Decided on May 04,2012

Pramod Singh Respondents


BARIN GHOSH,.J. - (1.) IN a disciplinary proceeding initiated against the respondent by issuing a charge sheet, it was alleged that the respondent remained absent unauthorizedly for a long period of time, in intervals. Respondent in his reply contended that absence was required to attend medical requirements of the respondent. He purported to contend that his medical requirements were also brought to the notice of his superior officers and, accordingly, the subject absence could not be treated as unauthorized absence, instead, the absence should have been adjusted with leave available to the respondent, or by granting special leave to him. These contentions required the charge sheet to be enquired into and, accordingly, an Enquiry Officer was appointed. Before the Enquiry Officer, the respondent brought on record, various documents to suggest that, his absence was on medical requirements occurred from time to time. The Enquiry Officer concluded the enquiry, after holding a single days "Sitting, when he asked various questions to the respondent. The Enquiry Officer thereupon, submitted his report and, held out that there was unauthorized absence of the respondent for the periods as mentioned in the charge sheet. This report was accepted and, then, a disciplinary order was passed. Aggrieved thereby, respondent went before the Tribunal. Tribunal held that, since the Enquiry Officer asked questions to the respondent and, concluded the matter in one daysrsitting, the enquiry proceeding is vitiated. The Tribunal, accordingly, interfered with the order passed by the disciplinary authority and, hence, the present writ petition.
(2.) WHEN an Enquiry Officer is appointed, the Enquiry Officer becomes obliged to find out the truth and substance of the allegations made in the charge sheet. He, accordingly, acts in course of enquiry in the same capacity as that of a court. It cannot be held, therefore, that the Enquiry Officer was not entitled to ask questions from the respondent. In the event, an enquiry can be concluded in one single sitting, it is not necessary to unnecessarily prolong the enquiry. Because the enquiry was concluded in one days sitting, it cannot be said that the enquiry is vitiated. There is no finding by the Tribunal that, while concluding the enquiry in a days sitting, the Enquiry Officer did not do a thing, which was required to be done by him in course of enquiry. At the same time, it does not appear that, the Tribunal went into the contention, as was also raised in the claim petition, that the decision of the Enquiry Officer is contrary to the records of the enquiry, inasmuch as, the respondent had brought on record sufficient material to show that his absence was due to medical requirements. We, accordingly, feel that the matter must be remitted back to the Tribunal for de novo consideration. We, accordingly, allow the writ petition, set aside the order of the Tribunal and, remit the claim petition back to the Tribunal for de novo consideration.;

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