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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation - orders of compulsory retirement= The Division Bench has dismissed the Writ Appeal of the appellant and confirmed the orders of the Additional Judge passed in the Writ Petition filed by the respondent herein, quashing the orders of compulsory retirement of the respondent with the direction that the respondent would be deemed to be in the service as if the order of compulsory retirement had not been passed and as a consequence the respondent is held entitled to all consequential benefits.= The High Court has observed that the respondents have not been able to show anything adverse in the career of the respondent after 1990 i.e. in last 12 years preceding the order of retirement. These observations are not correct in as much as: a) There was an inquiry against the respondent for which he was imposed the penalty of stoppage of increment for two years. He had made a representation against this penalty on 5.11.1998 which was dismissed on 25.5.1998. b) Further another criminal case was also instituted against him in the year 1999. Though outcome of this criminal case is not mentioned, fact remains that the accident was caused by the Respondent while driving the bus of the appellant Corporation, and the appellant corporation had to pay heavy compensation to the victims as a result of orders passed by MACT. Thus even the service record after 1990 does not depict a rosy picture. In any case, there is nothing to show his performance became better during this period. It hardly needs to be emphasized that the order of compulsory retirement is neither punitive nor stigmatic. It is based on subjective satisfaction of the employer and a very limited scope of judicial review is available in such cases. Interference is permissible only on the ground of non application of mind, malafide, perverse, or arbitrary or if there is non-compliance of statutory duty by the statutory authority. Power to retire compulsorily, the government servant in terms of service rule is absolute, provided the authority concerned forms a bonafide opinion that compulsory retirement is in public interest.(See: AIR 1992 SC 1368) 29. Accordingly, we have no option but to set aside the impugned order of the High Court thereby upholding order of the compulsory retirement. The appeal is allowed with no order as to costs.

      published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40775
                                                 [REPORTABLE]

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                         CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8245/2013
      (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 17760 OF 2013)


      Rajasthan State Road Transport Corp. & Ors.          ………Appellant(s)

                                   Versus

      Babu Lal Jangir
      ….....Respondent(s)

                               J U D G M E N T

      A.K. SIKRI, J.

      1.    Leave granted.

      2.    Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation is the  appellant  in
      the instant petition through of which it impugns the validity  of  the
      orders dated 16.1.2013 passed by Division Bench of the High  Court  of
      Judicature For Rajasthan, Bench at  Jaipur.
The  Division  Bench  has
      dismissed the Writ Appeal of the appellant and confirmed the orders of
      the Additional  Judge  passed  in  the  Writ  Petition  filed  by  the
      respondent herein, quashing the orders of compulsory retirement of the
      respondent with the direction that the respondent would be  deemed  to
      be in the service as if the order of  compulsory  retirement  had  not
      been passed and as a consequence the respondent is  held  entitled  to
      all                      consequential                       benefits.







      3.    The Respondent joined the services of the appellant on the  post
      of Driver on 14.2.1977.  He was placed on probation for  a  period  of
      one year.

      4.    The appellant has framed Standing Orders for its employees known
      as the Rajasthan State Road Transport Workers and  workshop  Employees
      Standing Orders, 1965 (hereinafter to be  referred  as  the  ‘Standing
      Orders’). These orders are duly certified by the Authority  under  the
      provisions of  Industrial  Employment  (Standing  Orders)  Act,  1946.
      Subsequently, there was an amendment  in  these  Standing  Orders  and
      certain new clauses under  rule  18,  were  inserted  introducing  the
      provision  of  compulsory  and  voluntary  retirement.  The  same  are
      reproduced herein below:

                 “18-D(1)    COMPULSORY RETIREMENT

                 Notwithstanding anything contained in the  regulations  the
           Corporation may if is of the opinion that it is in the  interest
           of the Corporation to do so, have the absolute right  to  retire
           any Corporation employee after, he has attained the  age  of  50
           years or on the date he completes 25 years of service  whichever
           is earlier, or on any date thereafter, by giving  him  3  months
           notice in writing or three months pay  and  allowances  in  lieu
           thereof.







                 18-D (2)    VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT

                 Notwithstanding   anything   contained   here   in   before
           Corporation employee may  after  giving  three  months  previous
           notice in writing, retire from the service on the date on  which
           he completes 20 years service on the date he attains the age  of
           45 years or on any other date thereafter.”




      5.    It is clear from  the  above  that  the  clauses  pertaining  to
      compulsory retirement gives the Petitioner-Corporation absolute  right
      to retire any employee after he attains the age  of  50  years  or  on
      completion of 25 years service whichever is earlier.

      6.     A  Screening  Committee  was  constituted  by  the   Petitioner
      Corporation in 27.3.2002 to look into the conduct and  continuance  of
      four employees who had attained the age of 50 years or  had  completed
      25 years of service. Among these four persons, name of the  Respondent
      also appeared.

      7.    This committee, on perusal of  the  record  of  the  respondent,
      recommended his compulsory retirement. The Review Committee  held  its
      meeting on 8.4.2002 to review the report of  the  Screening  Committee
      and after perusal of the report of the Screening Committee, the Review
      Committee approved the proposal of the Screening Committee.   Based on
      the recommendation of the Review Committee,  the  Competent  Authority
      passed the orders dated 9.4.2002, compulsorily retiring the respondent
      from service. As three months previous notice is required  under  rule
      18-D (1) of the Standing Orders, in lieu thereof  the  respondent  was
      sent          three          months’          salary           cheque.



      8.    Challenging this action of the appellant, the  respondent  filed
      the Writ Petition in the High Court of Judicature for  Rajasthan.  The
      appellant herein  (Respondent  in  the  Writ  Petition)  appeared  and
      decided a Writ Petition  by  filing  counter  affidavit.  It  was  the
      highlight of the petitioner’s defense that the service record  of  the
      respondent showed a dismal picture, in as much  as  between  the  year
      1978-1990, nearly  19  cases  of  misconduct  were  foisted  upon  the
      respondent which resulted into some or the other kind of penalty  like
      admonition or stoppage of pay or annual grade increment for a  limited
      period. So much so, in the year  1992  a  criminal  case  against  the
      respondent was initiated under Section 279 read with Section  304  (a)
      of IPC and Section 18/118 of the Motor Vehicles Act. In that  case  he
      was given the benefit of doubt and released. However,  a  departmental
      inquiry was held in which penalty of imposition  or  stoppage  of  two
      years’ increment was imposed upon him. A representation  against  this
      penalty was also dismissed. In the year 1999 another criminal case was
      instituted against the Respondent because of the accident of  the  bus
      of the petitioner which was driven by the Respondent  as  Driver.  The
      victims had also filed their claim before  the  Motor  Claim  Tribunal
      (MACT) and the Appellant -Corporation had  to  suffer  heavy  loss  by
      paying compensation in the said case. However, in criminal  case,  the
      Respondent was acquitted.    The appellant also pointed out  that  the
      service record of the Respondent revealed that he was also involved in
      the another accident in the year 1999 in  which  he  suffered  serious
      burn  injuries.   Because  of  this,  he  had  moved  an   application
      requesting  the  Petitioner-Corporation  to  give   him   light   job.
      Accordingly, he was posted as staff car Driver at  Head  Office.  This
      job was given to him virtually showing mercy,  which  did  not  entail
      regular hard work. It was thus, argued by the  Appellant  -Corporation
      that the  aforesaid  entire  service  record  was  gone  into  by  the
      Screening Committee as well as the Review Committee on  the  basis  of
      which the decision was taken to retire the Respondent prematurely.

      9.    The learned Single Judge of the High  Court,  however,  did  not
      eschew the aforesaid submission of the Appellant  -Corporation  giving
      the reason that the various acts of  misconduct  pointed  out  by  the
      Petitioner-Corporation against the Respondent herein pertained to  the
      period between 1978-90, whereas the order of compulsory retirement was
      passed 12 years thereafter i.e. on 9.4.2002.  In the  opinion  of  the
      learned Single Judge, thee minor misconducts of the period  more  than
      12 years before the compulsory retirement were not sufficient to  come
      to the conclusion that the compulsory retirement of the respondent was
      in public interest.  The  learned  Single  Judge  also  observed  that
      record of immediate past period was not looked into at all and on  the
      basis of current purpose it could not  be  said  that  respondent  had
      become deadwood or had become inefficient who needed to be weeded out.
      It also  It also remarked that the appellant corporation was not  able
      to point out any deficiency in the work and conduct of the  Respondent
      for over 10 years immediately preceding his compulsory retirement.  It
      was thus, unjust, unreasonable and arbitrary to retire the  respondent
      prematurely on the basis of old and stale material. For coming to this
      conclusion the learned Single Judge drew sustenance from the  judgment
      of this Court in Brij Mohan Singh Chopra v. State of Punjab  1987  (2)
      SCC 188.

      10.    Not  satisfied  with  the  aforesaid  outcome,  the   appellant
      preferred Writ Appeal  before  the  Division  Bench  but  without  any
      success as the said Writ Appeal has been  dismissed  by  the  Division
      Bench,








      echoing the reasons given by the ld. Single Judge. While upholding the
      order of the learned Single Judge, the Division Bench also noted  that
      the recorded date of birth, at the time of  entry  of  the  Respondent
      into service, was 7.7.1951. Since the normal age of superannuation  is
      60 years, the respondent would have continued in service till the year
      2011. Since he was prematurely retired and that  retirement  has  been
      set aside with the direction that he  deems  to  be  in  service,  the
      respondent would have to  be  treated  in  service  till  July,  2011.
      However, before the Division Bench, the respondent raised the  dispute
      about his date of birth contending that his actual date of  birth  was
      21.1.1957 which was even recorded in some of the  official  documents.
      He thus pleaded that he had right to continue in service  even  beyond
      July 2011 i.e. upto the end of January, 2017.

      11.   The High Court, however refrained from passing any order on this
      aspect and observed that it would be open to the respondent to  submit
      a proper presentation before the concerned authority of the  Appellant
      -Corporation who will examine the records of his  date  of  birth  and
      take a decision thereon.  It further directed:

           “In case his date  of  birth  is  ultimately  determined  to  be
           7/7/1951, all consequential benefits following the  interference
           with the order of compulsory retirement  would  be  released  to
           him. In the eventuality of his date of birth being determined to
           be 21.9.1957, the Corporation would consider  his  reinstatement
           in service.”




      12.   On the very first day i.e. on 23.8.13, when this  petition  came
      up  for  hearing,  the  respondent  appeared  person.  He  showed  his
      willingness to argue the matter himself finally at the admission stage
      itself.  As this  course of action was agreeable to  the  Counsel  for
      the petitioner as well, the parties were heard at length.

      13.   From the narration of facts stated above and  specifically  from
      the perusal of the judgment of  the  learned  Single  Judge  which  is
      upheld by the Division Bench on the  same  reasoning  it  is  apparent
      clear that the main reason for setting aside the order  of  compulsory
      retirement  is  that  adverse  entries/  minor  mis-conducts  of   the
      Respondent related to  the  period  1978-90  i.e  12  years  prior  to
      premature retirement were taken into consideration and  there  was  no
      material whatsoever before this Review Committee in the recent past on
      the basis of which, the requisite opinion could  be  framed  that  the
      premature retirement of the respondent was in public interest.  Again,
      as pointed above, for arriving at this  conclusion,   the  High  Court
      extensively relied upon judgment of this Court  in  Brij  Mohan  Singh
      Chopra (supra).

      14.   First and foremost argument  of  the  learned  Counsel  for  the
      appellant was that judgment of this Court in Brij Mohan  Singh  Chopra
      (supra) was overruled by three member Bench in Baikuntha  Nath  Das  &
      Anr. v. Chief District Medical Officer, Baripara & Anr.;1992  (2)  SCC
      299, and it was specifically recorded so in subsequent judgment in the
      case of The State of Punjab v. Gurdas Singh; 1998  (4)  SCC  92.  This
      calls for examination of this argument in the first instance.

      15.   A reading of Baikuntha Nath judgment would reveal that the  main
      issue in that case was as to whether the employer could act upon,  un-
      communicated adverse remarks and whether observance of the  principles
      of  natural  justice  was  necessary  before  taking  a  decision   to
      compulsory retire a government servant. The court  answered  both  the
      questions in the negative holding that  it  was  permissible  for  the
      Government to even look  into  and  consider  un-communicated  adverse
      remarks.  It was also held that since the premature retirement was not
      stigmatic in nature  and  such  an  action  was  based  on  subjective
      satisfaction of the Government, there was no room for importing  facet
      of natural justice in such a case. In the process  of  discussion  and
      giving reasons for the aforesaid  opinion,  the  Court  took  note  of
      various judgments.  Decision in the case of Brij  Mohan  Singh  Chopra
      (supra) was also specifically dealt with. In this case there  were  no
      adverse entries in the    confidential records of the appellant for  a
      period of  five  years  prior  to  the  impugned  order  of  premature
      retirement. Within five years there were two adverse entries. However,
      these adverse remarks were not communicated to the employee. The order
      based on un-communicated adverse entries was set aside on two  grounds
      namely:

              i) It was not reasonable and just to consider adverse  entries
                 of remote past and to ignore good entries of  recent  past.
                 If the entries for the period of more than  10  years  past
                 are taken into account it would be act of digging out  past
                 to get some material to make an order against the employee.




             ii) Since the adverse entries were not  even  communicated,  it
                 was unjust and unfair and contrary to principles of natural
                 justice to retire prematurely a government employee on  the
                 basis of adverse entries which are either not  communicated
                 to him or if  communicated,  representations  made  against
                 those entries are not considered and disposed of.




      16.   After taking note of the aforesaid grounds on which the order of
      compulsory retirement in Brij  Mohan  Singh  Chopra  (supra)  was  set
      aside, the Court in Baikuntha Nath Das (supra) dealt with  the  second
      ground  alone  namely  whether  principles  of  natural  justice  were
      required to be followed or it was permissible for  the  Government  to
      take into consideration the adverse  entries  which  were  either  not
      communicated to him or if communicated  representations  made  against
      those entries were still pending.  This  second  proposition  of  Brij
      Mohan Singh Chopra was held as not the correct proposition in law  and
      principles of natural justice could not be brought in such a case. The
      Court had noted that this reasoning was in conflict with  the  earlier
      judgment in the case Union of India v. Col. J.N.  Sinha  &  Anr.  1970
      (II) LLJ 284 and agreed with the view taken in J.N. Sinha’s Case.




      17.   It clearly follows from the above that in so far as first ground
      in Brij Mohan Singh Chopra namely consideration of adverse entries  of
      remote past was inappropriate to compulsory retire  an  employee,  was
      not touched or discussed. In fact, on the facts of the  Baikunth  Nath
      Dass, this proposition did not arise for  consideration  at  all.   No
      doubt, in Gurdas Singh’s Case, it has been specifically remarked  that
      the judgment in Brij Mohan Singh Chopra (supra) has been overruled  in
      Baikuntha Nath (supra). It would be relevant to point  out  that  even
      Gurdas Singh was a case relating to un-communicated  adverse  entries.
      Therefore, Brij Mohan Singh Chopra was overruled only  on  the  second
      proposition.




      18.   The fact that the  issue  as  to  whether  remote  past  of  the
      employee can be taken into consideration or not was not dealt with  in
      Baikuntha Nath Das or Gurdas Singh Case was  specifically  noticed  by
      this Court in the case of Badrinath v. Government of  Tamil  Nadu  and
      Ors. 2000(8) SCC 395; 2000(6) SCALE 618. That was a  case  where  this
      question of taking into consideration the old records came up directly
      for discussion. The court discussed the judgment in Brij  Mohan  Singh
      Chopra and pointed out that three judge Bench in  Baikuntha  Nath  Das
      overruled Brij Mohan Singh Chopra Case  only  on  the  second  aspect,
      namely non-communication of the adverse reports.  In so far  as  first
      aspect, which pertained to considering adverse entries of old  period,
      the Court also pointed out that in Para 32 of Baikuntha Nath Das Case,
      various  legal  principles/propositions  were  summed  up   and   drew
      attention to  principle  No.(iv)  in  that  para  with  which  we  are
      concerned.  It reads as under:

           “So far as the appeals before us are concerned, the  High  Court
           has looked into the relevant record and confidential records has
           opined that the order of compulsory  retirement  was  based  not
           merely upon the said adverse remarks but other material as well.
           Secondly, it has also found that the material placed before them
           does not justify the conclusion that the said remarks  were  not
           recorded duly or properly. In the circumstances,  it  cannot  be
           said that the said remarks were not recorded duly  or  properly.
           In the circumstances, it  cannot  be  said  that  the  order  of
           compulsory retirement suffers from mala  fides  or  that  it  is
           based on no evidence or that it is arbitrary.”




      19.   On that basis following  pertinent  observations  were  made  in
      Badrinath case:


           “54.  We are however concerned with the first  point  stated  in
                 Brij Mohan Singh Chopra's case as explained and accepted in
                 principle (iv) of para 34 of the three  Judge  Judgment  in
                 Baikunth Nath Das. We have already extracted  this  passage
                 in principle (iv) of para 34. It reaffirms that old adverse
                 remarks are not to be dug out and that adverse remarks made
                 before an earlier selection for promotion are to be treated
                 as having lost their 'sting'. This view of the three  Judge
                 Bench, in our view, has since been not  departed  from.  We
                 shall, therefore, refer to the two latter cases which  have
                 referred to this case in Baikunth Nath Das. The  second  of
                 these two latter cases has also to be explained.


           55.   In the first of these latter cases, namely, Union of India
                 v. V.R. Seth MANU/SC/0286/1994 : (1994)IILLJ411SC the point
                 related both to adverse  remarks  of  a  period  before  an
                 earlier  promotion  but  also  to  uncommunicated   adverse
                 remarks. It was held that the Tribunal was wrong in holding
                 in favour of the officer on the ground that  uncommunicated
                 adverse remarks could not be relied upon  for  purposes  of
                 compulsory retirement. So far as the remarks  prior  to  an
                 earlier promotion this Court did not hold that  they  could
                 be given as much weight as those in later years. The Court,
                 in fact, relied upon Baikunth  Nath  Das  case  decided  by
                 three Judge Bench which had proposition (iv) in para 34 (at
                 p. 315-316) had clearly accepted that adverse remarks prior
                 to an earlier promotion lose their 'sting'.


           56.   The second case is the one in State  of  Punjab  v. Gurdas
                 Singh MANU/SC/0256/1998 : AIR1998SC1661 . The  facts  there
                 were that there were adverse remarks  from  1978  prior  to
                 1984 when the officer was  promoted  and  there  were  also
                 adverse remarks for the  period  18.6.84  to  31.3.85.  The
                 compulsory retirement order was passed on 3.9.87. The  said
                 order was quashed by the Civil Court on the ground that his
                 record prior to his promotion i.e. prior to 1984 could  not
                 have been considered and two  adverse  entries  after  1984
                 were not communicated and could not  be  relied  upon.  The
                 three Judge Bench, while clearly  setting  out  proposition
                 (iv) in para 34 (at p. 315-316) of Baikunth Nath Das  which
                 said that adverse remarks prior  to  promotion  lose  their
                 sting, held that they were following the said judgment  and
                 they allowed the appeal of the  State.  Following  Baikunth
                 Nath  Das,  the  Bench  felt  that  uncommunicated  adverse
                 remarks could be relied upon and in that case these entries
                 related to the period  after  an  earlier  promotion.  That
                 ground alone was  sufficient  for  the  case.  There  is  a
                 further observation (at p. 99, para  11)  that  an  adverse
                 entry  prior  to  earning  of  promotion  or  crossing   of
                 efficiency bar or picking up higher rank is not  wiped  out
                 and can be taken into consideration while  considering  the
                 overall performance of the employee during the whole tenure
                 of service.


           57.   The above sentence in Gurdas Singh needs to  be  explained
                 in the context of the Bench accepting the three Judge Bench
                 ruling in Baikunth Nath Das. Firstly, this last observation
                 in Gurdas Singh's case does  not  go  against  the  general
                 principle laid down in Baikunth Nath Das to the effect that
                 though adverse remarks prior to an earlier promotion can be
                 taken into account, they would  have  lost  their  'sting'.
                 Secondly, there is a special fact in Gurdas  Singh's  case,
                 namely, that the  adverse  remarks  prior  to  the  earlier
                 promotion related to his "dishonesty". In a  case  relating
                 to compulsory retirement therefore, the  sting  in  adverse
                 remarks  relating  to  dishonesty  prior  to   an   earlier
                 promotion cannot be said to be absolutely  wiped  out.  The
                 fact also remains that in Gurdas Singh's  case  there  were
                 other  adverse  remarks  also  even   after   the   earlier
                 promotion,  regarding  dishonesty  though  they  were   not
                 communicated. We do not  think  that  Gurdas  Singh  is  an
                 authority to say that adverse remarks  before  a  promotion
                 however remote could be given full weight in all situations
                 irrespective of  whether  they  related  to  dishonesty  or
                 otherwise. As pointed in the  three  Judge  Bench  case  in
                 Baikunth Nath Das, which was followed in Gurdas Singh  they
                 can be kept in mind but not given the normal  weight  which
                 could have otherwise been given to them but their  strength
                 is substantially weakened unless of course they related  to
                 dishonesty.”

      20.   If one were to go  by  the  dicta  in  Badrinath  Case,  obvious
      conclusion would be that even if there  are  adverse  remarks  in  the
      service career of an employee they would lose there effect, when  that
      employee is given promotion to the higher post and would not be  taken
      into account when the case of that employee for compulsory  retirement
      is taken up for consideration, except only those  adverse  entries  in
      the confidential  reports  of  that  employee  which  touch  upon  his
      integrity. Thus, Badrinath case interprets principle (iv) in  para  32
      of Baikunth Dass to mean such adverse remarks for the period prior  to
      promotion,  unless  they  are  related   to   dishonesty,   would   be
      substantially weekend after the promotion.

      21.   This interpretation given in  Badrinath   case,  which  was  the
      judgment rendered by two member Bench, has not been accepted by  three
      member bench of this Court, subsequently, in Pyare Mohan Lal v.  State
      of Jharkhand and Ors. (2010) 10 SCC 693.    After  discussing  various
      judgments, including the judgments referred to  by  us  hitherto,  the
      Court clarified and spelled out the circumstances in which the earlier
      adverse entries/ record would be wiped of  and  the  circumstances  in
      which the said  record,  even  of  remote  past  would  not  lose  its
      significance.  It is lucidly conceptualized under the head “Washed Off
      Theory” as follows:

                  “WASHED OFF THEORY

           “19.  In State of Punjab v. Dewan Chuni  Lal MANU/SC/0497/1970 :
                 AIR 1970 SC 2086, a two-Judge Bench of this Court held that
                 adverse entries regarding the dishonesty  and  inefficiency
                 of the government employee in his ACRs have to  be  ignored
                 if, subsequent to  recording  of  the  same,  he  had  been
                 allowed to cross the efficiency bar, as it would mean  that
                 while permitting him  to  cross  the  efficiency  bar  such
                 entries had been considered and were not found  of  serious
                 nature for the purpose of crossing the efficiency bar.


           20.   Similarly, a two-Judge Bench of this Court  in  Baidyanath
                 Mahapatra v. State of Orissa  and  Anr. MANU/SC/0051/1989 :
                 AIR 1989 SC 2218, had taken a similar  view  on  the  issue
                 observing that adverse entries awarded to the  employee  in
                 the remote past lost significance in view of the fact  that
                 he had subsequently been promoted to the higher  post,  for
                 the reason that while considering the case for promotion he
                 had been found to possess eligibility and  suitability  and
                 if such entry did not reflect deficiency in  his  work  and
                 conduct for the purpose of promotion, it would be difficult
                 to comprehend how such an adverse entry  could  be  pressed
                 into  service  for  retiring  him  compulsorily.   When   a
                 government servant is promoted to higher post on the  basis
                 of merit and selection, adverse entries if any contained in
                 his service record lose their significance  and  remain  on
                 record as part of past history.


                 This view has been adopted by this Court in Baikuntha Nath
                 Das (supra).


           21.   However, a three-Judge Bench of this  Court  in  State  of
                 Orissa and Ors. v. Ram Chandra Das MANU/SC/0613/1996 :  AIR
                 1996 SC 2436, had taken a different view  as  it  had  been
                 held therein that such entries still  remain  part  of  the
                 record for overall consideration  to  retire  a  government
                 servant compulsorily. The object always is public interest.
                 Therefore, such entries do not lose significance,  even  if
                 the employee has subsequently been promoted. The Court held
                 as under:


                 Merely because a  promotion  has  been  given  even  after
                 adverse entries were made, cannot be a ground to note  that
                 compulsory retirement of the government servant  could  not
                 be ordered. The evidence does not  become  inadmissible  or
                 irrelevant  as  opined  by  the  Tribunal.  What  would  be
                 relevant  is  whether  upon  that  state  of  record  as  a
                 reasonable prudent man would the  Government  or  competent
                 officer reach that decision. We find that selfsame material
                 after promotion may not be taken into consideration only to
                 deny him further  promotion,  if  any.  But  that  material
                 undoubtedly  would  be  available  to  the  Government   to
                 consider the overall expediency or  necessity  to  continue
                 the government servant in service  after  he  attained  the
                 required length of service or qualified period  of  service
                 for pension.


                 (Emphasis added)


           22.   This judgment has been approved and followed by this Court
                 in     State     of     Gujarat     v.     Umedbhai      M.
                 Patel MANU/SC/0140/2001 : AIR  2001  SC  1109,  emphasising
                 that the "entire record" of the government servant is to be
                 examined.


           23.   In Vijay Kumar Jain (supra),  this  Court  held  that  the
                 vigour or sting  of  an  entry  does  not  get  wiped  out,
                 particularly, while considering the case  of  employee  for
                 giving  him  compulsory  retirement,  as  it  requires  the
                 examination  of  the  entire  service  records,   including
                 character rolls and confidential reports. `Vigour or  sting
                 of an adverse entry is not wiped out' merely it relates  to
                 the remote past. There may be a  single  adverse  entry  of
                 integrity which may be sufficient  to  compulsorily  retire
                 the government servant.”




      22.   Stating that the judgment of larger Bench would be binding,  the
      washed off theory is summed up by the Court in the following manner:

           “In view of the above, the law can be summarised to  state  that
           in case there is a conflict between two  or  more  judgments  of
           this Court, the judgment of the larger Bench is to be  followed.
           More  so,  the  washed  off  theory  does  not  have   universal
           application. It may have relevance while considering the case of
           government servant for further promotion but not in a case where
           the employee is being assessed by  the  Reviewing  Authority  to
           determine whether he  is  fit  to  be  retained  in  service  or
           requires to be given compulsory retirement, as the Committee  is
           to assess his suitability taking into consideration his  "entire
           service record".




      23.   It clearly follows from the above that the  clarification  given
      by two Bench judgment in Badrinath is not correct and the observations
      of this Court in Gurdas Singh to the effect that the  adverse  entries
      prior to the promotion or crossing of efficiency  bar  or  picking  up
      higher rank are not wiped off and can  be  taken  into  account  while
      considering the overall performance of the employee when it  comes  to
      the consideration of case of that employee for  premature  retirement.



      24.   The principle of law which is clarified and stands  crystallized
      after the judgment in Pyare Mohan Lal v. State of Jharkhand and  Ors.;
      2010 (10) SCC 693 is that after  the  promotion  of  an  employee  the
      adverse entries prior thereto would  have  no  relevance  and  can  be
      treated as wiped off when the case of the government employee is to be
      considered for further promotion. However, this  ‘washed  off  theory’
      will have no application when case  of         an  employee  is  being
      assessed to determine whether he is fit to be retained in  service  or
      requires to be given compulsory retirement.  The  rationale  given  is
      that since such an assessment is based  on  “entire  service  record”,
      there is no question of not taking into consideration an  earlier  old
      adverse entries or record of the old period. We may hasten to add that
      while such a record can be taken into consideration, at the same time,
      the service record of the immediate past period will have to be  given
      due credence and weightage. For example,  as  against  some  very  old
      adverse entries  where  the  immediate  past  record  shows  exemplary
      performance, ignoring such a record of recent past and acting only  on
      the basis of old adverse entries, to retire a person will be  a  clear
      example of  arbitrary  exercise  of  power.  However,  if  old  record
      pertains to integrity of a person  then  that  may  be  sufficient  to
      justify the order of premature retirement of the government servant.

      25.   Having taken note of the correct principles  which  need  to  be
      applied, we can safely conclude that the order of the High Court based
      solely on the judgment in the case of Brij Mohan Singh Chopra was  not
      correct. The High Court could not have set aside the order  merely  on
      the ground that service record pertaining to the period 1978-90  being
      old and stale could not be taken into consideration at all. As per the
      law laid down in the aforesaid judgments,  it  is  clear  that  entire
      service record is relevant for deciding as to whether  the  government
      servant needs to be eased out prematurely.  Of  course,  at  the  same
      time, subsequent record is also relevant, and immediate  past  record,
      preceding the date on which decision is to be taken would be  of  more
      value,  qualitatively.   What  is  to  be  examined  is  the  “overall
      performance” on the basis of “entire service record” to  come  to  the
      conclusion as to whether the concerned employee has become a  deadwood
      and it is public interest to retire him compulsorily.   The  Authority
      must consider and examine the overall effect of  the  entries  of  the
      officer concerned and not an isolated entry, as it may well be in some
      cases that in spite of satisfactory  performance,  the  Authority  may
      desire to compulsorily retire an employee in public  interest,  as  in
      the opinion of the said authority, the post has to be manned by a more
      efficient and dynamic person and if there is  sufficient  material  on
      record to show that the employee “rendered himself a liability to  the
      institution”, there is no occasion for the Court to interfere  in  the
      exercise of its limited power of judicial review.”

      26.   With this we revert to the facts of the present case:

            In so far as period of 1978-1990 is  concerned,  the  respondent
      was charge sheeted in 19 cases. In few cases he was exonerated and  in
      some other cases he was given minor penalty like admonition,  stoppage
      of pay, annual grade increment for a limited period. The gist of these
      cases is as follows:




      |S.N|Charge|Date     |Details of    |Date of    |Details of    |Remarks |
|o. |      |         |Charges       |Order      |decision      |        |
|   |Sheet |         |              |           |              |        |
|1. |1648  |11.8.1978|Negligent     |417/7-2-79 |Exonerated    |        |
|   |      |         |Driving       |           |              |        |
|2. |798   |25.10.79 |Recovered fare|2783/      |Yearly        |        |
|   |      |         |from 15       |27.8.84    |increment     |        |
|   |      |         |passengers    |           |stopped and   |        |
|   |      |         |without ticket|           |forfeiture of |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |salary for    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |suspension    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |period        |        |
|3. |2314  |20.11.80 |Corruption    |3454/      |Stoppage of   |        |
|   |      |         |              |22.10.84.  |yearly        |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |increment for |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |one year      |        |
|4. |1235  |27.4.83  |Absent from   |1708/      |Absolved from |        |
|   |      |         |duty          |7.4.86     |charges       |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |without       |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |intimation    |        |
|5. |1035  |31.3.83  |Excess        |1709/      |Stoppage of   |        |
|   |      |         |consumption   |3.4.86     |one/ two      |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |increments    |        |
|6. |1754  |13.6.84  |Misbehavior   |3453/      |Absolved from |        |
|   |      |         |with conductor|22.10.84.  |charge        |        |
|7. |162   |8.1.85   |Absent from   |5123/      |Stoppage of   |        |
|   |      |         |duty without  |4.12.85    |yearly        |        |
|   |      |         |intimation    |           |increment for |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |one year      |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |without       |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |commutative   |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |effect and    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |forfeiture of |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |salar for     |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |suspension    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |period appeal |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |No. 3588/     |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |29.8.88       |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |pending       |        |
|8. |1798  |4.4.85   |Damage to tyre|           |              |        |
|9. |2298  |29.4.85  |Absent from   |5123/4.12.1|Stoppage of   |        |
|   |      |         |duty without  |985        |one increment |        |
|   |      |         |intimation    |           |& forfeiture  |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |of salary for |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |suspension    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |period        |        |
|10.|3928  |26.2.85  |Vehicle       |830/       |Stoppage of   |        |
|   |      |         |accident      |5.12.85    |two increments|        |
|   |      |         |              |           |without       |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |commutative   |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |effect        |        |
|11.|3763  |1.8.90   |Excess        |68/ 14.2.94|Order for     |        |
|   |      |         |consumption of|           |recovery and  |        |
|   |      |         |Diesel        |           |or warning for|        |
|   |      |         |              |           |future        |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |recovered Rs. |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |132.60.       |        |
|12.|3090  |30.10.82 |Different     |           |              |        |
|   |      |         |types of      |           |              |        |
|   |      |         |complaints    |           |              |        |
|13.|4669  |30.10.85 |Damage to tyre|11830/     |Stoppage of   |        |
|   |      |         |              |5.12.88    |two increments|        |
|   |      |         |              |           |without       |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |commutative   |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |effect and    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |forfeiture of |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |salary for the|        |
|   |      |         |              |           |suspension    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |period.       |        |
|14.|316   |23.1.86  |Bad behavior  |4953/      |1. Stoppage of|        |
|   |      |         |              |12.10.87   |one increment.|        |
|   |      |         |              |           |Forfeiture of |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |salary for the|        |
|   |      |         |              |           |suspension    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |period.       |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |2. Less Diesel|        |
|   |      |         |              |           |average       |        |
|15.|134   |12.1.87  |Demanding     |11830/     |Stoppage of   |        |
|   |      |         |money from    |5.12.88    |two increments|        |
|   |      |         |driver        |           |without       |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |commulative   |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |effect under  |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |consideration |        |
|16.|4745  |1.11.85  |              |           |              |        |
|17.|3361  |13.7.97  |Refusal to    |706/       |Absolved,     |        |
|   |      |         |take vehicle  |10.2.88    |released the  |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |salary for the|        |
|   |      |         |              |           |suspension    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |period        |        |
|18.|2041  |21.4.87  |Negligent     |2815/      |Absolved      |        |
|   |      |         |driving of    |9.6.93     |released the  |        |
|   |      |         |vehicle       |           |salary for    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |suspension    |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |period.       |        |
|   |      |         |              |           |              |        |
|19.|3792/ |27.7.87  |Less average  |2686/5.5.89|Recovered Rs. |        |
|   |      |         |of Diesel     |           |72/-          |        |






      27.   The aforesaid record projects the dismal picture.
The High Court
      has observed that the respondents have not been able to show  anything
      adverse in the career of the respondent after 1990  i.e.  in  last  12
      years preceding the order of retirement. These  observations  are  not
      correct in as much as:

           a) There was an inquiry against the respondent for which he  was
              imposed the penalty of stoppage of increment for  two  years.
              He  had  made  a  representation  against  this  penalty   on
              5.11.1998 which was dismissed on 25.5.1998.




           b) Further another criminal case was also instituted against him
              in the year 1999. Though outcome of this criminal case is not
              mentioned, fact remains that the accident was caused  by  the
              Respondent  while  driving   the   bus   of   the   appellant
              Corporation, and  the appellant corporation had to pay  heavy
              compensation to the victims as a result of orders  passed  by
              MACT.




           Thus even the service record after 1990 does not depict  a  rosy
      picture.  In any case, there is nothing to show his performance became
      better during this period.

      28.   It hardly needs to be emphasized that the  order  of  compulsory
      retirement  is  neither  punitive  nor  stigmatic.  
It  is  based   on
      subjective satisfaction of the employer and a very  limited  scope  of
      judicial  review  is  available  in  such   cases.  
 Interference   is
      permissible only on the ground of non application of  mind,  malafide,
      perverse, or arbitrary or if there is non-compliance of statutory duty
      by  the  statutory  authority.  
Power  to  retire  compulsorily,   the
      government servant in terms of service rule is absolute, provided  the
      authority  concerned  forms  a  bonafide   opinion   that   compulsory
      retirement is in public interest.(See:   AIR 1992 SC 1368)

      29.   Accordingly, we have no option but to  set  aside  the  impugned
      order of the High Court thereby  upholding  order  of  the  compulsory
      retirement. The appeal is allowed with no order as to costs.




                                                          ..…………………………....J.
                            [K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN]





                                                           ...…………………………..J.
                                                                [A.K. SIKRI]


      NEW DELHI
      SEPTEMBER 16, 2013

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