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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Service matter -Part III of The Railway Servants (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1968 Penalty 6(vii)- Disproportionate penalty - Removed from service for the bribe of petty amount - Punishment is disproportionate - not habitual briber-demanded petty amounts for issuing Fit Certificates - Apex court order for compulsory retirement as suitable penalty and order for payment of retirement benefits as he rendered service for 23 years = Ishwar Chandra Jayaswal …..Appellant Versus Union of India & Ors. …..Respondents = Published in judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41126

   Service matter - Part  III  of   The   Railway   Servants (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1968 Penalty 6(vii)Disproportionate penalty - Removed from service for the bribe of petty amount - Punishment is disproportionate - not habitual briber-demanded petty amounts for issuing Fit Certificates - Apex court order for compulsory retirement as suitable penalty and order for payment of retirement benefits as he rendered service for 23 years =

“whether  the  punishment
           of removal of service of the petitioner on the alleged demand of
           meagre amount  of  Rs.18-45  is  contrary  to  the  doctrine  of
           proportionality”.=
   In the present case, the Appellant has served  the
           Respondents for a period of twenty three years and removal  from
           service for the two charges  levelled  against  him  shocks  our
           judicial  conscience.   
Part  III  of   The   Railway   Servants
           (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1968 contains  the  penalties  that
           can be imposed against a Railway servant, both  Minor  Penalties
           as well as Major Penalties.  
We have already noted that  it  has
           not been established that the Appellant  had,  as  a  matter  of
           habit or on a wide scale,  made  illegal  demands  from  Railway
           servants desirous of  obtaining  a  Fit  Certificate.   
However,
           since two of the three charges have been proved, we are  of  the
           considered opinion that the imposition of compulsory  retirement
           i.e. Penalty 6(vii) would have better and more appropriately met
           the ends of justice.  
While this would have instilled sufficient
           degree of fear in the mind of the employees, it would  also  not
           have set at naught several years of service which the  Appellant
           had already given to the Respondent-Indian Railways.   
We  think
           that deprivation of retiral benefits  in  addition  to  loss  of
           service is  entirely  incommensurate  with  the  charge  of  the
           Appellant having taken very small sums of money for the issuance
           of Fit Certificate to other Railway employees.``
        7. It is in these premises that the Appeals are  accepted  and  the
           impugned Order dated 11.10.2010 is  set  aside.   The  Appellant
           shall be deemed to  have  compulsorily  retired  under  Part-III
           Penalty 6(vii) of the aforementioned Railway Rules  with  effect
           from 22.1.1991.  If he is entitled to retiral or other  benefits
           on the said date, the Respondents shall make  necessary  payment
           within three months from today.  This decision is restricted  to
           the facts of the present case.     

                                                       REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                     CIVIL APPEAL NOs.   48-49  OF 2014
              [Arising out of S.L.P.(C)Nos.20506-20507 of 2012]


      Ishwar Chandra Jayaswal                           …..Appellant


            Versus


      Union of India & Ors.                             …..Respondents








                               J U D G M E N T








      VIKRAMAJIT SEN, J.


        1.  Leave  granted.   These  Appeals  assail  the  Judgment   dated
           11.10.2010 of the Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature
           at Allahabad in Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.38190  of  2004  as
           well as the subsequent Order dated 28.3.2012 by which  a  Review
           Application in respect of the former was dismissed.
        2. The Division  Bench  was  confronted  with  the  dismissal  from
           service of the Appellant Dr.  Ishwar  Chandra  Jayaswal  against
           whom three Articles of Charge had been  framed.   Article-I  was
           that he demanded and accepted a sum of Rs.26/- from  Shri  Pyare
           Ram, Khalasi for  issuing  in  his  favour  a  Fit  Certificate.
           Article-II, in similar vein was that the Appellant demanded  and
           accepted a  sum  of  Rs.34/-  from  Shri  Nandlal,  Semi-skilled
           Revetter for issuing him a  Fit  Certificate.   Article-III  was
           that the Appellant had demanded and accepted Rs.18/-  from  Shri
           Balroop, Semi-skilled Revetter for issuing of  Fit  Certificate.
           The Inquiry Officer, after duly perusing  the  entire  evidence,
           returned a finding that Charges 1 and 3  had  been  proved.  The
           Disciplinary Authority, after considering the  response  of  the
           Appellant, by its Order dated 22.1.1991 imposed the  penalty  of
           removal of the Appellant from service.
        3. A Revision came to be filed which appears to have attracted  the
           gravamen  of  challenge  before  the  Division   Bench.    After
           considering the manner in  which  the  Revision  was  heard  and
           decided, the Division Bench in the impugned Order, has  come  to
           the conclusion that the President had decided  the  Revision  in
           accordance with law.
        4. In these proceedings, learned  counsel  for  the  Appellant  has
           confined his arguments to the ground –
“whether  the  punishment
           of removal of service of the petitioner on the alleged demand of
           meagre amount  of  Rs.18-45  is  contrary  to  the  doctrine  of
           proportionality”.
        5. It is now well settled that it is open  to  the  Court,  in  all
           circumstances, to consider whether the punishment imposed on the
           delinquent  workman  or  officer,  as  the  case  may   be,   is
           commensurate with the Articles of Charge levelled  against  him.
           There is a deluge of decisions on this question and  we  do  not
           propose to travel beyond
Union of India v. S.S. Ahluwalia (2007)   7 SCC 257
in which this Court had held that if the conscience of
           the Court is shocked as to the severity or inappropriateness  of
           the punishment imposed, it can remand the matter back for  fresh
           consideration to the Disciplinary Authority concerned.  In  that
           case, the punishment that had been imposed was the deduction  of
           10% from the pension for a period of one year.  The  High  Court
           had set aside that order.  In those premises, this Court did not
           think it expedient to remand the matter back to the Disciplinary
           Authority and instead approved the decision of the High Court.
        6. The Appellant before us is presently 75 years of  age.   At  the
           time when the Articles of Charge had been served  upon  him,  he
           had already given the best part of his life to  the  service  of
           the Respondent-Indian Railways.  It has been contended before us
           that the three charges that  have  been  sustained  against  the
           Appellant reflected only the tip of the iceberg; however,  there
           is no material  on  record  to  substantiate  this  argument  of
           Respondents. 
 In the present case, the Appellant has served  the
           Respondents for a period of twenty three years and removal  from
           service for the two charges  levelled  against  him  shocks  our
           judicial  conscience.   
Part  III  of   The   Railway   Servants
           (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1968 contains  the  penalties  that
           can be imposed against a Railway servant, both  Minor  Penalties
           as well as Major Penalties.  
We have already noted that  it  has
           not been established that the Appellant  had,  as  a  matter  of
           habit or on a wide scale,  made  illegal  demands  from  Railway
           servants desirous of  obtaining  a  Fit  Certificate.   
However,
           since two of the three charges have been proved, we are  of  the
           considered opinion that the imposition of compulsory  retirement
           i.e. Penalty 6(vii) would have better and more appropriately met
           the ends of justice.  
While this would have instilled sufficient
           degree of fear in the mind of the employees, it would  also  not
           have set at naught several years of service which the  Appellant
           had already given to the Respondent-Indian Railways.   
We  think
           that deprivation of retiral benefits  in  addition  to  loss  of
           service is  entirely  incommensurate  with  the  charge  of  the
           Appellant having taken very small sums of money for the issuance
           of Fit Certificate to other Railway employees.``
        7. It is in these premises that the Appeals are  accepted  and  the
           impugned Order dated 11.10.2010 is  set  aside.   The  Appellant
           shall be deemed to  have  compulsorily  retired  under  Part-III
           Penalty 6(vii) of the aforementioned Railway Rules  with  effect
           from 22.1.1991.  If he is entitled to retiral or other  benefits
           on the said date, the Respondents shall make  necessary  payment
           within three months from today.  This decision is restricted  to
           the facts of the present case.


      ............................................J.
                                             [T.S. THAKUR]



      ............................................J.
                                             [VIKRAMAJIT SEN]


      New Delhi
      January 3, 2014.


      -----------------------
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