HP HC | Failure to reply to show cause without reasonable delay to be considered as allegation impliedly admitted

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Ajay Mohan Goel J., dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner worked as a Senior Assistant in Government Senior Secondary School, Hatwar whose headmaster lodged a complaint stating that the petitioner had withdrawn an amount of Rs 1,60,000 and Rs 1,00,000 from the GPF account of Smt. Shakuntala Devi and Rs 60,000 from the GPF account of Smt. Pushp Lata fraudulently and in an unauthorized manner without any request being made for such withdrawal by the account holders. Subsequent to the complaint, the petitioner was called for show cause to which no response was made reason for which was ill-health as submitted later. The Director of Higher Education, H.P., ordered that Rs 1,60,000 plus interest be recovered from the petitioner by way of attachment of his 1/3rd salary per month and the same be paid under proper receipt every month in equal amount both to Shakuntala Devi and Pushp Lata till the recovery of their respective embezzled amount with interest of 3% over and above the prevailing rate of interest on GPF, vide order dated 25-11-2014. Aggrieved by the same the instant petition was filed to quash the order and stop the recovery.

Counsel for the petitioner Vijay Bhatia submitted that the act of the petitioner was bonafide as the GPF payments were released on a request made by the employees concerned. It was further submitted that no proceedings were initiated in consonance with the provisions of CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965 and therefore the impugned order is bad in law and not sustainable whereas the respondents were represented by counsels Somesh Raj, Dinesh Thakur, Sanjeev Sood and Varun Chandel who opposed the submissions.

The Court after hearing the facts and submissions in the instant case observed that neither any record has been placed which proves that the withdrawn amount were handed over to the employees concerned nor both the employees have been made party in the petition. The Court further observed that the entire reason for delay being given as ill health is just a concocted story and it is imprudent to agree with the excuse as the petitioner could have asked for an extension instead of remaining silent till the time impugned order was passed. In view of the observations given, it was held that choosing to remain silent to the show cause results in impliedly agreeing to the allegations. The Court further held that argument regarding provisions of CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965 holds no merit as the provisions are attracted in a disciplinary proceeding against a delinquent employee which is not the case in the instant petition.

In view of the above, the Court rejected the prayer for quashing the impugned order and disposed of the petition. [Rajesh Kumar v. State of H.P., 2020 SCC OnLine HP 1563, decided on 24-08-2020]

Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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