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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Service matter - compassionate allowance under Rule 41 of the Pension Rules, 1972. - Apex court held that One of his brothers died, and thereafter, his father and brother’s wife also passed away. His own wife was suffering from cancer. All these tribulations led to his own ill-health, decipherable from the fact that he was suffering from hypertension and diabetes. It is these considerations, which ought to have been evaluated by the competent authority, to determine whether the claim of the appellant deserved special consideration, as would entitle him to compassionate allowance under Rule 41 of the Pension Rules, 1972.= Mahinder Dutt Sharma …. Appellant versus Union of India & others …. Respondents = 2014 (April. Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41408

  Service matter -  compassionate allowance under Rule 41 of the Pension Rules, 1972. -  Apex court held that One of his brothers died, and  thereafter,  his father and brother’s wife also passed away.   His  own  wife  was  suffering from  cancer.   All  these  tribulations  led   to   his   own   ill-health, decipherable from the fact that  he  was  suffering  from  hypertension  and diabetes.  It is these considerations, which ought to  have  been  evaluated by the competent authority, to determine whether the claim of the  appellant deserved special  consideration,  as  would  entitle  him  to  compassionate allowance under Rule 41 of the Pension Rules, 1972.=

17.   None of the authorities on  the  administrative  side,  not  even  the
Tribunal or the High Court, applied the above parameters  to  determine  the
claim of the appellant for compassionate allowance.  
We  are  of  the  view,
that the consideration of the appellant’s claim,  was  clearly  misdirected.
All  the  authorities  merely  examined  the  legitimacy  of  the  order  of
dismissal. 
And also, whether the delay  by  the  appellant,  in  filing  the
appeal against the punishment order dated 17.5.1996,  was  legitimate.   
The
basis,  as  well  as,  the  manner  of  consideration,  for  a   claim   for
compassionate  allowance,  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  above   aspects.

Accordingly, while accepting the instant appeal,  we  set  aside  the  order
dated  25.4.2005  (passed  by  the  Deputy  Commissioner  of  Police,   IInd
Battalion, Delhi Armed Police, Delhi), rejecting  the  prayer  made  by  the
appellant for grant of compassionate allowance.  
The  order  passed  by  the
Tribunal dated 28.2.2006, and the order  passed  by  the  High  Court  dated
13.11.2006, are also accordingly hereby set aside.  
We shall only endeavour to  delineate  a  few  of  the  considerations
which ought to have been considered, in the  present  case  for  determining
whether or not, the appellant was entitled to compassionate allowance  under
Rule 41 of the Pension Rules, 1972.  
In this behalf it may be noticed,  that
the appellant  had  rendered  about  24  years  of  service,  prior  to  his
dismissal from service,  vide  order  dated  17.5.1996.   
During  the  above
tenure, he was granted 34  good  entries,  including  2  commendation  rolls
awarded by Commissioner of Police, 4 commendation  certificates  awarded  by
the Additional Commissioner of Police and 28 commendation cards  awarded  by
the Deputy Commissioner of Police.  
Even though the  charge  proved  against
the  appellant  pertains  to  his  unauthorized  and  willful  absence  from
service, there is nothing on the record to reveal,  that  his  absence  from
service was aimed at seeking better pastures elsewhere.  
No  such  inference
is even otherwise possible, keeping in view the length of  service  rendered
by the appellant.  
There is no denial,  that  the  appellant  was  involved,
during the period under consideration, in a criminal  case,  from  which  he
was subsequently acquitted.  
One of his brothers died, and  thereafter,  his
father and brother’s wife also passed away.   His  own  wife  was  suffering
from  cancer.   All  these  tribulations  led   to   his   own   ill-health,
decipherable from the fact that  he  was  suffering  from  hypertension  and
diabetes.  
It is these considerations, which ought to  have  been  evaluated
by the competent authority, to determine whether the claim of the  appellant
deserved special  consideration,  as  would  entitle  him  to  compassionate
allowance under Rule 41 of the Pension Rules, 1972.

17.   None of the authorities on  the  administrative  side,  not  even  the
Tribunal or the High Court, applied the above parameters  to  determine  the
claim of the appellant for compassionate allowance.  
We  are  of  the  view,
that the consideration of the appellant’s claim,  was  clearly  misdirected.
All  the  authorities  merely  examined  the  legitimacy  of  the  order  of
dismissal. 
And also, whether the delay  by  the  appellant,  in  filing  the
appeal against the punishment order dated 17.5.1996,  was  legitimate.   
The
basis,  as  well  as,  the  manner  of  consideration,  for  a   claim   for
compassionate  allowance,  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  above   aspects.

Accordingly, while accepting the instant appeal,  we  set  aside  the  order
dated  25.4.2005  (passed  by  the  Deputy  Commissioner  of  Police,   IInd
Battalion, Delhi Armed Police, Delhi), rejecting  the  prayer  made  by  the
appellant for grant of compassionate allowance.  
The  order  passed  by  the
Tribunal dated 28.2.2006, and the order  passed  by  the  High  Court  dated
13.11.2006, are also accordingly hereby set aside.  
Having  held  as  above,
we direct the competent authority to reconsider the claim of the  appellant,
for the grant of compassionate  allowance  under  Rule  41  of  the  Pension
Rules, 1972, based on the parameters laid down hereinabove.

18.   Allowed in the aforesaid terms.
2014 (April. Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41408
JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR, M.Y. EQBAL
                                                           “REPORTABLE”

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2111 OF 2009


Mahinder Dutt Sharma                               …. Appellant

                                   versus

Union of India & others                                  …. Respondents



                               J U D G M E N T

Jagdish Singh Khehar, J.

1.    By an office memorandum  dated  26.10.1995,  departmental  action  was
initiated against the appellant who was then holding the post of  Constable.
 He was then posted in the IInd Battalion, Delhi Armed Police,  Delhi.   The
aforesaid action was initiated against  the  appellant  on  account  of  his
continuous absence from duty with effect  from  18.1.1995.   He  was  served
with absentee notice dated 25.5.1995 on 10.6.1995, wherein he  was  required
to resume his duty.   Failing  which,  he  was  informed  that  departmental
action would be taken  against  him.   The  appellant  neither  resumed  his
duties, nor responded to the above absentee notice dated 25.5.1995.  He  was
thereupon, issued a  second  absentee  notice  dated  24.8.1995,  which  was
served on him on 10.9.1995.  It is not  a  matter  of  dispute,  that  after
initiating the above departmental  proceedings  against  the  appellant,  he
resumed his  duties  on  5.12.1995.   It  is  therefore  alleged,  that  his
unauthorized and willful absence, extended to a period of 320 days 18  hours
and 30 minutes.

2.    Inspector Hari Darshan was appointed as the  enquiry  officer.   After
culmination of the departmental proceedings, the enquiry officer arrived  at
the  conclusion,  that  the  presenting  officer  had  been  successful   in
substantiating  the  charges  leveled  against  the  appellant.   The  above
enquiry report was furnished to the appellant on 22.3.1996.   Despite  being
required to respond to the same, the appellant did not file any  reply.   In
the absence of any written reply, the appellant was required  to  appear  in
the “orderly  room”  on  three  occasions,  for  affording  him  a  personal
hearing.  He ignored all the above notices, by not  reporting  for  personal
hearing.

3.    Finding his willful and unauthorized absence  from  duty  intolerable,
specially in a disciplined force,  the  punishing  authority  expressed  the
view, that not taking stern action against the  appellant,  would  create  a
bad impression, on the  new  entrants  into  police  service.   Finding  the
behaviour of the appellant incorrigible, the Deputy Commissioner of  Police,
IInd Battalion, Delhi Armed Police,  Delhi  by  an  order  dated  17.5.1996,
dismissed the  appellant  from  service,  with  immediate  effect.   In  the
punishment  order  dated  17.5.1996  the  disciplinary   authority   further
directed, that the period of  the  appellant’s  absence  from  18.1.1995  to
4.12.1995 (of 320 days, 18 hours and 30 minutes) would be treated  as  leave
without pay.

4.    In the order of dismissal itself, the appellant was informed, that  he
could prefer an appeal  (against  the  punishment  order  dated  17.5.1996),
within 30 days, before the Senior Additional Commissioner of Police,  Delhi.
 The instant information was furnished to the  appellant  in  terms  of  the
procedure contemplated  under  the  Delhi  Police  (Punishment  and  Appeal)
Rules, 1980.  The pleadings before this Court  reveal,  that  the  appellant
received  the  punishment  order  dated  17.5.1996  on  24.5.1996.   It   is
therefore  apparent,  that  he  could  legitimately  prefer  an  appeal   by
23.6.1996.  The appellant factually preferred an appeal, more than five  and
half  years  after  passing  of  the  impugned  order,  on  21.2.2002.   The
Additional Commissioner of Police, Delhi Armed Police, Delhi, dismissed  the
appeal preferred by the appellant vide an  order  dated  13.6.2002,  on  the
ground that the same was badly time barred.

5.    Dissatisfied with the order of punishment  dated  17.5.1996,  as  also
the appellate order dated 13.6.2002, the appellant  approached  the  Central
Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench, New  Delhi  (hereinafter  referred
to as, the Tribunal), by filing Original Application no. 3132 of  2002.   In
the Original Application preferred by him, the  appellant  narrated  various
reasons on account  of  which  delay  in  filing  the  appeal  had  occurred
(against the punishment order dated 17.5.1996) ought to have been  condoned.
 Firstly, it  was  submitted  that  his  wife  was  suffering  from  cancer.
Secondly, the appellant asserted that he was involved in  a  criminal  case,
and therefore, was wholeheartedly attending to the same.   Thirdly,  it  was
stated that his brother had died, and thereafter, his father  and  brother’s
wife had also passed away.  Lastly, it was submitted that he  was  suffering
from hypertension, as also, diabetes, which added  to  the  reasons  already
expressed hereinabove (for not being able to prefer the  appeal  within  the
period of limitation).

6.    Since the events referred to by the appellant, as have  been  narrated
in the foregoing paragraph, had taken place prior  to  the  year  2000,  the
Tribunal  found  no  justification  in  the  explanation  tendered  by   the
appellant, for condoning delay in preferring the appeal  filed  against  the
order of punishment  dated  17.5.1996,  on  21.2.2002.   Despite  the  above
conclusion, the Tribunal examined the veracity of the impugned  order  dated
17.5.1996, on the basis  of  the  submissions  advanced  on  behalf  of  the
appellant  and  arrived  at  the  conclusion,  that  the  same  required  no
interference.

7.    Dissatisfied with the order passed by the Tribunal on  14.8.2003,  the
appellant preferred Writ Petition no. 10959 of 2004 before  the  High  Court
of Delhi at Delhi  (hereinafter  referred  to  as,  the  High  Court).   The
appellant, however, withdrew the  aforesaid  writ  petition  on  15.10.2004,
with liberty  to  seek  compassionate  allowance.   The  above  order  dated
15.10.2004, is being extracted hereunder:-
      “Learned counsel  for  the  petitioner,  on  instructions,  prays  for
      withdrawal of this petition because  petitioner  wants  to  take  some
      appropriate remedy for grant of compassionate allowance.

      Dismissed with liberty to petitioner to seek  appropriate  remedy  for
      grant of allowance.”




8.    On 22.3.2005, the  appellant  moved  a  representation  to  the  Joint
Commissioner of Police, Delhi Armed  Police,  Delhi,  seeking  compassionate
allowance under Rule 41 of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules,  1972
(hereinafter referred to as, the Pension  Rules,  1972).   Rule  41  of  the
Rules aforementioned, is being extracted hereunder:-

      “41.  Compassionate allowance


           (1)   A Government servant who  is  dismissed  or  removed  from
                 service shall forfeit his pension and gratuity:


                    Provided that the  authority  competent  to  dismiss  or
                 remove him from service may, if the case  is  deserving  of
                 special consideration, sanction a  compassionate  allowance
                 not exceeding two-thirds of pension  or  gratuity  or  both
                 which would have been admissible to him if he  had  retired
                 on compensation pension.


           (2)   A compassionate allowance sanctioned under the proviso  to
                 sub-rule (1) shall not be less than the  amount  of  Rupees
                 three hundred and seventy-five per mensem.”


In his above representation dated 22.3.2005 the appellant asserted, that  he
had about 24 years of unblemished service during which  he  was  granted  34
good entries, including 2 commendation  rolls  awarded  by  Commissioner  of
Police, 4 commendation certificates awarded by the  Additional  Commissioner
of Police and 28 commendation cards awarded by the  Deputy  Commissioner  of
Police.  He also placed reliance on his  discharge  certificate,  whereunder
the character of the appellant was described as ‘very good’.

9.    By an order dated 25.4.2005, the Deputy Commissioner of  Police,  IInd
Battalion, Delhi Armed Police,  Delhi,  rejected  the  prayer  made  by  the
appellant for the grant of compassionate allowance.  The operative  part  of
the  order  dated   25.4.2005,   rejecting   the   appellant’s   claim   for
compassionate allowance is being extracted hereunder:-
      “4.   As regards your claim for compassionate allowance,  you  do  not
           have unblemished record because you have been  found  absent  on
           several occasions and your period was treated as ‘Leave  Without
           Pay’.  You were also censured during the tenure of your  service
           and certain other punishments also exist in your service record.
            Hence due to indifferent service record and the  facts  of  the
           case no compassionate allowance can be granted.”



10.   Dissatisfied with the  order  dated  25.4.2005,  the  appellant  again
approached the Tribunal by filing Original Application  no.  1581  of  2005,
seeking annulment of the order dated 25.4.2005, as also, the  directions  of
the authorities, not to release compassionate allowance  to  the  appellant.
The appellant’s claim was, however, declined by the Tribunal vide  an  order
dated 28.2.2006.  It is necessary in the  facts  and  circumstances  of  the
case, as also, for an effective determination of the claim of the  appellant
under Rule 41 of the Pension Rules, 1972 to extract hereinbelow, the  manner
and the reasoning which had weighed with  the  Tribunal  for  rejecting  the
claim of the appellant.  Accordingly, the operative  part  of  the  relevant
consideration at the hands of the Tribunal is being reproduced hereunder:-
      “7.   Reading of the above rules show  that  in  normal  circumstances
           when a Government servant is removed or dismissed from  service,
           he forfeits his past service, including pension and gratuity but
           it is only by way of an exception that a  proviso  is  added  in
           Rule 41 which states, the competent authority may, if  the  case
           is deserving of special consideration, sanction a  compassionate
           allowance.   From   this,   it   would   further   emerge   that
           compassionate  allowance  can  be  given  only  in   exceptional
           circumstances where case is found to  be  deserving  of  special
           consideration.  The person, who has to decide, whether it  is  a
           deserving case or not, is the competent  authority.   Under  the
           Government of India’s decisions, poverty  is  not  an  essential
           condition precedent to the grant of a  compassionate  allowance,
           but special regard is also occasionally paid to  the  fact  that
           the officer has a wife and children dependent upon  him,  though
           the factor  by  itself  is  not,  except  perhaps  in  the  most
           exceptional  circumstances,  sufficient  for  the  grant  of   a
           compassionate allowance.  In other words, there has to  be  some
           mitigating factor which makes the competent authority to come to
           the conclusion that even though the person has to  be  dismissed
           or removed from service but looking at  the  special  mitigating
           circumstances, the person may be given compassionate  allowance.
           It goes without saying when it is an  exception,  it  cannot  be
           given as matter of course in every case where Government servant
           has been dismissed or removed, otherwise it will defeat the main
           rule itself which can never be the intention of the legislature.
            Provisos are added to deal with a particular situation only  to
           avoid undue  hardship  to  a  deserving  case  where  mitigating
           circumstances are existing.

      8.    With this background, if the facts of this case are examined, as
           stated by the applicant in his representation, I find only three
           grounds have been taken by the applicant namely, he had  put  in
           24 years of unblemished service, there were three deaths in  the
           family after he was dismissed  and  he  has  become  a  diabetic
           patient  and  is  in  a  pathetic  condition.   His  ground  for
           condoning  the  delay  was  not  considered  by  the   appellate
           authority in the right spirit.  Let me examine all  these  three
           points.   When  applicant  had  challenged  his  dismissal   and
           appellate  order  before  the  Tribunal  in  OA  3132/2002,  the
           question of delay was specifically dealt with by the Tribunal in
           Para 8 (Page 19 to 22).  It was specifically stated as undedr:-

                 “On this count, we need not prove further in detail.   Even
                 if we accept the contention of the applicant to  be  gospel
                 truth, still he has to explain each day’s delay  after  the
                 period of limitation expired.  As per his own showing,  all
                 these unfortunate incidents  took  place  before  the  year
                 2000.  He was also acquitted  by  the  Court  of  competent
                 jurisdiction in the same year.  Still he did  not  deem  it
                 necessary to file an appeal within the period of limitation
                 from that date.”

            His contention was thus rejected.

      9.    In view of above, the contention that there was a  valid  ground
           for not filing the appeal within time cannot even be allowed  to
           be agitated again as the judgment of Tribunal has not been upset
           by Hon’ble High Court.  Similarly, applicant had also challenged
           before Tribunal the use of word “incorrigible” for  him  by  the
           authorities  but  even  that  contention  was  rejected  by  the
           Tribunal.  The order dated 14.8.2003 passed by the  Tribunal  in
           O.A. 3132/2002 was further carried by the applicant  to  Hon’ble
           High Court of Delhi by filing Writ Petition no.  10959/2004  but
           the said order of Tribunal was  not  interfered  with.   On  the
           contrary, the order passed by Hon’ble High Court reads as under:-



                 “Learned counsel for the petitioner, on instructions, prays
                 for withdrawal of this petition because petitioner wants to
                 take some appropriate remedy  for  grant  of  compassionate
                 allowance.

                 Dismissed with liberty to petitioner  to  seek  appropriate
                 remedy for grant of this allowance.’”

           which clearly shows that the judgment of Tribunal  has  attained
           finality.  Counsel for the applicant  submitted  that  the  writ
           petition was withdrawn  on  directions  from  the  Hon’ble  High
           Court, but I cannot with this contention because words cannot be
           added in the order passed by Hon’ble High Court.  Order  has  to
           be read, as it is, which shows that applicant had withdrawn  the
           case because he wanted to take some appropriate remedy for grant
           of compassionate allowance.  In other words, the order passed by
           the Tribunal was not interfered with and was upheld.  Therefore,
           in these circumstances, applicant cannot be allowed to state  to
           the contrary, therefore, the contention  that  there  was  valid
           reason for not  filing  the  appeal  in  time  or  that  he  had
           unblemished record is rejected.  Since the findings that he  was
           found to be incorrigible in this case  when  he  was  dismissed,
           whereas the foremost  requirement  for  grant  of  compassionate
           allowance under Rule 41 of the CCS (Pension) Rules  is  that  of
           extenuating circumstances.

      10.   Apart from it, applicant remained unauthorizedly absent  on  six
           occasions, as reflected in counter affidavit:

                 “1.   3 days leave without pay w.e.f.  30.9.79  to  2.10.79
                       vide O.B. no. 656/80.

                 2.    66 days leave without pay w.e.f. 15.10.79 to 19.12.79
                       vide O.B. no. 656/80.

                 3.    19 days leave without pay w.e.f.  6.2.81  to  24.2.81
                       vide order no. 15417-21/ASIP/North dated 8.9.1981.

                 4.    20 days leave without pay w.e.f. 29.8.84  to  17.9.84
                       vide O.B. no. 682/85.

                 5.    83 days leave without pay w.e.f. 20.9.84 to  11.12.84
                       vide O.B. no. 682/85.

                 6.    110 days leave without pay w.e.f. 3.1.96  to  22.4.96
                       vide order no. 2934-37/ASIP-II, DAP, dated 22.5.96.”

           Applicant has not even bothered to controvert  it,  which  means
           these averments stand admitted in law.  These facts clearly show
           that applicant cannot be said to be having unblemished record as
           stated by  him,  therefore,  this  contention  also  has  to  be
           rejected.  Applicant was dismissed in 1996.  If  after  9  years
           applicant states he is in a pathetic  condition,  he  cannot  be
           allowed to claim compassionate allowance  in  2005  w.e.f.  1996
           i.e. date of  his  dismissal,  that  too  with  interest.   This
           request is definitely an after thought,  nothing  more  need  be
           said on this point.  If such a contention is allowed,  employees
           will not bother to maintain discipline or follow  rules  because
           they would think ultimately even if they are dismissed, they can
           always claim compassionate allowance.   Compassionate  allowance
           cannot be sought as a matter of  right  unless  there  are  some
           exceptional circumstances.

      11.   According to me, no case has been  made  out  by  applicant  for
           grant of compassionate allowance.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)


11.   Aggrieved  with  the  order  of  the  Tribunal  dated  28.2.2006,  the
appellant filed Writ Petition no. 14924 of 2006 before the High Court.   The
High Court examined the submissions advanced on  behalf  of  the  appellant.
It dismissed the claim of the appellant for compassionate allowance, on  the
following consideration:-
       “Considering the aforesaid plea, we had directed  the  petitioner  to
      file an additional affidavit to give particulars and  details  of  the
      reasons which constrained him to avail leave without pay  and  to  set
      out  other  special  circumstances  in  support  of   his   plea   for
      compassionate allowance.   The  additional  affidavit  was  not  filed
      within two weeks as directed.  However, further time was granted by us
      to the petitioner for filing the additional affidavit vide order dated
      11.10.2006.  The additional affidavit that has been preferred  by  the
      petitioner, unfortunately, apart from mentioning in para  6  that  the
      petitioner’s condition was pathetic and his  wife  has  suffered  from
      cancer and that he was apprehending amputation of his left  leg  below
      the knee, does not contain any averments with regard  to  the  various
      bereavements suffered or the illness of  his  wife  or  the  treatment
      thereof and the respective deaths which  came  into  the  way  of  the
      petitioner from taking legal remedies.  He has not brought forward any
      extenuating and special circumstances which had continued  since  then
      which had prevented him from taking timely remedies or  would  entitle
      him to  compassionate  allowance.   The  medical  certificate  of  the
      petitioner no doubt shows that he is  diabetic  and  under  treatment,
      therefor.  However, it also shows  that  the  petitioner  has  been  a
      chronic alcoholic and drug addict.  Considering the aforesaid factors,
      while one may sympathize with the petitioner’s present  condition,  we
      are not satisfied that the petitioner has succeeded in  making  out  a
      case for grant of compassionate allowance and the discretion exercised
      by the authorities cannot  be  said  to  have  been  vitiated  by  any
      extraneous or irrelevant factors.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)


12.   We are of the considered view, that the  adjudication  by  the  Courts
below with reference to Rule 41 of  the  Pension  Rules,  1972,  is  clearly
misdirected.   The  Rule  itself  contemplates,  payment  of   compassionate
allowance to an employee who has been dismissed  or  removed  from  service.
Under the punishment rules,  the  above  punishments  are  of  the  severest
magnitude.  These punishments can be inflicted, only for an act  of  extreme
wrongdoing.  It  is  on  account  of  such  wrongdoing,  that  the  employee
concerned, has already been subjected to the severest  form  of  punishment.
Sometimes even for being incorrigible.  Despite that, the rule  contemplates
sanction of a compassionate allowance of, upto two-thirds of the pension  or
gratuity (or both), which would have been drawn by  the  punished  employee,
if he had retired on compassionate pension.  The entire  consideration  upto
the present juncture, by the Courts below, is directly or  indirectly  aimed
at determining, whether the delinquency  committed  by  the  appellant,  was
sufficient  and  appropriate,  for  the  infliction  of  the  punishment  of
dismissal from service.  This determination is relevant  for  examining  the
veracity of the punishment order itself.  That, however, is  not  the  scope
of the exercise contemplated in the present consideration.  Insofar  as  the
determination of the admissibility of the benefits contemplated  under  Rule
41 of the  Pension  Rules,  1972  is  concerned,  the  same  has  to  be  by
accepting, that the delinquency committed by the punished employee was of  a
magnitude which  is  sufficient  for  the  imposition  of  the  most  severe
punishments.  As in the present case, unauthorized and  willful  absence  of
the appellant for a period of 320 days, has resulted in the passing  of  the
order  of  dismissal  from  service.   The  punishment  inflicted   on   the
appellant,  has  been  found  to  be  legitimate  and  genuine,   as   also,
commensurate to the delinquency of the appellant.   The  issue  now  is  the
evaluation of claim of the punished employee under Rule 41  of  the  Pension
Rules, 1972.

13.   In our considered view, the determination of a claim based under  Rule
41 of the Pension Rules, 1972, will necessarily have to  be  sieved  through
an evaluation based on a series of distinct considerations,  some  of  which
are illustratively being expressed hereunder:-

(i)   Was the act of the delinquent, which resulted  in  the  infliction  of
the punishment of dismissal  or  removal  from  service,  an  act  of  moral
turpitude?  An act of moral turpitude, is  an  act  which  has  an  inherent
quality of baseness, vileness or  depravity  with  respect  to  a  concerned
person’s duty towards another, or to the society in  general.   In  criminal
law, the phrase is used generally to describe a conduct  which  is  contrary
to community standards of justice, honesty and good morals.  Any  debauched,
degenerate or evil behaviour would fall in this classification.

(ii)  Was the act of the delinquent, which resulted  in  the  infliction  of
the punishment of dismissal or removal from service, an  act  of  dishonesty
towards his employer?  Such an action of  dishonesty  would  emerge  from  a
behaviour which is untrustworthy,  deceitful  and  insincere,  resulting  in
prejudice to the interest of  the  employer.   This  could  emerge  from  an
unscrupulous, untrustworthy and crooked behaviour, which  aims  at  cheating
the employer.  Such an act may or may not be aimed at  personal  gains.   It
may be aimed at benefiting a third party, to the prejudice of the employer.

(iii) Was the act of the delinquent, which resulted  in  the  infliction  of
the punishment of dismissal or removal from service,  an  act  designed  for
personal gains, from the employer?  This would involve acts  of  corruption,
fraud or personal profiteering, through impermissible means by misusing  the
responsibility bestowed in an employee by an employer.  And  would  include,
acts of double dealing or racketeering, or the like.  Such  an  act  may  or
may not be aimed at causing loss  to  the  employer.   The  benefit  of  the
delinquent, could be at the peril and prejudice of a third party.

(iv)  Was the act of the delinquent, which resulted  in  the  infliction  of
the punishment of dismissal or removal from service, aimed  at  deliberately
harming a third party interest?  Situations hereunder would  emerge  out  of
acts of disservice causing damage, loss, prejudice or even anguish to  third
parties, on account of  misuse  of  the  employee’s  authority  to  control,
regulate or administer activities of  third  parties.   Actions  of  dealing
with similar issues differently, or in an  iniquitous  manner,  by  adopting
double standards or by foul play, would fall in this category.

(v)   Was the act of the delinquent, which resulted  in  the  infliction  of
the  punishment  of   dismissal   or   removal   from   service,   otherwise
unacceptable, for the conferment of the benefits flowing out of Rule  41  of
the Pension Rules, 1972?  Illustratively, any action which is considered  as
depraved, perverted, wicked, treacherous or the like,  as  would  disentitle
an employee for such compassionate consideration.

14.   While evaluating the claim of a dismissed (or  removed  from  service)
employee, for the grant of compassionate allowance, the  rule  postulates  a
window for hope, “…if the case  is  deserving  of  special  consideration…”.
Where the delinquency leading to  punishment,  falls  in  one  of  the  five
classifications delineated in the foregoing paragraph, it  would  ordinarily
disentitle an employee from such compassionate consideration.   An  employee
who falls in any of the above five categories,  would  therefore  ordinarily
not be a deserving employee, for the grant of compassionate  allowance.   In
a situation like this, the deserving special consideration, will have to  be
momentous.  It is not possible to effectively  define  the  term  “deserving
special consideration” used in Rule 41  of  the  Pension  Rules,  1972.   We
shall  therefore  not  endeavour  any  attempt  in   the   said   direction.
Circumstances  deserving  special   consideration,   would   ordinarily   be
unlimited, keeping in mind unlimited variability of human environment.   But
surely where  the  delinquency  leveled  and  proved  against  the  punished
employee,  does  not  fall  in  the  realm  of  misdemeanour  illustratively
categorized in the foregoing paragraph, it would be easier  than  otherwise,
to extend such benefit to the  punished  employee,  of  course,  subject  to
availability of factors of compassionate consideration.

15.   We shall now venture to apply the aforesaid criterion,  to  the  facts
and circumstances of the case in hand, and decipher therefrom,  whether  the
appellant before  this  Court  ought  to  have  been  granted  compassionate
allowance under Rule 41 of the  Pension  Rules,  1972.   The  appellant  was
punished by an order dated  17.5.1996  with  dismissal  from  service.   The
accusations levelled against the appellant were limited to his  unauthorized
and willful absence from service from 18.1.1995 to 4.12.1995  (i.e.,  for  a
period of  320  days,  18  hours  and  30  minutes).   The  above  order  of
punishment  also  notices,  that  not  taking  stern  action   against   the
appellant, would create a bad impression, on the new entrants in the  police
service.  The punishing authority while making a choice  of  the  punishment
imposed on the appellant, also recorded, that the appellant’s behaviour  was
incorrigible.  Thus viewed, there  can  be  no  doubt,  that  the  order  of
dismissal from service imposed on the appellant was  fully  justified.   For
determining the question of compassionate  allowance,  so  as  to  bring  it
within the realm of the parameters laid down  in  Rule  41  of  the  Pension
Rules, 1972, it is first  necessary  to  evaluate,  whether  the  wrongdoing
alleged against the appellant, was of a nature expressed in paragraph 13  of
the instant judgment.  Having given  our  thoughtful  consideration  on  the
above aspect of the matter, we do not find the  delinquency  for  which  the
appellant was punished, as being one which can be described  as  an  act  of
moral turpitude, nor can it be concluded that the allegations  made  against
the appellant constituted acts of  dishonesty  towards  his  employer.   The
appellant’s behaviour, was  not  one  which  can  be  expressed  as  an  act
designed  for  illegitimate  personal  gains,  from   his   employer.    The
appellant, cannot also be stated to have indulged in an activity to  harm  a
third party interest, based on the authority vested  in  him,  nor  was  the
behaviour of the  appellant  depraved,  perverted,  wicked  or  treacherous.
Accordingly, even though the delinquency  alleged  and  proved  against  the
appellant was sufficient for imposition  of  punishment  of  dismissal  from
service, it does not fall in any of the classifications/categories  depicted
in paragraph 13 of the instant judgment.   Therefore,  the  availability  of
compassionate consideration, even  of  a  lesser  degree  should  ordinarily
satisfy the competent authority, about the appellant’s deservedness  for  an
affirmative consideration.

16.   We shall only endeavour to  delineate  a  few  of  the  considerations
which ought to have been considered, in the  present  case  for  determining
whether or not, the appellant was entitled to compassionate allowance  under
Rule 41 of the Pension Rules, 1972.  In this behalf it may be noticed,  that
the appellant  had  rendered  about  24  years  of  service,  prior  to  his
dismissal from service,  vide  order  dated  17.5.1996.   During  the  above
tenure, he was granted 34  good  entries,  including  2  commendation  rolls
awarded by Commissioner of Police, 4 commendation  certificates  awarded  by
the Additional Commissioner of Police and 28 commendation cards  awarded  by
the Deputy Commissioner of Police.  Even though the  charge  proved  against
the  appellant  pertains  to  his  unauthorized  and  willful  absence  from
service, there is nothing on the record to reveal,  that  his  absence  from
service was aimed at seeking better pastures elsewhere.  No  such  inference
is even otherwise possible, keeping in view the length of  service  rendered
by the appellant.  There is no denial,  that  the  appellant  was  involved,
during the period under consideration, in a criminal  case,  from  which  he
was subsequently acquitted.  One of his brothers died, and  thereafter,  his
father and brother’s wife also passed away.   His  own  wife  was  suffering
from  cancer.   All  these  tribulations  led   to   his   own   ill-health,
decipherable from the fact that  he  was  suffering  from  hypertension  and
diabetes.  It is these considerations, which ought to  have  been  evaluated
by the competent authority, to determine whether the claim of the  appellant
deserved special  consideration,  as  would  entitle  him  to  compassionate
allowance under Rule 41 of the Pension Rules, 1972.

17.   None of the authorities on  the  administrative  side,  not  even  the
Tribunal or the High Court, applied the above parameters  to  determine  the
claim of the appellant for compassionate allowance.  We  are  of  the  view,
that the consideration of the appellant’s claim,  was  clearly  misdirected.
All  the  authorities  merely  examined  the  legitimacy  of  the  order  of
dismissal. And also, whether the delay  by  the  appellant,  in  filing  the
appeal against the punishment order dated 17.5.1996,  was  legitimate.   The
basis,  as  well  as,  the  manner  of  consideration,  for  a   claim   for
compassionate  allowance,  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  above   aspects.
Accordingly, while accepting the instant appeal,  we  set  aside  the  order
dated  25.4.2005  (passed  by  the  Deputy  Commissioner  of  Police,   IInd
Battalion, Delhi Armed Police, Delhi), rejecting  the  prayer  made  by  the
appellant for grant of compassionate allowance.  The  order  passed  by  the
Tribunal dated 28.2.2006, and the order  passed  by  the  High  Court  dated
13.11.2006, are also accordingly hereby set aside.  Having  held  as  above,
we direct the competent authority to reconsider the claim of the  appellant,
for the grant of compassionate  allowance  under  Rule  41  of  the  Pension
Rules, 1972, based on the parameters laid down hereinabove.

18.   Allowed in the aforesaid terms.

                                                           …..…………………………….J.
                                         (Jagdish Singh Khehar)


                                                           …..…………………………….J.
                                       (M.Y. Eqbal)

New Delhi;
April 11, 2014.



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