SURAJIT CHAKRABORTY Vs. STATE OF TRIPURA
HIGH COURT TRIPURA
STATE OF TRIPURA
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Akil Kureshi,J. -
(1.) This petition needs to be disposed of on a short ground. Petitioner was appointed as a Store-Keeper when a charge-sheet was issued to him alleging that he was responsible for missing stock of rice valued at Rs.8,72,937/-. The inquiry officer held that the charge was not proved. However, the disciplinary authority one Dr. D. Basu, IAS, Additional Secretary and Director, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department first issued a show-cause notice why the inquiry officer's report be not accepted and recovery of the said amount be not made from the petitioner and thereafter after taking into consideration the petitioner's representation passed order dated 26.10.2018 by which he imposed following punishments:
'(i) Recovery of the amount of pecuniary loss to the tune of Rs.6,38,277/- (Rupees six lakh thirty-eight thousand two hundred seventy-seven) only by allowing 0.5% shortage (in place of Rs.8,72,937/-), in monthly installment @ 1/3rd of his basic pay from the month of December, 2018 payable in January, 2019 from said Sri Surajit Chakraborty, Jr. Store- Keeper. The monthly recovery amount needs to be credited/transferred to the Cash Credit Account like Sale Proceeds every month till full recovery.
(ii) Withholding of minimum 1(one) periodical future increment of Sri Surajit Chakraborty, Jr. Store-Keeper that would fall due after passing of this order for 1(one) year without cumulative effect.'
(2.) The petitioner preferred appeal to the Government against the said order of the disciplinary authority. By the time this appeal was taken up for hearing, Dr. D. Basu who had passed the order of punishment, was the Secretary of Government of Tripura and he in the capacity of the appellate authority dismissed the appeal of the petitioner.
(3.) On the most fundamental ground of breach of principles of natural justice, the appellate order dated 26.09.2019 must be set aside. The disciplinary authority which had imposed the punishment, could not have decided the petitioner's appeal. If Dr. D. Basu had incidentally become the Secretary and, therefore, an appellate authority as per the rules, he ought to have withdrawn from hearing of the appeal and instead the Government should have appointed some other ad hoc appellate authority. In any case, no person can decide an appeal against his own judgment and declare that as a disciplinary authority he had committed no error.;
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