Decided on January 01,1997

STATE OF H.P. Respondents


M.SRINIVASAN,C.J. - (1.)The petitioner herein was a Manager of the third respondent society. A proceeding was instituted under section 69 (1) of the Co -operative Societies Act as the District Audit Officer reported misappropriation of the funds of the society. On inquiry it is found that several persons including the petitioner were guilty of breach of trust, willful negligence or fraudulently retaining money or other property belonging to the Federation. In so far as the petitioner was concerned, by order dated 16 -11 -1979 a notice was given to him whereby he was given an opportunity to pay the amounts -in the event of non -recovery from the persons mentioned in the said order. That was followed by another communication dated H -10 -1979. Once again an opportunity was given to him under section 69 (2) of the Act. He was called upon to explain his position in person before the Joint Registrar Co -operative Societies on 14th November, 1979. The petitioners explanation was considered and an order was passed by the Joint Registrar holding that the petitioner was liable to pay a sum of Rs. 8,000 with an interest at 10% thereon as his explanation was not satisfactory. He was held responsible for the loss caused to the society indirectly through his poor management to the Federation.
(2.)Petitioner filed an appeal under section 93 (I) (a) to the Secretary Co -operation, During the pendency of the appeal a report was called for from the Deputy Registrar, Co -operative Society. The report disclosed that a cheque dated 27 -3 -1976 drawn on Kangra Central Co -operative Bank, Una favoring Shri Ashok Kumar or bearer was encashed by the petitioner herein on 29 -3 -1976 and the cheque or amount drawn against the cheque was not found entered in the Photostat copy of the cash book entries dated 29 -3 -1976. That cheque was found to be on the basis of alleged involvement of the petitioner in the embezzlement case of Rs. 8,000. The petitioner was given an opportunity to put forward his contentions against the said report of the Deputy Registrar. Thereafter the Deputy Secretary (Co -operation) considered the appeal and passed an order on 3 -3 -1987 holding him guilty and directing recovery of the amount from the petitioner alongwith interest at 10% w. e. f. 29 -3 -1976.
3, It is the said order which is challenged in this writ petition. At the out set it can be pointed out that there is no error apparent on the face of the record. There is no error in the procedure adopted by the authority. The petitioner was given as many opportunities as he wanted to give his explanation. Even at the stage of the appeal before the Secretary, the petitioner was given another opportunity by allowing him to make representation against the report of the Deputy Registrar. After considering all the materials on record, the Deputy Secretary came to the conclusion that the petitioner is guilty. We do not find any error whatever in the order passed by the Deputy Secretary.

4 It is too well settled by now that the jurisdiction of this court under Article 226 of the Constitution is limited and it is not an appellate jurisdiction.

(3.)The Supreme Court as early as in 1963 in State of Andhra Pradesh and others v. S. Sree Rama Rao, AIR 1963 SC 1723, held : "7.......... The High Court is not constituted in a proceeding under Article 226 of the Constitution a Court of appeal over the decision of the authorities holding a departmental enquiry against a public servant. It is concerned to determine whether the enquiry is held by an authority competent in that behalf, and according to the procedure prescribed in that behalf, and whether the rules of natural justice are not violated, Where there is some evidence, which the authority entrusted with the duty to hold the enquiry has accepted and which evidence may reasonably support the conclusion that the delinquent officer is guilty of the charge, it is not the function of the High Court in a petition for a writ under Article 226 to review the evidence and to arrive at an independent finding on the evidence. The High Court may undoubtedly interfere where the departmental authorities have held the proceedings against the delinquent in a manner inconsistent with the rules of natural justice or in violation of the statutory rules prescribing the mode of enquiry or where the authorities have disabled themselves from reaching a fair decision by some considerations extraneous to the evidence and the merits of the case or by allowing themselves to be influenced by irrelevant considerations or where the conclusion on the very face of it is so wholly arbitrary and capricious that no reasonable person could ever have arrived at that conclusion or on similar grounds. But the departmental authorities are, if the enquiry is otherwise properly held, the sole judges of facts and if there be some legal evidence on which their findings can be based, the adequacy or reliability of that evidence is not a matter which can be permitted to be canvassed before the High Court in a proceeding for a writ under Article 226 of the Constitution -

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