1. This appeal under Section 100, CPC has been preferred against the judgment and decree dated 12-7-1989 passed by the learned IInd Additional District Judge, Bhopal in Regular Civil Appeal No. 22-A/84 affirming the judgment and decree dated 23-12-1983 passed by the learned IInd Additional Civit Judge, Bhopal in Regular Civil Suit No. 210-A/1982 dismissing the suit instituted by the plaintiff/appellant for declaration that his termination of employment is null and void.
2. The essential facts necessary to decide the appeal are :– The appellant/plaintiff was posted as ‘Chowkidar’ by the Administrator, Nagar Nigarn, Bhopal hy order dated 24-10-1978 Ex. P-11. He was discharged from the service by order of the Administrator, Nagar Nigam, Bhopal by order dated 11-12-1979 Ex. P-10. An appeal having been preferred by the plaintiff/appellant has also been dismissed by the said Administrator. The plaintiff/appellant therefore instituted the present Civil Suit on the ground that the services of the plaintiff/appellant were dispensed with without holding any enquiry and therefore the order of dispensing with his services was illegal and arbitrary and against the principles of natural justice. The defendants/respondents resisted the above claim of the plaintiff/appellant on the ground that the plaintiff/appellant was found guilty of mis-conduct as he had committed cheating and embezzlement in the name of one Daulat Singh, the Incharge of Cattlepond. It was, further, pleaded by the respondents/defendants that since the appellant/plaintiff was appointed for a period of six months or till further order whichever is earlier, his services could be discharged.
3. The learned Trial Court after evaluating the evidence adduced by both the parties found that no enquiry was necessary and therefore dismissed the suit. The first appeal having been preferred by the plaintiff/appellant has also been dismissed by the learned IInd Additional District Judge, Bhopal by the impugned judgment and decree. Being aggrieved by the impugned judgment and decree, the present appeal under Section 100, CPC has been preferred by the plaintiff/appellant.
4. The following substantial question of law was formulated by this Court while admitting the appeal for hearing :–
“Whether the Lower Appellate Court was right in holding that the services of the appellant could be terminated by the respondents without holding any enquiry into his alleged misconduct in accordance with the service rules which were applicable to his case ?”
5. A careful scrutiny of the entire evidence and other material on record apparently indicates that the plaintiff/appellant was appointed purely on temporary basis for a limited period of six months or till further orders whichever was earlier. The learned Courts below have found that the impugned order dispensing the plaintiff/appellant Ex. P-10 was an order of discharge simplicitor. It has, further, been held by the learned First Appellate Court that the said order Ex. P-10 does not contain any adverse remark or cast any stigma against the appellant/plaintiff as it was an innocuous order. There is nothing on record to show that the findings recorded by the two Courts below are either perverse or based on no evidence. Since the appointment of the plaintiff/appellant was on ad hoc-basis and for a limited period and since he was discharged by an innocuous order which does not cast any stigma on him, in my opinion the holding of enquiry was not at all necessary. It is the settled law that even if the order of discharge is innocuous on the face of its still the Court can lift the veil and find out the real nature of the order and if it is found that the impugned order is penal in nature, the order must be set aside. This is the view taken by the Apex Court in Babu Lal Vs. State of Harydna and others, AIR 1991 SC 1310. The learned counsel for the appellant has, therefore, contended that though the impugned order Ex. P-10 appears to be innocuous on its face but is in reality penal in nature. To substantiate his contention, the learned counsel for the appellant has drawn my attention to the pleadings of the defendants/respondents wherein it has been averred that the plaintiff/appellant was found guilty of misconduct as he embezzled a particular amount and also committed cheating by passing the receipt in his own handwriting and under his signatures in the name of Daulat Singh, the Incharge of Cattlepond. He has, further, drawn my attention to the fact that the Revenue Inspector had made an enquiry into the allegation, therefore, it was necessary in the interest of justice to give an opportunity to the plaintiff/appellant to face such enquiry.
6. Having given the thoughtful consideration to the above contention of the learned counsel for the appellant, I am of the view that this contention cannot be accepted. Admittedly, the plaintiff/appellant was employed for a fixed period of six months or until furlher orders whichever was earlier, though he was allowed to continue his services beyond six months. There was an allegation that he embezzled the public money. It is also clear that the services of the plaintiff/appellant could be dispensed with without initiating the facts finding enquiry. However, by initiating the said enquiry, the defendants could show that the order discharging the plaintiff/appellant from the services was not a whimsical or arbitrary order. It was an internal matter of the department and if the defendants chose to be more impartial and fair towards the plaintiff/appellant before passing the order of discharge with a view to make it clear that their order was neither whimsical nor arbitrary, it cannot be said that the regular enquiry should have been held against the appellant/plaintiff. Since the services of the plaintiff/appellant were discharged for his unsausfactory conduct, it was not violative to the provisions of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. The holding of the internal enquiry ensured that the impugned order Ex. P-10 was not passed without any legal justification and it was not whimsical or arbitrary.
7. It is also clear from the order of discharge Ex. P-10 that it was an innocuous order which did not cast any stigma on the plaintiff/appellant. It is also clear from the impugned order Ex. P-10 that it was not a punitive in nature. Under the circumstance, it was not at all necessary to hold an enquiry against the plaintiff/appellant before passing the impugned order Ex, P-10.
8. The learned counsel for the appellant has placed reliance on the decisions of the Supreme Court in Shrawan Kumar Jha and others Vs. State of Bihar and others, AIR 1991 SC 309, State of M.P. and others Vs. ShyamaPardhi etc. etc., AIR 1996 SC 2219, and Life Insurance Corporation of India and another Vs. Raghavendra Seshagiri Rao Kulkami, AIR 1998 SC 327.
9. So far as the Shrawan Kumar Jha’s and Shyama Pardhi’s cases (supra) are concerned, the facts are different and therefore the ratio laid down by the Supreme Court in these two decisions is not of any help to the appellant/plaintiff. In Raghavendra Seshagiri Rao Kulkami’s case (supra), the principles laid down by the Supreme Court is also of no help to the appellant/plaintiff.
10. For the reasons staled above, 1 am of the view that the Lower Appellate Court was right in holding that the services of the appellant could be terminated by the respondents/defendants without holding any enquiry into his alleged misconduct in accordance with the service rules which were applicable to his case.
11. In view of above, the appeal fails and it is, therefore, dismissed without any order as to costs.
12. Second Appeal dismissed.