MIHIR KR. SANYAL Vs. COMMISSIONER OF EXCISE, WEST BENGAL
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
MIHIR KR. SANYAL
COMMISSIONER OF EXCISE, WEST BENGAL
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Banerjee, J. -
(1.)This rule is directed against a penalty of removal from service passed by the respondent No. 1 against the petitioner and the appellate order. The petitioner was charge-sheeted on 26th Oct., 1970. The charge-sheet is annexure "A" to the petition which is in the following terms:-
"Whereas it has been made to appear to the undersigned that departmental proceedings should be drawn up against you, Sri Mihir Kumar Sanyal, a Probationary Sub-Inspector of Excise, Directorate of Excise, Govt. of West Bengal in respect of the following charges, viz., (1) that you in between Jan. 1965 and Feb. 1969 acquired assets roughly to the tune of Rs. 30,857/- in the shape of landed properties purchased in your own name and in the name of your wife, Srimati Sima Sanyal, and building and rebuilding at premises No. 270, K. C. Sen Road P. S. Serampore. Distt. Hooghly standing jointly in your own name and in the name of your younger brother Sri Mohit Kr. Sanyal which were disproportionate to your known sources of income ;
(II) that during the period between 2-9-67 and 9-1-68 you in your own name and in the name of your wife Srimati Sima Sanyal purchased 213 acres of land under different (6) deeds of sale at different mouzas under P.S. Balagarh Distt. Hooghly at a total value of Rs. 10,988/90 without obtaining previous sanction of your appointing authority in violation of Rule 15(2) of the West Bengal Govt. Servants' Conduct Rules, 1959 ;
And whereas you have been serving under the administrative control of the State Govt, and for the aforesaid reasons you are prima facie liable to be proceeded against under Rule 8 and 9 of the Bengal Subordinate Services (D. & A.) Rules. 1936 ;
Now, therefore, in pursuance of clause 2 of Art. 311 of the Constitution of India read with rule 7-A and 10 of the Bengal Sub-ordinate Services (D. & A) Rules, 1936 the undersigned, is pleased hereby to require you to put in before the undersigned, a written statement of your defence within one month from the date of receipt of this order stating whether you desire to be heard in person or call any witness or to produce any document in support of your defence and showing cause why you should not be held liable for the aforesaid charges. For submitting the statement of defence, you may approach the Dy. Supdt. of Police (II) Anti Corruption Bureau, V. C. 18, Rawdon St. Calcutta-7 on any working day during office hours for inspection of documents and taking copies therefrom by giving prior intimation to him. A statement of allegations on which the charges are based and a list of documents by which and of witnesses by whom the articles of charges are proposed to be sustained are annexed herewith.
Sd. S. Mukherjee, Commissioner of Excise, West Bengal. 26-10-1970."
The petitioner applied for the relevant documents and also for engaging a lawyer for defence. On 3rd Dec., 1970 it was stated, that the petitioner's prayer for appointment of a lawyer for defence would be considered after the receipt of the written statement of defence. The petitioner replied to the charges framed against him. On 20th Jan., 1971 the respondent No. 2 was appointed enquiry officer to enquire into the charges and the respondent No. 2 thereupon by letter dated 6th Feb., 1971 requested the petitioner to appear before him. On 23rd Feb., 1971 the petitioner applied for the assistance of a lawyer. On 5th March 1971 the petitioner's prayer for assistance of lawyer was rejected. The letter dated 5th March, 1971 is annexed "B" to the petition which is in the following terms ;
"Sub : Departmental Proceeding against him:-
In connection with the above, he is informed that the period from the 25th to the 27th March 1971 has been fixed for the hearing of the departmental enquiry case against him. He is requested to appear before the undersigned at 11-00 A. M. for his defence, failing which the case shall be heard ex parte. He will bring his witness and documents, if any on the 26th March in support of his defence. Arguments, it will be noted, shall be heard on the 27th instant.
"His prayer for submission of lists of witnesses and documents after the prosecution have ensured their listed witnesses shall all be examined by them, and his further prayer that he should be represented at the enquiry by a lawyer for his defence, are both untenable, and hence rejected. The charges against him are very simple, involving no complicated question of law or of fact, and therefore the appointment of a lawyer to vindicate for him the principle of natural justice, as he says in his petition dated 26-2-71 is uncalled for. Similarly, the circumstances that the "enquiry is now being conducted by an EX-HIGHER JUDICIAL OFFICER and not by any officer of the department" concerned, cannot be any ground for permitting him to get the services of a lawyer to conduct his defence."
Sd. J. C. Chakravarti."
(2.)Thereafter enquiry was held. On behalf of the prosecution, 12 witnesses were examined including 2, who were sub-inspectors of Police attached to the Vigilance Commission who investigated the matter. The respondent No. 2 held in his report that the petitioner is guilty of the charges and considering the report, the Government issued the second show cause notice arid after considering the petitioner's explanation removed the petitioner from service.
(3.)Mr. Chakravarti on behalf of the petitioner contended firstly that no one on behalf of the respondent has proved the charges levelled against the petitioner and it appears that the onus was shifted on the petitioner to defend himself of the charges. Secondly Mr. Chakravati contended that the petitioner's prayer for legal assistance was wrongly rejected.
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