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The disciplinary authority will conduct the enquiry in accordance with the principles of natural jus

Ramesh Singh V. The State of Uttar Pradesh& Anr, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1918 OF 2020 Arising out of SLP (C) No.15795/2018.

“We uphold the impugned judgment passed by the High Court in remitting the matter to the disciplinary authority. The disciplinary authority will conduct the enquiry in accordance with the principles of natural justice, after giving a full opportunity of hearing to the appellant, who will be allowed to produce both oral and documentary evidence. The appellant will continue to remain under suspension during the period of enquiry. The enquiry is directed to be completed within a period of 4months.”

The appellant submitted his reply to the charge sheet on 09.11.2003 denying the charges levelled against him. It was contended that the appointments were made by him in compliance with earlier orders passed by the High Court, and directions from senior functionaries. The enquiry officer found the appellant guilty of the charges levelled against him in the charge sheet. The Report of the Enquiry Officer was forwarded to the Disciplinary Authority on 19.06.2004. The appellant challenged the order of suspension by way of W.P. (C) 52287/2005, wherein the High Court vide interim Order dated 28.07.2005 granted stay of the order of suspension. During the pendency of the Writ Petition, the Deputy Secretary, Basic Education Department vide Order dated 10.01.2006 proposed punishment of removal from service. The appellant challenged the Order dated 10.01.2006 by filing W.P. (C) No. 14083/2006, wherein vide interim 3 order dated 08.03.2006, the High Court directed stay of the aforesaid Order of proposed punishment.The appellant challenged the Order of Removal in W.P. (C) No. 28842/2008, wherein the High Court vide interim order dated 20.06.2008 directed that the operation, implementation and execution of the order of dismissed dated 21.04.2008 shall remain stayed.

The Chief Standing Counsel vide letter dated 01.05.2003 stated that the Government Order dated 10.04.2003 was general in nature.The Secretary Basic Education vide Order dated 28.05.2003 directed all Divisional Assistant Director (Basic Education) to make appointments of candidates to the post of Teachers only in those cases in which final/interim orders had been passed by High Court by 02.06.2003.

The High Court in that case had referred to the judgement of this Court in Mohd. Riazul Usman Ghani and Ors. v. District & Sessions Judge, Nagpur1, wherein it was held as under:

“A criterion which has the effect of denying a candidate his right to be considered for the post on the principle that he is having higher qualification than prescribed cannot be rational. We have not been able to appreciate as to why those candidates who possessed qualifications equivalent to SCC Examination could not also be considered. We are saying this on the facts of the case in hand and should not be understood as laying down a rule of universal application.”

We have perused the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education (Teachers) Service Rules, 1981, which lays down the procedure for appointment of Assistant Teachers in basic schools in U.P. Sub-rule (1)(b) of Rule 2 defines the “competent authority” as under: “(b) ‘Appointing Authority’ in relation to teachers referred to in Rule 3 means the District Basic Education Officer” Rule 8 prescribes the academic qualifications for the post of Assistant Teachers as: “8. Academic qualifications. – (1) The Essential qualifications of candidates for appointment to a post referred to in clause (a) of Rule 5 shall be shown below against each : Post Academic Qualifications … (ii) Assistant A Bachelor’s Degree from a 1 (2000) 2 SCC 606 10 Master and Assistant Mistress of Junior Basic Schools University established by law in India or a Degree recognized by the Government as equivalent thereto together with the training qualification consisting of a Basic Teacher’s Certificate, Vishshit Basic Teacher’s Certificate (B.T.C), Hindustani teacher’s Certificate, Junior Teacher’s Certificate, Certificate of teaching or any other Training Course recognized by the Government as equivalent thereto. Rule 16 provides for constitution of the Selection Committee for making appointments to any post under these Rules : “16. Constitution of Selection Committee – For selection of candidates for appointment to any post under these Rules, there shall be constituted a Selection Committee comprising –

  1. a) Principal, District Institute of Education and Training – Chairman

  2. b) District Basic Education Officer – Member -Secretary

  3. c) Principal, Government Girl’s Intermediate College at the District Head-quarters – Member

  4. d) District Non-Formal Education Officer

  5. e) – Member

  6. f) One Specialist in Hindu, Urdu or other languages, as the case may be, nominated by District Magistrate – Member …

” 11 Rule 19(3) provides that no appointment shall be made except upon the recommendation of the Selection Committee. “19. Appointment. – … (3) No appointment shall be made except with the recommendation of the Selection Committee, and in the case of direct recruitment except on production of residence certificate issued by the Tahsildar.”.

A perusal of the aforesaid Rules reveals that the appellant as the District Basic Education Officer, being the appointing authority was empowered to make appointments only on the basis of recommendations of the Selection Committee as contemplated by Rules 16 and 19(3) as set out hereinabove. It is the case of the Respondent-State that the appellant made the appointments without complying with the 1981 Rules. Serious allegations of corruption have been raised against the appellant by the state, which would require determination in a full-fledged enquiry by the disciplinary authority. It is pertinent to note that all these appointments were declared to be void ab initio by the State, as mentioned in the appellant’s reply dated 04.12.2012 to the second show cause notice

The court upholds the impugned judgment passed by the High Court in remitting the matter to the disciplinary authority, which would be conducted from the stage of the charge sheet. The disciplinary authority will conduct the enquiry in accordance with the principles of natural justice, after giving a full opportunity of hearing to the appellant, who will be allowed to produce both oral and documentary evidence. No unnecessary adjournments will be granted to the parties. The appellant will continue to remain under suspension during the period of enquiry. The enquiry is directed to be completed within a period of 4 months. The court modifies the impugned judgement to the extent that the enquiry officer be appointed by the Chief Secretary. It is clarified that there is no expression of any opinion on the merits of the case.

“We modify the impugned judgement to the extent that the enquiry officer be appointed by the Chief Secretary. The Civil Appeal is dismissed. Pending Applications, if any, are accordingly disposed of. Ordered accordingly.”

– Karthik K.P

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