All HC | State officers should enumerate the charges properly while issuing show-cause notices, cancellation of license set aside

Allahabad High Court: Siddhartha Varma, J., set aside the impugned order as the charge enumerated in the show cause notice was rightly replied to by the petitioner and there was no illegality to that effect.

In the pertinent case, the petitioner moved to this Court against the impugned order which cancellation the license of the petitioner to run the Fair Price Shop. The factual matrix of the case was that upon a complaint being made by one Sunil Kumar Maurya on the telephone that the petitioner, who was a Fair Price Shop dealer, had in the month of May 2018 not distributed the essential commodities but had sold them out in the open market, an inspection was made by the Supply Inspector on 26-5-2018. Thereafter on 29-5-2018, the petitioner was served with a show-cause notice and a suspension order. The petitioner replied to the show-cause notice on 11-6-2018. However, when the Sub-Divisional Officer, on 18-8-2018 cancelled the licence of the petitioner to run the Fair Price Shop which was affirmed by the Appellate Authority by its order dated 12-12-2018.

The counsel for the petitioner contended that the show-cause notice which was served on the petitioner along with the suspension order did not contain any specific charge. The only charge appeared in the show cause notice was just with regard to the 81 missing bags of wheat, therefore, no further charge should have been dealt with while passing the impugned order.

High Court was of the view that the charges should be very clear and if the charges are vague then the inquiry itself becomes vitiated. The Court further allowed the writ petition as the charge in the show cause notice was just one in number and that had been replied to by the petitioner and the other charges should not have been taken into account for terminating the licence of the petitioner.

Further, the Court gave directions to the State Government that “they should advise their officers that when they issue show-cause notices then they should enumerate the charges properly. They should not be merged with the details of the complaints and the inspection report”. [Manoj Kumar Yadav v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 3476, decided on 19-09-2019]

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