B R Swamy vs State Of Karnataka on 14 February, 2024

Take notes as you read a judgment using our Virtual Legal Assistant and get email alerts whenever a new judgment matches your query (Query Alert Service). Try out our Premium Member services — Free for one month.

Karnataka High Court

B R Swamy vs State Of Karnataka on 14 February, 2024

Author: Krishna S Dixit

Bench: Krishna S Dixit

                                           -1-
                                                       NC: 2024:KHC:6215-DB
                                                   WP No. 13811 of 2021




                    IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU

                      DATED THIS THE 14TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2024

                                        PRESENT
                       THE HON'BLE MR JUSTICE KRISHNA S DIXIT
                                          AND
                        THE HON'BLE MR JUSTICE G BASAVARAJA
                      WRIT PETITION NO. 13811 OF 2021 (S-KSAT)
               BETWEEN:

                     B.R. SWAMY,
                     S/O A. BRAHMAIAH,
                     AGED ABOUT 63 YEARS,
                     R/O KALGERE VILLAGE,
                     BHARAMSAGARA POST,
                     CHITRADURGA DISTRICT - 577 519.
                                                              ...PETITIONER
               (BY SRI. VIRUPAKSHAIAH P.H., ADVOCATE)

               AND:

Digitally
signed by      1.    STATE OF KARNATAKA,
GAYATHRI P G
                     REPRESENTED BY ITS PRINCIPAL SECRETARY,
Location:
HIGH COURT           EDUCATION DEPARTMENT,
OF
KARNATAKA            VIKASA SOUDHA,
                     BANGALORE - 560 001.

               2.    THE REGISTRAR,
                     KARNATAKA LOKAYUKTA,
                     DR. B.R. AMBEDKAR VEEDHI,
                     BANGALORE - 560 001.

               3.    THE HEAD MASTER,
                     GOVERNMENT COMPOSITE HIGH SCHOOL,
                                   -2-
                                               NC: 2024:KHC:6215-DB
                                               WP No. 13811 of 2021




      HEDIYALA, RANEBENNUR TALUK,
      HAVERI DISTRICT - 561 110.

4.    THE PRINCIPAL,
      PRE-UNIVERSITY COMPOSITE JUNIOR COLLEGE,
      DODDASIDDAVANAHALLI,
      CHITRADURGA DISTRICT - 577 501.
                                         ...RESPONDENTS
(BY SRI. VIKAS ROJIPURA, AGA FOR R1 & R3;
SRI. VENKATESH S ARBATTI, ADVOCATE FOR R2)

     THIS WP IS FILED UNDER ARTICLES 226 AND 227 OF
THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA PRAYING TO QUASH ORDER
DATED 23.11.2020 PASSED BY THE R1 AUTHORITY VIDE
ANNEXURE-A1 HOLDING THE SAME IS ILLEGAL AND
ARBITRARY AND ETC.

     THIS PETITION, COMING ON FOR PRELIMINARY
HEARING, THIS DAY, KRISHNA S DIXIT J., MADE THE
FOLLOWING:
                               ORDER

Petitioner, a civil servant was arrayed as one of the

delinquents along with twelve others in a disciplinary

proceeding for certain misconducts. The Enquiry Officer found

inter alia the petitioner guilty, submitted his report. Having had

the version of the petitioner, the Disciplinary Authority

accepted the Enquiry Report pursuant to proceedings entrusted

to Lokayukta under Rule 14A of the Karnataka Civil Services

(Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1957, levied a

punishment of dismissal from service. Petitioner’s Application
-3-
NC: 2024:KHC:6215-DB
WP No. 13811 of 2021

No.7258/2013, having been turned down by the Karnataka

State Administrative Tribunal vide order dated 28.1.2019, he is

knocking at the doors of this Court.

2. Learned counsel for the petitioner seeks to falter

the impugned order of the Tribunal as also order of dismissal

from service contending that: the joint enquiry without

compliance of pre-requisites could not have been held; the

enquiry was ordered without furnishing preliminary enquiry

report; the initiation of enquiry was enormously delayed to the

disadvantage of delinquent; though there were twelve other

co-delinquents, grave charges were framed only against the

petitioner and this is discriminatory. So arguing, he seeks

voiding of the Tribunal’s order and the order of punishment.

3. Learned AGA on request, appearing for the

respondent Nos.1, 3 & 4 and learned Panel Counsel

Sri.Venkatesh S Arbatti appearing for the office of Lokayukta,

resist the petition making submission in support of impugned

order of Tribunal as also levy of punishment of dismissal. They

contend that this court exercising a limited supervisory

jurisdiction constitutionally vested u/a 227, is not a court of
-4-
NC: 2024:KHC:6215-DB
WP No. 13811 of 2021

appeal and therefore, the focal point of examination should be

the decision making process as distinguished from decision

itself; the Enquiry Report found inter alia the petitioner guilty of

grave charges; petitioner’s say was had on the same and only

thereafter, the punishment order has been passed, regard

being had to proven misconduct of grave nature. Repelling the

submission of learned counsel for the petitioner, they seek

dismissal of the Writ Petition.

4. Having heard learned counsel for the parties and

having perused the Petition papers, this court is broadly in

agreement made on behalf of the respondents. The Tribunal

comprising of experts, who have the advantage of accumulated

wisdom in matters like this, have upheld the findings adversely

recorded against the petitioner and also found that the

punishment of dismissal awarded to him is perfectly in accord

with the gravity of proven misconduct. This court exercising a

limited supervisory jurisdiction constitutionally vested u/a 227,

cannot undertake a deeper examination of the contention

advanced at the Bar, as if it is a court of appeal vide SADHANA

LODH vs. NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITD, (2003) 3

SCC 524.

-5-

NC: 2024:KHC:6215-DB
WP No. 13811 of 2021

5. The first contention of the petitioner’s counsel that his

client was not furnished a report of preliminary enquiry and

therefore, enquiry proceedings are vitiated is difficult to

countenance. A preliminary enquiry is held to decide whether

matter merits a full fledged disciplinary enquiry and at that

stage, ordinarily, the suspects are not notified. Justice Rama

Jois in his ‘Services under the State’ N.M. TRIPATI, 1987 at

page 446, writes:

“Administrative instructions to providing for the
holding of a preliminary enquiry to find out whether
there is any prima facie case made out against the
government servant concerned for instituting a
departmental enquiry, are only of an administrative
nature and do not affect the validity of the
disciplinary proceedings instituted against an official
without first holding a preliminary enquiry. A
departmental enquiry proceeding cannot be
challenged on the ground that no preliminary
enquiry was held.”

6. The second contention that there could not have

been a joint enquiry in the matter when several delinquents of

different cadres and participation were implicated, is again bit

difficult to countenance. The allegations were as to

misappropriation of huge funds of the respondent-College;
-6-

NC: 2024:KHC:6215-DB
WP No. 13811 of 2021

there were as many as thirteen delinquent employees who after

a preliminary enquiry were suspected to be involved in the

episode. Each one of them apparently had a role that was

investigated into in the joint enquiry. It has been a settled

position of law that when a number of officers belonging to

different cadres are jointly in involved in misconduct, it is

competent for the government to institute disciplinary

proceedings jointly against all the officers. In such a case, the

disciplinary authority which is competent to dismiss the highest

officer involved, would be the authority competent to institute

disciplinary proceedings against all the officers involved. This

view gains support from RACHAIAH vs. DIG OF POLICE, (1979)

2 KAR.L.J. 203. The decision cited by the learned counsel for

the petitioner namely STATE OF KARNATAKA VS. RAVI KUMAR

in WP Nos.29818 & 56278 of 2013 (S-KAT) disposed off by

a Coordinate Bench of this Court vide order dated 10.04.2014,

does not much come to his aid since it was rendered specific to

the facts. Its arguable ratio does not support contention of the

kind.

7. The third contention of the petitioner was as to

enormity of the delay in initiating and concluding the
-7-
NC: 2024:KHC:6215-DB
WP No. 13811 of 2021

disciplinary proceedings. His contention that delay defeats

equity & justice and therefore, on that ground alone, the

impugned order of dismissal from service is liable to be voided,

does not merit countenance. Ordinarily, a disciplinary

proceeding has to be initiated & accomplished within an outer

limit of one year, is true. However, that is not a Thumb Rule;

secondly, where funds involved in misappropriation are huge

and suspects are plural in number, and further an avalanche of

records needs to be looked into, adhering to the timeline is

nearly impossible. In such cases, delay cannot be a sufficient

ground for quashment of very enquiry proceedings that

culminated into dismissal order.

8. The last contention of the petitioner that he alone

has been singled out for grave charges and gravest punishment

namely dismissal, all others having been framed with lesser

allegations, does not merit acceptance. In a joint enquiry

concerning a series of transactions that resulted into huge

misappropriation of public funds naturally involves several

delinquent persons; it is not that every delinquent employee

should be charged with the same allegations in a joint enquiry;

it all depends upon the role played by each of them; at times,
-8-
NC: 2024:KHC:6215-DB
WP No. 13811 of 2021

these roles are different qua the persons involved. Learned AGA

is more than justified in contending that it is open to the

competent authorities to frame different charges against

persons implicated in the enquiry depending upon the role

played by each of them and the evidentiary material available

in support thereof. This view gains support from the decision of

Apex Court in State of Uttar Pradesh Vs. Rajit Singh in

2022 SCC Online SC 341.

In the above circumstances, the petition being devoid of

merits is liable to be dismissed and accordingly, it is, costs

having been made easy.

Sd/-

JUDGE

Sd/-

JUDGE

MEG
List No.: 1 Sl No.: 17
CT:SNN

[ad_2]

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *