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MANAS MUKHERJEE V/S STATE OF TRIPURA & OTHERS, decided on Friday, March 30, 2012.
[ In the High Court of Gauhati, WP(C) No. 140 of 2012. ] 30/03/2012
Judge(s) : B.K. SHARMA
Advocate(s) : S. Deb, S.C. Das. S. Chakraborty, P. Roy Barman.
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    Cases Referred:Director General of Ordnance Services v. P. N. Malhotra [1995] Supp [3] SCC 226     1. The petitioner who is an Executive Engineer serving in the Tripura Sate Pollution Board has filed this writ petition challenging the very initiation of the departmental proceedings against him under the provisions of CCS(CCA) Rules 1965. According to him the said rules having not been adopted by the Pollution Control Board as envisaged under the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 the said proceedings are not sustainable in law.2. The fact of the matter is that placing reliance on the provisions of the CCS(CCA) Rules the same very petitioner had earlier approached this court by filing a writ petition being WP(C) No.161/2011. In that writ petition the plea of the petitioner against the order of suspension was that as per the provisions of the CCS(CCA) Rules the order of suspension shall not be valid beyond a particular period. Accepting the said plea of the petitioner this court by judgement and order dated 22.12.2011 allowed the writ petition setting aside and quashing the order of suspension passed against the petitioner.3. The petitioner after enjoying the said judgment and order dated 22.12.2011 passed by this court in WP(C) No.161/2011 on the basis of the analogy placed by him placing reliance on the provisions of CCS(CCA) Rules has now filed this writ petition taking absolutely a contrary plea that the said CCS(CCA) Rules are not applicable to him as the respondent Board has not adopted the said rules as required under the Act.4. I have heard Mr. S.C. Das learned counsel led by Mr. S. Deb learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner as well as Mr. S. Chakraborty learned State Counsel representing the respondent Nos. 1 and 2. I have also heard Mr. P. Roy Barman learned counsel appearing for the respondent Nos. 3 4 and 5. Considering the nature of the order I propose to pass there is no requirement to send notice to the respondent No.6.5. Section 12(3) and section 12(3A) of the aforesaid Act on which the petitioner has placed reliance are reproduced below:“Section 12(3). Subject this court is of the opinion such rules as may be made by the Central Government or as the case may be the State Government in this behalf a Board may appoint such officers and employees as it considers necessary for the efficient performance of its functions.Section 12(3A). The method of recruitment and the terms and conditions of the service (including the scales of pay) of the officers (other than the member secretary) and other employees of the Central Board or a State Board shall be such as may be determined by regulations made by the Central Board or as the case may be by the State Board:Provided that no regulation made under this sub-section shall take effect unless:(a) In the case of regulation made by the Central Board it is approved by the Central Government and (b) In the case of regulation made by a State Board it is approved by the State Government.”6. Referring to the proviso to section 12(3A) of the Act it is the plea of the petitioner that since the CCS(CCA) Rules has not been adopted by the respondent Board in the manner and method prescribed under the said proviso the provisions of the said rules are not applicable to him.In paragraph 30 of the writ petition the petitioner has stated that the Board in its meeting held on 16.9.1998 (8th meeting) passed a resolution for adopting the Tripura State Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1988 and CCS(CCA) Rules 1965 for its officers and employees. According to the petitioner mere adoption of the said rules is not enough and that as per the provisions of section 12(3A) the said adoption will not entitle the respondents Board to apply provisions of CCS(CCA) Rules as the same has not been approved by the State Government.7. The aforesaid submissions made by the learned counsel for the petitioner is totally misplaced and misconceived. Section 12(3A) speaks of the method of recruitment and terms and conditions of service (including the scales of pay) of the Officer (other than the Member Secretary) and other employees of the Central Board or a State Board. The same is required to be determined by regulations made by the Central Board or as the case may be by the State Board. Such regulation shall not take effect unless approved by the State Government. On a bare perusal of the aforesaid provision it is seen that the said provision relates to the recruitment and terms and conditions of the service including the scales of pay of the Officers and employees of the State Pollution Board and the same has noting to do with the departmental proceeding. So far as the disciplinary proceeding is concerned the respondent Board has adopted the CCS(CCA) Rules by its resolution referred to above.8. Here is a case in which the petitioner on the earlier occasion successfully filed a writ petition placing reliance on the provisions of the CCS(CCA) Rules and now has again filed a writ petition contending that the said rules are not applicable to him and consequently the departmental proceedings against him are liable to be interfered with. I am afraid such a conduct on the part of the petitioner cannot be appreciated.9. On being pointed out the above the learned counsel for the petitioner submits that in absence of any rules in the Board for conducting disciplinary proceeding the Board is not entitled to initiate any departmental proceeding against its Officer and employees. If this submission is to be adopted then in that case the respondent Board will not be entitled to initiate any departmental proceeding against its Officer and employees under any circumstances.10. I may gainfully referred to the decision of the Apex Court Director General of Ordnance Services and Others v. P.N. Malhotra (1995) Supp 3 SCC 226 in which a similar plea of inapplicability of the CCS(CCA) Rules was taken. In that case the issue involved was the sustainability of the order of dismissal passed against the Officer pursuant to a departmental enquiry under CCS(CCA) Rules. As in the instant case in the said case also it was contended that in the Ordnance Services there was no rules applicable to the disciplinary enquiries. As in the instant case in the said case also the enquiry was conducted under the CCS(CCA) Rules. The Apex court dealing with the similar plea held that the CCS(CCA) Rules are nothing but a codification of principles of natural justice and are more elaborate and beneficial than the broad principles of natural justice. In paragraphs 10 and 11 of the said judgement the Apex Court observed thus:“10. The learned counsel for the appellants submits that the respondent cannot be said to have suffered any prejudice by following the procedure prescribed by 1965 Rules. He submits that the said Rules are nothing but a codification of the principles of natural justice. Indeed it is submitted they are more specific more elaborate and more beneficial to the employee than the broad principles of natural justice. If we assume for the sake of argument that the respondent was entitled to insist upon an enquiry before he could be dismissed we must agree with the submission of the learned counsel for the appellants. We must also say that this court cannot be said to have approved the view taken by the Tribunal in that case (which is the same as in this case). In view of the peculiar circumstances of that case this court held “we are not inclined to interfere with the impugned judgment of the Tribunal.“The earlier sentence in the Judgment to the effect that” we see no ground to interfere with the reasoning and the conclusions reached by the Tribunal “must be read along with the subsequent opinion aforesaid and in the light of all the observations made.11. We must also mention that neither the Tribunal has stated-nor the respondent has suggested-that there are any other Rules applicable to disciplinary enquiries against such civilian employees which have not been followed-much les has it been stated that any such Rules are qualitatively different or more beneficial to the respondent.”11. It appears that the petitioner has filed this writ petition with a calculated design to thwart the departmental proceeding initiated against him. The conduct of the petitioner does not behave of a responsible Officer under the respondent Board. In the earlier round of litigation he took the benefit of the provisions of the CCS (CCA) Rules and now with a calculated design to frustrate the departmental proceeding against him has taken the plea that the said rules are not applicable. This contradictory stand of the petitioner can not be appreciated with the simple plea advanced by the petitioner that while moving the earlier writ petition against the order of suspension the relevant fact was not known to him. If that be so even the earlier judgement and order passed in his favour would require a review.However this aspect of the matter need not detain us in view of the findings recorded above that the CCS(CCA) Rules are applicable to the Officers and employees of the respondent Board and even assuming that the said rules are not applicable in absence of any other rules there is no bar in conducting the proceeding following the said Rules as the said Rules are noting but a codification of the Principles of natural justice. The petitioner also could not show any prejudice that would be caused to him if the said rules are followed.12. For all the aforesaid reasons I do not find any merit in the writ petition and accordingly it is dismissed with a cost of Rs. 5 000 only which shall be deposited with the Registry which in turn shall remit the amount to the High Court Employees’ Association Agartala Bench Agartala.