the Accounts Officer, Surpanch, Secretary and Assistant Engineer of the Gram Panchayat. The petitioner submitted the reply to the effect that he did certify the work of construction completed to the tune of Rs.1,22,937/- and for the rest of the amount, the Surpanch and the Secretary are responsible as they withdrew the amount and purchased the material.
After considering the reply submitted by the petitioner and recording his statement, vide order dated 21.5.2018, the Chief Executive Officer , Zila Panchayat has held that the amount of Rs.1,19,824/- is liable to be recovered from the petitioner and in the exercise of powers u/s. 92(2)(1) of the Adhiniyam, 1993 directed him to deposit the said amount within a period of 30 days failing which the process would be initiated for sending him to civil imprisonment.
Being aggrieved by the aforesaid order, the petitioner preferred an appeal u/s. 91 of the Adhiniyam, 1993 before the Commissioner, Ujjain and the same has been dismissed vide order dated 8.4.2019, hence the present petition before this Court.
(3.) Shri Jitendra Verma, learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the impugned orders have been passed without making any inquire as contemplated u/s. 89 and 92 of the Adhiniyam, 1993. Only a show-cause notice was issued to the petitioner, but no issues were framed and no evidence was recorded, therefore, the impugned orders are bad in law in the light of the judgment passed by this Court in the case of Roshan Nargave V/s. State of M. P. , 2017 3 MPLJ 73. It is further submitted that the petitioner being a Sub Engineer has inspected the site and certified the construction work completed by the Gram Panchayat to the tune of Rs.1,22,937/- and as per the duty job, the petitioner did not commit any illegality in giving the aforesaid report. It is also not in dispute that the aforesaid work was not done by the petitioner, therefore, no amount is liable to be recovered from the petitioner.;