Friday, November 2, 2012

OA 245 / 2009 on ?????????



TODAY, THIS THE ......... DAY OF .................., 2011


HON'BLE SHRI V. AJAY KUMAR             ...         MEMBER (J)

Vinod Kumar Narula,
S/o Harbans Lal Narula,
Aged about 58 years,
Working as Junior Stenographer,
O/o The Director,
Central Food Technological Research Institute,
(Council of Scientiflc and Industrial Research),
Mysore – 570 020.
R/of No.132-B, Pocket-6, MIG Flats,
Mayur Viohar Phase-III, Delhi – 110 096
(presently camping at Bangalore)                        ...                     Applicant

(By Advocate Shri B. Veerabhadra)

1. The Director,
   Central Food Technological Research Institute,
   (Council of Scientiflc and Industrial Research),
   Mysore – 570 020.

2. The Director General,
   Council of Scientific and Industrial Research,
   Rafi Marg, New Delhi – 110 001.

3. The Union of India,
   Ministry of Science & Technology,
   Rep. Bythe Secretary,
   Technology Bhavan,
   New Mehrauli Road,
   New Delhi – 110 016.                               ...                                 Respondents

(By Advocate Shri K. Ananda for R-1 and 2 and
Shri M.V. Rao, SCGSC for Respondent No.3)


Hon'ble Smt. Leena Mehendale, Member (A) :

            This OA is filed on 31.05.2009 under Section 19 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985.  It relates to a departmental enquiry where the applicant is also charged in a case of bribing.  Hence, the issue involved is, what is the effect of his acquittal on the departmental enquiry.

2.         The facts as narrated by the applicant are that he was appointed as Junior Stenographer in June, 1974, at Ludhiana, then transferred to Mysore, then back to Ludhiana in 1978 and once again back to Mysore in 1979.  On 23.2.1982, an FIR was filed in Delhi which named three private enterprises and some unknown officials of Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, and there quality control division of Delhi.  This complaint claimed that there was an attempt to cheat and defraud the Corporation by use of bogus certificates in the fabric samples of these three enterprises which were tested by CFTRI, Mysore.  When the needle of suspicion pointed at the applicant who was a Junior Stenographer to the Director of CFTRI, Mysore, a charge sheet was issued to him on 22.6.1974 (Annexure-A/2) charging that he accepted an amount of Rs.5000/- by way of motive or consideration or reward for doing various acts of omission and commission in order to favour the said three enterprises in the matter of testing of the coded samples of cotton fabrics based on fumigation sheets received from the FCI (H.O), New Delhi.  The charge in four parts, gives details of illegal gratification of Rs.500/- on 24.10.1981, another Rs.500/- on 30.10.1981, another Rs.1000/- on 16.11.1981 and another Rs.3000/- on 3.12.1981.  He was, therefore, suspended and after conducting enquiry with due process, the Disciplinary Authority imposed a punishment of dismissal vide order No.FT-19(20)/Vig/84/ 15126, dated 28.01.1986 (Annexure-A/4).  He preferred an appeal dated 3.3.1986 (Annexure-A/5) and the Appellate Authority has rejected the same vide his order No. 8(54)/86-vig. Dated 13.05.1988 (Annexure-A/6).

3.         Nearly, 21 years later, i.e., on 25.2.2009, in the cariminal case hoisted upon the applicant in SC No.137/07, the applicant was acquitted as can be seen from Annexure-A/7 which is an order dated 25.2.2009 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi.  Para 22 of the said judgment states that the statements of two approvers who are actually from the enterprises that are mentioned in the first complaint have given certain statements which are not corroborated and therefore it would not be safe to rely on their testimony.  Hence, disbelieving the testimony of the approver, all the accused are acquitted.  5 being the enterprises and 6th being the applicant.  No Appeal has been preferred against this acquittal.  Based on this acquittal, the applicant gave a representation dated (Annexure-A/8) seeking permission to report for duty and the reminder dated dated 8.5.2009 (Annexure-A/9), to which he has been informed on 6.5.2009 that the matter was being examined and further progress would be intimated to the applicant after a decision has been taken by the department.

4.         Aggrieved, the applicant prays for a direction to the respondents to consider his case for reinstatement with all consequential benefits and also to treat the period of suspension as duty period.

5.         In the reply statement, the respondents have first of all, challenged the application on the ground of limitation.  However, we are not inclined to accept this ground, because the applicant, having been acquitted from his criminal case in 2009, is within the time limit to approac this Tribunal.  The respondents have claimed that the charge levelled against the applicant was of having failed to maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty, thus, unbecoming of a servant of the Institute.  The Enquiry Officer has held that the charge is proved.  It is further claimed that both the Disciplinary Authority and the Appellate Authority have passed their orders after due application of mind.  It is further stated that the applicant was not acquitted on merit.  He was a co-accused along with five others, who all belong to the said three enterprises whose fabric samples were under question.  They all were acquitted as the statements of the two approvers were not held as creditworthy and thus, they got the benefit of doubt.  In a criminal case, the crime has to be proved beyond doubt.  In contrast, in a disciplinary proceeding, the preponderance of probability is to be considered.  Applying this test, the applicant has not tried to show any circumstance where the Enquiory Officer has gone wrong in assessing the evidence available during the departmental enquiry.  In fact, the Enquiry Officer has recorded that there was a complete non-cooperation from the applicant.  On these grounds, the respondents have challenged the OA. 

6.         We have examined all the documents on record and also considered the arguments of both the learned counsel.  We find that the Enquiry Officer has conducted a very thorough enquiry, has examined the witnesses and taken into consideration all the documents and come to a reasoned conclusion.  The Disciplinary Authority has also proceeded as per Rules and has applied his mind before passing the order of punishment.  Even the Appellate Authority has passed a reasoned order with full application of mind.  We, therefore, see no reason to interfere with the orders of both the Disciplinary Authority and the Appellate Authority.

7.         Accordingly, the OA is dismissed being devoid of merits.  No order as to costs.

                        (V. AJAY KUMAR)                            (LEENA MEHENDALE)
                            MEMBER (J)                                       MEMBER (A)


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