IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM WP(C).No. 34541 of 2009(K) 1. M.T.ANTONY, S/O. K.V.THOMAS, ... Petitioner Vs 1. THE PRINCIPAL SECRETARY, ... 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.
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
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.