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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Audi alteram partem Appointment of Anganwadi Worker - Income certificate of less than 12000/- per annum was cancelled with out hearing the appellant - from top to bottom , no body hear her objections and simply relied on the report of Thasildar - Apex court set aside the orders and remanded the case for fresh disposal after hearing the appellant =NISHA DEVI ..APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF H.P. & ORS. ..RESPONDENTS = 2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41275

Audi alteram partem Appointment of Anganwadi Worker  - Income certificate of less than 12000/- per annum was cancelled with out hearing the appellant - from top to bottom , no body hear her objections and simply relied on the report of Thasildar - Apex court set aside the orders and remanded the case for fresh disposal after hearing the appellant =

 In the said Report the Income  Certificate  issued  to  the
Appellant, to the effect  that  her  income  was  less  than  Rupees  twelve
thousand per annum,  thereby  making  her  eligible  for  appointment  as  a
Anganwadi Worker, was cancelled on the predication that she  was  the  owner
of 1-19 Bighas of land which was in addition to her father’s ownership of  6
Bighas of land.
4.     In  the  course  of  arguments  addressed  before  us,  the   fervent
submission of counsel of  the  Appellant  that  she  was  not  afforded  any
opportunity of being heard has not been controverted,  inasmuch  as  it  has
been contended that the  Report  of  the  Tehsildar  was  based  on  revenue
records, which, therefore, was presumed to be correct.   The High Court  has
acted upon this one sided or unilateral Report of the Tehsildar in  arriving
at the conclusion that the Appellant indeed  had  an  income  in  excess  of
Rupees twelve thousand  per  annum  and,  accordingly,  was  ineligible  for
appointment as an Anganwadi Worker.
2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41275
T.S. THAKUR, VIKRAMAJIT SEN
                                                              REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                     CIVIL APPEAL NOs.2915-2917 OF 2014
   [Arising out of SLP©Nos.26106-08 of 2011]



NISHA DEVI                        ..APPELLANT

                 VERSUS

STATE OF H.P. & ORS.         ..RESPONDENTS





                                  O R D E R




VIKRAMAJIT SEN,J.


1.    Leave granted.
2.    Delay condoned.
3.    By means of  these  Appeals  the  Appellant/  Petitioner  assails  the
decision of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at  Shimla  in  C.W.P.No.4169
of 2009, whereby her appointment as an Anganwadi Worker, on 11.04.2007,  was
set aside.   The Appeals present a picture of  protracted  litigation.    It
appears that Respondent No.5 had  successfully  challenged  the  Appellant’s
appointment before the Deputy  Commissioner.    The  Appellant’s  consequent
Appeal had limited success before the  Divisional  Commissioner  as  he,  by
Order dated 13.05.2008, had remanded the matter to the Deputy  Commissioner,
Kullu,  for  fresh  consideration.   This  time  around  the  Appellant  had
succeeded upto the level of the Divisional Commissioner resulting in  filing
of C.W.P.No.1570  of  2009  before  the  High  Court.    The  previous  writ
proceedings filed by Respondent No.5 succeeded inasmuch as it was held  that
the Divisional Commissioner had no power to review his own Order  under  the
Scheme and Guidelines relating to ‘Anganwadi  Workers’.   The  narration  of
the complicated and   convoluted sequence of events  is  not  essential  for
deciding the present  Appeals  for  the  simple  reason  that  the  impugned
Judgments accept the Report  of  the  Tehsildar,  Kullu,  which  was  itself
predicated only on the revenue records and was arrived  at  without  hearing
the Appellant.   In the said Report the Income  Certificate  issued  to  the
Appellant, to the effect  that  her  income  was  less  than  Rupees  twelve
thousand per annum,  thereby  making  her  eligible  for  appointment  as  a
Anganwadi Worker, was cancelled on the predication that she  was  the  owner
of 1-19 Bighas of land which was in addition to her father’s ownership of  6
Bighas of land.
4.     In  the  course  of  arguments  addressed  before  us,  the   fervent
submission of counsel of  the  Appellant  that  she  was  not  afforded  any
opportunity of being heard has not been controverted,  inasmuch  as  it  has
been contended that the  Report  of  the  Tehsildar  was  based  on  revenue
records, which, therefore, was presumed to be correct.   The High Court  has
acted upon this one sided or unilateral Report of the Tehsildar in  arriving
at the conclusion that the Appellant indeed  had  an  income  in  excess  of
Rupees twelve thousand  per  annum  and,  accordingly,  was  ineligible  for
appointment as an Anganwadi Worker.
5.    Trite though it is, we may yet again reiterate that the  principle  of
audi alteram partem admits of no exception, and demands to be adhered to  in
all circumstances.   In other words, before arriving at any  decision  which
has serious implications and consequences to any person,  such  person  must
be heard in his defence.   We find that the High Court did  not  notice  the
violation and infraction of this salutary principle  of  law.   Accordingly,
on this short ground, the impugned Judgments and Orders require  to  be  set
aside, and are so done. The  matter  is  remanded  back  to  the  Divisional
Commissioner for taking a fresh decision after  giving  due  notice  to  the
Appellant and affording her an opportunity of being heard.   The  Divisional
Magistrate, Kullu, shall complete the  proceedings  expeditiously,  and  not
later than six months from the date on which a copy of this Order is  served
on him.
6.    The appeals are allowed in the above terms.
7.    The parties to bear their respective costs.

                                        …………………………………………J
                                        (T.S. THAKUR)

                                        …………………………………………J
                                        (VIKRAMAJIT SEN)
NEW DELHI;
February 28, 2014.

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