w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n

K.K. Sreelal v/s The District Project Manager, Akshaya District Project Office, Wayanad & Others

Company & Directors' Information:- AKSHAYA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45200TN2005PTC055753

Company & Directors' Information:- S K B PROJECT (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45202MP2008PTC020457

Company & Directors' Information:- A J PROJECT PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70101WB2006PTC110040

Company & Directors' Information:- M B S PROJECT PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U45209GJ2000PTC038147

Company & Directors' Information:- AKSHAYA & COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65993TN1996PTC034231

Company & Directors' Information:- K C PROJECT INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U55101DL1997PTC088558

Company & Directors' Information:- A. H. PROJECT PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45400WB2010PTC141970

Company & Directors' Information:- H E F PROJECT PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U74899DL1995PTC069794

Company & Directors' Information:- AKSHAYA (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51311TN2005PTC055974

Company & Directors' Information:- B J S PROJECT PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74900WB2015PTC206605

Company & Directors' Information:- PROJECT Q AND S PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999HR2020PTC086437

Company & Directors' Information:- K D PROJECT PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U45400MH2010PTC209307

Company & Directors' Information:- E PROJECT PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72300HR2015PTC057142

    WP(C). No. 31857 of 2017 (F)

    Decided On, 11 November 2020

    At, High Court of Kerala


    For the Petitioner: R. Bindu (Sasthamangalam), M.P. Prasanth, Advocates. For the Respondents: R1-R6, K.M. Rashmi, Government Pleader.

Judgment Text

1. The petitioner, who is an Akshaya Common Service Centre Entrepreneur, is before this Court seeking to set aside Ext.P2 notice and Ext.P4 order and to direct respondents 1 to 3 to permit the petitioner to continue with the functioning of the Akshaya Centre.2. The petitioner has been running the Akshaya Centre with CSC ID KL.011200311 at Muttil in Wayanad District since the year 2008. The petitioner was served with Ext.P2 notice dated 02.08.2017 informing him that a decision has been taken to cancel the entrepreneurship of the petitioner on the basis of certain complaints. The petitioner was required to give his explanation within seven days.3. The petitioner would state that on receipt of Ext.P2, he contacted the office of the 3rd respondent-Chief Co-ordinator, Akshaya Project, seeking details of the complaints against him. The petitioner was directed to contact respondents 1 and 2 for getting copies of the complaint. Though the petitioner approached respondents 1 and 2, they refused to furnish requisite copies of the complaints referred to in Ext.P2. The petitioner submitted Ext.P3 reply narrating details of services rendered to the customers who have given the complaints.4. However, the petitioner was served with Ext.P4 order dated 18.09.2017, declining to accept Ext.P3 explanation given by the petitioner. Ext.P4 order confirmed the proposal of the Chairman of the District e-Governing Society to shut down the Akshaya Kendra run by the petitioner.5. The learned counsel for the petitioner argued that the 3rd respondent has not given the petitioner an opportunity of fair hearing. Ext.P3 explanation given by the petitioner was not properly considered. In fact, there are only three complaints against the services rendered by the petitioner. The petitioner had properly explained the situation. The 3rd respondent, however, failed to appreciate the explanation given by the petitioner correctly.6. The learned counsel for the petitioner would further argue that the petitioner was not furnished with copies of complaints alleged to have been received against him. Since the petitioner was not served with the copies of those complaints, he was denied with an opportunity to effectively defend the complaints against him. The action of the 3rd respondent has resulted in gross violation of fundamental rights guaranteed to the petitioner under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, contended the learned counsel for the petitioner.7. The 1st respondent defended the writ petition filing counter affidavit. The learned Government Pleader submitted that Ext.P4 cancellation was made due to the poor performance of the petitioner and the complaints received from general public. The petitioner was issued with several show cause notices and warnings. A complaint was received on 27.03.2015 regarding unauthorised usage of registration log-in user ID/password of Aam Admi Bima Yojana through another institute. One Eldo K.G. filed complaint regarding the failure of the petitioner for submission of applications submitted by him. One P. Abdul Rahiman made complaint in respect of his food and safety registration. The JAO, BSNL made complaints on charging extra money while making BSNL bill payments through the petitioner.8. The learned Government Pleader argued that the allegation of violation of principles of natural justice by the petitioner, is untenable. The petitioner was heard on various allegations levelled against him during the hearing conducted on 28.02.2012. The Muttil Grama Panchayat also had passed a resolution dated 14.10.2016 seeking cancellation of the petitioner's Akshaya Centre. Exts.P2 and P4 orders were passed after conducting detailed enquiry. The petitioner has not invoked his appellate remedy. Even after initiating proceedings against the petitioner, various complaints were received from the public. In spite of all these complaints, the petitioner is running the Akshaya Centre on the basis of interim order obtained from this Court. The writ petition is therefore liable to be dismissed, contended the learned Government Pleader.9. I have heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Government Pleader appearing for respondents 1 to 6.10. The petitioner has been running the Akshaya Centre since the year 2008. The allegations levelled against the petitioner in Exts.P2 and P4 are of very serious in nature. One prime allegation is that the petitioner is levying unauthorised service charge from the customers of BSNL utilising the services of the Akshaya Centre for remitting telephone charges. Another serious allegation against the petitioner is that he has shared the login ID/password of Aam Admi Bima Yojana registration with another institution. One Eldo K.G. has complained that the petitioner has failed to submit his application in time. Food Safety Registration application submitted by one Abdul Rahman was not properly dealt with by the petitioner. The learned Government Pleader would submit that even after proceedings were initiated against the petitioner for termination of agency, complaints against the petitioner were flowing from the public.11. The complaints against the petitioner are serious in nature. However, before terminating the Akshaya Kendra agency of the petitioner, the petitioner is entitled to a fair hearing in the matter. The well-established principles of natural justice require that the petitioner be given reasonable opportunity to defend the complaints against him effectively. Opportunity to peruse documents relied on by the respondents for terminating the agency, opportunity to adduce evidence in defence of the allegations, opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses relied on by the respondents, are all part of the principles of natural justice.12. The petitioner has alleged in the writ petition that he was not provided with copies of the documents on the basis of which Ext.P2 notice was issued to him. Ext.P3 reply submitted by the petitioner would show that the petitioner was aware of the allegations levelled against him and the petitioner has replied to the allegation. However, Ext.P4 order confirming the termination of the petitioner's Akshaya Centre would show that the authority while taking the said decision has relied on a number of documents, which were not made mention in Ext.P2.13. Ext.P2 show-cause notice referred to the following nine documents:“MALAYALAM"The petitioner has submitted reply to Ext.P2 show-cause notice with the materials available with him.14. However, Ext.P4 final order issued by the Chairman of District E-Governance Society would show that the Chairman has relied on the following 22 documents for terminating the Akshaya Kendra of the petitioner:-“MALAYALAM"Among the aforesaid documents, the documents at serial Nos.2, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 21 and 22 were not documents referred to in the show cause notice. A reading of Ext.P4 would clearly show that the aforesaid documents, which were not even brought to the notice of the petitioner, were relied on by the Chairman of the e-Governing Council, to arrive at a finding against the petitioner and to terminate the Akshaya centre. The petitioner was not put to notice that these documents will also be considered while deciding the fate of the Akshaya Kendra agency of the petitioner.15. The action of the Chairman of the e-Governing Council in relying on documents which were not brought to the notice of the petitioner, amounts to gross violation of the principles of natural justice. The action is therefore arbitrary and offends th

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e fundamental right of the petitioner under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Ext.P4 termination order therefore cannot stand the scrutiny of law.Exhibit P4 is therefore set aside. The matter is remitted back to the Chairman of the e-Governing Council for reconsideration. The Chairman of the e-Governing Council shall provide to the petitioner copies of all the documents referred to in Ext.P4 or such documents sought to be relied on by the Chairman and give fair opportunity to the petitioner to submit his explanation. The Chairman shall take a final decision in the matter after giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner. A decision in this regard shall be taken within a period of two months. It is made clear that this Court has not considered the merits or otherwise of the allegations levelled against the petitioner.