S. B. Sinha, J. -
(1.)The appellant herein was appointed as an Inspector by the first respondent. He was at the material time posted at Hisar. He issued four insurance cover notes in favour of one M/. Aman Singh Munshi Lal (firm) on 21-10-1976. The payment in respect of all four cover notes was made by one cheque. The three cover notes were issued against goods to be transported through railways and one cover note for the goods to be transported by road. The cover notes were despatched from Hisar to its divisional office at Sirsa which were received on 23-10-1976. On 22-10-1976 bales of cotton despatched by the firm caught fire. The appellant was on leave from 23-10-1976 to 30-10-1976. He was in Chandigarh on 23-10-1976. The said firm raised a claim in respect of the loss of goods suffered by it in the said incident of fire.
(2.)However, in respect of the said incident a disciplinary proceeding was initiated against the respondent on or about 11-1-1978 on an allegation of antedating one insurance cover note for Rs. 1 lakh after the said fire broke out on 22-10-1976 which is said to have been issued on 31-10-76. In the departmental proceedings the Enquiry Officer found him guilty of the said charge, whereupon he was removed from service by an order of the Disciplinary Authority dated 24-7-79. No second show cause notice however, was served upon him. He preferred a departmental appeal in terms of Rule 37 of the General Insurance (Conduct, Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1975 (Rules). The said appeal was dismissed by an order dated 29-9-1980.
(3.)In the meanwhile, the firm filed a suit against the respondent herein for recovery of the insured sum of Rs. 1,22,795.64. The appellant herein was also impleaded as a party defendant therein. In the said suit, inter alia, the following issues were framed :
"2. Whether valid contract of insurance was entered into between the plaintiff and defendant No. 1 through deft. No. 2
3. Whether the contract of insurance entered into between the plaintiff firm and defendant No. 1 through cover note No. 09643 dated 21-10-76 is void abinitio having been obtained in collusion with defendant No. 2 after the destruction of the goods through fire."