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1971 (11) TMI 170

, Advs For the Respondents: A.K. Sen, Hardev Singh, and K.P. Bhandari, K.C. Sharma, M.S. Gupta, M. Rajagopalan, Advs. JUDGMENT 1. These are appeals by special leave. In both these appeals we are concerned with the validity of the removal from office of the concerned respondents under Section 10(1)(e)(iv) of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 (which will hereinafter be referred to as the Act). 2. We shall first take up the case of the respondent Shri Baktawar Singh. He was appointed as a member of the Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala by the Punjab Government on April 29, 1967 for a period of five years under Section 5 of the Act. After giving him a show cause notice and obtaining his reply thereto the Punjab Government removed him fro .....

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any salary. One further fact that needs to be mentioned at this stage is that both Shri Baktawar Singh and Shri Rajinder Pal Abrol were appointed by Shri Lachhman Singh Gill when he was the Minister for Electricity. As the time of their appointments, Shri Lachhman Singh Gill was a member of the Ministry headed by Shri Gurnam Singh. Later on there was a rift between Shri Gurnam Singh and Shri Lachhman Singh Gill as a result of which Shri Gurnam Singh's Ministry fell and a new Ministry was formed by Shri Lachhman Singh Gill. That ministry also fell at a later stage and the same was followed up by President's rule. Thereafter there was a fresh election and after the election, Shri Gurnam Singh formed a fresh ministry. Shri Baktawar Sin .....

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e Government, and when such order is passed the seat of the member removed shall become vacant and another member may be appointed under Section 5 to fill up the vacancy. 7. It is clear from a reading of this section that removal contemplated under Section 10(1)(e)(iv) is as a punishment. That being so natural justice requires that the person complained of should be informed of the charges against him and that he should be given a reasonable opportunity consistent with the charges leveled against him to rebut those charges. We have not thought it necessary in this case to go into the question whether a formal enquiry was necessary while taking action under that provision. 8. In the case of Shri Baktawar Singh, the main allegations against h .....

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ief Minister as well. Sd/-Sohan Singh Bassi, 24-4-1969. 9. This order does not show that the Minister found him guilty of any of the charges leveled against him On the other hand the order gives two reasons for removing Shri Bakhtawar Singh from office. They are (1) that he was taking part in politics and (2) that he did not discharge his duties impartially. 10. It may be noted that Shri Bakhtawar singh was not charged with having not discharged his duties impartially. None of the charges leveled against him accused him of not discharging his duties impartially. Hence the Minister was not justified in taking into consideration a charge in respect of which the member was not given opportunity to explain his position. Further the finding of t .....

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