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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Service matter - Non supply of UPSC Advise report before imposing penalty is void - charges framed against delinquent - denied - Enquiry found no charges proved and send the report - Disciplinary Authority not satisfied the report and formed opinion to punish the delinquent - issued show cause notice - explanation submitted - Disciplinary authority send the same for opinion of UPSC - advise of U.P.S.C - not furnished and not asked for explanation from the delinquent - challanged - tribunal dismissed - High court set aside the both orders and direct to furnish report of UPSC and to give an opportunity to submit explanation before imposing penalty - Apex court confirmed the same and dismissed the appeal = UNION OF INDIA & ORS. .......APPELLANTS VERSUS R.P.SINGH ......RESPONDENT= 2014 (May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41544

   Service matter - Non supply of UPSC Advise report before imposing penalty is void - charges framed against delinquent - denied - Enquiry found no charges proved and send the report - Disciplinary Authority not satisfied the report and formed opinion to punish the delinquent - issued show cause notice - explanation submitted - Disciplinary authority send the same for opinion of UPSC - advise of U.P.S.C - not furnished and not asked for explanation from the delinquent - challanged - tribunal dismissed - High court set aside the both orders and direct to furnish report of UPSC and to give an opportunity to submit explanation before imposing penalty - Apex court confirmed the same and dismissed the appeal =

Rule  32  of  the
      Central Civil Services (Classification,  Control  and  Appeal)  Rules,
      1965 (for brevity “the CCS Rules”).  The said Rule reads as under:

            "32.Supply  of  copy  of  Commission's  advice.-  Whenever  the
           Commission is consulted as provided in these rules,  a  copy  of
           the advice by the Commission and where such advice has not  been
           accepted, also a brief statement of the reasons  for  such  non-
           acceptance,  shall  be  furnished  to  the  Government   servant
           concerned along with a copy of the order passed in the case,  by
           the authority making the order." 

 The respondent while serving as an Assistant Engineer (Civil) in
      the  Central  Public  Works  Department  (CPWD)  was  proceeded  in  a
      departmental proceeding in  respect  of  two  charges  which  read  as
      follows:

           "(a) 540 bags of cement were got issued  for  the  above  stated
           work  from  the  Central  Stores  on  31.3.97.   The  said  Shri
           R.P.Singh allowed Shri N.K.Sarin, Junior Engineer  to  issue  89
           bags of cement within 24 hours of receipt of the cement from the
           Central Stores without giving  any  written  permission  to  the
           Junior Engineer and without authenticating  the  said  issue  of
           cement, thereby violating the  instructions  contained  in  Para
           3(d) of memorandum No.DGW/CON/67 dated 6.5.94.


           (b) Out of the above  stated  lot  of  540  bags  of  cement  of
           "Superplus Jaypee" brand, 82 bags of cement  were  found  short,
           which had  been  pilfered  with  connivance  of  the  said  Shri
           R.P.Singh, Assistant Engineer."
As the  delinquent  officer  refuted  the  charges,  an  Inquiry
      Officer was appointed to conduct the inquiry and in  the  inquiry,  he
      found the charges levelled against the  delinquent  officer  were  not
      proven  and,  accordingly,  he  submitted  the  Inquiry  Report.   The
      disciplinary authority after expressing the disagreement, called for a
      representation from the respondent communicating the Inquiry Report as
      well as the opinion for  disagreement  requiring  him  to  submit  his
      explanation. 
After obtaining the advice from the UPSC, the  disciplinary  authority
      accepted the same, passed an order of punishment and communicated  the
      same to the respondent along with the advice of UPSC.

      4.    The said order of punishment  was  assailed  by  the  respondent
      before the  tribunal  on  many  a  ground  and  the  principal  ground
      propounded was that the advice of the UPSC was not  furnished  to  him
      before imposing the penalty and, therefore, there had  been  violation
      of principles of natural justice.  The  tribunal  negatived  the  said
      stand on the ground that no prejudice was caused to him.

      5.    Being dissatisfied with the said order, the respondent preferred
      the writ petition and the High Court placing reliance  mainly  on  the
      decision in State Bank  of  India  and  others  vs.  D.C.Aggarwal  and
      another[1] came to hold that 
non-supply of the copy of advice of  UPSC
      at the pre-decisional stage did tantamount to violation of  principles
      of natural justice for making effective  representation.   It  further
      observed that non-supply of such material could amount  to  denial  of
      fair opportunity of being heard. -

and  held that
    "We direct the respondents to allow the petitioner to make  his
           representation in respect of the UPSC  advice,  which  was  made
           available to him along with the order dated  28.1.2003  imposing
           punishment.  The  representation  of  the  petitioner  be   duly
           considered and the Disciplinary Authority  to  take  a  decision
           afresh, taking into account the representation  with  regard  to
           the disciplinary proceedings within a period of two months."
=
In the case of S.K.Kapoor, the Court  accepted  the  ratio  laid
      down in the case of T.V.Patel as far as the interpretation of  Article
      320(3)(c) is concerned and,  in  that  context,  it  opined  that  the
      provisions contained in the said Article 320(3)(c) of the Constitution
      of India are not mandatory. While distinguishing certain aspects,  the
      Court observed as follows:
"7.  We are of the opinion that although  Article  320(3)(c)  is
           not mandatory, if the authorities do  consult  the  Union  Public
           Service Commission and rely on the report of the  commission  for
           taking  disciplinary  action,  then  the  principles  of  natural
           justice require that a copy of the report  must  be  supplied  in
           advance to  the  employee  concerned  so  that  he  may  have  an
           opportunity  of  rebuttal.  Thus,  in  our  view,  the  aforesaid
           decision in T.V.Patel's case is clearly distinguishable."
after the  decision  in
           S.K.Kapoor's  case,  the  Government  of  India,   Ministry   of
           Personnel, PG & Pensions, Department  of  Personnel  &  Training
           vide Office Memorandum dated 06.01.2014 has issued the following
           directions:
            "4.   Accordingly, it has been decided that in all  disciplinary
           cases where the Commission is  to  be  consulted,  the  following
           procedure may be adopted :-

           (i)    On receipt of the Inquiry Report, the DA may  examine  the
           same and forward it to the Commission with his observations;

           (ii)   On receipt of the Commission's report, the DA will examine
           the same and forward the same to the Charged Officer  along  with
           the Inquiry Report and his  tentative  reasons  for  disagreement
           with the Inquiry Report and/or the advice of the UPSC;

           (iii) The Charged Officer shall be required to submit, if  he  so
           desires,  his  written  representation  or  submission   to   the
           Disciplinary  Authority  within  fifteen  days,  irrespective  of
           whether the Inquiry report/advice of UPSC is  in  his  favour  or
           not.

           (iv)    The   Disciplinary   Authority   shall    consider    the
           representation of the Charged Officer and take further action  as
           prescribed in sub-rules 2(A) to (4)  of  Rule  15  of  CCS  (CCA)
           Rules, 1965.

       27. After the said Office Memorandum, a  further  Office  Memorandum
           has been issued on 05.03.2014, which pertains to supply of  copy
           of UPSC advice to the Charged Officer.  We think it  appropriate
           to reproduce the same:
           "The undersigned is directed to refer to this Department's  O.M.
           of even number dated 06.01.2014 and to  say  that  it  has  been
           decided, in partial modification of the above O.M. that  a  copy
           of the inquiry report may be given to the Government servant  as
           provided  in  Rule  15(2)  of   Central   Secretariat   Services
           (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965.   The  inquiry
           report  together  with  the  representation,  if  any,  of   the
           Government servant  may  be  forwarded  to  the  Commission  for
           advice.  On receipt of the Commission's advice, a  copy  of  the
           advice may be provided to the  Government  servant  who  may  be
           allowed  to  submit  his  representation,   if   any,   on   the
           Commission's  advice  within  fifteen  days.   The  Disciplinary
           Authority will  consider  the  inquiry  report,  advice  of  the
           Commission and the representation(s) of the  Government  servant
           before arriving at a final decision."

       28. In our considered opinion, both the  Office  Memoranda  are  not
           only in consonance  with  the  S.K.Kapoor's  case  but  also  in
           accordance with the principles of natural justice which has been
           stated in B.Karunakar's case.

       29. In view  of  the  aforesaid,  we  respectfully  agree  with  the
           decision rendered in S.K.Kapoor's case and  resultantly  decline
           to interfere with the judgment and order of the High Court.   As
           a result, the  appeal,  being  devoid  of  merit,  is  dismissed
           without any order as to costs.=

2014 (May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41544
DIPAK MISRA, N.V. RAMANA
                                                           Reportable

                       IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                        CIVIL APPEAL No.6717 OF 2008


      UNION OF INDIA & ORS.                            .......APPELLANTS


                                   VERSUS


      R.P.SINGH
      ......RESPONDENT








                               J U D G M E N T




      Dipak Misra, J.


            Calling in question the legal defensibility of the judgment  and
      order  dated  19.01.2007  passed  by  the  High  Court  of  Delhi   in
      W.P.(C)No.16104 of 2004 whereby it has annulled the judgment and order
      dated  28.06.2004  passed  by  the  Central  Administrative  Tribunal,
      Principal Bench, New Delhi (for short “the tribunal”)  in  O.A.No.1977
      of 2003 and the order dated  19.08.2004  declining  to  entertain  the
      review, the present appeal has been preferred by special leave.

      2.    The respondent while serving as an Assistant Engineer (Civil) in
      the  Central  Public  Works  Department  (CPWD)  was  proceeded  in  a
      departmental proceeding in  respect  of  two  charges  which  read  as
      follows:

           "(a) 540 bags of cement were got issued  for  the  above  stated
           work  from  the  Central  Stores  on  31.3.97.   The  said  Shri
           R.P.Singh allowed Shri N.K.Sarin, Junior Engineer  to  issue  89
           bags of cement within 24 hours of receipt of the cement from the
           Central Stores without giving  any  written  permission  to  the
           Junior Engineer and without authenticating  the  said  issue  of
           cement, thereby violating the  instructions  contained  in  Para
           3(d) of memorandum No.DGW/CON/67 dated 6.5.94.


           (b) Out of the above  stated  lot  of  540  bags  of  cement  of
           "Superplus Jaypee" brand, 82 bags of cement  were  found  short,
           which had  been  pilfered  with  connivance  of  the  said  Shri
           R.P.Singh, Assistant Engineer."


      3.    As the  delinquent  officer  refuted  the  charges,  an  Inquiry
      Officer was appointed to conduct the inquiry and in  the  inquiry,  he
      found the charges levelled against the  delinquent  officer  were  not
      proven  and,  accordingly,  he  submitted  the  Inquiry  Report.   The
      disciplinary authority after expressing the disagreement, called for a
      representation from the respondent communicating the Inquiry Report as
      well as the opinion for  disagreement  requiring  him  to  submit  his
      explanation.  The respondent submitted his explanation and  thereafter
      the disciplinary authority sought advice from the Union Public Service
      Commission (UPSC) by proposing to impose penalty of reduction  of  pay
      by two stages in the time scale of pay of the charged  officer  for  a
      period of two years without cumulative effect.  The UPSC  vide  letter
      No. F.3/144/2002-SI dated 20.11.02 gave the advice to  impose  penalty
      of reduction of pay by two stages in the time  scale  of  pay  of  the
      charged officer for a period of two years without  cumulative  effect.
      After obtaining the advice from the UPSC, the  disciplinary  authority
      accepted the same, passed an order of punishment and communicated  the
      same to the respondent along with the advice of UPSC.

      4.    The said order of punishment  was  assailed  by  the  respondent
      before the  tribunal  on  many  a  ground  and  the  principal  ground
      propounded was that the advice of the UPSC was not  furnished  to  him
      before imposing the penalty and, therefore, there had  been  violation
      of principles of natural justice.  The  tribunal  negatived  the  said
      stand on the ground that no prejudice was caused to him.

      5.    Being dissatisfied with the said order, the respondent preferred
      the writ petition and the High Court placing reliance  mainly  on  the
      decision in State Bank  of  India  and  others  vs.  D.C.Aggarwal  and
      another[1] came to hold that non-supply of the copy of advice of  UPSC
      at the pre-decisional stage did tantamount to violation of  principles
      of natural justice for making effective  representation.   It  further
      observed that non-supply of such material could amount  to  denial  of
      fair opportunity of being heard. Being of this opinion, the High Court
      directed as follows:-

            "We direct the respondents to allow the petitioner to make  his
           representation in respect of the UPSC  advice,  which  was  made
           available to him along with the order dated  28.1.2003  imposing
           punishment.  The  representation  of  the  petitioner  be   duly
           considered and the Disciplinary Authority  to  take  a  decision
           afresh, taking into account the representation  with  regard  to
           the disciplinary proceedings within a period of two months."



      6.    We have heard Mr.K.Radhakrishnan, learned  counsel  assisted  by
      Mr.W.A.Qadri and Ms.Rekha Pandey for the  appellant  and  Mr.Vasudevan
      Raghavan, learned counsel for the respondent.

      7.    At the very outset, we may state  that  the  facts  relating  to
      seeking of advice from UPSC and the stage of furnishing  the  same  to
      the delinquent employee  are  not  in  dispute.   Thus,  the  singular
      question that emanates for determination is whether the High Court  is
      justified  in  issuing  the  directions  which  have  been  reproduced
      hereinabove solely  on  the  ground  that  non-supply  of  the  advice
      obtained by the disciplinary authority from the UPSC and acting on the
      same amounts to violation of principles of natural  justice.   Learned
      counsel for the appellants has placed  reliance  on  Rule  32  of  the
      Central Civil Services (Classification,  Control  and  Appeal)  Rules,
      1965 (for brevity “the CCS Rules”).  The said Rule reads as under:

            "32.Supply  of  copy  of  Commission's  advice.-  Whenever  the
           Commission is consulted as provided in these rules,  a  copy  of
           the advice by the Commission and where such advice has not  been
           accepted, also a brief statement of the reasons  for  such  non-
           acceptance,  shall  be  furnished  to  the  Government   servant
           concerned along with a copy of the order passed in the case,  by
           the authority making the order."

      8.    Relying upon the aforesaid Rule, it is contended that  when  the
      only prescription in the Rule is that a copy of the advice  is  to  be
      furnished at the time of making of the order, it is not obligatory  in
      law to supply  it  prior  to  imposition  of  punishment  requiring  a
      representation  or  providing  an  opportunity  of  hearing   to   the
      delinquent officer. In support of the said submission,  our  attention
      has been drawn to the decision in  Union  of  India  and  another  vs.
      T.V.Patel[2]   wherein  a  two-Judge  Bench,  appreciating  the   Rule
      position, has held as follows:

           "Rule 32 of the  Rules  deals  with  the  supply  of  a  copy  of
           Commission's advice.   Rules  as  read  as  it  is  mandatory  in
           character.  Rule  contemplates  that  whenever  a  Commission  is
           consulted, as provided under the Rules, a copy of the  advice  of
           the Commission and where such advice has not been accepted,  also
           a brief statement of the reasons for such non-acceptance shall be
           furnished to the Government servant along  with  a  copy  of  the
           order passed in the case, by  the  authority  making  the  order.
           Reading  of  the  Rule  would  show  that  it  contemplates   two
           situations; if a copy of advice is tendered  by  the  Commission,
           the same shall be furnished to the government servant along  with
           a copy of the order passed in the case by  the  authority  making
           the order.  The second situation is that if a copy of the  advice
           tendered by the Commission has not been accepted, a copy of which
           along with a  brief  statement  of  the  reasons  for  such  non-
           acceptance shall also be  furnished  to  the  government  servant
           along with a copy of  the  order  passed  in  the  case,  by  the
           authority making the order.   In our view, the language  employed
           in Rule 32, namely "along with a copy of the order passed in  the
           case, by the authority making the order"  would  mean  the  final
           order passed by the authority imposing penalty on the  delinquent
           government servant."

      9.    Be it noted, in the said case,  interpretation  placed  by  this
      Court under Article 320(3)(c) of the Constitution in   State  of  U.P.
      v. Manbodhan Lal Srivastava[3] has been placed reliance upon  and,  in
      that context, it has been opined thus: -
            "In view of the law settled by the Constitution  Bench  of  this
           Court in  the  case  of  Srivastava  (supra)  we  hold  that  the
           provisions of Article 320(3)(c) of the Constitution of India  are
           not mandatory and they do not confer any  rights  on  the  public
           servant so that the absence of consultation or  any  irregularity
           in consultation process  or  furnishing  a  copy  of  the  advice
           tendered by the UPSC, if any,  does  not  afford  the  delinquent
           government servant a cause of action in a court of law."

      10.   It is also necessary to mention here  that  the  learned  Judges
      distinguished the pronouncements in D.C.Aggarwal and  another  (supra)
      and MD, ECIL vs. B.Karunakar[4].

      11.   Mr.Vasudevan Raghavan, learned counsel for  the  respondent  has
      submitted that the said decision has been treated as a per incuriam in
      Union of India and others vs. S.K.Kapoor[5] in one aspect  as  it  has
      not taken note of the earlier decision  in  S.N.Narula  vs.  Union  of
      India and others[6].  Learned counsel while  clarifying  the  position
      has submitted that the decision in Narulas's case has been rendered on
      30.01.2004 which is prior to the decision in T.V.Patel's  case  though
      it has been reported later on.

      12.   In the case of S.N.Narula, the Court took note of the fact  that
      the proceedings therein were sent for information of the UPSC and  the
      UPSC had given the advice indicating certain punishment and  the  said
      advice was accepted by the disciplinary authority who, on that  basis,
      had imposed punishment.  Thereafter the Court took note of the factual
      score how the disciplinary authority had acted.  We think it seemly to
      reproduce the same: -
           “3.   It is to be noticed that the advisory opinion of the Union
           Public Service Commission was not communicated to the  appellant
           before he was heard by the disciplinary authority.  The same was
           communicated to the appellant along with final order  passed  in
           the matter by the disciplinary authority.”

           After so stating, the two-Judge Bench proceeded to opine thus: -

            "6. We heard the learned counsel  for  the  appellant  and  the
           learned counsel for the  respondent.  It  is  submitted  by  the
           counsel for the appellant that the report of  the  Union  Public
           Service Commission was not communicated to the appellant  before
           the final order was passed. Therefore, the appellant was  unable
           to make an  effective  representation  before  the  disciplinary
           authority as regards the punishment imposed.

           7.    We find that the stand taken by the Central Administrative
           Tribunal was correct and the High Court  was  not  justified  in
           interfering with  the  order.    Therefore,  we  set  aside  the
           judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court and direct that
           the disciplinary proceedings against the  appellant  be  finally
           disposed of in  accordance  with  the  direction  given  by  the
           Tribunal in Paragraph 6 of the order.   The appellant may submit
           a representation within two weeks to the disciplinary  authority
           and we make it clear that the matter shall be  finally  disposed
           of by the disciplinary authority within a  period  of  3  months
           thereafter."

      13.   We will be failing in our duty if we do not  take  note  of  the
      submission of Mr.W.A.Qadri that  the  decision  is  not  an  authority
      because the tribunal had set  aside  the  order  of  the  disciplinary
      authority on the ground that it was a non-speaking order.  Be that  as
      it may, when the issue was raised before this Court and there has been
      an advertence to the same, we are unable to accept the  submission  of
      Mr. Qadri.  The said decision is an authority for the proposition that
      the advice of UPSC, if sought and accepted, the same, regard being had
      to the principles of natural justice, is  to  be  communicated  before
      imposition of punishment.

      14.   In the case of S.K.Kapoor, the Court  accepted  the  ratio  laid
      down in the case of T.V.Patel as far as the interpretation of  Article
      320(3)(c) is concerned and,  in  that  context,  it  opined  that  the
      provisions contained in the said Article 320(3)(c) of the Constitution
      of India are not mandatory. While distinguishing certain aspects,  the
      Court observed as follows:

            "7.  We are of the opinion that although  Article  320(3)(c)  is
           not mandatory, if the authorities do  consult  the  Union  Public
           Service Commission and rely on the report of the  commission  for
           taking  disciplinary  action,  then  the  principles  of  natural
           justice require that a copy of the report  must  be  supplied  in
           advance to  the  employee  concerned  so  that  he  may  have  an
           opportunity  of  rebuttal.  Thus,  in  our  view,  the  aforesaid
           decision in T.V.Patel's case is clearly distinguishable."

      15.   After so stating  the  two-Judge  Bench  opined  that  when  the
      disciplinary authority does not rely on the report of the UPSC then it
      is not necessary  to  supply  the  same  to  the  employee  concerned.
      However, when it is relied upon then the  copy  of  the  same  may  be
      supplied in advance to the employee concerned, otherwise, there  would
      be violation of the principles of natural justice.  To arrive  at  the
      said conclusion, reliance was placed upon the decision in S.N.Narula's
      case.  Proceeding further, the Court held:

            "9.  It may be noted that the  decision  in  S.N.Narula's  case
           (supra) was prior to the decision  in  T.V.Patel's  case(supra).
           It is well settled that if a  subsequent  co-ordinate  bench  of
           equal strength wants to take a different view, it can only refer
           the matter to a larger bench, otherwise the prior decision of  a
           co-ordinate bench is binding on the subsequent  bench  of  equal
           strength.  Since, the decision in S.N.Narula's case (supra)  was
           not noticed in T.V.Patel's case(supra), the latter decision is a
           judgment  per  incuriam.   The  decision  in  S.N.Narula's  case
           (supra) was binding on the subsequent bench  of  equal  strength
           and hence, it could not take a contrary view, as is settled by a
           series of judgments of this Court."

       16. Learned counsel for the appellant would contend  that  the  two-
           Judge Bench in S.K. Kapoor’s case could not have opined that the
           decision in T.V. Patel’s case is per incuriam.  We have  already
           noticed two facts pertaining to S.N. Narula (supra), (i)  it  ws
           rendered on 31.1.2004 and (ii) it squarely dealt with the  issue
           and expressed an opinion.  It seems to us that the  judgment  in
           S.N. Narula’s case was  not  brought  to  the  notice  of  their
           Lordships deciding the lis in T.V. Patel (supra).  There  cannot
           be a shadow of doubt that the judgment in S.N. Narula (supra) is
           a binding precedent to be followed by the later Division  Bench.
           In this context, we may fruitfully  refer  to  the  decision  in
           Union of India v. Raghubir Singh (dead) by  L.  Rs.  And  Others
           [7], wherein the Constitution Bench has held as follows: -
           “We are of opinion that a pronouncement of  law  by  a  Division
           Bench of this Court is binding on a Division Bench of  the  same
           or a smaller number of Judges, and in order that  such  decision
           be binding, it is not necessary that it  should  be  a  decision
           rendered by the Full Court or a Constitution Bench of the Court”

       17. In Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.,  v.  Municipal  Corporation  and
           Another[8], it has been observed that the Division Bench of  the
           High Court in Municipal Corpn., Indore v. Ratnaprabha Dhandha[9]
           was clearly in error in taking the view  that  the  decision  of
           this Court in Municipal Corporation, Indore v. Ratna  Prabha[10]
           was not binding on it.  In doing so, the Division Bench  of  the
           High Court did something which even a later  co-equal  Bench  of
           this Court did not and could not do.

       18. In Chandra Prakash and others v. State of U.P. and  another[11],
           the Constitution Bench has reiterated  the  principle  that  has
           already been stated in Raghubir Singh (supra).

       19. Thus perceived, it can be stated with certitude that S.N. Narula
           (supra) was a binding precedent and when the subsequent decision
           in T.V. Patel (supra) is rendered in ignorance or  forgetfulness
           of the binding authority, the concept of per incurium comes into
           play.

       20. In this regard, we may usefully refer to  a  passage  from  A.R.
           Antulay v. R.S. Nayak[12], wherein Sabyasachi Mukharji,  J.  (as
           his Lordship then was) observed thus: -
           “....‘Per incuriam’ are those decisions given  in  ignorance  or
           forgetfulness of some inconsistent  statutory  provision  or  of
           some authority binding on the court concerned, so that  in  such
           cases some part of the decision or some step in the reasoning on
           which it is based, is found, on that account to be  demonstrably
           wrong.”

            At a subsequent stage of the said decision it has been  observed
      as follows: -
           “.... It is a settled rule that if a decision has been given per
           incuriam the court can ignore it.”


       21. In Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre v. State of Maharashtra and Ors.
           [13], while dealing with the issue of  ‘per  incuriam’,  a  two-
           Judge Bench, after referring to the dictum in Bristol  Aeroplane
           Co. Ltd. (supra) and  certain passages from Halsbury’s  Laws  of
           England and Raghubir Singh (supra), has ruled thus:-
           “The analysis of English and Indian Law  clearly  leads  to  the
           irresistible conclusion that not only the judgment of  a  larger
           strength is binding on a judgment of smaller  strength  but  the
           judgment of a co-equal strength is also binding on  a  Bench  of
           Judges of co-equal strength.  In  the  instant  case,  judgments
           mentioned in paragraphs 135 and 136 are by two or  three  judges
           of  this  Court.   These  judgments  have  clearly   ignored   a
           Constitution Bench judgment  of  this  Court  in  Sibbia’s  case
           (supra) which has comprehensively dealt with all the  facets  of
           anticipatory bail  enumerated  under  Section  438  of  Code  of
           Criminal  Procedure   Consequently,   judgments   mentioned   in
           paragraphs 135 and 136 of this judgment are per incuriam.”



       22. Testing on the aforesaid principles it can safely  be  concluded
           that the judgment in T.V. Patel’s case is per incuriam.

       23. At this juncture, we would like to  give  our  reasons  for  our
           respectful concurrence with S.K. Kapoor (supra).   There  is  no
           cavil over  the  proposition  that  the  language  engrafted  in
           Article 320(3)(c) does not make the said Article mandatory.   As
           we find, in the  T.V.Patel's  case,  the  Court  has  based  its
           finding on the language employed in Rule 32 of the Rules. It  is
           not in dispute that the said Rule from the very inception  is  a
           part of the 1965 Rules.  With the efflux of time, there has been
           a change of perception  as  regards  the  applicability  of  the
           principles  of  natural  justice.   An  Inquiry  Report   in   a
           disciplinary proceeding is  required  to  be  furnished  to  the
           delinquent  employee  so  that   he   can   make   an   adequate
           representation explaining his own  stand/stance.  That  is  what
           precisely has been laid down in the B.Karnukara's case.  We  may
           reproduce the relevant passage with profit: -
           “Hence it has to be held that when the enquiry  officer  is  not
           the disciplinary authority, the delinquent employee has a  right
           to receive a copy of the enquiry  officer’s  report  before  the
           disciplinary authority arrives at its conclusions with regard to
           the guilt or innocence  of  the  employee  with  regard  to  the
           charges levelled against him.  That  right  is  a  part  of  the
           employee’s right to defend himself against the charges  levelled
           against him. A denial of the enquiry officer’s report before the
           disciplinary authority takes its decision on the charges,  is  a
           denial of reasonable opportunity to the employee  to  prove  his
           innocence and is a breach of the principles of natural justice.”


       24. We will be failing in our duty if we do  not  refer  to  another
           passage which deals with the effect of non-supply of the enquiry
           report on the punishment. It reads as follows: -
           “[v] The next question to be answered is what is the  effect  on
           the order of punishment when the report of the  enquiry  officer
           is not furnished to the  employee  and  what  relief  should  be
           granted to him in such cases. The answer to this question has to
           be relative to the punishment  awarded.  When  the  employee  is
           dismissed or removed from service and the inquiry is  set  aside
           because the report is not furnished to him, in  some  cases  the
           non-furnishing of the report may  have  prejudiced  him  gravely
           while in other cases it may  have  made  no  difference  to  the
           ultimate  punishment   awarded   to   him.   Hence   to   direct
           reinstatement of the employee with back-wages in all cases is to
           reduce the rules of justice to a mechanical ritual.  The  theory
           of reasonable opportunity and the principles of natural  justice
           have been evolved to uphold the rule of law and  to  assist  the
           individual  to  vindicate  his  just  rights.   They   are   not
           incantations to be invoked nor rites to be performed on all  and
           sundry occasions. Whether in fact, prejudice has been caused  to
           the employee or not on account of  the  denial  to  him  of  the
           report, has to be considered on the facts and  circumstances  of
           each case. Where, therefore, even after the  furnishing  of  the
           report, no different consequence would have followed,  it  would
           be a perversion of justice to permit the employee to resume duty
           and to  get  all  the  consequential  benefits.  It  amounts  to
           rewarding the dishonest and the guilty and  thus  to  stretching
           the  [pic]concept  of  justice  to  illogical  and  exasperating
           limits.  It  amounts  to  an  “unnatural  expansion  of  natural
           justice” which in itself is antithetical to justice.”



       25. After so stating, the larger Bench proceeded to state  that  the
           court/tribunal should not mechanically set aside  the  order  of
           punishment on the ground that the report was not furnished.  The
           courts/tribunals would apply their judicial mind to the question
           and give their reasons for setting aside or  not  setting  aside
           the order of punishment. It is only if the court/tribunal  finds
           that the furnishing of report could have made  a  difference  to
           the result in the case then it should set  aside  the  order  of
           punishment.   Where  after  following  the  said  procedure  the
           court/tribunal sets aside the order of  punishment,  the  proper
           relief that should be granted to  direct  reinstatement  of  the
           employee with liberty to the authority/  management  to  proceed
           with the enquiry, by placing the employee under  suspension  and
           continuing the enquiry from that stage of  furnishing  with  the
           report.  The question whether the employee would be entitled  to
           the back wages and other benefits from the date of dismissal  to
           the  date  of  reinstatement,  if  ultimately  ordered,   should
           invariably  left  to  be  decided  by  the  authority  concerned
           according to law, after the culmination of the  proceedings  and
           depending on the final outcome.

       26. We have referred to the aforesaid decision in extenso as we find
           that in the said case it has been  opined  by  the  Constitution
           Bench that non-supply of the enquiry report is a breach  of  the
           principle of natural justice.  Advice from the UPSC, needless to
           say, when utilized as a material against the delinquent officer,
           it should be supplied in advance.  As it seems to  us,  Rule  32
           provides for supply of copy of advice to the government  servant
           at the  time  of  making  an  order.   The  said  stage  was  in
           prevalence before the decision of the Constitution Bench.  After
           the said decision, in  our  considered  opinion,  the  authority
           should have clarified the  Rule  regarding  development  in  the
           service jurisprudence.  We have been  apprised  by  Mr.Raghavan,
           learned counsel for the respondent, that after the  decision  in
           S.K.Kapoor's  case,  the  Government  of  India,   Ministry   of
           Personnel, PG & Pensions, Department  of  Personnel  &  Training
           vide Office Memorandum dated 06.01.2014 has issued the following
           directions:
            "4.   Accordingly, it has been decided that in all  disciplinary
           cases where the Commission is  to  be  consulted,  the  following
           procedure may be adopted :-

           (i)    On receipt of the Inquiry Report, the DA may  examine  the
           same and forward it to the Commission with his observations;

           (ii)   On receipt of the Commission's report, the DA will examine
           the same and forward the same to the Charged Officer  along  with
           the Inquiry Report and his  tentative  reasons  for  disagreement
           with the Inquiry Report and/or the advice of the UPSC;

           (iii) The Charged Officer shall be required to submit, if  he  so
           desires,  his  written  representation  or  submission   to   the
           Disciplinary  Authority  within  fifteen  days,  irrespective  of
           whether the Inquiry report/advice of UPSC is  in  his  favour  or
           not.

           (iv)    The   Disciplinary   Authority   shall    consider    the
           representation of the Charged Officer and take further action  as
           prescribed in sub-rules 2(A) to (4)  of  Rule  15  of  CCS  (CCA)
           Rules, 1965.

       27. After the said Office Memorandum, a  further  Office  Memorandum
           has been issued on 05.03.2014, which pertains to supply of  copy
           of UPSC advice to the Charged Officer.  We think it  appropriate
           to reproduce the same:
           "The undersigned is directed to refer to this Department's  O.M.
           of even number dated 06.01.2014 and to  say  that  it  has  been
           decided, in partial modification of the above O.M. that  a  copy
           of the inquiry report may be given to the Government servant  as
           provided  in  Rule  15(2)  of   Central   Secretariat   Services
           (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965.   The  inquiry
           report  together  with  the  representation,  if  any,  of   the
           Government servant  may  be  forwarded  to  the  Commission  for
           advice.  On receipt of the Commission's advice, a  copy  of  the
           advice may be provided to the  Government  servant  who  may  be
           allowed  to  submit  his  representation,   if   any,   on   the
           Commission's  advice  within  fifteen  days.   The  Disciplinary
           Authority will  consider  the  inquiry  report,  advice  of  the
           Commission and the representation(s) of the  Government  servant
           before arriving at a final decision."

       28. In our considered opinion, both the  Office  Memoranda  are  not
           only in consonance  with  the  S.K.Kapoor's  case  but  also  in
           accordance with the principles of natural justice which has been
           stated in B.Karunakar's case.

       29. In view  of  the  aforesaid,  we  respectfully  agree  with  the
           decision rendered in S.K.Kapoor's case and  resultantly  decline
           to interfere with the judgment and order of the High Court.   As
           a result, the  appeal,  being  devoid  of  merit,  is  dismissed
           without any order as to costs.



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




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


NEW DELHI;
MAY 22, 2014.





























-----------------------
[1]   AIR 1993 SC 1197
[2]   (2007) 4 SCC 785
[3]    AIR 1957 SC 912
[4]   (1993) 4 SCC 727
[5]   (2011) 4 SCC 589
[6]   (2011) 4 SCC 591
[7]    (1989) 2 SCC 754
[8]    AIR 1995 SC 1480
[9]    1989 MPLJ 20
[10]   (1976) 4 SCC 622
[11]   (2002) 4 SCC 234
[12]   (1988) 2 SCC 602
[13]    AIR 2011 SC 312 : ( 2011) 1 SCC 694

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