NILAMADHAB SAHU Vs. REGISTRAR OF CO
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
REGISTRAR OF CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES
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(1.) The petitioner was working as a Junior Inspector of Cooperative Societies under the Registrar of Co-operative Societies Orissa (O. P, No. 1). Opposite party No. 1 initiated a disciplinary proceeding against the petitioner as per his letter No. XXVI-Disc 18/72-43532/Estt. 2 (ii) dated 9-9-74 and framed the charges as mentioned in Annexure 1 to this petition. In the last para thereof the petitioner was required to submit his written explanation to the charges framed against him within 36 days from the receipt of the same to the Assistant Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Bargarh (O. P. No. 2) who was appointed as the enquiring officer in this case. From this it is evident that the enquiring officer was appointed before the perusal of the petitioner's written statement of defence against the charges framed against him or before expiry of the date of his filing the said statement. As per R. 15 of the Orissa Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1964, after the charges are served on the delinquent by the disciplinary authority, the delinquent is to be afforded an opportunity to submit his written statement of defence, Sub-rule (4) thereof states that on receipt of the written statement of defence, or if no such statement is received within the time specisfied the disciplinary authority may itself inquire into such of the charges as are not admitted, or, if he considers it necessary so to do, appoint a Board of Enquiry or an enquirng officer for that purpose. The language of sub-rule (4) makes it clear that after submission of the written statement of defence by the delinquent within the time specified for the same and consideration of the same by the disciplinary authority, or if no such statement is submitted within the time specified, then only the disciplinary authority can appoint an enquiring officer, and no enquiring officer can be appointed before that. The above view is supported by the decision in Rabindranath Mohanty s case,1975 ILR(Cut) 357. In this case before us, as stated above, the enquiring officer has been appointed simultaneously with the framing of the charges against the petitioner. That certainly is not permissible under the law. Accordingly, the appointment of the enquiring officer as mentioned in Annexure-1 has to be and is hereby quashed.
(2.) The learned counsel for the petitioner states that the petitioners has already submitted his written statement of defence but that has been filed before the enquiring officer as directed in Annexure-1. The explanation shall be deemed to be the written statement of defence of the petitioner under sub-rule (4) of R. 15. It is also seen that the disciplinary authority has framed additional charges as per Annexure-3 to this petition. Mr, Mohanty, the learned counsel for the petitioner, states that the petitioner has also submitted his explanation to the said charges as per Annexure-4. The disciplinary authority shall in an expeditious manner consider the written statements of defence furnished by the petitioner and may thereafter proceed with the matter in accordance with law.
(3.) The order appointing the Assistant Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Bargarh (O. P. No. 2) as the enquiring officer in this case is quashed. The writ application is, therefore, partly allowed. Each party to bear his own costs of this case.
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