Saturday, November 3, 2012

TA no 229 / 2009 on ????????-2011



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


S/o Hanumanthaiah,
Aged 50 years,
No.122, 6th Cross, Further Extension,
KESARE – II Stage,
Mysore – 570 007.                                       ...                                 Applicant

(By Advocate Shri N.B. Bhat)

1. Central Silk Board,
   Ministry of Textiles,
   Government of India,
   VI Floor, CSB Complex,
   BTM Layout, Madivala,
   Bangaloare – 560 068.
   By its Member Secretary.

2. Appellate Authority & Chairman,
   Central Silk Board,
   VI Floor, CSB Complex,
   BTM Layout, Madivala,
   Bangalore – 560 068.

3. Member Secretary,
   Central Silk Board,
   VI Floor, CSB Complex,
   BTM Layout, Madivala,
   Bangalore – 560 068.                               ...                                 Respondents

(By Advocate Shri N.S. Prasad)


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

            This TA was earlier filed in the High Court of Karnataka in Writ Petition No,12429/04 and was transferred to this Tribunal under Section 29(2) of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, on 24.03.2009.

2.         The applicant was initially appointed as LDC in the year 1981 in the Central Silk Board and after promotions from time to time, was working as Assistant Superintendent in the SCPC (Seed Cocoon Procurement Centre), at K.R. Pet in the year 2000.  There was one farm worker by name Jayarama, against whom a complaint of attempt to rape was given by another casual worker as a result of which Jayarama was transferred out of K.R. Pet to Dharmapura and he had been trying for transfer back to K.R. Pet.

3.         In connection with the said Jayaram, a charge sheet was served on the applicant on 13.12.2001 containing one article of charge which reads as  below:
            "That Shri Govindaraju, while working as Assistant Superintendent at Seed Cocoon Procurement Centre (SCPC), Central Silk Board, K.R. Pet during the period from              02-05-1998 to 16-06-2001 (A.N.) (i.e., the date from which he has been placed under suspension), has failed to maintain absolute integrity and has acted in a manner which is quite unbecoming of a Government servant i as much as he, on   03-12-2000 and on 20-12-2000, demanded and accepted a bribe of Rs.7,500/- (Rs.4000/- on 03-12-2000 and Rs.3500/- on 20-12-2000) from Shri Jayaram, Time Scale Farm Worker (TSFW), P2 Basic Seed Farm (BSF), Central Silk Board, Dharmapura with a promise to arrange Shri Jayarama's transfer from P2 Basic Seed Farm, Central Silk Board, Dharmapura to P2 Basic Seedf Farm, Central Silk Board, Gavimata.  The above said act on the part of the said Shri Govindaraju, Assistant Superintendent (u/s) constitutes a grave misconduct and thereby he has failed to maintain absolute integrity and has acted in a manner which is quite unbecoming of a Government servant, violating Rule 3 (1) (i) & (iii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.  Hence the chage."

An inquiry was conducted following due procedure and the charge was held to be proved.  The Inquiry Report dated 24.01.2003 is at Annexure-'B'.  A copy of the Inquiry Report was served on the applicant calling for his explanation which was furnished on 17.02.2003 vide Annexure-'C'.  After considering the explanation, the Disciplinary Authority, viz., the Member Secretary of the Central Silk Board (Respondent No.3) passed the order on 14.08.2003 vide Annexure-'D' imposing the penalty of compulsory retirement with immediate effect.  Against this order, the applicant preferred an Appeal on 09.09.2003 to Respondent No.2, viz., the Chairman, Central Silk Board, who is the Appellate Authority, vide Annexure-'E'.  In reply to that Appeal, the Appellate Authority passed an order dated 26.02.2004 upholding the order of the Disciplinary Authority vide Annexure-'F'. 

4.            The applicant has challenged these orders of the Disciplinary Authority as well as the Appellate Authority on the ground that the witnesses examined by the IO have not conclusively established that he has taken a bribe of Rs.7,500/- from the said Jayarama.  The counsel would submit that Jayarama had a grudge against the applicant which has influenced his evidence.  The learned counsel has given details of the evidence given by all the 4 prosecution witnesses and tried to show certain contradictions or inconsistencies.  He particularly mentions about one audio cassette which was accepted by the IO as material evidence after getting vioce ownership verified from another witnesses.  But, did not go for elaborate forensic procedure to establish the same.  The learned counsel has also relied on Defence Witness No.1 Shri Bette Gowda who denied to identify the voice in the said audio cassette.

5.         The Respondents have pointed out that the Tribunal is not expected to go into the details of evidence.  The Supreme Court has held in (2007) 2 SCC (L&S) 68 in the case of Coimbatore District Central Cooperative Bank Vs. Coimbatore District Central Cooperative Bank Employees Association & Anr. The headnote of the said judgment is as under:
            "A.  Penalty/Punishment – Judicial review/validity – Interference by court when justified – Applicability of doctrine of proportionality – Held, normally, when disciplinary proceedings have been initiated and findings of fact have been recorded in such inquiry, they cannot be interfered ith unless such findings are based on no evidence or are perverse, or are such that no reasonable man could have reached."

He has also relied on another judgment of the Supreme Court reported in (2006) 2 SCC 255 on the same subject. 

6.         We have heard both the counsels and have gone through the pleadings and the documents placed before us. 

7.                  We are in full agreement with the submissions of the respondents counsel and the judgments relied upon by him in support of their claim. From the report of the IO and the orders of the DA and the AA, we find that the IO has diligently followed all the procedure and thoroughly examined all the witnesses and the documents and has submitted a detailed and well reasoned report.  We also note that the IO has to examine the preponderance of probability and does not have to prove the charges beyond all doubts.  The contradiction or discrepancy pointed out by the learned counsel for the applicant in the TA at paras 2 to 6 do not carry sufficient weightage as the IO has fully discussed why those minor contradictions can be omitted for coming to the conclusion that the charge is proved.

8.                  Even the DA has very carefully analysed the I.O's report as well as the representation of the applicant before passing the order.  Since the charge was for taking bribe from a low level staff, he has thought it fit to impose the penalty of compulsory retirement.

9.                  The AA has also carefully considered and discussed the Appeal memo as well as the quantum of punishment.  Hence, we find no reason to interfere with the impugned orders.

10.              In view of the above discussions, the T.A. Is dismissed.  No order as to costs.

11.              Before parting, we would like to compliment the IO for the quality of inquiry conducted and the preparation of the report.

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


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