S.B. Sinha, J. -
(1.)This appeal is directed against a judgment and order dated March 23, 1989 passed by A.K. Sengupta J. in C.O. No. 3097 (W) of 1984 whereby and where under the said learned Judge allowed the writ application filed by the writ Petitioner/Respondent No. 1 questioning the orders of punishment dated April 8, 1983 issued by the disciplinary authority as also the order, dated November 23, 1983, passed by the appellate authority dismissing the appeal.
(2.)The basic fact of the matter is not in dispute.
(3.)The writ Petitioner was appointed as Assistant Colliery Manager in the then National Coal Development Corporation on May 1, 1958. Upon coming into force of the Coking Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1972 and Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, the name of the aforementioned National Coal Development Corporation was changed to Central Coalfields Limited, which became a company subsidiary to Coal India Limited, the Appellant herein. At the material time, the writ Petitioner was working as General Manager of Mugma Area of Eastern Coalfields Limited. Two charge sheets were issued against him, one dated March 14, 1979 (hereinafter referred to as the first charge sheet) and another dated July 10, 1979 (hereinafter referred to as the second charge sheet), which are contained in Annexures 'A' and 'B' to the writ application. The Petitioner allegedly submitted a reply denying or disputing the charges. In respect of the first charge sheet, the Respondent No. 6, Sri T.R. Jayaraman, who was the Chief Mining Engineer (C & D), Eastern Coalfields Limited was appointed as an Enquiry Officer, whereas in respect of the second charge sheet, Sm. Jyotsna Diesh, Respondent No. 7 who was the Chief Central Vigilance Commission, New Delhi, was appointed as the Enquiry Officer. It is submitted that the Respondent No. 6 found the Petitioner guilty of the charges levelled against him in respect whereof, he submitted an enquiry report dated March 27, 1982 as contained in Annexure 'E' to the writ application, finding the Petitioner guilty of the said charges, whereas the Respondent No. 7 in terms of a report dated September 7, 1982, as contained in Annexure 'G' to the writ application exonerated the Petitioner from the charges. The enquiry report dated September 7, 1982 was placed before the disciplinary authority, being the Chairman -cum -Managing Director of the Appellant company on April 7, 1983, and by a memo dated April 8, 1983 signed on April 7, 1983, he without disagreeing with the said report, and without giving any further opportunity of hearing to the Petitioner, imposed a punishment of reduction to the next lower stage in the existing time scale. However, by reason of another order dated April 8, 1983, the disciplinary authority having agreed with the enquiry report submitted by the Respondent No. 6, imposed a penalty of removal from service with immediate effect. The said memos are contained in Annexures 'F' and 'H' to the writ application respectively. By reason of the first charge sheet dated March 14, 1979, the writ Petitioner was charged with the following:
Shri Lakshman Singh, while functioning as General Manager in the Mugma Area of Eastern Coalfields Limited during the period from 11th October 1974 to 17th July 1977 had ordered/sanctioned recruitment of persons as under:
i) 13 persons in Dumka Field either at Chitra or Lalmatia or Dumka Sub -Area.
ii) 10 persons in Gopalpura Township.
iii) 5 persons as General Mazdoors in January 1977 due to damage on account of mines fire at Shampur 'D' Colliery.
iv) Appointment of 32 truck leaders at Chitra Colliery.
v) Appointment of 15 Civil Overseers at Mugma Area.
vi) Appointment of Watchman and Chowkidars at Mugra Area against the sanction for Rajpura Projects (West Borakar Project).
Shri Lakshman Singh, as General Manager, had no power to order/sanction such recruitments in view of the following circulars.
1) HQ/MD/ED/P&IR/EMP.GEN/10426 dated 23rd November, 1974.
2) HQ/MD/ED/P&IR/E -9/MP/944 dated 20th March, 1975.
3) MD/ED/12/678 dated 25th July, 1975.
In addition to the above circulars vide letter No. HQ/ED/MD/P&IR/CCP/10396 dated 22nd November, 1974 addressed to the General Manager, Mugma Area, Shri A.K. De, Asstt. Chief Personnel Officer, had intimated that vacancy should be filled up by transfer of surplus workers available at the first instance within Mugma Area and then, if required, from other. Areas of Eastern Division.
Vide letter No. HQ/MD/ED/P&IR/E -9/MP -2865 dated 14th June 1975 the Area General Manager, Mugma Area was intimated that no additional man -power had been sanctioned as the existing strength is enough for average production.
Letter No. HQ/MD/ED/P&IR/E. 1313/4279 dated 1st April, 1975 addressed to the Are General Manager, Mugma Area intimated him that recruitment of Civil Overseers made at the level will be irregular.
Letter No. HQ/ED/KD/Eng.(C) dated 7th July, 1975 addressed to the General Manager, Mugma Area had stated that it was not advisable to recruit Civil Overseers at Area Level. It was pointed out to him that at that time there were surplus workmen in other areas of Eastern Coalfields Limited vide letter No. HQ/ED/MD/P&IR/10396 dated 22nd November 1974.
Thus Shri Lakshman Singh by ordering/sanctioning recruitments of the above persons had acted in a manner prejudicial to the interest of the company and has thereby committed misconduct under Sub -rule 5(5) of Conduct, Discipline and Appeal Rules, 1978 of the Company.
Various circulars and letters issued from Head Quarters to the General Managers and Sub -Area Managers of different Areas of Eastern Coalfields Limited in general and the letters issued to Shri Lakshman Singh, General Manager, Mugma Area in particular stated that there was a complete ban on recruitment of persons by the General Managers.
These circulars and letters are listed as under:
i) Circular No. HQ/MD/ED/P&IR/EMP. Gen/10426 dated 23rd November, 1974.
ii) Circular No. HQ/MD/ED/P&IR/E.9/MP/944 dated 20th March, 1975.
iii) Circular No. MD/ED/12/678 dated 25th July, 1975.
iv) Letter No. HQ/ED/MD/P&IR/OCP/10396 dated 22nd November, 1974.
v) Letter No. HQ/MD/ED/P&IR/E -9/MP/2865 dated 14th June 1975.
vi) Letter No. HQ/ED/MD/P&IR/E -1313/4279 dated 14th July, 1975.
vii) Letter No. HQ/MD/ED/Eng. (G) dated 7th July, 1975.
Also as per sanction issued by the CMD, Eastern Coalfields Ltd. recruitment of Civil Overseers was to be done at Hqrs. and Shri Lakshman Singh was requested to send the names of the persons forwarded from the Employment Exchange to Hqr. which was not done, Shri Lakshman' Singh recruited Civil Overseers himself for his area in violation of the directives.
In the recruitment of persons in other cases normal recruitment procedures as laid down by the Chairman -cum -Managing Director, Eastern Coalfields Limited, in his circular No. HQ/MD/ED/P&IR/Recruit -ments/10426 dated 23rd November, 1974 were not followed. Letters from Sanctoria Head Quarter issued by the Chief of Personnel and other Officers as per approval of the Chairman -cum -Managing Director or in accordance with the accepted policy of the company were violated by Shri Lakshman Singh while acting as General Manager of Mugma Area.
Thus Shri Lakshman Singh, by his above acts, committed misconduct of wilful insubordination, disobedience of lawful and reasonable orders of his superiors and breach of extant rules in terms of Sub -rules 2(6) and 5(27) of Conduct, Discipline and Appeal Rules, 1978 of the company.