Decided on August 11,1983



- (1.) THE petitioner was employed as a peon in the office of the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies arambag, Hooghly. After a departmental enquiry the District Controller, Food, and Supplies, Hooghly compulsorily retired the petitioner with full entitlement to the pensionary benefits under the rules with effect from 1st June, 1979. The petitioner's appeal was dismissed by the Director, District Distribution, procurement and Supply, Government of West Bengal. Thereafter he has obtained the present Rule challenging his compulsory retirement from service by way of punishment.
(2.) THE petitioner's first submission is that the Memorandum of Charges dated 31st December. 1975 disclosed that the petitioner's disciplinary authority had already made up his mind and was biased against him. The charge sheet having been issued with a closed mind, the entire disciplinary proceeding against him was void ab initio. The second submission of the petitioner is that the onus of proof was wrongly placed upon the petitioner to establish that he did not possess assets disproportionate to his known sources of his income. Thirdly, it has been submitted that the petitioner's income from the year 1944 ought to have been taken into consideration and the year. 1962 was arbitrarily chosen as the basis for framing articles of charge against the petitioner.
(3.) UNDISPUTEDLY, the petitioner was not liable to be removed by way of compulsory retirement except after an enquiry in which he had been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges. It is also settled law that a delinquent officer must be told clearly and definitely what the allegations are on which the charges preferred against him are founded. The supreme Court in the case of Surath. Chandra, Chakravarty vs. The State of west Bengal A. I. R. 1971 S. C. 752, had laid down that the whole object of furnishing the statement of allegations is to give all necessary particulars and details which would satisfy the requirement of giving a reasonoble opportunity to put up defence. In the said case, the charges framed against the petitioner was found to be vague and the disciplinary proceeding was quashed on the ground that he had been denied proper and reasonable opportunity of defending himself. In my judgment in the case of of Shyam Sankar Mukherjee vs. State of West Bengal and others 1977 Calcutta high Court Notes 634, I had occasion to consider a similar submission that the charge sheet was bad because the disciplinary authority had already made up its; mind and was biased against the petitioner and, the charges contained findings of guilt. With reference to Rule 10 (1) of the West Bengal Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1971 i had pointed out that the substance of the imputations of mis-conduct and mis-behaviour which require to be drawn up into definite and distinct articles. A statement of imputations of mis-conduct or misbehaviour shall contain (a) a statement of relevant facts and (b) a list of documents and a list of witnesses by whom the articles of charge are proposed to be sustained. The ordinary meaning of the word 'impute' is to attribute or ascribe normally a fault of mis-conduct or misbehaviour. The charge framed is to give notice of the precise and specific accusation which an accused is to meet. Its object is to warn an accused of the case he is to answer. With reference to a criminal charge the Judicial Committee; had oh served that the charge is not an accusation in abstract but it is a concrete accusation of offences allegedly committed. But substance of the imputations set out in a charge sheet do not amount to findings of guilt. At the stage the charge sheet is drawn up there could be no question of recording any finding on the said articles of charge. In Shyam Sankar Mukherjee vs. State of West Bengal and others (supra), I had also recognise ed the imperative necessity of ensuring at the stage of framing of the charges the disciplinary authority does not prejudge the case by arriving at findings about mis-conduct and mis -behavious without conducting the proposed disciplinary enquiry.;

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