Decided on September 01,1971



Venkaleswara Rao, J. - (1.)This appeal is directed against an order of our learned "brother, Gopal Rao Ekbote, J., dismissing an application filed under Article 226 of the Constitution, seeking a writ of certiorari to quash the proceedings S.T.C./ Review No. 15 of 1969 dated 17th September, 1969, of the respondent,
(2.)The brief facts of the case are as follows:-The appellant was working as a sub-post master at Pargi in Hyderabad District. Certain charges were framed against him and the Enquiry Officer found him guilty of the charge of accepting illegal gratification in cash and kind. The disciplinary authority accepted the findings submitted by the Enquiry Officer and after issuing a show cause notice to the appellant on 3rd December 1968, proposing a penalty of compulsory retirement, ultimately passed orders on 31 st D cember, 1968 reducing his salary from Rs 187 to Rs. 170 per mensem. This order was implemented with effect from January, 1909. Long afterwards and on 17th September, 1969, the Director of Postal Services issued a notice to the appellant calling upon him to show cause why he should not be removed from service as, in his opinion, the punishment awarded by the disciplinary authority Was not in keeping with the gravity of the offence committed by him The appellant sent a reply to this notice pointing out, among other things, that the Director has no jurisdiction to initiate proceedings for review at that distance of time as, according to him, they should have been commenced within six months from the date on which the disciplinary authority passed the order referred to above. He thereafter moved this Court by means of W.P. No. 3740 of 1967 for the relief stated supra. This petition was resisted by the respondent who filed counter contending, among other things, that the proceedings initiated by him for reviewing the order passed by the disciplinary authority are well within time and that the appellant is, therefore, not entitled to question the legality of the notice issued to him. The learned Judge repelled the contention that the impugned notice is liable to be quashed as having been issued after the time limited for the purpose had expired as, according to him, 'A close reading of this Rule would leave no one in doubt that what all the appellate authority is empowered to do is to review any order passed by the Subordinate authority and that the appellate authority must, however initiate the proceedings within six months of the date of the order proposed by him to be reviewed and that "it is not necessary under the Rule to pass the final order of review within six months of the date of the order proposed to be reviewed". He accordingly dismissed the petit ion with costs Hence this appeal.
(3.)Learned Counsel Sri Kordapi, for the appellant contends that the proceedings sought to be initiated by the respondent in this case for reviewing the orders passed by the disciplinary authority 'are clearly barred by time and that the learned Judge fell into an error in thinking that they were initiated within six months from the date on which the order of the disciplinary authority was made. He does not quarrel with the correctness of the proposition that when once the proceedings are commenced within the time limited for the purpose by law, the authority concerned could take any time that is reasonably necessary for completing the review proceedings and he only contends that there Was no initiation at all of proceedings for review in this case within the time limited by law as the notice itself calling upon the appellant to show cause why the penalty imposed upon him should not be enhanced by removing him from services was issued by the respondent only on 17th September 1969 i.e., very much beyond six months from the date of the order of the disciplinary authority. This contention is sought to be countered by the learned Counsel for the respondent on the ground that proceedings for review should be deemed to have been commenced even when the rscords for the purpose were called for from the disciplinary authority and not on the date of the show cause notice issued to the appellant and that as the records relating to the inquiry in this case were called for well within six months from the date of the order of the disciplinary authority, no plea of limitation is available to the appellant.

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