The Himachal Pradesh High Court has held that not responding to a Show-cause notice without any reasonable cause implies acquiescence to the contents thereof and ordinarily, action taken thereafter upon the said Show-cause notice, is not open to challenge.
Justice Ajay Mohan Goel was considering a petition impugning an order whereby the petitioner was called upon to pay back the amount of GPF, which was fraudulently embezzled by him from the GPF accounts of other employees.
The petitioner was serving as a Senior Assistant in Government Senior Secondary School, Hatwar in the year 2004- 2005. A complaint was lodged by the Headmaster of the said School on the ground that the petitioner had withdrawn an amount of Rs.1,60,000 i.e., Rs.1,00,000/ from the GPF account of Smt.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, though there was no request of the employees concerned with regard to the withdrawal of said amount.
Upon receipt of the complaint, the petitioner was called upon to show cause as to what was his response with regard to the allegation so levelled against him. Record demonstrates that the petitioner did not submit any response to the said Show cause Notice, purportedly on the ground that as he all of a sudden fell ill, he could not respond to the Show cause Notice. Thereafter, 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 Smt. Shakuntala Devi and Smt. Pushp Lata till the recovery of their respective embezzled amount with interest of 3% over and above the prevailing rate of interest on GPF.
The petitioner argued that the act was bonafide as the GPF was got released by him on a request which was so made by the employees concerned, however, no material has been placed on record from which it can be inferred that the amount having been withdrawn by the petitioner was paid to the employees concerned, i.e., Smt. Shakuntala Devi and Smt. Pushp Lata.
"Incidentally, none of them has been made a party in this petition." observed the Judge.
The Court stated that it fails to understand as to why the petitioner did not respond to the Show cause Notice.
The Judge asserted that it appears that the excuse being put forth by the petitioner that the same could not be done by him on account of ill health, was just a concocted story.
Justice Goel remarked that in case the petitioner on the particular date was not in a position to submit his response, then prudence demanded that he should have made a request to the officer for extension of time to submit his response, which has not been done.
Dismissing the contentions of the petitioner, the Court explained that the provisions of CCS(CCA) Rules are attracted when disciplinary proceedings are to be initiated against a delinquent employee.
The Judge iterated that in the present case, it is not as if some disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the petitioner.
The Justice declared that when the Petitioner failed to put forth his version in response to show cause letter, it meant that the contents of the Show cause Notice impliedly stood admitted by him.
Henceforth, Justice Goel held that there is no infirmity in the order which was passed by the authority concerned, whereby the petitioner was called upon to pay back the amount of GPF, which was fraudulently embezzled by him from the GPF accounts of the the abovementioned employees.
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