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2016 (7) TMI 870 - MADRAS HIGH COURT

2016 (7) TMI 870 - MADRAS HIGH COURT - 2016 (339) E.L.T. 249 (Mad.) - Demand of duty - seeking permission to cross-examine two of the persons from whom statements have been recorded, which appears to be the basis for issuance of the show cause notice dated 02.01.2007 - violation of principles of natural justice - whether the authority could have proceeded to adjudicate the matter and pass the final order, without acceding to the request made by the petitioners for cross-examination of two of the .....

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show cause notice was on the basis of the statements recorded from those witnesses. - The writ petitions are allowed and the impugned order is set aside and the matter is remanded to the respondent for fresh consideration and fresh adjudication shall be made by a different officer, as observed supra and while doing so, the statements recorded from V.Kumaraswamy and S.Padmanabhan shall be eschewed. The petitioners shall appear before the adjudicating authority and co-operate in the adjudicat .....

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ions, the petitioners have questioned the order in Original passed by the Joint Commissioner, dated 29.12.2015. For the purpose of disposal of all these writ petitions, W.P.No.12520 of 2016 is taken up to lead the case. 3. The short issue which falls for consideration is as to whether the respondent/adjudicating officer could have proceeded to conclude the proceedings and pass an order in Original, without affording an opportunity to the petitioners to cross-examine two of the persons from whom .....

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fresh consideration. The reason for such remand could be ascertained from the operative portion of the order, at paragraph No.7, which would run thus: "7. Thus, it is felt that the appellants had been deprived of the opportunity of defending their case properly, during the course of the adjudication proceedings. In view of the above hit is felt that this is a fit case for de novo consideration by the Lower Authority after supplying the appellants with all the relied upon documents and anoth .....

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violation of principles of natural justice and that the petitioner had to be given an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses, as requested by them and this having not been done, the order requires to be interfered and the matter has to be remitted for denovo consideration. On such remand, the matter has been taken up by the Joint Commissioner, Salem, who has adjudicated the matter. 5. The only issue which falls for consideration in these writ petitions is as to whether the authority could ha .....

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of the impugned order it is seen that the officer has proceeded to adjudicate the matter by recording that the Consultant, who appeared on behalf of the petitioners, had not pressed for cross-examination of the other witnesses. This according to the petitioners is factually an incorrect statement, as the petitioners wanted to cross-examine those two witnesses, since the quantification made in the show cause notice was on the basis of the statements recorded from those witnesses. 7. Since a fact .....

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an opportunity to cross-examine those two persons. However, Kumaraswamy has received the summons and did not turn up for cross-examination. But the summons sent to Padmanabhan has returned as unserved on the ground that no such person was residing in the address mentioned in the summons. Thus, the respondent department was unable to produce those two persons for cross-examination. If that be the case, then the statements recorded from them should have been eschewed by the adjudicating authority .....

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