Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000 – Section 29 (4) – Petitioner was appointed as Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Bhopal – Whether the principles of natural justice were required to be followed before terminating the appointment of the petitioner – Held, whether impugned order is outcome of a quasi judicial act or an administrative act in both the situations, principles of natural justice and fair play in action were the requirement of law. In other words, the impugned order could have been passed only after following the principles of natural justice and fair play in action. Fairness is an integral part of good administration.
Present: Justice Sujoy Paul
Writ Petition No.600/2016
Dr. K.S. Dubey Vs. State of M.P. & others
Shri Mahendra Pateriya, learned counsel for the petitioner. Shri Pushpendra Yadav, learned Govt. Advocate for the respondents/State.
O R D E R
This petition, filed under Article 226 of the Constitution, takes exception to the order dated 28.12.2015 (Annexure-P/8), whereby the respondents have cancelled the appointment of the petitioner as Chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, Bhopal.
2. The admitted facts between the parties are that the petitioner was appointed as Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Bhopal constituted under the
Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000
(hereinafter call ed as ‘the Act’). The petitioner was appointed by Gazette Notification published on 21.02.2014 (Annexure-P/1). The counsel for the petitioner assailed the order dated 28.12.2015 (Annexure-P/8) by contending that the appointment of the petitioner is cancelled on the grounds viz. (i) the working style of the petitioner was improper and was not in consonance with the requirement of the Act; (ii) in the local newspapers, periodically news were published disclosure of the identity of children and misbehavour with them; (iii) on 07.10.2015, in a local newspaper, it is published that the petitioner has misbehaved with the lady for which an FIR is registered against him under Section 354 IPC; (iv) the petitioner is not competent to discharge the functions of the Committee; (v) the complaints are received against the petitioner; (vi) he did not permit the family members of the children to meet them, (vii) permitted one child to be adopted by somebody despite the fact that his parents were alive; (viii) he did not prepare the child care plan; (ix) petitioner’s behaviour was insensitive; (x) Divisional Commissioner and Collector have conducted the inquiry and found that petitioner is not working in the best interest of children.
3. Shri Pateriaya, learned counsel for the petitioner contends that the Act of 2000 prescribes the method by which any Member of the Committee may be terminated. In the present case, the petitioner’s appointment was cancelled without following the principles of natural justice ad without permitting him to participate in the inquiry. The so-called inquiry conducted by the respondents was conducted behind the back of the petitioner and hence said inquiry report cannot be a reason to terminate the appointment of the petitioner. Apart from this, it is argued that petitioner was falsely implicated in the criminal case and police after investigation, has already submitted a ‘khatma‘ report before the Court of competent jurisdiction. In addition, it is submitted that in the inquiry report also, no serious allegations are found proved against other persons. In nutshell, the contention of the petitioner is that the decision making process which ended with issuance of impugned order is not in consonance with Section 29(4) of Act of 2000.
4. Per contra, Shri Pushpendra Yadav, learned Government Advocate supported the order. It is submitted that Section 29(4) of the Act nowhere prescribes that in the inquiry the Member of the Committee is required to be given an opportunity. Section 29(4) of the Act only prescribes that appointment of any member may be terminated after holding inquiry by the Government. It is submitted that the inquiry was conducted and fault of the petitioner was established. Thus, no fault can be found in such decision making process. By taking this Court to the return, it is submitted that there were various news items published against the petitioner in the news papers. A series of complaints were received against the petitioner. Thus, two inquiry reports dated 08.10.2015 (Annexure- R/1) and 07.10.2015 (Annexure-R/3) were submitted wherein petitioner was found guilty.
5. Shri Pushpendra Yadav, learned Government Advocate for the State also supported the impugned order on the basis of reasons assigned in the said order. Lastly, it is urged that even if opportunity would have been provided to him, the end result would have been the same and; therefore, non-affording an opportunity to the petitioner has not caused any prejudice to him. Looking to the seriousness of the allegations levelled against the petitioner, petitioner himself should have resigned from the sensitive post of Chairperson.
6. No other point is pressed by the learned counsel for the parties.
7. I have heard learned counsel for the parties at length and perused the record.
8. In view of the stand taken by the parties, the core is is : whether the principles of natural justice were required to be followed before terminating the appointment of the petitioner. As noticed, the stand of the respondents is that the respondents are only required to hold an inquiry and Section 29(4) nowhere prescribes that the petitioner should have been permitted to participate in it. This aspect requires serious consideration. It is profitable to trace legal position in this regard.
Ridge v. Baldwin, 1964 AC 40
it was held that the duty to act judicially may rise from the very nature of the function performed by the authority. The ration of Ridge (supra) was approved by the Constiution Bench of the Supreme Court in the celebrated case of
Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, (1978) 1 SCC 248
A Division Bench of this Court in
Sukhlal Sen v. Collector, District Satna and others, 1969 MPLJ 516
opined that the nature of duty to determine whether license has committed any breach of terms or conditions of his licence and whether for that reason the licence should be cancelled, imposes upon the authority the duty to act judicially and to comply with the principles of natural justice. In Sukhlal (supra) Justice G.P. Singh speaking for the Bench held as under:-