UNION OF INDIA Vs. SUSANTA KUMAR MUKHERJEE
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
UNION OF INDIA
SUSANTA KUMAR MUKHERJEE
Click here to view full judgement.
M.M.Dutt, J. -
(1.)This appeal is at the instance of the Union of India and the Food Corporation of India and is directed against the judgment of A. K. Mukherjee J. discharging the Rule obtained by the appellant under Article 226 of the Constitution.
(2.)The respondent Susanta Mukherjee is the Zonal Public Relation Officer in the Calcutta Zonal Office of the food Corporation of India. He had been to Switzerland on July 16, 1974 in connection with the works of some relief and religious organization. On July 27, 1974 he was arrested by Swiss police and was detained in a place known as 'Mal'. On July 31, 1974 he was produced before a Municipal Magistrate, Lausanne, Switzerland, and was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of five days including the period of detention of vie days on a charge of committing repeated thefts. After serving the sentence of imprisonment he returned to Calcutta on August 4, 1974 and resumed his duties on the next day. It has been alleged by him that he was put under detention and was convicted and sentenced illegally and malafide and was not given any opportunity to defend himself. It is alleged that at Geneva Airport while he was proceeding to the aircraft through the security enclosure, two Swiss policemen abused him and some other Indians with abusive words like "Nigger Indians" etc. and at this he protested whereupon the said two Swiss policemen became very much furious and forcibly dragged him to the Airport Police Office and took away from the Baggage Ticket and Air Boarding Ticket. Thereafter, he was put under detention in the "Mal" without any warrant and without letting him know the reason for such detention. Before the Magistrate also, he did not get any opportunity to defend himself and charge was also not explained to him.
(3.)The case of the appellant is that while resuming his duty on August 5, 1974, the respondent did not intimate the appellants about any incident in which he was involved during the period of his absence. It was brought to the notice of the Central Bureau of Investigation (Inter-pol, Delhi) that while the respondent was in Switzerland he committed repeated thefts and was convicted by the examining Magistrate of Lausanne, Switzerland and was ordered to undergo imprisonment for a period of eight days including the detention for five days awaiting trial. A Photostat copy of the order of the Magistrate has been annexed to the affidavit-in-opposition of the appellants. Upon receipt of the information regarding the conviction of the respondent by the Court of the examining Magistrate of Lausanne, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Food Corporation of India issued an order dated December 31, 1974 under sub rule 2(b) of Rule 10 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, hereinafter referred to as the Rules, ordering the respondent to be deemed to have been suspended with effect from the date of his conviction, that is, July 31, 1974 till further orders. Rules 10 (1) and 10(2) are as follows:-
"10(1) The appointing authority or any authority to which it is subordinate or the disciplinary authority or any other authority empowered in that behalf by the President by general or special order, may place a Government servant under suspension -
(a)Where a disciplinary proceeding against him is contemplated or is pending. Or
(b)where a case against him in respect of any criminal offence is under investigation,
inquiry or trial,
(The proviso is not relevant for our purpose and, as such, is omitted,)
10(2) A Government servant shall be deemed to have been placed under suspension by an order of appointing authority -
(a)with effect from the date of his detention, if he is detained in custody whether on a criminal charge or otherwise, for a period exceeding forty-eight hours;
(b)with effect from the date of his conviction, if, in any event of a conviction for an offence, he is sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding forty-eight hours and is not forthwith dismissed or removed or compulsorily retired consequent to such conviction. Explanation - The period of forty-eight hours referred to in clause (b) of the Sub-rule shall be computed from the commencement of the imprisonment after the conviction and for this purpose, intermittent periods of imprisonment, if any, shall be taken into account.
The respondent challenged the legality of the said order of suspension under rule 10(2)(b) by a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution and obtained a Rule out of which this appeal arises. It was contended on behalf of the respondent that the order of conviction and sentence by the Municipal Magistrate of Lausanne in Switzerland could not be made a ground of suspension under rule 10(2)(b) inasmuch as the said conviction was not made by any Indian Court for an offence punishable under any law in force in this country. Further, it was contended that 'conviction' and 'offence' as contemplated by rule 10(2)(b) are conviction by an Indian Court for an offence under the Indian Law. A. K. Mukherjee J. accepted the contention of the respondent and quashed the order of suspension and made the Rule absolute. He, however, granted liberty to the appellants to issue a fresh order of suspension in accordance with law. Hence, this appeal.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.