Decided on June 19,1974



- (1.) The petitioner, who was working as a Grade I Surveyor, ReSurvey Party, Neyyattinkara, in the year 1968 seeks to quash Exts. P-5 and P-7 orders, by which a minor punishment of stoppage of increment for two years with cumulative effect, was imposed on him by the Director of Survey and Land Records, which was confirmed by the Government in appeal. It is not necessary to detail the facts of the case here. Suffice it to say, that the departmental superiors found the petitioner guilty of neglect of duties.
(2.) Ext. P-1 is the memo issued to the petitioner by the Director of Survey and Land Records indicating the charges framed against him and calling upon him to submit his explanation within 15 days. The petitioner submitted his explanation Ext. P-2. Thereafter, Ext. P-3 was issued on 10th January 1970 by the Director of Survey and Land Records, Board of Revenue, directing the petitioner to show cause why he should not be reverted to the next lower grade permanently, for a period of five years, for his deliberate neglect of duty. He was also directed to submit his explanation, if any, within 15 days of the receipt of the order. It was also stated in Ext. P-3 that failure to submit explanation within the stipulated period, will entail an ex parte decision against him. The petitioner was also informed whether he desired to be heard in person. Ext. P-4 is the detailed explanation filed by the petitioner praying that he be absolved of all the charges levelled against him. There was no clear statement in Ext. P-4 to the effect that he desired to be heard in person. Ultimately, Ext. P-5 order was passed imposing a punishment of stoppage of increment for two years with cumulative effect. Ext. P-5 took a lenient view of the allegations against the petitioner considering his age and chances of improvement in future. An appeal was filed against this order before the Government and the Government by Ext. P7 order dismissed the appeal. These are the two orders which are sought to be quashed in this writ petition.
(3.) The petitioner contends that the orders are bad in law, since the procedure adopted by the disciplinary authority is against R.15 and violative of the principles of natural justice. The punishment originally contemplated by Ext. P-3 was a major punishment under the Kerala Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1960, hereinafter referred to as the Rules, that of reduction in rank permanently for five years. However, the punishment imposed by Ext. P-5 order was a minor punishment under the Rules. R.15 prescribes the procedure to be followed when a major punishment is proposed. It is submitted by the learned Government Pleader that a personal hearing was not given to the petitioner since he did not ask for it in Ext. P-4 written statement. The question is, whether there is non compliance with the requirements of R.15 and if so, does it violate the proceedings since only a minor punishment is given ultimately.;

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