At, High Court of Karnataka Circuit Bench OF Kalaburagi
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE ASHOK S. KINAGI
For the Petitioner: Arunkumar Amargundappa, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1 to R6, Shivakumar R. Tengli, AGA, R3, Prashant Kumman, Advocate.
(Prayer: This Writ Petition is filed Under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, praying to quash the impugned order of dismissal dated 23.04.2020 issued by the 3rd Respondent bearing No. Gpam / Mamaaae / Amkaka / Gowmahi / 2020-21 (Annexure-D), consequently direct the respondents to reinstate the petitioner into service with full back wages and continuity of service; direct the respondents to consider the representations dated 29.08.2020, 06.10.2020, 12.10.2020 and 02.11.2020 Vide Annexure E, E1, to E3 submitted by the petitioner.)
1. Petitioner has filed this writ petition challenging the order of dismissal dated 23.04.2020, issued by respondent No.3 vide Annexure-D and consequently direct the respondents to reinstate the petitioner into service with full back wages and continuity of service.
2. Brief facts leading to the filing of this petition are as under:
The petitioner was appointed to the post of Anganawadi worker in Anganawadi Center, Ladavanti, Tq. Basavakalyan, Dist. Bidar, in the year 2007 and she is discharging her duties without any complaint and to the satisfaction of her superior officers. The petitioner has completed 13 years of service. Respondent No.3 issued a show-cause notice to the petitioner seeking explanation in respect of a video floated in the internet as well as ETV Bharath whereby Anganawadi worker of Ladavanti Anganawadi Center was allegedly involved in the sexual activities with unknown man in the Anganawadi. The petitioner replied to the show-cause notice. Respondent No.3, without holding an enquiry, has passed an order of termination. Hence the petitioner has filed this writ petition.
3. Heard the learned counsel for petitioner and learned AGA and learned counsel for respondent No.3.
4. Learned counsel for petitioner submits that the order passed by respondent No.3 is in violation of principles of natural justice. Before passing the impugned order, no departmental enquiry was held. Hence, on these grounds, he prays to allow the writ petition.
5. Per contra, learned counsel for the respondent No.3 supports the impugned order stating that the petitioner was involved in sexual activities with unknown person and the same was floated in the internet as well as ETV Bharath. Hence, respondent No.3, by issuing show-cause notice and after considering the reply, has passed the impugned order, which is in accordance with law. Hence, prayed to dismiss the writ petition.
6. Perused the records and considered the submissions made by the learned counsel for the parties.
7. It is not in dispute that the petitioner was appointed as an Anganawadi worker in the year 2007 and was discharging her duties. Respondent No.3 has issued a show-cause notice to the petitioner calling for explanation in respect of the video floated in the internet as well as ETV Bharath whereby Anganawadi worker of Ladavanti Anganawadi Center was allegedly involved in the sexual activities with unknown man in the Anganawadi. The petitioner has replied to the show-cause notice. Respondent No.3, without holding an enquiry as contemplated under Section 113 of the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, 1993 (for short, 'the said Act of 1993') and without considering the circular dated 13.12.2001 issued by the Executive Officer of Taluka Panchayat and another circular dated 22.02.2008 issued by the Government which discloses that before terminating an employee from service under Section 113(3)&(4) of the said Act of 1993, the authority must issue a notice and thereafter record the statement of the employee and pass appropriate order, has passed the impugned order.
8. It is useful to extract relevant portions of the circulars referred above:
9. In identical matter in W.P.No.200956/2021, DD.30.06.2021, this Court has allowed the writ petition wherein the termination order was challenged on the ground of violation of principles of natural justice.
10. In view of the above, the impugned order is liable to be set aside on the ground of violation of principles of natural justice. Hence, the impugned order passed by respondent No.3 is arbitrary and is in violation of principles of natural justice.
11. Accordingly, I proceed to pass the following:
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writ petition is allowed. The impugned order of dismissal dated 23.04.2020, issued by respondent No.3 vide Annexure-D, is hereby quashed. Consequently respondent No.3 is directed to reinstate the petitioner into service with 50% back wages and continuity of service, within a period of one month from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. Liberty is reserved to respondent No.3 to initiate proceedings against the petitioner, in accordance with law.