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



P. Balasubrahmanyam & Another v/s Union of India rep. by Secretary, Dept. of Posts, Ministry of Communications & IT Dak Bhavan & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- T P COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED [Active] CIN = U22211UP1995PLC019014

Company & Directors' Information:- A AND M COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1993PTC056539

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Company & Directors' Information:- L-3 COMMUNICATIONS INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U31909KA1999PTC025302

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Company & Directors' Information:- THE INDIA COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999TN1919PTC000911

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Company & Directors' Information:- S N COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U72900DL2002PTC118175

Company & Directors' Information:- B E COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U64204WB2007PTC117516

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65990MH1941PTC003461

Company & Directors' Information:- S A COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U64204MH2020PTC343477

Company & Directors' Information:- N AND M COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U92112MH1996PTC102814

Company & Directors' Information:- E 6 COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1986PTC024856

Company & Directors' Information:- B N B COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U30009DL1996PTC081267

Company & Directors' Information:- VERSUS COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74300WB2005PTC103033

Company & Directors' Information:- A P COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U94201DL2001PTC112095

Company & Directors' Information:- N V COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U72200DL2005PTC135640

Company & Directors' Information:- N C COMMUNICATIONS (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U72500DL1996PTC075119

Company & Directors' Information:- S AND S COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U32102KA1991PTC012068

Company & Directors' Information:- U AND I COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U74900PN2012PTC144206

Company & Directors' Information:- N & D COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74900TN2003PTC050717

Company & Directors' Information:- R C COMMUNICATIONS PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U93090OR2006PTC008788

Company & Directors' Information:- G AND M COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U72900DL2006PTC146926

Company & Directors' Information:- D S COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U64202DL2005PTC142556

Company & Directors' Information:- O. T. S. COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U93000MH2007PTC169128

Company & Directors' Information:- R K D COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U64200MH2011PTC217962

Company & Directors' Information:- N S S COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72200TG2010PTC071384

Company & Directors' Information:- D T N COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U64203TN1982PTC009325

Company & Directors' Information:- B R I O COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U22300DL2012PTC242469

Company & Directors' Information:- K AND I COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999DL2005PTC140331

Company & Directors' Information:- M M M COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U32204DL2007PTC164017

Company & Directors' Information:- D W W COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMTIED [Strike Off] CIN = U64200DL2007PTC169339

Company & Directors' Information:- K 2 COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74300KA2007PTC042842

Company & Directors' Information:- K. R. COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999GJ2016PTC093336

Company & Directors' Information:- A. N. COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74130DL2020PTC372569

Company & Directors' Information:- V R COMMUNICATIONS INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999PN2021PTC202406

Company & Directors' Information:- U F O COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U92100DL1997PTC087625

Company & Directors' Information:- K & K COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74300TN1995PTC030627

Company & Directors' Information:- Z AND N COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74300TZ1996PTC007333

    W.P. Nos. 3646 of 2019 & 8606 of 2019

    Decided On, 22 July 2019

    At, High Court of Andhra Pradesh

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE A.V. SESHA SAI & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M. VENKATA RAMANA

    For the Petitioners: P. Balasubrahmanyam, Advocate. For the Respondents: B. Krishna Mohan, Assistant Solicitor General.



Judgment Text


Common Order:

1. Inasmuch as these two writ petitions arise out of the order dated 27.02.2019 passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, they are being disposed of by this Common Order.

2. The applicant in O.A.No. 344 of 2017 on the file of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Hyderabad Bench at Hyderabad (for brevity "the Tribunal") is the petitioner in W.P.No. 3646 of 2017 who has challenged the impugned order to the extent of directing the authorities to impose minor penalty against him. In W.P.No. 8606 of 2019, the challenge is to the validity of the said entire order. By virtue of the order impugned, the Tribunal, while setting aside the order of punishment of compulsory retirement inflicted against the applicant, directed infliction of minor penalty on him.

3. For the sake of brevity, the parties to these writ petitions will be referred to hereinafter as arrayed before the Tribunal.

4. While the applicant was working as an Assistant Postal Superintendent, the disciplinary authority issued a Memo No. Vig/105/10 at Visakhapatnam, dated 13.04.2010 framing the following articles of charges:

"Article-I:-

A: That the said Shri P. Balasubrahmanyam, while working as Assistant Superintendent of Posts(R) in the office of the Superintendent of Post Offices, Kakinada Division, Kakinada during the period from 27.02.2009 to till date, claimed false travelling allowance and daily allowance in his Tour TA bill for the month of June, 2009 without actually staying at Nemam BO as per the diary movements and without using his own motorcycle for the journey performed on 19.06.2009 in connection with the annual inspection of Nemam BO under APSP Camp SO. It is, therefore, alleged that Shri P. Balasubrahmanyam failed to follow the instructions contained in Ministry of Finance Memo Numbers 19030/3/2008-E.IV dated 23.09.2008, 19030/3/2008-E.IV dated 19.11.2008 and 19030/3/2008-E.IV dated 22.01.2009 communicated through the Postmaster General, Visakhapatnam Endorsement No.Est-I/VI CPC/Rlgs/2008, dated 03.10.2008, Est-I/VI CPC/Rkgs/II, dated 07.01.2009 & AC/1-3/Rlgs dated 17.02.2009 and also failed to follow the provisions contained in SR-29 of FRSR part-II, thereby failed to maintain absolute integrity as required in Rule-3(1)(i) of CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965.

B: That the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam, while working as Assistant Superintendent of Posts(R) in the office of the Superintendent of Post Offices, Kakinada Division during the period from 27.02.2009 to till date, failed to note down the time spent at Nemam BO a/w APSP Camp SO, examine the contents of BO bag received from AO and to comment on articles received in the BO bag, in the Inspection Report dated 19.06.2009 on Nemam BO, which is mandatory as per the approved BO Inspection Questionnaire (Revised Edition, 2006) published by the Department of Posts, Government of India. It is, therefore, imputed that Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam failed to follow the instructions contained under the head Introduction and question No.8 of the approved BO Inspection Questionnaire (Revised Edition, 2006) published by the Department of Posts, Government of India read with Rule 125 of Book of BO rules and thereby failed to maintain absolute devotion to duty as required in Rule 3(1)(ii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

Article-II:-

That during the aforesaid period and while working in the aforesaid office, the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam, Assistant Superintendent of Posts(R), Kakinada Division made a false mention at Para 4 of the Inspection Repot dated 19.06.2009 on Nemam BO about the distance between Nemam BO and Panduru BO without actually measuring the distance between these two Branch Post Offices. It is, therefore, alleged that the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam, while discharging his duties made a false mention in his inspection report dated 19.06.2009 on Nemam BO a/w APSP Camp SO and thereby failed to maintain devotion to duty as required under Rule-3(1)(ii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

Article-III:-

That the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam while working as Assistant Superintendent of Posts (R), Kakinada Division during the period from 27.02.2009 to till date, instructed in para 5 of his Inspection Report dated 19.06.2009 on Nemam BO a/w APSP Camp SO, the Inspector Posts, Kakinada North Sub-Division to bring G.V.Palem and Ch.Palem villages which are having letter boxes unfixed beat system without actually assessing the traffic and visiting the location of the letter boxes. Thus, it is imputed that the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam exercised the powers of Divisional Superintendent contained in Rule 134 of Postal Manual Volume VIII and also made a false report in his inspection report dated 19.06.2009 on Nemam BO about the letter boxes, thereby failed to maintain absolute devotion to duty as required under Rule A 3(1)(ii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964 and also acted in a manner which is unbecoming of a Government Servant which attracts Rule-3(1)(iii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

Article-IV:-

That the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam, while working as Assistant Superintendent of Posts(R), Kakinada Division during the period from 27.02.2009 to till date directed the Office Assistant, Establishment Branch, Office of the Superintendent of Post Offices, Kakinada Division vide Para 4 of his Inspection Report dated 19.06.2009 on Nemam BO to submit a proposal for reduction of post of GDSMC/MD, Nemam BO and also demanded and received an amount of Rs. 10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand Only) from Shri S.Venkatachalam, BPM, Nemam BO a/w APSP Camp SO for not pursuing the proposal.

It is, therefore, imputed that the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam while working as Assistant Superintendent of Posts (R), Kakinada Division made report to receive illegal gratification and thereby failed to follow Rule 185 of Postal Manual Volume III (corrected upto 1982) and also failed to maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty as required under Rule-3(1)(i) & (ii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

Article-V:-

That during the aforesaid period and while working in the aforesaid office, the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam, Assistant Superintendent of Posts(R), Kakinada Division issued a Letter No.A5/EDA/Dlgs, dated 23.10.2009 to the Postmasters of Kakinada HO and Samalkot HO with a direction to take immediate necessary action for fixation of TRCA (Time Related Continuity Allowance) in respect of all Grameen Dak Sevaks (other than BPMs) and pay the arrears of 40% without obtaining orders from the Superintendent of Post Offices, Kakinada Division.

It is, therefore, imputed that the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam exercised the powers of Divisional Superintendent and also failed to follow the instructions contained in Annexure-V of DG (Posts) Letter No.6-1/2009-PE-II dated 09.10.2009 thereby acted in a manner which is unbecoming of a Government Servant which attracts Rule-3()(iii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

Article-VI:-

That the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam, Assistant Superintendent of Posts(R), Kakinada Division while working as Inspector Posts, Kakinada North Sub-Division during the period from 07.03.2003 to 05.09.2006 issued a Show Cause Notice to Shri M.Eswarudu, MC/MD, Nemam BO in Memo.No.PF/MCMD/ Nemam/03-04, dated 20.06.2003 to take disciplinary action for his non-residing in the BO village or delivery jurisdiction of the BO and after taking a bribe amount of Rs. 2,500/- (Rupees Two Thousand Five Hundred Only) he did not take any action.

It is, therefore, alleged that the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam misused the powers of an Inspector as enjoined in Rule-261 of Postal Manual Volume-VIII thereby failed to maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty as required under Rule-3(1)(i) & (ii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

Article-VII:-

That the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam, Assistant Superintendent of Posts(R), Kakinada Division while working as Inspector (Posts), Kakinada North Sub-division during the period from 07.03.2003 to 05.09.2006 issued a Memo No.Dlgs/Mails/North/05-06 dated 30.04.2005 transferring the delivery area of Avanthinagar and Maruthinagar from APSP Camp SO to Thimmapuram BO and after taking a bribe of Rs. 2,000/- from Shri K.V.Ramana, GDSMD, Timmapuram BO a/w APSP Camp SO, the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam de-linked the delivery area attached to the GDSMD, Timmapuram BO through his Memo.No.Dlgs/Mails/North/05-06 dated 28.06.2005 without bringing the changes to the notice of Divisional Superintendent.

It is, therefore, alleged that the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam while working as Inspector Posts, Kakinada North Sub-division from 07.03.2003 to 05.09.2006, without any approval transferred the delivery area of APSP Camp SO to Timmapuram BO and vice versa within a period of two months, for his direct personal pecuniary interest in performance of Departmental work as he demanded and received money from Shri K.V.Ramana, GDSMD, Timmapuram BO in account with APSP Camp SO and thereby failed to observe the Rule 185 of Postal Manual Volume III (corrected up to 1982) and also failed to maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty as required under Rule-3(1)(i) & (ii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

Article-VIII:-

That the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam, while working as Assistant Superintendent of Posts (R), Kakinada Division during the period from 27.02.2009 to till date demanded an amount of Rs. 10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand Only) towards bribe from Shri S.Venkatachalam BPM, Nemam BO to fix his TRCA at Rs. 4150/- and on his refusal to offer the bribe fixed the TRCA in the minimum slab of the TRCA to his disadvantage and against his entitlement. It is, therefore, alleged that the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam misused his official power for his personal pecuniary gains and failed to observe the Rule 185 of Postal Manual Volume III (corrected up to 1982) and also failed to maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty as required under Rule-3(1)(i) & (ii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

Article-IX:-

That the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam, Assistant Superintendent of Posts(R), Kakinada Division while working as Inspector (Posts), Kakinada North Sub-division during the period from 07.03.2003 to 05.09.2006 sent a proposal to the Superintendent of Post Offices, Kakinada, for bringing Tatiparthi BO a/w Gollaprolu SO into forward mail arrangement by mentioning the distance between Thatiparti and Gollaprolu as 3 KM against the actual distance of 4.5 KM.

Thus, it is imputed that the said Shri P.Balasubrahmanyam made a false report in his proposal dated 12.11.2003 without measuring the actual distance between Gollaprolu SO and Tatiparthi BO and thereby failed to maintain absolute devotion to duty as required in Rule 3(1)(ii) of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964."

In response to the same, the applicant submitted his explanation denying the charges contained in the Charge Memo, and thereafter, an enquiry officer was appointed, who, after conducting the enquiry, submitted a report holding that the charges framed against the applicant stood proved. Subsequently, while furnishing a copy of the enquiry report, the applicant was asked to submit his explanation, and eventually, the disciplinary authority, vide Proceedings Memo No.Vig/Misc/VM/2012/II at Vijayawada, dated 24.03.2017, inflicted punishment of compulsory retirement in exercise of the powers conferred under Rule 11 of Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 (for short "C.C.A. Rules"). Being aggrieved by the said order of punishment of compulsory retirement, the applicant preferred an appeal before the appellate authority on 28.04.2017 under C.C.A. Rules. The appellate authority, vide order No.C-16013/07/2017- VP, dated 30.11.2017, dismissed the appeal.

5. Challenging the orders of the disciplinary and the appellate authorities, the applicant invoked the jurisdiction of the Tribunal by way of filing O.A.No. 344 of 2017 under section 19of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985. The Tribunal, by order dated 27.02.2019, allowed the original application setting aside the order of compulsory retirement passed by the disciplinary authority as confirmed by the appellate authority, however directed the disciplinary authority to impose proper minor penalty on the applicant.

6. Assailing the validity and legal sustainability of the order passed by the Tribunal to the extent of directing the authorities to inflict minor penalty, W.P.No. 3646 of 2019 as stated supra, came to be filed on 11.03.2019. In the said writ petition, counter affidavit is filed on behalf of the Union of India and other respondents denying the allegations and averments made in W.P.No. 3646 of 2019 and in the direction of justifying the action impugned in the original application. On 04.07.2019, W.P.No. 8606 of 2019 came to be filed by the authorities, questioning the entire order passed by the Tribunal.

7. Heard the party-in-person - applicant and Sri B. Krishna Mohan, learned Assistant Solicitor General of India, appearing on behalf of the Union of India for the authorities and perused the material available on record.

8. It is submitted by the party-in-person that the order passed by the Tribunal which is impugned in the writ petition to the extent of directing imposition of minor penalty, is highly erroneous, contrary to law and opposed to the very spirit and object of the provisions of the CCA Rules, 1991 and that the Tribunal ought to have completely exonerated the applicant from the imposition of penalty instead of giving liberty to the authorities to inflict minor penalty; that the nonadherence to Rule 12 of the Postal Manual Volume-III read with Circular No.7-4/CVC/2004-Vig., dated 18.01.2005, is fatal to the case of the authorities and would totally vitiate the entire disciplinary proceedings; that the enquiry officer also did not give proper opportunity to the applicant to put forth his grievance, and the findings of the enquiry officer also cannot be sustained, and the enquiry was held in violation of principles of natural justice; that the appellate authority also did not afford personal hearing though it was specifically sought for. In support of his submissions and contentions, the party-in-person places reliance on the following judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court.

a) Civil Appeal No. 7761 of 2013, dated 05.09.2013 in the case of Union of India & Ors. v. B.V.Gopinath;

b) C.L.Subramaniyam v. Collector of Customs, Cochin AIR 1958 SC 158; AIR 1987 SC 2386

c) Civil Appeal No. 7431 of 2008 in the case of Roop Singh Negi v. Punjab National Bank & Ors.

d) Civil Appeal No.... of 2010 (arising out of SLP(C) No.19318/2007) in the case of Mohd. Yunus Khan v. State of U.P. & Ors.

9. On the contrary, it is vehemently contended by the learned Assistant Solicitor General, representing the authorities that there is no illegality nor there exists any procedural infirmity in the impugned action nor there is any perversity in the orders of punishment, and in the absence of the same, the impugned orders are not amenable for any judicial review. It is further submitted by the learned Assistant Solicitor General that having regard to the exercise undertaken by the authorities strictly in accordance with the provisions of law and in compliance of the principles of natural justice, the Tribunal ought not to have meddled with the order passed by the authorities inflicting the punishment of compulsory retirement; that having regard to the seriousness in the allegations and the charges levelled against the applicant, the applicant is not entitled to seek any indulgence of this Court and that the findings of the Tribunal on the Circular issued by the Union of India, cannot be faulted. It is further submitted by the learned Assistant Solicitor General that earlier, when the authorities issued a Charge Memo, which was challenged in W.P.No. 42546 of 2016, the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh, vide order dated 09.12.2016, while dismissing the writ petition considered the impact of Circular dated 18.01.2005 and categorically found against the applicant, as such, the issue pertaining to that Circular cannot be permitted to be re-agitated by the applicant before this Court once again. It is the further submission of the learned Assistant Solicitor General that as the allegations pertaining to vigilance corner stood unproved, there was absolutely no occasion for the authorities to obtain clearance of vigilance wing, Central Vigilance Commission, therefore, the contentions contra advanced by the party-in-person would not hold any water. In support of his submissions and contentions, the learned Assistant Solicitor General places reliance on the following judgments of the Apex Court:

a) State of A.P. v. Dr.Rahimuddin Kamal (1997) 3 SCC 505

b) Union of India v. P.Gunasekaran (2015) 2 SCC 610

c) U.P. Gram Panchayat Adhikari Sangh v. Daya Ram Saroj (2007) 2 SCC 138

d) V.Ramana v. A.P.S.R.T.C. (2005) 7 SCC 338

e) V.S.P. v. Goparaju Sri Prabhakara Hari Babu (2008) 5 SCC 569

10. In the above background, now the issues which this Court is called upon to answer, are as follows:

a) Whether the order passed by the Tribunal to the extent of directing the authorities to inflict the minor penalty is sustainable and tenable?

b) Whether the finding of the Tribunal on Postal Manual and Circular of the Union of India, dated 18.01.2005 is sustainable and tenable?

c) Whether the impugned order warrants any interference of this Court under Article 226of the Constitution of India?

11. In order to adjudicate the issues in these writ petitions, it would be relevant to refer to Rule 12 of the Postal Manual Volume-III which reads as under:

"Consultation with Central Vigilance Commission.

12. In all Vigilance cases relating to Gazetted Officers, the Central Vigilance Commission should be consulted during the progress of the case at the following stage:

(i) If in any case the administrative authority does not think that a preliminary enquiry is necessary, the complaint (other than an anonymous or pseudonymous complaint) together with the views of the administrative authority shall be forwarded to the Central Vigilance Commission for advice.

(ii) Similarly, when an administrative authority has, after preliminary enquiry, come to the conclusion that no further action is necessary, the case shall be reported to the Central Vigilance Commissioner for advice.

(iii) Where an administrative authority proposes after a preliminary enquiry, to institute disciplinary proceedings, the report of the preliminary enquiry, together with other relevant records, shall be forwarded to the Central Vigilance Commission for advice as to the course of further action to be taken.

(iv) In cases in which the Central Vigilance Commission advises that formal disciplinary proceeding should be instituted, it will also advise whether proceedings should be instituted for imposing a major penalty or a minor penalty. It will then be the responsibility of the Ministry/Department to draw up a charge sheet, statement of allegations, etc., and take all further steps according to the prescribed procedure and practice, it will be open to the administrative authority concerned to seek such further advice and guidance as may be considered necessary from the Central Vigilance Commission.

(v) The report of the Enquiry Officer conducting oral enquiry into any departmental proceedings together with the full record of the case should be forwarded to the Central Vigilance Commission who will advice the disciplinary authority concerned as to the course of further action to be taken.

(vi) The administrative authority may, in its discretion, decide to make an enquiry into an anonymous or pseudonymous complaint or to drop it or may seek the advice of the Central Vigilance Commission. However, once an administrative authority has decided to make an enquiry into a complaint, the result of such enquiry should be intimated to the Central Vigilance Commission.

(vii) In respect of proceedings for imposition of major penalty a reference has to be made to the Central Vigilance Commission after the enquiry has been concluded. In respect of a case of minor penalty, it should be referred to the Central Vigilance Commission after the receipt of the written statement of defence of the delinquent officer and before the case is referred to the Union Public Service Commission, where this step is necessary. The disciplinary authority should indicate his provisional conclusions while making such a reference. Further, where statement has been made in the reply of the officer to controvert the allegations, the Commission's attention should specifically be drawn to the correct facts.

NOTE 1: In consonance with the spirit of the Scheme of the Central Vigilance Commission only those cases in which there is an allegation of corruption of improper motive, or if the alleged facts indicate an element of corruption or improper motive, need be referred to the Commission. Cases involving purely administrative or technical lapses e.g. late attendance, disobedience, insubordination, negligence, lack of supervision or operational or technical lapses and irregularities, etc., need not, therefore, be referred to the Commission. However, difficulty sometime arises in distinguishing vigilance cases from no-vigilance cases. In all such cases discretion has to be exercised by the administrative authority. Broadly speaking, it may be stated that any case which prima facie has a vigilance angle or which has the potentiality of having a vigilance angle should be referred to the Commission for advice.

NOTE II: Heads of Circles and Administrative Officers who are competent to impose minor penalty on class II officers may consult the Commission direct."

It is also pertinent to note that the Union of India issued Circular dated 18.01.2005 and Paragraph Nos. 4 to 8 therein read as under:

i) In view of above delegation and expectations of the CVC, all the Heads of Circles and other concerned authorities are hereby advised that all the cases of officers below the level of Group "A" involving vigilance angle should be continued to be referred to the Directorate for consideration and advice by the CVO of the Department. The CVO, may in turn, advise for closure of the case/initiation of major/minor penalty action/any other administrative action, as deemed fit and proper in the circumstances of the case as also keeping in view the recommendations of the Head of the Circle.

ii) It may again be reiterated that the above procedure is mandatory and is to be followed in all cases involving vigilance angle including those ones where the Heads of the Circle are of the opinion that the case needs to be closed, after evaluation of the preliminary inquiry report.

iii) The CVC has further reiterated that their advice would also be necessary in cases of difference of opinion between the disciplinary authority and the CVO with regard to the action to be taken against officers who are not within the jurisdiction of the Commission if these differences cannot be resolved with the intervention of the Secretary of the Ministry or Head of the Department concerned.

iv) Further, in respect of composite cases involving Group "A" level officers and other Group "B" or even lower level officials, the advice of the Central Vigilance Commission will be required, as before.

v) The Heads of Circles may please note the above instructions and ensure strict compliance of the same."

The language employed in the above Rule and Circular instructions, in clear and unequivocal terms, demonstrates that the advice of the Central Vigilance Commission in all vigilance matters is indispensable and mandatory. The Governments make the laws obviously keeping in view the welfare of the citizens, as such, the authorities, discharging public functions in the direction of implementing the said laws, are required to adhere to such laws. Rule 12 of the Postal Manual Volume-III read with Circular of the Union of India has imposed obligation on the authorities to consult the Central Vigilance Commission for initiating disciplinary proceedings and the object obviously behind the same is a laudable one. i.e. to safeguard the interests of the employees and to avert the initiation of disciplinary proceedings in unwarranted circumstances. In the instant case, the authorities totally ignored the same. It is a settled and well established principle of law that when a law directs a particular thing to be done in a particular way, the same should be done in that manner only and not otherwise. Non-adherence to the Rule 12 read with Circular issued by the Union of India is undoubtedly and unhesitatingly contrary to the said principle of law. The authorities, having initiated the disciplinary proceedings which had obviously the vigilance angle i.e. allegation of embezzlement of funds, are not justified in attempting to justify their lapse on the ground that the allegations, touching the vigilance angle stood unproved. The contention of the learned Assistant Solicitor General contra stands rejected so also the finding of the Tribunal to that effect. The submission made by the learned Assistant Solicitor General that having failed in his earlier attempt before this Court in W.P.No. 42546 of 2016 as regar

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ds the contention pertaining to Circular dated 18.01.2005, it is not open for the applicant to re-agitate the same once again. It is significant to note in this context that as regards the orders passed by the Division Bench of composite High Court in W.P.No. 42546 of 2016, the effect of Rule 12 of Postal Manual Volume-III was never gone into nor there was any finding recorded in the order in the said writ petition. 12. Coming to the judgments cited by the learned Assistant Solicitor General - The principle laid down in the State of A.P. v. Dr.Rahimuddin Kamal (2nd cited supra) would not render any assistance to the authorities in view of the factual and circumstantial variation. In fact, the issue in the said case was never with regard to the enquiry, touching the vigilance angle. 13. Coming to the judgments in Union of India's case, V.Ramana's case and V.S.P.'s case (3rd, 5th and 6th cited supra), there is absolutely no dispute with regard to the principle laid down, but the fact remains that in the instant case, this Court is of the opinion that the very exercise undertaken by the authorities is contrary to the Rules. The said judgments do not help the authorities in sustaining the impugned order. 14. Coming to the contention, touching the binding nature of the judgment of the Co-ordinate Bench as laid down in U.P. Gram Panchayat Adhikari Sangh's case (4th cited supra), it is to be noted that as against the order passed by the Division Bench of composite High Court in W.P.No. 42546 of 2016, the applicant carried the matter to the Hon'ble Supreme Court, and the Hon'ble Apex Court, while disposing of the Special Leave to Appeal (C) No. 9571 of 2017, left it open to the applicant to raise the points urged in the Special Leave Petition while challenging the order of punishment dated 24.03.2017, as such, the said judgment would not render any assistance to the authorities for sustaining the impugned orders. The finding of the Tribunal that it would not be necessary for the authorities to strictly adhere to Rule 12 of the Postal Manual and Circular issued by the Union of India, is erroneous and cannot be sustained. 15. For the aforesaid reasons, W.P.No. 3646 of 2019 is allowed, setting aside the order dated 27.02.2019 in O.A.No. 344 of 2017 passed by the Tribunal to the extent of directing infliction of minor penalty on the applicant and consequently the orders impugned in O.A.No. 344 of 2017 are hereby set aside, and consequently, W.P.No. 8606 of 2019 stands dismissed. The authorities are directed to reinstate the applicant into service with all consequential benefits. This exercise shall be completed within a period of two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. No order as to costs. As a sequel, Miscellaneous Petitions, if any pending, shall stand disposed of as in-fructuous.
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