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Loss of telephone cables: No relief by HC to telephone officer

Loss of telephone cables: No relief by HC to telephone officer

The Bombay High Court has refused to interfere with the decision of authorities to compulsorily retire a junior telecom officer in Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd after a departmental inquiry held him guilty in a case of loss of telephone cables.

“No case has been made out by the petitioner to cause interference by this (High) court in exercise of its writ jurisdiction… The petition is dismissed,” Justices Naresh Patil and Prakash Naik said in a recent judgement.

The petitioner, Prakash Tyagi, joined services as Junior Telecom Officer in the erstwhile Mumbai Telephone in 1979. By an order dated February 4, 1988, he was placed under suspension, as a departmental enquiry was ordered on account of missing 600 metres of cable.

The charges mentioned in the charge-sheet issued in 1989 related to loss of telephone cable and other related matters.

An FIR was lodged with Juhu Police Station on February 9, 1988 in connection with the incident.

The department alleged that the petitioner, while working as Junior Telecom Officer (JTO), had not laid cables of about 600 metres, but created record showing that he had executed the work. The un-utilised stock of cable thus remained unaccounted for, according to the department.

The petitioner denied the charges levelled against him. An Enquiry Officer was appointed who held a probe and filed a report on January 7, 1991, holding the petitioner guilty of missing cables mentioned in charges 1 to 4 in the chargesheet, while exonerating him from two other charges.

Petitioner’s contention was that the Enquiry Officer has not given any reason as to why he had recorded finding of guilt in respect of charges 1 to 4 in the chargesheet. Thereafter, the disciplinary authority passed an order on August 17, 1995, compulsorily retiring the petitioner.
The petitioner filed an appeal on October 18, 1995,

before Appellate Authority against the penalty of compulsory retirement imposed on him but it was rejected in August 1997. He had argued that he was acquitted by a Magistrate in March 1996 after a full trial. He then filed a review petition which too was rejected by the Competent Authority in 1998.

The aggrieved petitioner moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) which rejected his plea. He then challenged the CAT order in the High Court.

The High Court was of the view that all the authorities had concurrently held that the charges levelled against the petitioner were proved.

The HC further held that the CAT in detail had scanned the material referred to in the charges, considered the pleadings of the parties, the stand taken by the petitioner and had upheld the findings of the Enquiry Officer.

Therefore, the bench refused to give relief to the petitioner and dismissed his petition.

( Source – PTI )

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