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M.T.Antony vs The Principal Secretary on 2 December, 2009

Kerala High Court
M.T.Antony vs The Principal Secretary on 2 December, 2009




WP(C).No. 34541 of 2009(K)

                      ...  Petitioner


                       ...       Respondent

                For Petitioner  :SRI.MATHEW JOHN (K)

                For Respondent  : No Appearance

The Hon'ble MR. Justice ANTONY DOMINIC

 Dated :02/12/2009

 O R D E R
                      ANTONY DOMINIC, J.
                W.P.(C) NO.34541 OF 2009 (K)
         Dated this the 2nd day of December, 2009

                          J U D G M E N T

Petitioner was promoted and posted as Extension Officer at

Uzhavoor. While so, in view of the retirement of the then Block

Development Officer Sri. K.J. Joseph, Ext.P2 order dated

2910.2005, was issued by the District Collector, Kottayam,

directing the petitioner to hold additional charge of the Block

Development Officer, Uzhavoor, until further orders. Petitioner

continued in that capacity from 1.11.2005 till 14.12.2005, when a

new BDO took charge.

2. In the meanwhile, in his capacity of BDO, petitioner took

delivery of 30 tonnes of food grains to be distributed under the

SGRY scheme and entrusted goods to Sri. K.J. Joseph, who had

already retired from service as early as on 31.10.2005. This lead

to the suspension of the petitioner by Ext.P7, on the ground that

the petitioner was negligent in the discharge of his duties by

entrusting food grains to Sri. K.J. Joseph, who had already retired

from service. The suspension was later revoked by Ext.P12 order

and the petitioner was posted at Manjeswaram.

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3. While continuing as such, Exts.P14 and P14(a) memo of

charges and statement of allegations were issued with the

aforesaid allegations. An enquiry was conducted and finally by

Ext.P21, a punishment of barring of two increments without

cumulative effect was imposed on the petitioner. In this writ

petition challenge is against Ext.P21.

4. One of the contentions raised by the counsel for the

petitioner is that of violation of principles of natural justice. It is

also stated that the petitioner himself had disclosed the true facts

in Ext.P4 and that it was on the basis of the said communication

that proceedings were initiated. According to the counsel, this

itself shows that he had no intention to misappropriate the goods.

It is stated that the whole commodity entrusted to Sri. K.J. Joseph

was later recovered and that there has not been any loss caused

to the Government.

5. A reading of the memo of charges which lead to Ext.P21

order shows that the misconduct alleged and proved against the

petitioner is that he was negligent in discharging his duties. In the

writ petition itself and the documents annexed, the petitioner

admits that subsequent to the retirement of Sri. K.J. Joseph, he

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collected two consignments of fifteen metric tonnes of food

grains each and that the same was entrusted to Sri. K.J. Joseph.

Therefore the fact that the food grains, which the petitioner took

delivery in his capacity as RDO and which were to be distributed

under the SGRY scheme, was entrusted to Sri. K.J. Joseph, a

retired Government Official is admitted. This precisely is the

negligent act that was alleged against him and which was the

subject matter of enquiry.

6. In such circumstances, there is absolutely no basis for the

plea of the petitioner that natural justice has been violated. So

long as the misconduct is proved, even if it is true that the

petitioner had no bad motives can be of little consequence,

except in deciding the punishment to be imposed. In my view, a

reading of Ext.P21 also shows that the only punishment imposed

on the petitioner is barring of two increments and that too without

cumulative effect. This cannot be said to be a punishment

disproportionate to the charges leveled against the petitioner.

Writ petition fails and is dismissed.


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