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Santhappan vs Kerala State Electricity Board on 5 October, 2007

Kerala High Court
Santhappan vs Kerala State Electricity Board on 5 October, 2007
       

  

  

 
 
  IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

WP(C) No. 14471 of 2004(W)


1. SANTHAPPAN, S/O. ENASO NADAR,
                      ...  Petitioner

                        Vs



1. KERALA STATE ELECTRICITY BOARD,
                       ...       Respondent

2. CHAIRMAN, KERALA STATE ELECTRICITY

3. EXECUTIVE ENGINEER, ELECTRICAL

4. DEPUTY CHIEF ENGINEER,

                For Petitioner  :SRI.SAJU.S.A

                For Respondent  :SRI.A.SUDHI VASUDEVAN, SC, KSEB

The Hon'ble MR. Justice A.K.BASHEER

 Dated :05/10/2007

 O R D E R
                                 A.K.BASHEER, J.

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                          W.P.(C)No.14471 OF 2004

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                 Dated this the 5th day of October 2007


                                     JUDGMENT

This writ petition is at the instance of a Sub Engineer

who has been working in the Kerala State Electricity Board.

It is the admitted position that he has retired from service in

the year 2006. He impugns the order of punishment of

barring of one increment with cumulative effect apart from

recovery of Rs.7,500/- from him being the damages suffered

by the Board. The relevant facts which lead to the imposition

of punishment of the petitioner may be briefly noticed.

Petitioner had prepared an estimate for drawing a service line

to a consumer while he was working as Overseer in

Manjeshwar Electrical Section in the year 1999-2000.

According to the Board, petitioner had prepared the estimate

for the line as 180m of overhead line and 20m of weather

proof line. It is the specific case of the petitioner that the

above estimate prepared by him was approved and sanctioned

by the Assistant Engineer. Thereafter, the work was executed

and the line was drawn.

W.P.(C)No.14471 OF 2004

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2. But later, on an inspection made by the authorities in

the Board, it was revealed that the length of the overhead was

210m and the weather proof line had a length of 3m. In other

words, there was an excess of 13m altogether. The loss

suffered by the Board was estimated to be Rs.7,500/-.

3. Disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the

petitioner. The explanation submitted by the petitioner was

not found to be satisfactory. An enquiry was instituted

against him. The enquiry officer found that the charge

levelled against the officer was proved. Therefore the

disciplinary authority, after accepting the finding, imposed

the penalty referred to above. Though the petitioner

challenged the above order before the appellate authority and

the Chairman of the Board, the two authorities concurrently

affirmed the finding entered by the disciplinary authority. It

is in the above circumstances, that the petitioner has

preferred this writ petition.

4. It is primarily contended by the petitioner that the

disciplinary proceedings are patently vitiated in as much as

W.P.(C)No.14471 OF 2004

:: 3 ::

the presenting officer in the enquiry was the same officer who

had sanctioned the work after approving the estimate

prepared by the petitioner. It is further contended by the

petitioner that the fact that the work was executed by another

employee of the board after obtaining sanction was ignored

by the authority concerned. Petitioner had nothing to do with

the execution of the work. He had only prepared the estimate

and submitted the same before the authority who had

subsequently sanctioned it.

5. Significantly, it is admitted by the respondent in the

counter affidavit that the presenting officer in the disciplinary

proceedings was infact the sanctioning officer himself. But

according to respondent it was the Assistant Engineer of the

section concerned, who was the custodian of the materials

required for executing the work and not the presenting

officer. In my view the above explanation is totally flimsy and

untenable.

6. Anyhow, the fact remains that the petitioner had

retired from service in the year 2006. Learned counsel

W.P.(C)No.14471 OF 2004

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submits that the petitioner is prepared to pay the alleged loss

sustained by the Board. The limited plea is to delete the other

part of the punishment namely, barring of one increment with

cumulative effect.

7. In the peculiar facts and circumstances, I am satisfied

that the above plea is only just and reasonable, particularly

since there was violation of the rules of natural justice in as

much as the authority who had sanctioned the work had

himself acted as the presenting officer. Therefore, the Ext.P7

order is modified to the extent that the petitioner shall be

liable to remit the sum of Rs.7,500/- being the loss sustained

by the Board. The other part of the punishment imposed by

the Board i.e., barring of one increment with cumulative

effect is set aside.

Writ petition is allowed in the above terms.

(A.K.BASHEER, JUDGE)

jes

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