(1). These two appeals have been filed by Dr. Sarvada Nand Sharma and the State of Rajasthan, against the order dated 27.8.1997, passed by a learned Single Judge of this Court. We have heard Shri R.C. Joshi, learned counsel for Dr. Sarvada Nand Sharma, and Shri N.K. Maloo, learned counsel for the respondent – State.
(2). The petitioner appellant in Appeal No. 852/1999, was serving as Sheep & Wool Extension Officer. A charge sheet was served upon him under section 16 of the Rajasthan Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1958 on 22.10.1982. After conducting the enquiry, an order dated 3.8.1985, imposing punishment of dismissal from service, was passed by the respondent State. The said order was challenged by the petitioner appellant in this Court by filing writ petition. The writ petition was disposed of by a learned Single Judge vide order dated 27.8.1997. A short order was passed by the learned Single Judge, which reads as under;
“By this writ petition, the order of termination of service dated 3rd August, 1985 have been challenged. The petitioner has already attained the age of superannuation. The arguments of both the learned counsel for the parties have been heard.
The finding which has been given in respect of two charges is of fact which does not require any interference in exercise of power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The fact that the medicine were purchased by the petitioner is not disputed one. The other charge is that such medicine was distributed to the villagers at higher price to earn the profit and fees etc. The order of termination in the facts and circumstances, cannot be said to be bad in law. It is, however, directed that the petitioner could be given pensionary benefit by taking into consideration the services rendered by him till 3rd August, 1985 when the order of termination was passed.
The writ petition shall stand disposed of with the above observation.”
(3). While affirming the order of dismissal, the learned Judge has, however directed the respondent State to give pensionary benefits to the petitioner by taking into consideration the services rendered by him till 3.8.1985 when the order of dismissal was passed. This direction has been challenged by the respondent State.
(4). Mr. N.K. Maloo, learned counsel for the State, submitted that the learned Single Judge having held that the order of dismissal from service is right it cannot be interfered with by directing the State to give pensionary benefits by taking into consideration the services rendered by the petitioner. He has further alleged that once the order of dismissal was upheld there court not have been any direction for payment of pensionary benefits because, in case of dismissal from service, pension and other retirement benefits are not payable.
(5). Since the observations made in the order are self contradictory the said direction was challenged by the State. It has been prayed in the appeal that the said direction deserves to be quashed and set aside.
(6). On the other hand, Mr. R.C. Joshi, learned counsel for the appellant in Appeal No. 852/1999, challenged the order of the learned Single Judge alleging that it is non-speaking one and that the learned Single Judge, while affirming the impugned order of dismissal from service, has not correctly appreciated the facts of the case and the documents placed on record. Therefore, the finding recorded is perverse and liable to be quashed and set aside.
(7). We have perused entire pleadings and the documents filed. In this case, vide the memorandum dated 22.10.1982 (Annex.3 to the writ petition) the appellant employee was served with a charge sheet along with the statement of allegations. The allegations levelled against him was that while working as Sheep & Wool Extension Officer, Kharchi, District – Pali, he has misused his post by unauthorisedly purchasing medicines directly from the company. The other charge was in regard to distribution of the said medicines among the poor sheep owners by charging fees thereof, thereby misusing his post and powers for personal benefits.
(8). An enquiry was conducted. The employee also allowed inspection of the documents and the records and was also furnished with the copies of statements of the witnesses. However, the appellant employee did not file any reply to the charge sheet and statement of allegations. It is seen from the record that the petitioner was also supplied with the copes of documents. On 24.5.1984, arguments were heard. The petitioner employee submitted reply to the charge sheet and statement of allegations. The Enquiry Officer, after hearing arguments and considering written submissions of the petitioner employee, submitted the enquiry report to the State Government, who, after seeking advise of the Rajasthan Public Service Commission, passed order of punishment of dismissal from service against the appellant employee. The appellant employee was supplied with the copies of the enquiry report and the advise of the RPSC, vide order dated 17.9.1985. It is seen from the proceedings that the Department examined 10 witnesses in support of its case, whereas, the petitioner examined 3
witnesses besides himself. The Enquiry Officer held that the charges levelled against the employee were proved. Accordingly he was punished.
(9). At the time of arguments, learned counsel for the petitioner appellant has argued that the punishment imposed is disproportionate to the charges levelled and proved against him and therefore, the punishment awarded is liable to be quashed and set aside or, in any event, the punishment is liable to be modified.
(10). We have perused the entire record of the case. It is not the case of the appellant employee that opportunity of defending himself was denied to him. A perusal of the enquiry record would reveal that opportunity was given to the employee for perusal of the documents and, in fact, some of the documents, which were asked, were also furnished. The department had examined more than 10 witnesses to prove the charges. The Disciplinary Authority, came to the conclusion that the punishment of dismissal for service is the appropriate punishment to be awarded in the facts and circumstances of the case. In our view, the punishment of dismissal from service on the appellant employee is not only excessive but also disproportionate to the charges levelled against him. The petitioner entered the service in the year 1965 as Animal Husbandry Extension Officer and he was dismissed from service after enquiry on 3.8.1985. It is alleged that except the present charge memo no other departmental proceedings were initiated against him or punished and, therefore, a lenient view may be taken and order of punishment may be modified.
(11). It is also a matter of record that though increments were with-held on an earlier occasion, the said order was quashed and set aside on appeal. Thus, as record stands, no other punishment was imposed on the petitioner employee. In the present case, perusal of the record would show that he has purchased the medicines on Government account and sold the same to the public at higher rate. The amount involved is very meagre and, for this offence, such a serious punishment of dismissal from service is not warranted. Interest of justice would be amply met if we modify the punishment of dismissal from service to that of compulsory retirement on proportionate pension.
(12). Accordingly, the appeal filed by the appellant employee (Appeal No. 852/1999) is partly allowed. The punishment of dismissal from service imposed on the appellant employee is modified to that of compulsory retirement on proportionate pension. Since the order passed by the learned Single Judge is not modified, no further directions need be issued in the appeal filed by the State (Appeal No. 543/1998). The appellant employee has since retired on attaining the age of superannuation. Therefore, the respondent State is directed to pass necessary orders within four months from today.
(13). Both the appeals stand disposed of accordingly.