Decided on November 06,1992

K. Sanjeeva Rao Appellant
GOVT. OF INDIA Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



Subhashan Reddy, J. - (1.)This writ petition is filed challenging the inflictment of punishment on the petitioner in disciplinary proceedings initiated against him. The petitioner is working as the Deputy Controller of Stores in the Office of the 2nd respondent. The Head of the Department of the said section is Chief Controller of Stores and at the relevant point of time one Mr. A.V. Cheynulu was holding the said post. During the year 1975, a Fire Engine (a non-stock item) was indented the Deputy Conservator and the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the office of the 2nd respondent, who after processing the same, transmitted the file relating thereto to the Chief Controller of Stores and the latter had placed the purchase order on 16.7.1976 for fabrication of crash tender (Fire Engine) on Tata chasis by Delhi Garage Limited at Delhi. The value of the said work was arrived at Rs. 2,02,835.00 and one of the conditions stipulated was to pay 85% of the above value to the above concern Delhi Garage Limited against its delivery of the said Fire Engine at Visakhapatnam. It is needless to mention that in a work of this nature, the expertise on technical aspects is necessary and it is stated that a Senior Assistant of Purchase Sec. of Controller of Stores Department of the 2nd respondent accompanied by Chief Mechanical Engineer visited the above firm in Delhi and certified its fitness and capability. It is not in dispute that till this point of time, there was no participation of the petitioner. The accusation is that even though 85% of value of the Fire Engine was to be paid at Vizag as against its delivery at Vizag, the petitioner had facilitated the payment to the above fire at Delhi and consequence there was a leniency given to the above concern to play with the rights of the 2nd respondent resulting in lot of delay of delivery of the above fire engine, that too, not with good quality. Along with the petitioner, the other officers including that of Mr. Cheynulu, the then Chief Controller of Stores were also proceeded against for disciplinary action. A common proceeding was held and it is not in dispute that the Chief Controller of Stores Department is the Head of the Department. The appointing authority of the said officer is the Central Government, and the same is evident by Sec. 24(1)(a) of the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 (in brief 'the Act'). But, nevertheless, the disciplinary power is vested in the Chairman under Sec. 25(1) (a) of the said Act, subject to, of course, Regulations made under Sec. 28 of the Act. Regulations are made under the said rule making power under Sec. 28 of the Act, under caption Visakhapatnam Port Employees' (Classification, Control and Appeal) Regulations, 1968". The said Regulations came into force on notification and it is not in dispute that the notification in that regard was issued and the said Regulations came into force in the year in which they were framed.
(2.)Mr. Y. Suryanarayana, the learned counsel for the petitioner, lays stress on Regulation 14 of the said Regulations and particularly the note appended to Clause 14(1) of the above Regulations, which reads thus :
"If the authorities competent to impose the penalty of dismissal on such employee are different an order for taking disciplinary action in a common proceeding may be made by the highest of such authorities with the consent of the others".
Sub-clause (2) of the said Regulation 14 empowers to specify the authority which may function as the disciplinary authority for the purpose of common proceedings; but the same is subject to the provisions of Sec. 25(1) of the Act mentioned supra. There is absolutely no clash between these Regulations and Sec. 25 of the Act, and as such I cannot countenance the contention that the disciplinary proceedings having been initiated in common against all the officers and that the Chief Controller of Stores being the Head of the Department, the Central Government was the competent authority to initiate action. There is no valid basis for such a contention. The Chairman is the competent authority under Sec. 25(1)(a) of the Act, in so far as the Chief Controller of Stores is concerned, and for the Officer lower than him, any other authority authorised by the Chairman can take disciplinary action. In the instant case, the Chairman being the highest of all the authorities, the proceedings are not vitiated and they fully satisfy the requirements of the Note to Regulation 14(1) of the said Regulations. Further, as contemplated under Regulation 8 and schedule thereto, respondents 2 and 3 have taken the approval of the Government of India also for initiating disciplinary action against the Chief Controller of Stores and that is evident from the proceedings No. VIG/VPV/7/78.Vol.II, dated 3.8.1992 of the Ministry of Shipping and Transport, Government of India, New Delhi.
(3.)The next contention of Mr. Y. Suryanarayana, the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the order of the appellate authority i.e., the first respondent herein is bereft of reasons and the same has been dismissed in a slip-shod fashion. He also contends that discrimination has been shown against the petitioner even though similarly situated delinquent has been exonerated of the charges levelled under common proceedings and that he was restored to his original rank. It is true that there is 'divergence of opinion' as regards the requirement of recording reasons. But the latest Judgment of the Supreme Court rendered in S.S. Chawla Vs. Indian Airlines, 1990(1) ALT 48 (NRC) , it was held that no reasons need be given by the appellate authority if the appellate authority is affirming the order of the disciplinary authority and not differing with the same. As such, this contention of Mr. Y. Suryanarayanana also fails. With regard to discrimination, the same can be taken as a circumstance while considering the merits of the case projected by the petitioner.

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