1. Heard Sri Om Prakash Misra, learned counsel for the petitioner and Sri H.P. Srivastava, learned Additional Chief Standing Counsel for respondents-State.
2. This writ petition has been filed against the order dated 18.10.2019 passed by the State Public Services Tribunal, whereby the learned Tribunal dismissed the claim petition filed by the petitioner and affirmed the order of punishment.
3. Brief facts of the case are that the petitioner was appointed on the post of Constable in Civil Police. He remained posted in District Chandauli in the year 2011. On being transferred from Chandauli to Mau, he failed to submit his joining at the transferred place and remained unauthorised absent from duty for 1295 days and, therefore, an enquiry was conducted. After considering the reply submitted by the petitioner, learned authority came to the conclusion that no sufficient reason has been given by the petitioner about his long absence of 1295 days and the same is in violation of the U.P. Government Servant Conduct Rules, 1956, therefore, they imposed the penalty of censure and withheld the salary for the aforesaid period on principle of "no work no pay".
Learned Tribunal after appreciating each and every aspect as narrated by the petitioner, passed the impugned order. Paras 8 to 15 of the impugned order read as under:
"8. A glance at the file reveals that the petitioner, after receiving these notices on 09.05.2016, replied them by means of his explanation dated 15.05.2016 (Annexure No. 9). His reply, on its perusal, illustrates that he virtually acknowledged the factum of his unauthorised absence from duty for 1295 days but sought to point out in a categorical and vehement manner that in view of his serious illness and deteriorating physical condition he was forced to be on leave and undertake rigorous medical treatment at various places meaning thereby that his absence which was treated as unauthorized was of a compelling nature and it would be iniquitous to regard his absence as intentional and calculated as well as amounting to indiscipline and arbitrariness. With a view to justifying the recitals contained in his explanation, he relied on his medical documents as well as a few judicial pronouncements. The learned P.O., highlighting how the petitioner had failed to vindicate why he had not complied with the requisite formalities relating to sanction of leave / medical leave, emphasised that the Disciplinary Authority had given a serious thought to the petitioner’s defence and it was thereafter that he chose to pass the two orders on 25.05.2016 (Annexure Nos 1 and 2). Referring to the contents of the C.A/W.S., the learned P.O. preferred to point out that the petitioner’s wilful absence from duty for 1295 days was a matter having grave dimensions and it was in this view of the matter that the Disciplinary Authority found it reasonable and appropriate to punish him by recording a censure entry in his ACR for the year 2016. It was also submitted that the petitioner who had neither sought any permission from the competent authority to proceed on leave nor had he found it expedient to comply with the provisions embodied in paragraphs 381 / 382 / 383 of the Police Regulations had rightly been deprived of his pay for 1295 days as he had not done any government work in this period.
9. It is evident that the penalty which stands assailed by the petitioner has been defined as a minor penalty under Rule 4 of the U.P. Police Officers of Subordinate Ranks (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1991.In this regard, Rule 5(2) of the Rules, 1991 is being reproduced hereunder:-
“5. Procedure for award of punishment.- (2) The cases in which minor punishments enumerated in Clause (b)of sub-rule(1) of Rule 4 may be awarded, shall be dealt with in accordance with the procedure laid down in sub-rule (2) of Rule 14.”
10. In continuation of above, Rule 14(2) of the Rules, 1991 is also being reproduced here:
“14. Procedure for conducting departmental proceedings(2) Notwithstanding anything contained insub-rule (1) punishments in cases referred to insub-rule (2) of Rule 5 may be imposed after informing the Police Officer in writing of the action proposed to be taken against him and of the imputations of act or omission on which it is proposed to be taken and giving him a reasonable opportunity of making such representation as he may wish to make against the proposals.”
11. The learned Presenting Officer, drawing attention to the nature of delinquency mentioned in the show cause notice issued to the petitioner, highlighted that the opposite party no. 2 had acted in accordance with the procedure laid down under the said Rule 14(2) of the Rules, 1991 and, therefore, the punishment order passed by him hardly called for any intervention.
Similarly, the subsequent orders rejecting his appeals as well as his revisions too did not require any interference, he added.
12. A perusal of the file displays that the petitioner’s case is solely based on his submission that the problem related to his health forced him to proceed for immediate medical treatment, thus compelling him to give priority to getting his illness duly attended and addressed over complying with his transfer order and joining in Mau. With a view to validating the averment related to his illness, the petitioner has submitted his treatment slips issued by doctors on various dates. There is no doubt that health is a significant factor which requires topmost priority and attention. But, it cannot be disputed, a government servant is bound to comply with the directions laid down in respect of sanction of leave on medical ground. The moment someone joins a government service, the provisions of U.P. Government Servant Conduct Rules, 1956 immediately come into play. It is settled that if a government servant acts in a way which amounts to breach of these provisions, he is liable to be departmentally proceeded against. It is also crystal clear that every government employee is primarily answerable to his Controlling Officer as well as his Disciplinary Authority. In the instant matter the opposite party no. 2 was the Disciplinary Authority of the petitioner. Thus, the entire material related to his medical treatment had to be considered at his level. What transpires from this discussion is that the issue related to the petitioner?s illness as well as sanction his leave on medical ground had to be examined and looked into by the said authority only. By and large, it has to be acknowledged that any point which has not been raised and represented before the competent authority can ordinarily not be the subject matter of judicial review. In this view of the matter, it does not seem to be in fitness of things to scrutinise, and adjudicate upon, the factum of the petitioner’s illness or any commission or omission on his part in this regard.
13. It is amply clear that the petitioner stands penalised as he has been found to have acted against the arrangement provided in paragraphs 381/ 382 / 383 of the Police Regulations. As these provisions are in public domain, it may not serve any purpose to reproduce them here. The learned P.O. categorically pointed out that a police officer governed by the Police Regulations can in no way snatch any exemption from the aforesaid arrangement. Since he a member of the disciplined force, it is expedient for him to resort to the provisions laid down in respect of illness, hospitalisation, medical treatment, sanction of medical leave etc. The petitioner, it can be readily understood, has not been in a position to counter that if he was really ill to the extent that he was bound to be away from his duty and undergo intensive medical treatment, he could not avoid acting as per the relevant directions.
14. The impugned orders, on being carefully examined, appear to be mentioning it in an unequivocal and emphatic manner that the petitioner apparently did not suffer from any serious illness and as he was ostensibly able to move here and there, nothing prevented him from sending requisite information to his officers from time to time and completing the formalities / papers prescribed by rules. The picture which emerges is that the petitioner did not bother to act as a disciplined, responsible and sincere police official. His defence, it is clear beyond any iota of doubt, is almost a cosmetic and ostentatious version having little substance and genuineness.
15. It too requires to be observed that para- 5 (G R O U N D S) of the claim petition does not categorically or satisfactorily reveal any ground on the basis of which it may be understood that the opposite parties have not followed the procedure as well as legal requirements and have acted against the principles of natural justice. The allegation that the punishment order has been passed with a prejudiced andpre-determined mind and is based on assumptions and presumptions is irrelevant. A perusal of the impugned orders goes to establish that these orders have been passed by the concerning officers after duly applying their mind to the facts of the petitioner’s case. They have considered, and taken reasonable care of, whatever seemed to them to be of cardinal importance in the petitioner’s defence. Their
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orders, it is noteworthy, are exhaustive. Thus, the opposite parties have undoubtedly passed reasoned and self-speaking orders. In a nutshell, the opposite parties have fully acted in accordance with the facts and circumstances of the case and paid adequate attention to the procedure and the principles of natural justice. The petitioner who had been provided a reasonable opportunity of defending himself against the imputations communicated to him by the two show cause notices issued by the opposite party no.2 on 03.05.2016 ( Annexure Nos 7 and 8), has not been able to make out his case. In the result, the claim petition fails." On due consideration of the aforesaid, so also the fact that the petitioner has also not given any cogent explanation about his willful absence from duty for more than four years, weare of the view that the learned Tribunal has rightly upheld the order of punishment. No case is made out to interfere with the impugned order. Writ petition has no force. It is accordingly dismissed.