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



The Southern Power Distribution Company of A.P. Ltd., rep., by its Chairman & Managing Director, Tirupathi, Chittoor District & Others v/s G.J. Lillistone


Company & Directors' Information:- GJ POWER CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40100TN2008PTC070042

Company & Directors' Information:- P & M DISTRIBUTION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109WB2007PTC115999

Company & Directors' Information:- D P S SOUTHERN PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U72200KL1983PTC003788

Company & Directors' Information:- S & E DISTRIBUTION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999TZ2014PTC020161

Company & Directors' Information:- AP INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2013PTC250218

Company & Directors' Information:- M V T DISTRIBUTION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74900KA2015PTC078055

Company & Directors' Information:- C L M DISTRIBUTION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909MH2003PTC142339

    W.A. No. 80 of 2020

    Decided On, 04 March 2021

    At, High Court of Andhra Pradesh

    By, THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. ARUP KUMAR GOSWAMI & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE C. PRAVEEN KUMAR

    For the Appellants: Y. Nagi Reddy, Advocate. For the Respondent: S.A. Razak, Advocate.



Judgment Text

Arup Kumar Goswami, CJ.1. Heard Mr. Y. Nagi Reddy, learned counsel for the appellants and Mr. S.A. Razak, learned counsel for the respondent.2. This appeal is preferred by the appellants against the judgment dated 23.11.2018 passed by the learned single Judge in W.P.No.1225 of 2007 allowing the writ petition and setting aside the proceedings dated 14.03.2005 and Memo dated 06.05.2005 issued by the 3rd respondent and the order of the 2nd respondent-appellate authority, dated 16.12.2005, with all consequential benefits.3. Facts of the case, in a nutshell, are that the writ petitioner (respondent herein) was appointed as Non-Muster Roll (NMR) in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board (APSEB) during the year 1971 and subsequently, he was absorbed as helper in the year 1979. Thereafter, he was promoted as Assistant Lineman on 09.05.1982 and as Lineman, on 21.06.1985. A complaint was made in the year 1999 against the writ petitioner for allegedly producing a false educational certificate at the time of his employment and after conclusion of the enquiry, a show cause notice was issued requiring the petitioner to explain as to why he should not be dismissed from service.4. Challenging the aforesaid notice, the writ petitioner approached this Court by filing W.P.No.17448 of 1999. This Court was not inclined to entertain the writ petition as it was against the show cause notice only. However, it was observed that it would be open to the respondents therein to consider all the contentions advanced by the writ petitioner.5. Thereafter, by proceedings dated 24.01.2002, the writ petitioner was dismissed from service. The appeal preferred against the said proceedings was also dismissed. Aggrieved, the writ petitioner filed W.P.No.12520 of 2002 and this Court by order dated 22.10.2002 allowed the said writ petition on the ground that the same officer acted as Preliminary Enquiry Officer, witness at the enquiry, Disciplinary Authority and had imposed the penalty of dismissal from service on the petitioner and had set aside the order of dismissal dated 24.01.2002, granting liberty to the appellants to conduct a de novo enquiry, if so desired.6. Subsequent thereto, a de novo enquiry was conducted and show cause notice was issued to the petitioner and the Enquiry Officer submitted his report and basing on the same, a notice dated 05.01.2005 was issued to the petitioner to show cause as to why he shall not be dismissed from service and requiring him to submit his explanation within a period of 15 days.7. Challenging the notice dated 05.01.2005, the writ petitioner filed W.P.No.5676 of 2005. By an order dated 23.03.2005, this Court disposed of W.P.No.5676 of 2005 granting two weeks’ time to the petitioner to submit additional explanation along with other relevant material, with a direction to the respondents (appellants herein) to consider the same in accordance with law. It was noted that the petitioner had submitted his explanation on 24.01.2005 and that no order had been passed by the respondents.8. However, it appears that an order of dismissal dated 14.03.2005 was already passed before disposal of the writ petition and it is apparent that the said fact was not brought to the notice of the Court. The petitioner, thereafter, submitted additional explanation, which was received in the Division Office on 11.04.2005.9. In view of the order dated 23.03.2005 in W.P.No.5676 of 2005, the additional explanation was considered and thereafter, the order of dismissal dated 14.03.2005 was confirmed by order dated 06.05.2005. The order dated 06.05.2005 was put to challenge in W.P.No.14614 of 2005. This Court, by order dated 07.07.2005, dismissed the writ petition on the ground that the remedy of appeal was available to the petitioner. After dismissal of the appeal vide order dated 16.12.2005, the petitioner filed the writ petition challenging the orders as noticed supra.10. The learned single Judge observed that the post in which the petitioner was initially appointed did not require any educational qualification except being able to read and write. In paragraph No.6, the learned single Judge stated as follows:“This Court having considered the rival submissions made by the parties is of the view that the post in which the petitioner was initially appointed does not require any educational qualification, except reading and writing. Moreover, the department officials are the persons to speak anything as to the genuineness of the educational certificates produced by the petitioner, but none of the officials, who are alleged to have stated that the certificate produced by the petitioner was bogus, was examined in the enquiry. Except relying on the letter addressed by D.E.O, wherein it was stated that the certificate produced by the petitioner is fake, the respondents have not enquired the persons, who were responsible for issuing such certificate. The petitioner was asked to produce the certificate of educational qualification and when he produced the certificate during the course of enquiry, the enquiry officer held that the certificate produced during the course of oral enquiry cannot be taken into consideration since he was promoted as Assistant Lineman and Lineman basing on the education certificate produced by him which was confirmed as bogus certificate by the DEO, Machilipatnam, and the alleged fake certificate was not produced before the enquiry officer. The finding recorded by the enquiry officer is perverse. The disciplinary authority and appellate authority passed the order of dismissal based upon such perverse enquiry report. Further, the punishment of dismissal is shockingly disproportionate to the proved misconduct, which was based on perverse findings of the enquiry officer. Apart from that, the respondents ought to have examined the case of the petitioner as to whether the qualification, for which the petitioner is alleged to have produced a fake certificate, is relevant qualification for the purpose of securing employment. Since the respondents have not considered the above aspects, the proceedings impugned are liable to be set aside”.11. Perusal of the memo dated 09.03.1999 by which charge memo was enclosed goes to show that the Divisional Engineer/Enquiries, Vijayawada, was appointed as Enquiry Officer to conduct departmental enquiry against the petitioner on the allegation of production of false educational certificate by the petitioner. It will be appropriate to extract Annexures-I, II, III & IV of the said letter. The same read as follows:ANNEXURE–IARTICLE OF CHARGE FRAMED AGAINST SRI G.J.LILLISTAN, LINEMANSri G.J. Lillistan has resorted to production of False Educational Certificate at the time of his employment and thereby failed to maintain integrity and acted dishonestly and exhibited misconduct and violated Regulation 4 (xxxix) of Conduct Regulations and Regulation 6 (xxx) of Discipline and Appeal Regulations.ANNEXURE-IISTATEMENT OF IMPUTATION OF THE CHARGE FRAMEDDuring the enquiry of Divisional Engineer/Operation/Guntur, it is found that the Educational Qualification Certificate produced by him at the time of his appointment is false certificate.ANNEXURE-IIIList of witnesses by whom the articles of charge framed Divisional Engineer/Operation/Guntur.ANNEXURE-IVList of documents by whom the articles of charge framedHead Master of Ghandhiji Municipal High School Vijayawada-1 Letter dated 18.01.1999.12. The appellants have filed a memo dated 28.01.2021, enclosing a letter dated 17.2.2004, which reads as follows:“Divisional Engineer/Construction/Guntur was appointed as De novo Enquiry Officer to conduct Departmental enquiry into the allegation of False Educational Certificate against Sri G.J. Lilliston/OD/Guntur.In accordance with said orders charge mentioned in the enclosed charge sheet is hereby framed against him. He is directed to show cause why suitable disciplinary action should not be taken against him on this charge. He should submit his explanation directly to this office within fifteen days from the date of receipt of this by him. He is also requested to fill the enclosed questionnaire (Form-I) and submit the same along with his explanation. He is further informed that if his explanation is not received within the stipulated time, the undersigned will proceed within the enquiry on the basis that he has no explanation to officer.All further correspondence may be done directly with this office. He shall furnish his current postal address in full to communicate with him. Any change of address shall be intimated to enquiry officer till the case is finalised.ANNEXURE–IARTICLE OF CHARGE FRAMED AGAINST SRI G.J.LILLISTAN, LINEMANSri G.J. Lillistan has resorted to production of False Educational Certificate at the time of his employment and thereby failed to maintain integrity and acted dishonestly and exhibited misconduct and violated Regulation 4 (xxxix) of Conduct Regulations and Regulation 6 (xxx) of Discipline and Appeal Regulations.ANNEXURE-II STATEMENT OF IMPUTATIONS OF THE CHARGE FRAMEDDuring the enquiry of Divisional Engineer/Operation/Guntur, it is found that the Educational Qualification Certificate produced by him at the time of his appointment is false certificate.ANNEXURE-IIIList of witnesses by whom the articles of charge framed Divisional Engineer/Operation/Guntur.ANNEXURE-IVList of documents by whom the article of charge framedHead Master of Ghandhiji Municipal High School, Vijayawada-I Letter dated 18.01.1999.District Educational Officer/Krishna, Machilipatnam.Lr. No.Rc.No.22 (OD) D.No.6/2003, dated 28.1.2004.”13. It is seen that the disciplinary authority/appointing authority did not frame any charge, but charge was framed by the Enquiry Officer. A comparison of Annexures I, II, III & IV in the letter dated 17.02.2004 in the year 2004 and in the letter dated 09.03.1999 would go to show that contents are same in both except that an additional document was relied upon in Annexure-IV of letter dated 17.02.2004.14. The enquiry officer discussed the deposition of the petitioner as follows:“DEPOSITION OF SRI G.J.LILLISTON, LM: Sri G.J.Lilliston has given a written statement stating that “G.J.Lilliston, has been working as Lineman at Rayapudi. He had studied upto 7th class at ZP High School, Gannavaram and later had had studied at Gandhiji Municipal Higher Secondary School, Vijayawada and requested 20 days time to produce his certificate where he studied and he has submitted a copy of Transfer Certificate on 1-6-2004 issued by the Head Master, A.P.H.School (Boys), Gannavaram, Krishna dt.28-5-2004 instead of TC from Gandhiji Municipal Higher Secondary School, Vijayawada studied IX Class.”15. A perusal of the Enquiry Report dated nil, which is available at page No.29 of the appeal memo, would go to show that no witness on behalf of the department was examined. It will be relevant to quote “Evidence in support of charge”, which reads as under:“1. The Divisional Engineer, Construction, Guntur has addressed a letter to the District Educational Officer, Machilipatnam vide Lr.No.DE/Constn/GNT/Confdl/D.No.86/03, dated 15.02.2003 for conformation of the genuinity and benefication of the certificate produced by Sri G.J. Lilliston. In response to the letter Sri S. Jagannath Reddy, the District Educational Officer, Machilipatnam has informed in Letter No.Rc.No.22/(DU)/D6/2003, dated 28.1.2004 wherein “It was observed that the TC No.35/70-71 in respect of G.L. Lilliston is not genuine one as per the letter of the Deputy Educational Officer, Vijayawada, Lr.No.1, Special Enquiry 03.T.C.dt. 04-12-2003.”2. Sri G.J. Lilliston has himself accepted during oral enquiry and given a written statement that he had studied upto 7th class at Z.P. High School, Gannavaram and later he had studied at Gandhiji Municipal Higher Secondary School, Vijayawada and he has requested 20 days time to produce the certificate where he studied. Now, he has submitted only a copy of Transfer Certificate on 1.6.2004 issued by the Head Master, Z.P.H. School (Boys) Gannavaram Krishna, dated 28.5.2004 stating that he had studied VII Class as against the Transfer Certificate issued by the Head Master, Gandhiji Municipal Higher Secondary School, Vijayawada, where it was recorded as he passed IX Class.”16. The findings of the enquiry officer read as follows:“1. Sri S. Jagannath Reddy, the District Educational Officer, Machilipatnam has informed in Letter No.Rc.No.22(D1)D6/2003 dated 28.1.2004 wherein “It was observed that the TC No.35/70-71 in respect of G.J. Lilliston is not genuine one as per the letter of the Deputy Educational Officer, Vijayawada Lr.No.1 Spl. Enquiry 03.T.C. dated 4.12.2003.”2. Sri G.J. Lilliston has himself accepted during oral enquiry and given a written statement that he had studied upto 7th class at Z.P. High School, Gannavaram and later, he had studied at Gandhiji Municipal Higher Secondary School, Vijayawada and he has requested 20 days time to produce the certificate where he studied. Now he has submitted only a copy of Transfer Certificate on 1.6.2004 issued by the Head Master, Z.P.H. School (Boys) Gannavaram, Krishna dated 28.5.2004 stating he had studied VII class as against the Transfer Certificate issued by the Head Master, Gandhiji Municipal Higher Secondary School, Vijayawada as he passed IX class. Further, it is to state that the certificate now produced during course of oral enquiry cannot be taken into consideration since he was promoted as ALM and LM basing on the education certificate produced by him which was confirmed as bogus certificate by the District Education Officer, Machilipatnam.”17. Mr. Y. Nagi Reddy, learned counsel for the appellants has drawn our attention to the contents of the document stated to be service profile of the writ petitioner. The name is not legible and the father’s name was shown to be G. Joseph. The date of birth was recorded as 14.09.1951 and the Educational qualification was shown as 9th class.18. From the transfer certificate dated 28.05.2004 which the petitioner produced, it appears that it was issued by ZillaParishad High School, Gannavaram (Boys). In the said certificate, name of the parent or guardian was shown as Yesob and the date of birth was recorded as 14.3.1951. The class in which the pupil was reading at the time of leaving was shown as VIIth class.19. There is contradiction in the statement so attributed to the petitioner and the conclusion reached by the Enquiry Officer. It was recorded that the petitioner had stated that he studied upto 7th class at Z.P. High School and later studied at Gandhiji Municipal Secondary School but he had submitted a copy of transfer certificate issued by the Headmaster, A.P.H. School (Boys). In the conclusion, it was recorded that a certificate issued by the Head Master, Z.P.H School (Boys), Gannavaram, was submitted.20. The case of the petitioner, as it appears from the material on record, is that he studied upto7th class at Z.P. High School, Gannavaram and 8thclass at Gandhiji Municipal Higher Secondary School, Vija

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yawada and he discontinued studies on 30.4.1969.21. The document dated 18.1.1999 based on which charge was framed was not even brought on record. The authorities solely relied on a letter of the District Educational Officer, Machilipatnam wherein it was stated that TC No.35/70-71 in respect of G.L. Lilliston is not genuine one as per the letter of the Deputy Educational Officer, Vijayawada, Lr.No.1, Spl. Enquiry 03 T.C., dated 04.12.2003.22. The Enquiry Officer took it for granted that the transfer certificate issued by the Head Master, Gandhiji Municipal Higher Secondary School, Vijayawada showed that the petitioner had passed 9th class. The finding is wholly perverse as in the absence of the document stated to have been produced by the petitioner at the time of entry into service, the conclusion drawn by the Enquiry Officer cannot stand scrutiny for a moment. There is not an iota of evidence against the petitioner in connection with the production of false educational certificate at the time of his entry into service.23. In view of the above discussion, we have no hesitation to hold that the charge against the petitioner was not proved as the department had even failed to produce by way of evidence the educational certificate alleged to have been produced by the petitioner at the time of his entry into service, let alone proving such certificate to be a false certificate by producing acceptable evidence as would be required in a departmental proceeding to establish a charge. In that view of the matter, we find no merit in this appeal.24. Accordingly, this Writ Appeal is dismissed. No costs. Pending miscellaneous applications shall stand dismissed.
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