SCCL directed to reinstate badli filler and pay all benefits

Hyderabad: Justice J. Sridevi of the Telangana High Court directed Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) to reinstate a badli filler, who was unlawfully kept away from service and to pay all consequential benefits within a period of three months. The judge made the order in a writ plea filed by G. Srinivas, a resident of Adilabad district. It was the case of the petitioner that he was empanelled as ‘badli filler’ on compassionate appointment in 1989 and in 1992 transferred to Ramakrishnapur. However, posting orders were not issued to him by the general manager as directed in the transfer orders. He stated that, in the meanwhile, he was implicated in a criminal case and confined in Warangal Central Jail. He was acquitted in 1996 and thereafter underwent prolonged medical treatment till 1999.

He contended that after recovering from illness he reported for duty but was not permitted in spite of the fact that there were no disciplinary proceedings against him. He stated that representations made in 1999 and 2009 went unheeded. SCCL contended that the petitioner was on unauthorised absence and hence he was dis-empanelled and subsequently on his assurance to be regular to his duties he was re-empanelled as ‘badli filler’ in 1991.

The respondents argued that the petitioner was transferred to Ramakrishnapur in 1992 asking him to report to he general manager on June 9, 1992. The petitioner did not report and those who had reported for duty were issued posting orders. Considering the rival claims, the judge said that the respondents “have failed to initiate any disciplinary proceedings against him for his un- authorised absence. The respondents, for reasons best known to them, have kept quiet in spite of the petitioner not reporting to duty.”

He further said, “Without doing so, the respondents have allowed the dilemma to continue and kept the petitioner out of service.”

Relying on the judgments of the apex court, Justice Sridevi ruled that, “the petitioner was kept out of service as he was neither issued any posting orders after his transfer to Ramakrishnapur area nor any disciplinary proceedings were initiated for his alleged un-authorised absence. Therefore, the petitioner is entitled for reinstatement with all consequential benefits.” The judge further directed to “permit the petitioner to discharge his duties as a badli filler and pay him all consequential benefits within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. The petitioner is also entitled to promotions, if any, in accordance with the rules.”

Judges of special courts slammed for issuing ‘unreasonable’ cognisance orders

Justice K. Surender of the Telangana High Court lamented the practice of magistrates and judges of special courts for passing cognisance orders bereft of reason and “bald assertions are being made for taking cognisance”. The act of issuing and summoning the accused to face criminal trial is a serious issue and such orders cannot be on the basis of cryptic orders. It should be an order reflecting application of mind by the presiding officer while taking cognisance and issuing process, he said. In several cases it was found that cognisance was mechanically taken and process and summons were ordered in cases which are purely civil disputes. To illustrate the point, he said in a money transaction when a loan was taken and a part of the amount was unpaid, several cases are found wherein summons were issued, trial was conducted and later the individual is acquitted. In cases of criminal misappropriation, even when there is no element of entrustment, cognisance is taken and it is only after examination of several witnesses that the court concludes that there is no entrustment and consequently acquits, he added.

Justice Surender quashed the summons issued in a criminal case against a person though the police had dropped the investigation against them.

Alda D’Souza and her son were named in a police complaint filed by businessman S. Hymanand, who said that they had resorted to cheating and forgery. The complainant alleged that he had entered into an agreement with the principal accused and had paid `22 lakh for the house property of the petitioner. During the course of investigation, the police found that these petitioners, who the owners have never interacted with, the de facto complainant and accused No. 1, had introduced someone else as the owners to the purchaser. On the said basis when the petitioners were not involved in any manner with the sale transaction by accused No. 1, the police dropped proceedings against these petitioners. However, XIX additional metropolitan magistrate issued summons to the petitioners to appear in the case.

Justice Surender noted that in the course of investigation, the police found that accused No. 1 had introduced someone else as house owners. The petitioners had never interacted with the de facto complainant. He said, “Issuance of process in criminal trials is a serious issue. Unless the criminal court finds adequate grounds and reasons to summon the witness, the same cannot be done. In the present case no protest application was filed by the de facto complainant questioning the deletion of the names of these petitioners, when chargesheet was filed.” It appeared that the magistrate without even looking into the chargesheet had mechanically directed issuance of summons, he added.

“Though elaborate discussion is not required for the purpose of issuing summons, the order taking cognisance should reflect that the presiding officer has a grasp of the case. The contents of either the charge sheet/private complaint/protest petition are understood by the presiding officer and the cognisance orders should reflect that there is a prima facie case stating facts very precisely to summon the accused or refer a case for the purpose of investigation or set aside the findings of investigation and summon the accused”.

Non-application of mind while taking cognisance is resulting in a time consuming trial being undertaken by criminal courts, which are overburdened with cases and criminal trials are undertaken for years together, he said.

Justice Surender said that a criminal trial is undertaken in cases where there is no prima facie case. Not only is the precious time of the court being wasted but also a person is forced to undergo rigmarole of criminal trial as a result of mechanically taking cognisance of a case. At the inception itself the courts are competent to either refuse to take cognisance or discharge the accused. The judge issued a series of directions on how criminal courts must pass reasoned orders.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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