At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.K. SASIDHARAN & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P.D. AUDIKESAVALU
For the Appellant: R. Dhineshkumar, Advocate. For the Respondents: P.T. Ramkumar, Standing Counsel for Southern Railway.
(Prayer: Writ Appeal filed under Clause 15 of Letter Patent, praying to set aside the order made in W.P. No. 33328 of 2017 dated 09.10.2018.)
P.D. Audikesavalu, J.
The intra-Court Appeal arises out of the order dated 09.10.2018 in W.P. No. 33328 of 2017 passed by the Learned Judge of this Court.
2. The facts leading to the filing of the Writ Petition have been extensively captured in the order dated 09.10.2018 passed in W.P. No. 33328 of 2017 and hence, the same are not repeated in this order except with regard to the material facts relevant for the purpose of disposal of this appeal.
3. The Appellant, who was working as Inspector in the Railway Protection Force at the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai was issued Charge Memo No. M/XP/227/11/2017 dated 11.12.2017 under Section 9(i) of the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957, read with Rule 153 of the Railway Protection Force Rules, 1987. The Appellant challenged the said Charge Memo in W.P. No. 33328 of 2017 on the ground that even before requiring the Appellant to submit his explanation to the charges, an Enquiry Officer has been appointed and the date and time of the first sitting before the Enquiry Officer had also been communicated in the same, which according to the Appellant, would amount to pre-determining the issue.
4. The Learned Judge, who heard the Writ Petition, by order dated 09.10.2018 held that there is no infirmity in the Charge Memo issued to the Appellant merely because Enquiry Officer had been appointed and the date of his sitting has been fixed and has dismissed the Writ Petition with the following directions:-
"(1) The relief as such sought for in the present Writ Petition stands rejected.
(2) The Writ Petitioner is directed to submit his explanations/objections on the charge sheet dated 11.12.2017 within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of copy of this order.
(3) On receipt of the explanations/objections from the Writ Petitioner, the Respondents are directed to consider the explanations/objections and take a decision in respect of the further continuance of the enquiry proceedings to be conducted by the Enquiry Officer or not.
(4) In the event of taking a decision to continue the enquiry, the same shall be placed before the Enquiry Officer for conducting an enquiry into the charges.
(5) The Writ Petitioner is directed to co-operate for the conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings in all respects. In the event of non-cooperation on the part of the Writ Petitioner, the same shall be recorded in the enquiry proceedings."
Aggrieved by the aforesaid order, the Appellant has preferred this appeal.
5. We have heard Mr. R. Dhineshkumar, Learned Counsel appearing for the Appellant, Mr. P.T. Ramkumar, Learned Counsel appearing for the Respondents and perused the materials placed on record, apart from the pleadings of the parties.
6. Learned Counsel for the Appellant strenuously urged that as the opportunity for submitting explanation had not been provided in the Charge Memo impugned in the Writ Petition and there was practically no scope for the Disciplinary Authority to consider the explanation of the Appellant and take an independent view regarding dropping the charges if the explanation was satisfactory, the same has to be interfered by this Court.
7. In response to the same, the Learned Counsel for the Respondents submitted that in pursuance of the aforesaid order passed by the Learned Judge in the Writ Petition, the Appellant has been advised to submit his explanation for the charges issued by letter dated 05.12.2018 and that the nomination of the Enquiry Officer made in the Charge Memo dated 11.12.2017 has been withdrawn by letter dated 08.02.2019 until consideration of explanation to be submitted by the Appellant. It has also been informed that by letter dated 25.02.2019, the Appellant has been advised to submit his explanation to the charges within a period of two weeks and that further action to be taken would be decided after consideration of his explanation.
8. We are broadly in agreement with the directions issued by the Learned Judge in the order under appeal and in the light of the subsequent action taken by the Respondents in consonance with the directions issued in the order dated 09.10.2018 in W.P. No. 33328 of 2017, we are satisfied that the apprehensions expre
Please Login To View The Full Judgment!
ssed by the Appellant does not survive any further for consideration and the matter has to proceed further in accordance with law. Hence, the Appellant is directed to submit his explanation to the charges on or before 15.04.2019 and the Respondents shall decide the matter in the manner as directed by the Learned Judge in the order under appeal. 9. Accordingly, the Writ Appeal is disposed of on the aforesaid terms. No costs. Consequently, the connected Miscellaneous Petition is closed.