Decided on March 28,2018

Deepali Phukan Appellant


ACHINTYA MALLA BUJOR BARUA,J. - (1.) Heard Mr. S.S. Dey, learned senior counsel for the petitioner. Also heard Mr. N.C. Das, learned senior counsel for the respondent Dibrugarh University.
(2.) The petitioner who is a graduate engineer was initially allowed by the respondent Dibrugarh University to hold the charge of the post of University Engineer in the year 2003 and in the year 2004, she was regularly promoted to the said post. While so serving, the petitioner was served with two show-cause notices both dated 31.05.2013. The charges mainly pertain to the allegation that while undertaking the work of developing and raising the level of the land for the construction of buildings of the Dibrugarh University Institute of Engineering and Technology, certain procedural requirements were not followed while issuing the work orders thereof and the manner in which the bills were approved was also contrary to the required procedure to be followed. What is noticeable is that the show-cause notices dated 31.05.2013 were issued under Article 33(i)(ii)(ix) of the Dibrugarh University Employees Service Conditions Ordinance 2000 as amended upto to May 2007 (in short Ordinance of 2000). The petitioner submitted her reply to the said show-cause notice and thereafter an enquiry was held as contemplated under Article 32(v) of the Ordinance of 2000.
(3.) After the enquiry, an enquiry report dated 28.12.2015 was submitted before the disciplinary authority. Upon the enquiry report being submitted, the disciplinary authority being the Registrar Dibrugarh University issued a notice to the petitioner dated 05.07.2016. By the said notice, the petitioner was served with a copy of the enquiry report and was also required to submit any written representation on the enquiry report, if so desired. The petitioner was further asked to submit the reply within a period of 21 days from the date of receipt of the said notice. The petitioner accordingly submitted a detailed reply/representation vide her reply which is annexed as Annexure-25 to the writ petition. It is noticed that in the reply, the petitioner had specifically dealt with the various findings and conclusions of the enquiry report in respect of the individual charges by giving her detailed reply to the same. It is also noticed that the said reply was placed before Executive Council of the University in its 332nd meeting which was held on 24.10.2016. From the notice pertaining to item No.10 of the 332nd meeting, it is seen that in the 331st meeting held on 27.07.2016, a decision was taken that the petitioner be directed to submit her response to the charges brought against her by the enquiry committee and that thereafter, the petitioner had submitted her reply to the enquiry report and the said reply of the petitioner was sent to the members of the Executive Council for perusal and necessary action as per the communication dated 06.09.2016. It is further noticed that thereafter, the resolution No.14 of the Executive Council of the Dibrugarh University in its 332nd meeting was taken. The resolution is as follows:- "As approved by the then Vice-Chancellor, 2 (two) Inquiry Committees were constituted to ascertain the alleged fraudulent act of the University Engineer on submission of false vouchers against claimed reimbursement of expenditure incurred by the University for repairing and maintenance of various civil, sanitary, water supply and electrical works of the University and also to inquire into the allegation that payments were made for the works "Developing and Raising of Land for the proposed construction of hostel Building for DUIET (2 Nos.)" without completion of the works vide No. DU/RG/H.01.03/13/8963, DATED 09.04.2013 AND VIDE No. DU/RG/H.01.03/13/8964, DATED 12.04.2013, respectively. The Committees were requested to verify all the relevant documents submitted by the University Engineer against the advances drawn by her for the repairing and maintenance works and also to inspect the site(s) and interrogate officials/persons connected with the work(s) to find out the truth. The findings of the said Committees were placed before the 319th Meeting of the Executive Council, D.U. held on 06 May, 2013. The Council accepted the same and authorized the Vice-Chancellor to consider approval of the charges to be framed on the basis of the findings of the Inquiry Committees and directed the Registrar to serve the charge sheets to the University Engineer. Accordingly, charge notices were served to the University Engineer, D.U. vide No. DU/RG/H.01.04/13/9024-25, dtd.31.05.2013. The replies of the University Engineer, D.U. against the charge sheet notices served on her as per decision of the Executive Council in its 319th Meeting held on 06.05.2013 were placed in the 320th Meeting of the Executive Council, D.U. held on 13 August, 2013. The Members of the Council examined the replies given by Smt. Deepali Phukan, University Engineer against the charge sheet notices served on her and opined that the university administration should prepare point-wise observations on her responses raised so that a proper decision can be taken by the Council in this regard. Accordingly, the Secretary placed before the Council the point-wise observations prepared by the university administration against the replies submitted by Smt. Deepali Phuka, University Engineer, D.U. against the charges leveled against her. The 322nd Meeting of the Executive Council held on 14th March, 2014 discussed the matter very seriously and observed that for proper investigation of both the irregularities committed, an Inquiry Committee be constituted comprising members from the technical background and legal background. The Council authorized the Vice-Chancellor to constitute the Committee. The Inquiry Committee constituted vide No. DU/RG/H.01.04/14/0863, dtd. 24.12.2014 has conducted the inquiry into the charges leveled against Smt. Phukan and submitted their reports. The reports of Committee have already been sent to the Hon'ble Members of the Council for perusal vide letter N. DU/RG/A02.03/16/1585, dtd. 12.07.2016. The 330th Meeting of the Executive Council held on 27 June, 2016 directed to serve notice with a copy of the inquiry report to Smt. Phukan asking as to why the University should accept the report of the inquiry committee instituted by the university to inquire into the alleged charges. The authority sent a letter under Ref. Nos. DU/RG/H.01.05/16/1540, dated 05.07.2016 and DU/RG/H.01.05/16/1541, dated 05.07.2016 sending her copy of the report of the Inquiry Committee asking her to submit her reply as to why the report submitted by the Inquiry Committee asking her to submit her reply as to why the report submitted by the Inquiry Committee shall be accepted by the University authority. The 331st Meeting of the Executive Council held on 27 July, 2016 directed to submit the responses to the charges brought against her by the Inquiry Committees as per letter referred to above within the extended deadline to which the reply was submitted on 05.08.2016 and 18.08.2016. Accordingly, the replies furnished by Smt. Phukan have already been sent to the members of the Council for perusal and necessary action vide No. DU/RG/R.02.03/16/1754, dated 06.09.2016.";

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