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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Service matter - Dismissal from service dispensing with a disciplinary inquiry -not valid- Sting operation - ASI caught in video while taking bribe - Telecasted in T.V. channels also - the S.P. dismissed ASI dispensing with disciplinary inquiry - challanged - High court dismissed the writ - Apex court held that No disciplinary authority is vested with power to dispense with a disciplinary proceedings and as such his orders are terminated as well as the orders of High court also as it is not merits and set aside the both orders and further held that the disciplinary authority is at liberty to initiate proceedings against appellant , the time taken in these proceedings shall be excluded for the purpose of limitation = Risal Singh Appellant VERSUS State of Haryana & Ors. Respondents = 2014 (May.Part)http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41542

   Service matter - Dismissal from service dispensing with a disciplinary inquiry -not valid- Sting operation - ASI caught in video while taking bribe - Telecasted in T.V. channels also - the S.P. dismissed ASI dispensing with disciplinary inquiry - challanged - High court dismissed the writ - Apex court held that No disciplinary authority is vested with power to dispense with a disciplinary proceedings and as such his orders are terminated as well as the orders of High court also as it is not merits and set aside the both orders and further held that the disciplinary authority is at liberty to initiate proceedings against appellant , the time taken in these proceedings shall be excluded for the purpose of limitation = 

This is clear from the  following
             observation at page 270 of Tulsiram  case:  (SCC  p.504,  para
             130)


                         “A  disciplinary  authority  is  not  expected   to
                 dispense with a disciplinary inquiry lightly or arbitrarily
                 or out of ulterior motives or merely in order to avoid  the
                 holding of an inquiry  or  because  the  department's  case
                 against the government servant is weak and must fail.”


             The decision to dispense with the departmental enquiry cannot,
             therefore, be rested solely on the ipse dixit of the concerned
             authority.  When the satisfaction of the  concerned  authority
             is questioned in a court of law, it is incumbent on those  who
             support the order to show that the satisfaction  is  based  on
             certain objective facts and is not the outcome of the whim  or
             caprice of the concerned officer.”

Recently, in  Reena  Rani  v.  State  of  Haryana[3],  after
         referring to the various authorities in the field, the Court  ruled
         that when reasons are not  ascribed,  the  order  is  vitiated  and
         accordingly set  aside  the  order  of  dismissal  which  had  been
         concurred with by the Single Judge and directed  for  reinstatement
         in service with all consequential  benefits. It  has  also  been
         observed therein that the order passed  by  this  Court  would  not
         preclude the competent authority from  taking  action  against  the
         Appellant in accordance with law.


         10.    Tested on the touchstone of the aforesaid  authorities,  the
         irresistible  conclusion  is  that  the   order   passed   by   the
         Superintendent of Police dispensing with  the  inquiry  is  totally
         unsustainable and is hereby annulled.  
As the foundation  founders,
         the order of the High Court giving the stamp  of  approval  to  the
         ultimate order without addressing the lis from a proper perspective
         is also indefensible and resultantly, the order of dismissal passed
         by the disciplinary authority has to pave the path of extinction.


         11.    Consequently, we allow the appeal and set  aside  the  order
         passed by the High Court and that of  the  disciplinary  authority.
         The appellant shall be deemed to be in service  till  the  date  of
         superannuation.  
As he has attained the age  of  superannuation  in
         the meantime, he shall be entitled to all  consequential  benefits.
         
The arrears shall be computed and paid to the  appellant  within  a
         period of three months hence. 
Needless to say, the respondents  are
         not precluded from  initiating  any  disciplinary  proceedings,  if
         advised in law.  
As the lis has been pending before the Court,  the
         period that has been spent in  Court  shall  be  excluded  for  the
         purpose of limitation for initiating the  disciplinary  proceedings
         as  per  rules.   
However,  we  may  hasten  to  clarify  that  our
         observations herein should not be construed as  a  mandate  to  the
         authorities to initiate the proceeding against the appellant.    
We
         may further proceed to add that the State Government shall  conduct
         itself as a model employer and act with the  objectivity  which  is
         expected from it.  There shall be no order as to costs.

2014 (May.Part)http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41542
DIPAK MISRA, N.V. RAMANA
                     IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2839 OF 2011




         Risal Singh                                    Appellant


                                   VERSUS


         State of Haryana & Ors.                        Respondents








                               J U D G M E N T




         Dipak Misra, J.




                  In this appeal, by special leave, the  assail  is  to  the
         defensibility of the judgment and order dated 21.11.2008 passed  by
         the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh  in  C.W.P.  No.
         19816/2008 whereby the Division Bench has concurred with the  order
         of dismissal of  the  appellant  passed  by  the  Government  after
         dispensing with the inquiry as provided under Article 311(2)(b)  of
         the Constitution.


         2.     The broad essential facts which need to  be  adumbrated  for
         the decision of the present  appeal  are  that  the  appellant,  an
         Assistant Sub-Inspector  (Ad  hoc  Sub-Inspector)  serving  in  the
         Department of Police in the  State  of  Haryana,  as  alleged,  was
         involved in a corruption sting operation in a  television  channel.
         Because of the said alleged sting operation, the Superintendent  of
         Police, Mewat at Nuh, vide order dated 19.06.2008, after  referring
         to the news item in the television channel, proceeded to  pass  the
         following order:
             “.....
             2.   The above said act on the part of  above  official  shows
             his criminal activities.  He being a member of  a  disciplined
             force is responsible for protecting the life and  property  of
             the citizen of this country, but instead  of  discharging  his
             duty  honestly  and  sincerely  he  himself  has  indulged  in
             criminal activities.  As such he has not  only  tarnished  the
             image of the Haryana Police but also has rudely  shaken  faith
             of the citizens of Haryana in the entire Police force, who  is
             supposed to be their protectors.   He  has  acted  in  a  most
             reprehensible manner.  Which is unexpected from  a  member  of
             disciplined force and undoubtedly extremely prejudicial to the
             person safety and security of citizen.


             3.   The  involvement  of  said  police  official  in  such  a
             shameful criminal activity has  eroded  the  faith  of  common
             people and his continuance in the force  is  likely  to  cause
             further irreparable loss to the functioning and credibility of
             Haryana Police.  The defaulter has acted in  a  manner  highly
             unbecoming of police official.   After  such  act  of  serious
             misconduct.  If he is allowed to continue in the Police force,
             it would be detrimental to public interest.


             4.   Keeping  in  view  the  overall  circumstances  of  above
             operation, I K.K. Rao, IPS, Superintendent of Police, Mewat at
             Nuh,  in  exercise  of  the  powers  conferred  under  Article
             311(2)(b)  of  Constitution  of  India  I  hereby  order   the
             dismissal of SI  Rishal  Singh   No.  133/GGN  with  immediate
             effect.  A copy of this order be  delivered  to  him  free  of
             cost.”


         3.     Being  aggrieved  by  the  aforesaid  order,  the  appellant
         preferred  a  civil  writ  petition  and  the  High  Court  without
         adverting to the essential  contention  that  no  reason  had  been
         ascribed for dispensing with the inquiry  under  Article  311(2)(b)
         opined that prompt  action  was  required  to  be  taken  to  avoid
         spreading of trouble  and,  therefore,  the  order  passed  by  the
         authority was justified.


         4.     Ms.  S.  Janani,  learned  counsel  for  the  appellant  has
         submitted that the power with the employer rests to  dispense  with
         the inquiry invoking the constitutional provision, yet  appropriate
         reasons have to  be  ascribed  and  in  absence  of  ascription  of
         reasons, the order is vitiated in law and the eventual  consequence
         would be quashment of the order of dismissal.


         5.     Mr. Manjit Singh, learned counsel for  the  State  submitted
         that  regard  being  had  to  the  nature   of   allegations,   the
         Superintendent of Police, who is the competent  authority,  thought
         it appropriate to dispense with the inquiry and, hence,  the  order
         of dismissal cannot be flawed.


         6.     We have already reproduced the order passed by the competent
         authority.  On a bare perusal of the same, it is clear as day  that
         it is bereft of reason.  Non-ascribing of reason while  passing  an
         order  dispensing  with  enquiry,  which  otherwise  is   a   must,
         definitely invalidates such an action.  In this context,  reference
         to the authority in Union of India and Anr. v. Tulsiram Patel[1] is
         apposite. In the said case the Constitution  Bench,  while  dealing
         with the exercise of power under Article 311(2)(b), has ruled thus:


                “130. The condition precedent for the application of  clause
                (b) is the satisfaction of the disciplinary  authority  that
                “it is not  reasonably  practicable  to  hold”  the  inquiry
                contemplated by clause (2) of Article 311. What is pertinent
                to  note  is  that  the  words  used  are  “not   reasonably
                practicable”  and  not  “impracticable”.  According  to  the
                Oxford English Dictionary “practicable”  means  “Capable  of
                being put into practice, carried out  in  action,  effected,
                accomplished,  or  done;  feasible”.  Webster’s  Third   New
                International  Dictionary  defines  the  word  “practicable”
                inter alia as meaning “possible to  practice  or  perform  :
                capable of being put into practice,  done  or  accomplished:
                feasible”. Further, the words used are not “not practicable”
                but  “not  reasonably  practicable”.  Webster’s  Third   New
                International Dictionary defines the  word  “reasonably”  as
                “in a reasonable manner: to  a  fairly  sufficient  extent”.
                Thus, whether it was practicable to hold the inquiry or  not
                must be judged in the context of whether it  was  reasonably
                practicable to  do  so.  It  is  not  a  total  or  absolute
                impracticability which is required by clause  (b).  What  is
                requisite  is  that  the  holding  of  the  inquiry  is  not
                practicable in the opinion of  a  reasonable  man  taking  a
                reasonable view of the prevailing situation.”




         7.     In Jaswant Sing v. State of Punjab and Others[2]  the Court,
         while dealing with the exercise of power as  conferred  by  way  of
         exception under Article 311(2)(b) of the  Constitution,  opined  as
         follows:


             “Clause (b) of the second proviso to  Article  311(2)  can  be
             invoked only when the authority is satisfied from the material
             placed before him that it is  not  reasonably  practicable  to
             hold a departmental enquiry. This is clear from the  following
             observation at page 270 of Tulsiram  case:  (SCC  p.504,  para
             130)


                         “A  disciplinary  authority  is  not  expected   to
                 dispense with a disciplinary inquiry lightly or arbitrarily
                 or out of ulterior motives or merely in order to avoid  the
                 holding of an inquiry  or  because  the  department's  case
                 against the government servant is weak and must fail.”


             The decision to dispense with the departmental enquiry cannot,
             therefore, be rested solely on the ipse dixit of the concerned
             authority.  When the satisfaction of the  concerned  authority
             is questioned in a court of law, it is incumbent on those  who
             support the order to show that the satisfaction  is  based  on
             certain objective facts and is not the outcome of the whim  or
             caprice of the concerned officer.”


         8.     After so stating, the two-Judge Bench quashed the  order  of
         dismissal and directed the appellant to be  reinstated  in  service
         forthwith with the monetary benefits.  Be it  noted,  it  was  also
         observed therein that it would be  open  to  the  employer,  if  so
         advised, notwithstanding the lapse of time,  to  proceed  with  the
         disciplinary proceedings.


         9.     Recently, in  Reena  Rani  v.  State  of  Haryana[3],  after
         referring to the various authorities in the field, the Court  ruled
         that when reasons are not  ascribed,  the  order  is  vitiated  and
         accordingly set  aside  the  order  of  dismissal  which  had  been
         concurred with by the Single Judge and directed  for  reinstatement
         in service with all consequential  benefits.    It  has  also  been
         observed therein that the order passed  by  this  Court  would  not
         preclude the competent authority from  taking  action  against  the
         Appellant in accordance with law.


         10.    Tested on the touchstone of the aforesaid  authorities,  the
         irresistible  conclusion  is  that  the   order   passed   by   the
         Superintendent of Police dispensing with  the  inquiry  is  totally
         unsustainable and is hereby annulled.  As the foundation  founders,
         the order of the High Court giving the stamp  of  approval  to  the
         ultimate order without addressing the lis from a proper perspective
         is also indefensible and resultantly, the order of dismissal passed
         by the disciplinary authority has to pave the path of extinction.


         11.    Consequently, we allow the appeal and set  aside  the  order
         passed by the High Court and that of  the  disciplinary  authority.
         The appellant shall be deemed to be in service  till  the  date  of
         superannuation.  As he has attained the age  of  superannuation  in
         the meantime, he shall be entitled to all  consequential  benefits.
         The arrears shall be computed and paid to the  appellant  within  a
         period of three months hence. Needless to say, the respondents  are
         not precluded from  initiating  any  disciplinary  proceedings,  if
         advised in law.  As the lis has been pending before the Court,  the
         period that has been spent in  Court  shall  be  excluded  for  the
         purpose of limitation for initiating the  disciplinary  proceedings
         as  per  rules.   However,  we  may  hasten  to  clarify  that  our
         observations herein should not be construed as  a  mandate  to  the
         authorities to initiate the proceeding against the appellant.    We
         may further proceed to add that the State Government shall  conduct
         itself as a model employer and act with the  objectivity  which  is
         expected from it.  There shall be no order as to costs.




                                           ...............................J.
                                                               (DIPAK MISRA)






                                           ...............................J.
                                                               (N.V. RAMANA)


         NEW DELHI
         MAY 13, 2014



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[1]     (1985) 3 SCC 398
[2]     (1991) 1 SCC 362
[3]     (2012) 10 SCC 215

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