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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Service matter - Regulation 5(4) of the Indian Administrative Service (Appointment by Promotion) Regulations, 1955 - for promotion to the Indian Administrative Service - Dropping disciplinary proceedings against the 1st respondent was recommended for promotion and was selected pending case in Central Tribunal - Central Tribunal allowed the O.A. - High court reversed the same - Apex court held that the State Government misled the UPSC which resulted in wrong assessment of service records of 1st respondent in violation of Regulation 5(4) read with Regulation 6 of the Indian Administrative Service (Appointment by Promotion) Regulations, 1955. -The Tribunal noticed that the State Government dropped the charges against the 1st respondent without giving detailed reasons for such action. Considering the same the Tribunal held that the State Government failed to furnish the valid reasons for dropping charges and for subsequent issuance of integrity certificate to the 1st respondent. For the said reason theTribunal held that the action on the part of the State is a case of hasty decision.-The High Court failed to appreciate the guidelines dated 4th April, 2007 issued by the State Government with regard to the ACR and wrongly accepted the stand of the respondents that invalid ACRs were not to be considered. The High Court also exceeded its jurisdiction in discussing the charges framed against the 1st respondent and in justifying the grounds for dropping the charges, though it was not disclosed by the State Government. and set aside the impugned judgment and order dated 8th July, 2013 passed by the High Court in Writ Petition No.5508 of 2013, upheld the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal dated 18th February, 2013 with direction to the respondent(s) to reconsider the name of the appellant viz-a-viz 1st respondent for promotion to the post of Indian Administrative Service against the vacancies for the year 2009 = CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. OF 2014 (arising out of SLP(C)No.26223 of 2013) G. MOHANASUNDARAM … APPELLANT VERSUS R. NANTHAGOPAL AND ORS. … RESPONDENTS = 2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41776

   Service matter - Regulation 5(4)  of  the  Indian  Administrative  Service  (Appointment  by  Promotion) Regulations,  1955 - for  promotion   to   the   Indian Administrative Service - Dropping disciplinary proceedings against the  1st  respondent was recommended for promotion and was selected pending case in Central Tribunal - Central Tribunal allowed the O.A. - High court reversed the same - Apex court held that  the   State Government misled the UPSC which resulted in  wrong  assessment  of  service records of  1st  respondent  in  violation  of  Regulation  5(4)  read  with Regulation  6  of  the  Indian  Administrative   Service   (Appointment   by
Promotion) Regulations, 1955. -The Tribunal noticed that the State  Government  dropped  the  charges against the 1st respondent without giving detailed reasons for such  action. Considering the same the Tribunal held that the State Government  failed  to furnish the valid reasons for dropping charges and for  subsequent  issuance of integrity certificate to the 1st respondent.  For  the  said  reason  theTribunal held that the action on the part of the State is a  case  of  hasty
decision.-The High Court failed to appreciate the guidelines  dated  4th  April, 2007  issued by the State Government with regard  to  the  ACR  and  wrongly accepted the stand of the respondents that  invalid  ACRs  were  not  to  be considered. The High Court also exceeded its jurisdiction in discussing  the charges framed against the 1st respondent and in justifying the grounds for dropping the charges, though it was not disclosed by the State Government. and set  aside  the  impugned  judgment  and order dated 8th July, 2013  passed  by  the  High  Court  in  Writ  Petition No.5508 of 2013, upheld the  order  passed  by  the  Central  Administrative Tribunal dated 18th February, 2013 with direction to  the  respondent(s)  to reconsider the name of the appellant viz-a-viz 1st respondent for  promotion to the post of Indian Administrative Service against the vacancies  for  the year 2009=

The appellant and the 1st respondent are officers of Tamil Nadu  State
Civil  Services.  They  were  considered  for  promotion   to   the   Indian
Administrative Service  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  the  “IAS”)  against
certain percentage of  posts  available  for  members  of  the  State  Civil
Service.
According to  the  appellant,  though  his  ACRs
were far better than the ACRs of other candidates including 1st  respondent,
he was not selected.
9.    A notification dated 10th February, 2012 was issued by the  Government
of India and the selected candidates were appointed to  the  IAS  cadre  for
the vacancies of 2009 and 2010.
10.   The appellant having not selected/promoted filed Original  Application
No.249 of 2012 before the  Central  Administrative  Tribunal,  Madras  Bench
challenging the notification 10th February, 2012 passed  by  the  Government
of India.=
When the matter  was  pending,  on  15th  March,  2012  the  State
Government dropped the disciplinary proceedings against the  1st  respondent
taking into consideration the enquiry report and  reply  filed  by  the  1st
respondent. =
By an amendment application filed in pending OA,  the  appellant
challenged the notification of 13th April, 2012,  by  which  1st  respondent
was  appointed  to  the  Indian  Administrative  Service. =
Central Administrative Tribunal
The Central Administrative Tribunal, Madras Bench by its judgment  and
order dated 18th February, 2013 allowed the Original  Application  filed  by
the appellant, quashed the notification dated 10th February, 2012 in so  far
as  not  including  the  name  of  the  appellant  herein  and  quashed  the
notification dated 13th April, 2012 by which 1st respondent was appointed.=

High court 

12.   The High Court at the instance of the 1st respondent allowed the  writ
petition and set aside  the  order  passed  by  the  Central  Administrative
Tribunal, Madras Bench in OA No.249 of 2012.=

Apex court held that 

we hold that in terms  of  Regulation
5(4)  of  the  Indian  Administrative  Service  (Appointment  by  Promotion)
Regulations,  1955  it  was  incumbent  upon  State  Government  to  forward
complete service records of all the eligible candidates  including  the  1st
respondent to the UPSC for considering them  for  promotion  to  IAS  cadre.

Withholding of ACRs of the year 2003-2009 of the 1st respondent on  a  wrong
presumption that they were invalid, is illegal and fatal in the case of  1st
respondent towards his appointment to  the  post  of  Indian  Administrative
Service.
The aforesaid fact though came to the  notice  of  the  UPSC  which
sought  clarification  from  the  Government  of  Tamil  Nadu,   the   State
Government misled the UPSC which resulted in  wrong  assessment  of  service
records of  1st  respondent  in  violation  of  Regulation  5(4)  read  with
Regulation  6  of  the  Indian  Administrative   Service   (Appointment   by
Promotion) Regulations, 1955.
28.   The  Central  Administrative  Tribunal  by  its  judgment  dated  18th
February, 2013 rightly held that the Selection Committee has not taken  into
account all relevant facts and records to come to a conclusion that the  1st
respondent is superior to appellant.
29.   The Central Administrative  Tribunal  also  considered  the  issue  of
departmental proceedings pending  against  the  1st  respondent  under  Rule
17(b) of the Tamil Nadu Service (Discipline and Appeal) Rules,  was  noticed
by the Selection Committee as apparent from recommendation of  the  name  of
1st respondent with a star mark shown against the same with a note  that  in
view of the pendency of the departmental proceedings inclusion of  the  name
of 1st respondent was provisional.  In  the  said  departmental  proceedings
Enquiry Officer after going through the evidence and reply submitted by  the
1st respondent  held  that  the  charge  No.2  is  proved  against  the  1st
respondent. In spite of the same, the State Government dropped the  charges.

30.   The Tribunal noticed that the State  Government  dropped  the  charges
against the 1st respondent without giving detailed reasons for such  action.
Considering the same the Tribunal held that the State Government  failed  to
furnish the valid reasons for dropping charges and for  subsequent  issuance
of integrity certificate to the 1st respondent.  For  the  said  reason  the
Tribunal held that the action on the part of the State is a  case  of  hasty
decision.
31.   The High Court failed to appreciate the guidelines  dated  4th  April,
2007  issued by the State Government with regard  to  the  ACR  and  wrongly
accepted the stand of the respondents that  invalid  ACRs  were  not  to  be
considered. The High Court also exceeded its jurisdiction in discussing  the
charges framed against the 1st respondent and in justifying the grounds  for
dropping the charges, though it was not disclosed by the State Government.
32.   For the reasons aforesaid, we set  aside  the  impugned  judgment  and
order dated 8th July, 2013  passed  by  the  High  Court  in  Writ  Petition
No.5508 of 2013, upheld the  order  passed  by  the  Central  Administrative
Tribunal dated 18th February, 2013 with direction to  the  respondent(s)  to
reconsider the name of the appellant viz-a-viz 1st respondent for  promotion
to the post of Indian Administrative Service against the vacancies  for  the
year 2009A. If necessary, a fresh Selection Committee or a Review  Committee
shall be constituted and reconvened. The process of selection  be  completed
within three months. The order passed by the Tribunal  stands  modified  to
the extent above.

33.   The appeal is allowed with the aforesaid observations and  directions.
No costs.

2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41776

SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, V. GOPALA GOWDA

                                                               REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                   CIVIL APPEAL NO.               OF 2014
                   (arising out of SLP(C)No.26223 of 2013)


G. MOHANASUNDARAM                                   … APPELLANT

                                   VERSUS

R. NANTHAGOPAL AND ORS.                             … RESPONDENTS


                               J U D G M E N T


Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya, J.


      Leave granted.
2.    This appeal is directed against  the  judgment  and  order  dated  8th
July, 2013 passed by the Division Bench of the High Court of  Judicature  at
Madras in Writ Petition No.5508 of 2013.  Initially,  the  appellant  herein
challenged the Government notifications dated 10th February, 2012  and  13th
April, 2012 whereby 1st respondent was promoted and appointed to the  Indian
Administrative Service, before the Central Administrative  Tribunal,  Madras
Bench by filing OA No.249 of 2012 and the same was allowed  by  order  dated
18th February, 2013. By the impugned judgment the High Court set  aside  the
said order dated 18th February, 2013 passed by  the  Central  Administrative
Tribunal.
3.    The factual matrix of the case is as follows:
      The appellant and the 1st respondent are officers of Tamil Nadu  State
Civil  Services.  They  were  considered  for  promotion   to   the   Indian
Administrative Service  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  the  “IAS”)  against
certain percentage of  posts  available  for  members  of  the  State  Civil
Service.
4.    On 1st September, 2009, the State of Tamil Nadu prepared a list of  27
eligible candidates for consideration for appointment against  19  vacancies
of IAS for the year 2009. The list was sent to the Secretary,  Union  Public
Service Commission (hereinafter referred to as the “UPSC”). The name of  the
appellant was included at serial No.26 and the name of  the  1st  respondent
was placed at serial No.16 of  the  said  list  prepared  on  the  basis  of
seniority list of the State Civil Service. In the seniority  list  of  State
Civil Service the appellant was placed at serial No.59  and  1st  respondent
at serial No.34.
5.    On 4th November, 2009, the  State  Government  issued  a  charge-sheet
against the 1st respondent under Rule 17(b) of the Tamil Nadu Civil  Service
(Discipline and Appeal) Rules for certain irregularities  committed  by  him
while working  as  Senior  Regional  Manager,  Tamil  Nadu  State  Marketing
Corporation Ltd. On 3rd February, 2011,  the  State  Government  prepared  a
list of 10 eligible candidates for appointment to the IAS cadre against  the
2009 vacancies. The appellant was shown at serial No.9  and  1st  respondent
at serial No.4. The list was forwarded to the UPSC.
6.    On 10th March, 2011, the UPSC sought for clarifications and some  more
information from the State Government.  By  its  letter  dated  12th  April,
2011, the State Government enclosed the Annual  Character  Rolls  (ACRs)  of
all the eligible candidates, which according to the  State  Government  were
valid. The State Government withheld some of the ACRs of certain  candidates
including the 1st respondent on the ground that the  ACRs  were  not  valid.
The ACRs of the 1st respondent pertaining to the period 27th July,  1998  to
10th June, 2002 i.e., for 5 years alone, were forwarded to the UPSC and  the
ACRs of the 1st respondent for the period  from  10th  June,  2002  to  31st
March, 2009 were withheld by the State.
7.    On 7th December, 2011, the State Government forwarded  a  list  of  13
candidates for promotion to the IAS cadre against 2 vacancies for  the  year
2010. The appellant was shown at serial  No.8  and  the  1st  respondent  at
serial No.4. The ACRs of all the candidates  including  the  1st  respondent
for the period 26th May, 2006 to 7th January, 2008 were forwarded.
8.    The Selection Committee prepared a Select List of  2009  and  2010  on
27th December, 2011 against the respective vacancies  of  those  years.  The
appellant was not selected. According to  the  appellant,  though  his  ACRs
were far better than the ACRs of other candidates including 1st  respondent,
he was not selected.
9.    A notification dated 10th February, 2012 was issued by the  Government
of India and the selected candidates were appointed to  the  IAS  cadre  for
the vacancies of 2009 and 2010.
10.   The appellant having not selected/promoted filed Original  Application
No.249 of 2012 before the  Central  Administrative  Tribunal,  Madras  Bench
challenging the notification 10th February, 2012 passed  by  the  Government
of India. When the matter  was  pending,  on  15th  March,  2012  the  State
Government dropped the disciplinary proceedings against the  1st  respondent
taking into consideration the enquiry report and  reply  filed  by  the  1st
respondent. By an amendment application filed in pending OA,  the  appellant
challenged the notification of 13th April, 2012,  by  which  1st  respondent
was  appointed  to  the  Indian  Administrative  Service.  The  UPSC,  State
Government and 1st respondent filed their respective replies  to  which  the
appellant filed a rejoinder. According to the UPSC, the selection  was  made
in accordance with the rules and the valid ACRs which were forwarded by  the
State Government. The State Government in its reply justified its action  in
sending only the valid ACRs and the 1st respondent disputed  the  allegation
made against him.
11.   The Central Administrative Tribunal, Madras Bench by its judgment  and
order dated 18th February, 2013 allowed the Original  Application  filed  by
the appellant, quashed the notification dated 10th February, 2012 in so  far
as  not  including  the  name  of  the  appellant  herein  and  quashed  the
notification dated 13th April, 2012 by which 1st respondent was appointed.
12.   The High Court at the instance of the 1st respondent allowed the  writ
petition and set aside  the  order  passed  by  the  Central  Administrative
Tribunal, Madras Bench in OA No.249 of 2012.
13.   Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that  the  High  Court  by
the impugned judgment and order dated  8th  July,  2013  reversed  the  well
reasoned  judgment  and  order  dated  18th  February,   2013   of   Central
Administrative Tribunal, Madras  Bench,  ignoring  the  fact  that  the  1st
respondent was facing major charges and had adverse entry  in  the  ACRs  at
the time of selection. It was contended that  though  ACRs  for  the  period
from 1st October, 2002 to 31st March, 2009 of 1st respondent were  available
they were not forwarded by the State Government to the  UPSC.  According  to
him in the matter of  promotion  and  compulsory  retirement  from  service,
entire service record of the officer concerned should have been  considered.

14.   Learned senior  counsel  for  the  appellant  further  contended  that
respondents acted arbitrarily in not taking into consideration the  relevant
ACRs of the 1st respondent on the ground that they were written  beyond  the
time prescribed by the State Government.
15.   Learned counsel for  the  UPSC  contended  that  at  time  of  holding
Selection  Committee  meeting  for  the  Select  List  of  2009,  the  State
Government forwarded the ACRs stated to be valid  and  duly  certified.  The
meeting  was  then  convened  for  4th  December  2009,  however,  when  the
Committee met on 4th December, 2009, it was  observed  that  certain  issues
relating  to  the  validity  of  the  ACRs  of  officers  in  the  zone   of
consideration were required to be resolved by the State Government, and  the
meeting was, therefore deferred. Subsequently,  when  the  Select  List  for
2009 was to be drawn up, the State Government forwarded the  ACRs  vide  its
letter dated 10th March, 2010  along  with  the  validity  certificate.  The
meeting was convened on 26th May, 2010 and the Select List of  2009  for  19
vacancies was drawn up. The 1st respondent was considered  at  serial  No.17
and his ACRs for the certain period were considered. But since his ACRs  for
the period 2003-2004 to 2005-2006  were  not  available,  the  Committee  in
accordance with the guidelines considered the ACRs for the  period  1999  to
2002.
16.   Learned counsel for UPSC further submitted that on 31st  March,  2010,
the Government of India determined  7  vacancies  for  the  year  2010.  The
Select List of 2010 was renamed as 2009A in view  of  the  judgment  of  the
High Court of Punjab and Haryana regarding overlapping  Select  List  for  a
particular year. The State Government forwarded the ACRS vide  letter  dated
3rd February, 2011. On the scrutiny of the ACRs, it was found that the  ACRs
of some of the  officers  including  1st  respondent  which  were  furnished
during the last Selection Committee meeting were not  furnished  before  the
present Selection Committee and the ACRs which were  not  furnished  earlier
were furnished. The  reason  for  this  change  was  asked  from  the  State
Government vide letter dated 10th March, 2011 to which the State  Government
replied by letter dated 12th April,  2011  that  the  State  Government  had
considered the  ACRs  written  by  the  Reporting  Officer  or  Scrutinizing
Officer within a period of 9 months as valid for the Select List 2009  which
were forwarded to UPSC considering the fact the officers reported upon  need
not be penalized for no fault of theirs. It was further contended  that  for
the Select List  2009A,  the  State  Government  considered  that  the  ACRs
written by both the Reporting Officer  and  Scrutinising  Officer  within  a
period of 6 months are valid, barring certain cases for which  ACRs  written
for the periods slightly exceeding six months. The  matter  was  once  again
taken up by UPSC with the State Government  as  the  revision  in  the  time
limit for writing of ACRs with reference  to  the  earlier  selection  would
lead to anomalous situation. The State Government by its  letter  dated  1st
December, 2011 intimated the UPSC that with a view to  maintain  consistency
after obtaining orders of the competent authority it was  decided  that  the
ACRs written within 9 months may be  considered  valid  for  preparation  of
Select List of 2009A and the Officers need not be penalized for no fault  of
theirs. The meeting of the Selection Committee was held  on  27th  December,
2011. In the Select List of 2009A, 1st respondent was considered  at  serial
No.4 and he was assessed for the period 2004 to 2009. However,  in  view  of
the ACRs ‘not available’ for the period 2004 to 2006 and for the year  2008-
2009, the Committee considered the ACRs of preceding years 1999 to 2002.  In
this regard the UPSC  has  also  referred  to  the  Government’s  guidelines
issued from time to time.
17.   It was further submitted on behalf of the UPSC that since the rule  of
the State Government regarding the period of writing of  ACRs  remained  the
same to the Select Lists of 2009 and 2009A, the Selection Committee  as  per
the  internal  guidelines  adopted  the  assessment  of  previous  Selection
Committee. Therefore, assessment of ACR of 1st  respondent  for  the  period
from 26th May, 2006 to 6th March, 2007  certified  as  valid  by  the  State
Government for select list of 2009 was adopted by Selection Committee  which
met to prepare the select list of 2009A. It  was  also  submitted  that  the
State Government is required to place only valid  ACRs  in  the  Dossier  of
officers under the zone of consideration for a particular  Select  List,  as
was done in this case.
18.   We have considered  the  rival  submissions  made  on  behalf  of  the
parties.  After  giving  our  careful  consideration  to   the   facts   and
circumstances of the case, we are of the view that the High  Court  was  not
justified in interfering with the well reasoned order passed by the  Central
Administrative Tribunal.
19.   Promotion and appointment  of  officers  of  State  Civil  Service  to
Indian Administrative Service are governed by Indian Administrative  Service
(Appointment by Promotion) Regulations, 1955. As per Regulation 5(4) of  the
Indian Administrative Service (Appointment by Promotion)  Regulations,  1955
it is mandatory for the Selection Committee  to  make  an  overall  relative
assessment of  ‘service  records’  of  the  eligible  candidates.  The  said
Regulation reads as follows:


           “Regulation 5(4) - The Selection Committee  shall  classify  the
           eligible  officers  as  ‘Outstanding’,  ‘Very  Good,  ‘Good’  or
           ‘Unfit’, as the case may be, on an overall  relative  assessment
           of their Service records.”


20.    Under Regulation 5(5), the list shall be prepared first from  amongst
the officers finally classified  as  ‘Outstanding’  and  then  from  amongst
those similarly classified as ‘Very Good’ and so  on.  The  said  regulation
reads as follows:


           “Regulation 5(5) – The list shall be prepared by  including  the
           required number  of  names,  first  from  amongst  the  officers
           finally classified as  ‘Outstanding’  then  from  amongst  those
           similarly classified as ‘Very Good’ and thereafter from  amongst
           those similarly classified as ‘Good’  and  the  order  of  names
           inter-se within each category shall be in  the  order  of  their
           seniority in the State Civil Service.


            Provided that the name of any officer so included in the  list,
           shall be  treated  as  provisional,  if  the  State  Government,
           withholds the  integrity  certificate  in  respect  of  such  an
           officer  or  any  proceedings,  departmental  or  criminal,  are
           pending against  him  or  anything  adverse  against  him  which
           renders him unsuitable for appointment to the service  has  come
           to the notice of the State Government.


            Provided further that while preparing  year-wise  select  lists
           for more than one year pursuant to the second  proviso  to  sub-
           regulation (1),  the officer  included  provisionally  in  any
           of  the  select  list  so  prepared,  shall  be  considered  for
           inclusion in the select list of subsequent year in  addition  to
           the normal consideration zone and in case he is  found  fit  for
           inclusion in the suitability list for that year on a provisional
           basis, such inclusion shall be in addition to the normal size of
           the select list determined by the Central  Government  for  such
           year.”




      As per first proviso to Regulation 5(5) the name of  such  officer  so
included in the  Select  List  against  whom  departmental  proceedings  are
pending or anything  adverse  as  has  come  to  the  notice  of  the  State
Government which renders him unsuitable for appointment to  the  service  is
provisional.
21.   Regulation 6 relates to  consultation  with  UPSC.  As  per  the  said
Regulation the list prepared in accordance with Regulation 5 is required  to
be forwarded to the UPSC by the State Government along with records  of  all
members of the State Civil Service included in the list.
22.   From the stand taken by the respondents, it is clear  that  the  State
Government did not send all the service records of  eligible  candidates  to
UPSC for consideration. Particularly, the relevant service  records  of  1st
respondent, for the  preceding  five  years  prior  to  selection  were  not
forwarded on the ground that they are not valid.
23.   The minutes of the meeting  of  the  Selection  Committee  dated  27th
December, 2011 as recorded at paragraph  5.3  and  5.4  of  the  proceedings
suggests that the service records of all the officers upto  the  year  2008-
2009 were considered and on that basis the 1st  respondent  was  recommended
for promotion. But this is far from truth as apparent  from  paragraph  5.3,
5.4 and 5.5 of the proceedings as quoted hereunder:
            “5.3.      The Committee examined the  service  records  of  the
            officers whose names  are  included  in  the  Annexure  and  who
            fulfilled the conditions of eligibility  for  promotion  to  the
            IAS. The Committee took  into  consideration  the  ACRs  of  the
            officers (certified as valid by the State Government vide letter
            dated 07.12.2011) upto the year 2008-09. On an overall  relative
            assessment of their service records, the Committee assessed them
            as  indicated  against  their  names  in  the  Annexure.   While
            assessing their suitability, the Committee  did  not  take  into
            consideration any adverse remarks in the ACRs  of  the  officers
            which were not communicated to them.


            5.4  The Committee examined the records of  the  officers  whose
            names  are  included  in  Annexure-I  and  who   fulfilled   the
            conditions of eligibility, up to the year 2008-09. On an overall
            relative assessment of  their  service  records,  the  Committee
            assessed them as indicated against their  names  in  Annexure-I.
            while assessing their suitability, the Committee  did  not  take
            into consideration any  adverse  remarks  in  the  ACRs  of  the
            officers which were not communicated to them.


            5.5  On  the  basis  of  the  above  assessment,  the  Committee
            selected  the  officers  whose  names  are  mentioned  below  as
            suitable for promotion to the Indian Administrative Service  and
            placed them in the following order:-


            |Sl. No.   |Name of the Officer   |Date of Birth  |
|          |(Smt./Shri)           |               |
|1.        |P. Senthilkumar (SC)  |18.12.1957     |
|2.        |V. Kalaiarasi         |29.03.1969     |
|3.        |G. Govindaraj (SC)    |26.04.1960     |
|4.        |V. Mohanraj (SC)      |22.01.1957     |
|5.*       |R. Nanthagopal        |23.05.1964     |
|6.        |N. Vankatachalam      |29.04.1965     |
|7.        |C. Manoharan (SC)     |15.12.1955     |


              *The  names  at  S.No.5  has  been  included  in   the   list
              provisionally  subject  to  clearance  in  the   disciplinary
              proceedings  pending  against  him  and  grant  of  integrity
              certificate by the State Government.”


      The name of the 1st respondent was included provisionally  subject  to
clearance in the disciplinary proceedings pending against him and  grant  of
integrity certificate by the State Government.
24.   The appellant had challenged the action of State Government  declaring
an ACR invalid in absence of any valid  reason.  According  to  the  learned
counsel for the appellant, merely because an ACR  has  been  written  beyond
the period of 9 months, it cannot be  held  to  be  invalid  in  absence  of
limitation prescribed under any rule or guideline.
25.   On behalf  of  the  State  Government  reliance  has  been  placed  on
Government  Order  dated  4th  April,   2007   issued   by   Personnel   and
Administrative  Reforms  (K)  Department  of  State  of  Tamil   Nadu.   The
Government  issued  guidelines  with  respect  to  writing  of  the   Annual
Confidential Report by the said Government Order. The  relevant  portion  of
the said order reads as follows:

           “6.The Government have examined the above issue  afresh  and  in
           supersession of all  the  existing  instructions  the  following
           fresh  instructions  are  issued  in  respect  of   writing   of
           confidential reports by the Reporting Officers whenever they are
           demitting office either on transfer or for other reasons in  the
           middle of  the  year.  The  following  instructions  are  to  be
           followed scrupulously.


                 “Whenever the Reporting Officers are to relinquish  charge
           on  transfer  or  for  other  reasons,  they  should  write  the
           confidential reports in respect of all his subordinate  officers
           and  the  handling  over  charge  report  should   accompany   a
           certificate to his higher officer that he had completely written
           the  confidential  reports  on  all  his  subordinate  officers.
           However, it it is not possible to adhere to the above procedure,
           due to administrative reasons, he may take a reasonable time  to
           write confidential  reports  but  this  time  limit  should  not
           ordinarily exceed  90  days  from  the  date  of  his  demitting
           office.”




26.   In the guidelines issued by the State Government, there is nothing  to
declare any Annual Confidential  Report  invalid.  The  period  of  90  days
prescribed therein is not mandatory but directory. The  90  days  period  is
also to be counted from the date of demitting  office  by  the  officer  who
writes the A.C.R.
27.   In view of the discussion above, we hold that in terms  of  Regulation
5(4)  of  the  Indian  Administrative  Service  (Appointment  by  Promotion)
Regulations,  1955  it  was  incumbent  upon  State  Government  to  forward
complete service records of all the eligible candidates  including  the  1st
respondent to the UPSC for considering them  for  promotion  to  IAS  cadre.
Withholding of ACRs of the year 2003-2009 of the 1st respondent on  a  wrong
presumption that they were invalid, is illegal and fatal in the case of  1st
respondent towards his appointment to  the  post  of  Indian  Administrative
Service. The aforesaid fact though came to the  notice  of  the  UPSC  which
sought  clarification  from  the  Government  of  Tamil  Nadu,   the   State
Government misled the UPSC which resulted in  wrong  assessment  of  service
records of  1st  respondent  in  violation  of  Regulation  5(4)  read  with
Regulation  6  of  the  Indian  Administrative   Service   (Appointment   by
Promotion) Regulations, 1955.
28.   The  Central  Administrative  Tribunal  by  its  judgment  dated  18th
February, 2013 rightly held that the Selection Committee has not taken  into
account all relevant facts and records to come to a conclusion that the  1st
respondent is superior to appellant.
29.   The Central Administrative  Tribunal  also  considered  the  issue  of
departmental proceedings pending  against  the  1st  respondent  under  Rule
17(b) of the Tamil Nadu Service (Discipline and Appeal) Rules,  was  noticed
by the Selection Committee as apparent from recommendation of  the  name  of
1st respondent with a star mark shown against the same with a note  that  in
view of the pendency of the departmental proceedings inclusion of  the  name
of 1st respondent was provisional.  In  the  said  departmental  proceedings
Enquiry Officer after going through the evidence and reply submitted by  the
1st respondent  held  that  the  charge  No.2  is  proved  against  the  1st
respondent. In spite of the same, the State Government dropped the  charges.

30.   The Tribunal noticed that the State  Government  dropped  the  charges
against the 1st respondent without giving detailed reasons for such  action.
Considering the same the Tribunal held that the State Government  failed  to
furnish the valid reasons for dropping charges and for  subsequent  issuance
of integrity certificate to the 1st respondent.  For  the  said  reason  the
Tribunal held that the action on the part of the State is a  case  of  hasty
decision.
31.   The High Court failed to appreciate the guidelines  dated  4th  April,
2007  issued by the State Government with regard  to  the  ACR  and  wrongly
accepted the stand of the respondents that  invalid  ACRs  were  not  to  be
considered. The High Court also exceeded its jurisdiction in discussing  the
charges framed against the 1st respondent and in justifying the grounds  for
dropping the charges, though it was not disclosed by the State Government.
32.   For the reasons aforesaid, we set  aside  the  impugned  judgment  and
order dated 8th July, 2013  passed  by  the  High  Court  in  Writ  Petition
No.5508 of 2013, upheld the  order  passed  by  the  Central  Administrative
Tribunal dated 18th February, 2013 with direction to  the  respondent(s)  to
reconsider the name of the appellant viz-a-viz 1st respondent for  promotion
to the post of Indian Administrative Service against the vacancies  for  the
year 2009A. If necessary, a fresh Selection Committee or a Review  Committee
shall be constituted and reconvened. The process of selection  be  completed
within three months. The order passed by the  Tribunal  stands  modified  to
the extent above.

33.   The appeal is allowed with the aforesaid observations and  directions.
No costs.
                                               ………………………………………………………………………J.
                                       (SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA)



                                                ……………………………………………………………………J.
                                            (V. GOPALA GOWDA)

NEW DELHI,
JULY 21, 2014.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Section 20-A of TADA -Mandatory - whether the power of approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be exercised by either the Government or the Additional Police Commissioner, Surat in the instant case. - Apex court held that A careful reading of the section leaves no manner of doubt that the provision starts with a non obstante clause and is couched in negative phraseology. It forbids recording of information about the commission of offences under TADA by the Police without the prior approval of the District Superintendent of Police. The question is whether the power of approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be exercised by either the Government or the Additional Police Commissioner, Surat in the instant case. Our answer to that question is in the negative. The reasons are not far to seek. We say so firstly because the statute vests the grant approval in an authority specifically designated for the purpose. That being so, no one except the authority so designated, can exercise that power. Permitting exercise of the power by any other authority whether superior or inferior to the authority designated by the Statute will have the effect of re-writing the provision and defeating the legislature purpose behind the same - a course that is legally impermissible - Acquitted all accused as there was no evidence under penal laws apart from TADA = CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 92 OF 2009 Hussein Ghadially @ M.H.G.A Shaikh & Ors. …Appellants Versus State of Gujarat …Respondent = 2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41775

Section  20-A  of  TADA - Mandatory - whether  the  power  of approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be  exercised by either the Government or the Additional  Police  Commissioner,  Surat  in the instant case. - Apex court held that A careful reading of the section leaves no  manner  of  doubt  that  the provision starts with a non obstante  clause  and  is  couched  in  negative phraseology. It forbids recording of information  about  the  commission  of offences under TADA  by  the  Police  without  the  prior  approval  of  the District Superintendent of Police.  The question is  whether  the  power  of approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be  exercised by either the Government or the Additional  Police  Commissioner,  Surat  in the instant case.  Our answer to that question  is  in  the  negative.   The reasons are not far to seek.  We say so firstly because  the  statute  vests the grant approval in an authority specifically designated for the  purpose. That being so, no one except the  authority  so  designated,  can  exercise that power.  Permitting  exercise  of  the  power  by  any  other  authority whether superior or inferior to the  authority  designated  by  the  Statute will  have  the  effect  of  re-writing  the  provision  and  defeating  the legislature  purpose  behind  the  same  -   a  course   that   is   legally impermissible - Acquitted all accused as there was no evidence under penal laws apart from TADA  = 

       In Criminal (TADA) case No.59 of 1995 and 2 of  2000  arising  out  of
C.R. No.32 of 1993 the Designated Court has similarly convicted some of  the
accused persons who are (appellants before us in Criminal Appeals No.110  of
2009 and 659 of 2009). =

The State has also assailed in the appeals  filed  by
it the judgment of the Trial Court and sought enhancement  of  the  sentence
awarded to those convicted by it in Criminal Appeals No.303-304 of 2009.=

It was contended that the conviction and sentence of  the  appellants
ought to be set aside not only because the provision of Section 20-A (1)  is
mandatory but also because the power to  grant  approval  for  recording  of
information about the commission of  an  offence  under  the  Act  could  be
exercised only by the  authority  concerned  under  such  provision  and  by
nobody else.
The  designated  authority  could  not,  contended  Mr.  Kumar
abdicate the exercise of power in favour of any other authority,  no  matter
such other authority was higher in rank to  the  designated  authority.
 It was also contended that if the law prescribes  a  particular  procedure  for
doing a particular thing then any such thing  could  be  done  only  in  the
manner prescribed or not at all.
Inasmuch as the  procedure  prescribed  by
law which  required  the  approval  of  the  competent  authority  to  grant
approval for recording the information had not been followed, the trial  and
conviction of the appellants in breach of a mandatory provision was  legally
unsustainable.

Apex court held that

whether these approvals  can  be  said
to be sufficient compliance with the provisions  of  Section  20-A  of  TADA
that reads as under:-

“20-A  Cognizance of offence.

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code,  no  information  about  the
commission of an offence under this Act shall  be  recorded  by  the  police
without the prior approval of the District Superintendent of Police.

No court shall take cognizance of any offence under  this  Act  without  the
previous sanction of the Inspector-General of Police, or  as  the  case  may
be, the Commissioner of Police.”



17.   A careful reading of the above leaves no  manner  of  doubt  that  the
provision starts with a non obstante  clause  and  is  couched  in  negative
phraseology. It forbids recording of information  about  the  commission  of
offences under TADA  by  the  Police  without  the  prior  approval  of  the
District Superintendent of Police.  The question is  whether  the  power  of
approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be  exercised
by either the Government or the Additional  Police  Commissioner,  Surat  in
the instant case.  Our answer to that question  is  in  the  negative.   The
reasons are not far to seek.  We say so firstly because  the  statute  vests
the grant approval in an authority specifically designated for the  purpose.
 That being so, no one except the  authority  so  designated,  can  exercise
that power.  Permitting  exercise  of  the  power  by  any  other  authority
whether superior or inferior to the  authority  designated  by  the  Statute
will  have  the  effect  of  re-writing  the  provision  and  defeating  the
legislature  purpose  behind  the  same  -   a  course   that   is   legally
impermissible

2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41775

T.S. THAKUR, C. NAGAPPAN
                                                           REPORTABLE

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 92 OF 2009

Hussein Ghadially @ M.H.G.A
Shaikh & Ors.                                      …Appellants

Versus

State of Gujarat                             …Respondent

                                    With

Criminal Appeals No.110 of 2009, 303-304 of 2009, 305 of  2009,  432-433  of
2009, 658-659 of 2009



                               J U D G M E N T

T.S. THAKUR, J.

1.    Common questions of law  arise  for  consideration  in  these  appeals
which were heard together and shall stand disposed of by this common  order.
The appeals arise out of two separate judgments delivered by the  Designated
Court at Surat both dated 4th October, 2008  whereby  the  Designated  Court
has while acquitting some of the accused  persons  convicted  the  rest  and
sentenced them to imprisonment for different periods ranging between  10  to
20 years. In Criminal (TADA) case No.41 of 1995 disposed  of  with  Criminal
(TADA) case No.1 of 2000 arising out of  C.R.  No.70  of  1993  relevant  to
Criminal Appeals No.92 of 2009 and 658 of 2009,  the  Designated  Court  has
convicted the appellants in those  appeals  while  respondents  in  Criminal
Appeal No.305 of 2009 filed by the State of Gujarat against  the  very  same
judgment have been acquitted. In Criminal  Appeals  No.432-33  of  2009  the
State has sought enhancement of the sentence awarded to those  convicted  by
the Trial Court.

2.    In Criminal (TADA) case No.59 of 1995 and 2 of  2000  arising  out  of
C.R. No.32 of 1993 the Designated Court has similarly convicted some of  the
accused persons who are (appellants before us in Criminal Appeals No.110  of
2009 and 659 of 2009). The State has also assailed in the appeals  filed  by
it the judgment of the Trial Court and sought enhancement  of  the  sentence
awarded to those convicted by it in Criminal Appeals No.303-304 of 2009.

3.    The facts giving rise to the registration of I.C.Rs. No.32 and  70  of
1993 at Varccha and Surat Railway Police Stations in the  State  of  Gujarat
respectively leading to the  arrest  of  those  accused  of  committing  the
offences and their eventual conviction by the Trial Court have been set  out
at great length by the said Court below in  the  two  judgments  and  orders
impugned before us. We need not, therefore, recapitulate the entire  factual
backdrop in which the appellants were  tried,  found  guilty  and  sentenced
except to the extent it is absolutely necessary to do so. Suffice it to  say
that the two blasts one at Mini Hira Bazar,  Varccha  Road,  Surat  and  the
other at Platform 1, Surat Railway Station took place on 28th January,  1993
and 22nd April, 1993 respectively. In the incident that took place  at  Mini
Hira Bazar, Varccha Road, one minor girl barely 8 years old  lost  her  life
while as many as 11 others were injured.  The second incident at  the  Surat
Railway Station relevant to ICR No.70 of 1993 left as  many  as  38  persons
injured, some of them grievously. The prosecution case is that  the  genesis
of the two incidents mentioned above lay in  the  demolition  of  the  Babri
Masjid on 6th December, 1992  at  Ayodhaya  which  had  led  to  wide-spread
communal riots in several parts of the  country.   These  riots  took  place
even in the city of Surat causing damage to life and property to the  Muslim
community. With a view to giving relief to those affected by  such  riots  a
Relief Camp at Ranitalao area in the city of Surat was set up mainly by  the
accused  persons  including  Hussein  Ghadially,  Iqbal  Wadiwala,  Mohammad
Surti, Hanif Tiger and others. A makeshift office  adjacent  to  the  relief
camp provided to the accused persons space to hold their meetings.

4.    The prosecution alleges that on account of riots and  damage  suffered
by the Muslims, the accused persons nurtured a feeling that  the  Government
and  the  police  will  not  be  able  to  protect  their   community.   The
prosecution’s further case is that in order to protect the  members  of  the
Muslim community and also to retaliate against the  majority  community  the
accused persons initially decided to collect firearms, swords, spears,  iron
rods, country made bombs and gelatin bombs etc. and to distribute  the  same
to those who had converged in the  relief  camp.  It  was  also  decided  to
import firearms, bombs etc.  from  Abdul  Latif,  a  notorious  gangster  of
Ahmedabad who was known to accused No.1 Hussain Ghadially. Abdul  Latif  was
then in Dubai but later arrested and produced before the  Designated  Court.
He was killed in a police encounter during the trial.

5.    According to prosecution  appellant-Hussein  Ghadially  and  his  wife
alongwith Iqbal Wadiwala (A-2) went to Ahmedabad in Maruti  Van  No.  GJ  5A
5178 driven by one Bhupat Makwana. In order to  carry  arms  and  ammunition
including AK 47 rifles, cartridges and bomb  etc.  a  concealed  compartment
was created in the Maruti Van that was owned  by  appellant-Iqbal  Wadiwala.
The arms and ammunition supplied by Abdul Latif (since deceased)  were  then
placed in the secret chamber of the vehicle and transported  to  Surat.  The
prosecution alleges that the arms and ammunition to be  used  were  kept  at
different places for use to wreak vengeance against the majority  community.
The blasts that took place  on  28th  January,  1993  at  Mini  Hira  Bazar,
Varccha Road, Surat and at Surat Railway Station on 22nd April,  1993  were,
according to the prosecution, the culmination of the conspiracy  hatched  by
the  accused  and  the  efforts  made  by  them   including   their   active
participation in the sordid sequence leading  up  to  grievous  injuries  to
several persons including the killing of an innocent child.

6.    The prosecution further alleges that investigation into the  crime  by
the Surat Railway Police did not  lead  to  the  apprehension  of  the  real
culprits. This forced the  Director  General  of  Police  of  the  State  of
Gujarat to constitute an Action Group for  inquiry  and  investigation  into
the crime. In the course of investigation by the Action Group,  one  Mushtaq
Patel was apprehended  on  12th  March,  1995  in  connection  with  a  case
registered in Umra Police Station under the Arms  Act.   In  the  course  of
interrogation the said Mushtaq Patel revealed information  relating  to  the
bomb blast at Platform No.1 at Surat Railway Station.  This gave the  Action
Group a break that led to a series of arrest of persons responsible for  the
blasts and recovery of arms and ammunition comprising as many as  6  foreign
grenades, 2 AK 47 rifles and 199 live  cartridges.  The  arrest  of  accused
persons and the seizure of arms and ammunition in turn led to invocation  of
provisions of Terrorists  and  Disruptive  Activities  (Prevention)  Act  by
orders passed by the Additional Commissioner of Police,  G  Division,  Surat
city and/or by the State Government.

7.     Confessional  statements  of  the  accused  persons  were  after  the
application of the provisions of the said Act  recorded  by  the  Additional
Commissioner of Police and separate chargesheet in both  FIRs  filed  before
the Designated Court in which accused Yusuf Dadu was  shown  as  absconding.
Yusuf Dadu was subsequently apprehended and a supplementary  chargesheet  in
both the cases filed against him which came to be  numbered  as  TADA  cases
No.1 and 2 of 2000 in relation to the two incidents  aforementioned.  Before
the Designated Court the accused persons pleaded not guilty  and  claimed  a
trial.

8.    At the trial the prosecution examined as  many  as  120  witnesses  in
TADA case No. 41 of 1995 with 1 of 2000 and 105 witnesses in TADA  case  No.
59 of 1995 with 2 of 2000. The accused did not lead any defence.  The  Trial
Court eventually found some of the accused persons guilty while some  others
were acquitted giving them the benefit of doubt.  Those  found  guilty  were
sentenced to imprisonment ranging between 10 to  20  years  details  whereof
may be summarised as under:

|S.  |Appella|Accused|Conviction by    |Maximum    |Conviction by     |Maximum      |
|No. |nt/Accu|-Appeal|Designated Court |Sentence   |Designated Court  |Sentence     |
|    |sed    |No.    |in TADA Case no. |awarded by |in TADA Case no.  |awarded by   |
|    |       |       |41/1995 and      |Designated |59/1995 and 2/2000|Designated   |
|    |       |       |1/2000 arising   |Court in   |arising out of    |Court in TADA|
|    |       |       |out of C.R. No.  |TADA Case  |C.R. No. 32/1993  |Case no.     |
|    |       |       |70/1993          |no. 41/1995|(Mini Hira Bazar) |59/1995 and  |
|    |       |       |(Railway Station)|and 1/2000 |                  |2/2000       |
|1   |Husein |92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |Ghadial|2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |ly A1  |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |       |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC,  s.     |             |
|    |       |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |3,4,5 of Explosive|             |
|    |       |       |s. 3,4,5 of      |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |       |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A of Arms   |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |Act.              |             |
|    |       |       |and 25(1) A of   |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|2   |Iqbal  |92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |Wadiwal|2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |a A2   |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |       |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3,4,5|             |
|    |       |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |of Explosive      |             |
|    |       |       |s. 3,4,5 of      |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |       |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A of Arms   |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |Act.              |             |
|    |       |       |and 25(1) A of   |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|3   |Mohamma|92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |d Gulam|2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |@      |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |Mohamma|of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3,4,5|             |
|    |d Surti|       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |of Explosive      |             |
|    |       |       |s. 3,4,5 of      |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |A3     |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A of Arms   |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |Act.              |             |
|    |       |       |and 25(1) A of   |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|4   |Mustaq |92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |Ibrahim|2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |Patel  |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |A4     |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3,4,5|             |
|    |       |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |of Explosive      |             |
|    |       |       |s. 3,4,5 of      |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |       |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A & 25(1)AA |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |of Arms Act.      |             |
|    |       |       |and 25(1) A &    |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |25(1)AA of Arms  |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Act.             |           |                  |             |
|5   |Salim  |92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |Chawal/|2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |Manjro |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |A5     |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3,4,5|             |
|    |       |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |of Explosive      |             |
|    |       |       |s. 3(b) of       |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |       |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A &25(1)AA  |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |of Arms Act.      |             |
|    |       |       |and 25 and 27 of |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|6   |Ahzaz  |92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |Ahmed  |2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |Patel  |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |A6     |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3(B) |             |
|    |       |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |of Explosive      |             |
|    |       |       |s. 3(b) of       |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |       |       |Explosive        |           |25 & 27 of Arms   |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |Act.              |             |
|    |       |       |and 25 & 27 of   |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|7   |Aziz   |110 of |Acquitted        |___        |S. 201 R/W 120B   |10 years RI  |
|    |Ibrahim|2009   |A7               |           |IPC               |             |
|    |Patel  |       |                 |           |A8                |             |
|8   |Mehmood|110 of |Acquitted        |___        |s. 3(3) of TADA   |10 years RI  |
|    |@ Baba |2009   |A8               |           |r/w s. 120B IPC,  |             |
|    |Ibrahim|       |                 |           |S. 5 of TADA, s. 5|             |
|    |Master |       |                 |           |of Explosives     |             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |Substances Act,   |             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |25(1)A of Arms Act|             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |A10               |             |
|9   |Fazal  |110 of |Acquitted        |___        |s. 3(3) of TADA   |10 years RI  |
|    |Dawood |2009   |A9               |           |r/w s. 120B IPC,  |             |
|    |Nagori |       |                 |           |S. 5 of TADA, s. 5|             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |of Explosives     |             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |Substances Act,   |             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |25(1)A of Arms Act|             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |A11               |             |
|10  |Saeed  |110 of |Acquitted        |___        |s. 3(3) of TADA   |10 years RI  |
|    |Naadi @|2009   |A10              |           |r/w s. 120B IPC,  |             |
|    |Abdul  |       |                 |           |S. 5 of TADA, s. 5|             |
|    |Saeed  |       |                 |           |of Explosives     |             |
|    |Abdul  |       |                 |           |Substances Act,   |             |
|    |Mazid  |       |                 |           |25(1)A of Arms Act|             |
|    |Navdiwa|       |                 |           |A12               |             |
|    |la     |       |                 |           |                  |             |
|11  |Baba @ |110 of |                 |           |S. 6 of TADA r/w  |10 years RI  |
|    |Abdul  |2009   |                 |           |s. 120B IPC       |             |
|    |Khalik |       |                 |           |A9                |             |
|    |Ali    |       |                 |           |                  |             |
|    |Mohamma|       |                 |           |                  |             |
|    |d      |       |                 |           |                  |             |
|    |Shaikh |       |                 |           |                  |             |
|12  |Yusuf  |658 of |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|LI for 20    |
|    |Dadu @ |2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|years        |
|    |Yusuf @|and 659|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |Yaasin |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3(b) |             |
|    |@      |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |& 5 of Explosive  |             |
|    |Abdulla|       |s. 3(b) & 5 of   |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |Gulam  |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A of Arms   |             |
|    |husen  |       |Substances Act   |           |Act.              |             |
|    |Nalband|       |r/w s. 120B IPC  |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |and 25(1) A of   |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |A11              |           |                  |             |


9.     Appearing  for  the  appellants  Mr.  Sushil  Kumar,  learned  Senior
Counsel, strenuously argued that the trial and conviction of the  appellants
for offences with which they were charged is  vitiated  for  breach  of  the
mandatory provisions of Section 20-A (1) of  The  Terrorist  and  Disruptive
Activities Act (TADA).  That provision it was  contended  required  approval
of the District Superintendent of Police for recording  of  any  information
about the commission of an offence punishable under the said Act.   No  such
approval was, however,  either  sought  from  or  granted  by  the  District
Superintendent  of  police  concerned.   Approval  for  recording   of   the
information was instead obtained from the Additional Chief  Secretary,  Home
Department, Government of Gujarat who had no power to grant the  same  under
the  Act.  So  also  the  purported  approval  from  the  Additional  Police
Commissioner, Surat was of no legal  effect  as  the  power  to  grant  such
approval vested only in the District Superintendent of Police and could  not
be exercised by the Additional Commissioner of Police or anyone  holding  an
equivalent rank. The power to grant  approval  being  a  sina  qua  non  for
recording of any information about the commission of any offence  under  the
Act, absence of such approval was according to Mr. Sushil  Kumar  sufficient
by itself to vitiate  any  trial  that  was  held  in  breach  of  the  said
provision.  Reliance in support of that submission was placed by  Mr.  Kumar
upon several decisions of this Court including one in Aniruddhsinhji  Jadeja
& Anr. v. State of Gujarat (1995) 5 SCC 302  to  which  we  shall  presently
turn.  It was contended that the conviction and sentence of  the  appellants
ought to be set aside not only because the provision of Section 20-A (1)  is
mandatory but also because the power to  grant  approval  for  recording  of
information about the commission of  an  offence  under  the  Act  could  be
exercised only by the  authority  concerned  under  such  provision  and  by
nobody else.  The  designated  authority  could  not,  contended  Mr.  Kumar
abdicate the exercise of power in favour of any other authority,  no  matter
such other authority was higher in rank to  the  designated  authority.   It
was also contended that if the law prescribes  a  particular  procedure  for
doing a particular thing then any such thing  could  be  done  only  in  the
manner prescribed or not at all.  Inasmuch as the  procedure  prescribed  by
law which  required  the  approval  of  the  competent  authority  to  grant
approval for recording the information had not been followed, the trial  and
conviction of the appellants in breach of a mandatory provision was  legally
unsustainable.

10.   Mr. Yashank Adhyaru, learned Counsel for the State of Gujarat, on  the
other hand, contended that there was in the present cases no requirement  of
prior approval for recording information about the  commission  of  offences
under  TADA  inasmuch  as  the  first  information  reports  about  the  two
incidents were registered  on  28th  January,  1993  and  22nd  April,  1993
whereas Section 20-A (1) was inserted in the Act subsequently on  22nd  May,
1993. Alternatively it  was  contended  by  the  learned  counsel  that  the
approvals granted by the Government and the Additional  Police  Commissioner
were valid and  substantially  complied  with  the  requirements  prescribed
under Section 20-A (1).

11.   Before we deal with the contentions urged at the bar we need  to  sail
smooth on the facts relevant to the registration of the two FIRs. The  first
case relevant to the blast  at  Mini  Hira  Bazar,  Varaccha  Road,  led  to
registration of C.R. No.32 of 1993  not  only  for  commission  of  offences
under the IPC and Explosive Substances Act but also under TADA.  Almost  one
year after the registration of the FIR, on 24th  January,  1994  the  Police
Commissioner, Surat instructed Varaccha Police Station to  remove  the  TADA
provision from C.R. No.32 of 1993.  These instructions came in the  wake  of
a decision taken by the TADA Review Committee in its meeting  held  on  24th
January, 1994.  The instructions were carried out and TADA offences  deleted
from the two cases in hand.  Subsequent to the deletion of  TADA  from  C.R.
No.32 of 1993, a request was made by P.C. Pandey Police Commissioner,  Surat
to the Home Department, Government of  Gujarat  for  re-application  of  the
provisions of TADA. The Police Commissioner pointed out that a Russian  made
hand grenade was used in the blast.  Approval  for  re-application  of  TADA
provisions was pursuant to the said request granted by the Additional  Chief
Secretary, Home Department, Government of Gujarat  on  12th  May,  1995  and
intimated to the Additional Commissioner of Police, Surat.   In  his  letter
dated 8th May, 1995, the Police Commissioner,  Surat  City  sought  approval
for reintroduction of TADA provisions in the following words:

“In the offence registered at Varacha Police Station, explosion was done  by
a Russian made grenade which was revealed  when  accused  were  arrested  in
Surat Railway P.St. O. Reg. No.I  60/93.   Hence  it  is  required  that  in
Varacha Police Station I O.Reg. No. 32/93 sections of 302,  307,  324,  326,
120(B) of I.P.C.  and  Sections  3,4,5  of  Explosives  Substances  Act  and
Sections 3 and 5 of Tada Act are required to be added.   Hence  sanction  to
add Sections of Tada may be given.

Yours faithfully,

(P.C.Pande)
Police Commissioner
Surat City”

12.   Approval dated 12-05-1995 granted by the Additional  Chief  Secretary,
Home Department was pursuant  to  the  above  request  communicated  to  the
Police Commissioner, Surat City in the following words:

“To
Police Commissioner
Surat City,
Surat

Subject: Varacha P.St.I.O.Reg.No.32/93 Sanction of Tada

Sir,

This is to inform you with respect  to  above  subject  regarding  your  fax
message No. RB/100/1995  dt.  8.5.95  in  the  case  registered  at  Varacha
P.St.(First) O.Reg. No.32/93:-

Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department has given sanction to apply  the
Sections of Tada.

Yours faithfully,
Sd/- Illegible
(R.B.Thakkar)
Section Officer
Home Department (Special)”



13.   Insofar as the second blast that took place  on  Platform  No.1  Surat
Railway Station on 22nd  April,  1993  is  concerned,  C.R.  No.70  of  1993
registered in connection therewith was not only under the provisions of  the
IPC and the Explosives Substances Act but also under Sections  3  and  7  of
TADA. The TADA provisions were, however, subsequently removed in  this  case
also pursuant to the decision taken by the Government on the  basis  of  the
TADA Review Committee’s recommendations and the deletion  intimated  to  the
competent Court at Surat. On 12th April, 1995,  however,  Additional  Police
Commissioner Range 2, Surat City approved the  re-introduction  of  Sections
3(1), 3 (2), 3(3), 3(4) and 5 of TADA Act to C.R. No.70 of  1993  registered
in connection with the said blast. The addition was accordingly made by  the
investigating officer and intimated to the designated Judge appointed  under
the TADA.  This is evident from  the  following  passage  appearing  in  the
letter dated 13th April, 1995 addressed by the investigating officer to  the
designated Court:

“ K.C. Parmar, P.S.I. of Action Group hereby reports that:-

Section 3(1)(2)(3)(4) and Section 5 of TADA Act have  been  added  in  Surat
Railway P.St. O.Reg. No. I 70/93 u/sec 307, 326, 324, 427, 120B of  IPC  and
U/sec 3,5,7 of Explosive Substances Act.  According to  the  new  provisions
of TADA Act, sanction of Additional Police Commissioner Range-2  Surat  City
has been obtained which is enclosed herewith the case papers.

Hence this is to inform you that Sections 3(1)(2)(3)(4)  and  Section  5  of
TADA Act have been added in this offence which please note.

                Date: 14.4.95                            Sd/ - Illegible
                                                                (K.C.Parmar)
                                                               P.S.Inspector
                                                   Action Group, Surat City”


14.   What is interesting is that even after  the  provisions  of  TADA  had
already  been  introduced  with  the  approval  of  the  Additional   Police
Commissioner, Range 2, Surat City,  the  Government  appears  to  have  been
approached for grant of approval for introduction of the TADA in C.R.  No.70
of 1993 which approval was granted by the Additional Chief  Secretary,  Home
Department and conveyed to the designated  court  by  the  Assistant  Police
Commissioner, G Division, Surat City in terms of his letter dated 12th  May,
1995. The relevant portion  of  the  letter  conveys  the  Additional  Chief
Secretary, Home Department’s approval for  introduction  of  the  TADA.   It
reads as under:

“K.K. Chudasma (I.O) Assistant Police Commissioner Surat City  “G”  Division
reports that:-

Sanction of Additional Chief Secretary Home  Department  has  been  received
vide Fax Message No./ V2/ATK/2893/2768 Home Department, Block  No.2,  Sardar
Bhavan, Sachivalaya, Gandhinagar dt. 15.4.95  has  been  received  with  the
signature of Section Officer Home Department (Special)  for  application  of
Sections of TADA Act in Surat Railway  Police  Station  I.O.  Reg.  No.70/93
registered u/sec 307, 326, 324, 427, 120(B) of IPC and u/sec.  3,  4,  5  of
Explosive Substances Act.  Sanction letter Fax  message  is  enclosed  along
with the case papers which please note.

Date:12.5.95                      Sd/Illegible

Received Copy                     (K.K. Chaudasma)

Sd/- Illegible               Assistant Police Commissioner

Jr. Clerk                    G. Division, Surat City”



15.   It is in the light of the above evident  that  in  C.R.No.32  of  1993
approval for recording  of  information  regarding  commission  of  offences
under the TADA came directly from the Home Department of the  Government  of
Gujarat.  In C.R. No.70 of 1993 relating  to  the  second  blast  that  took
place at Surat Railway Station, the  State  Government  and  the  Additional
Police Commissioner, Surat city approved the application of  the  provisions
of TADA.

16.   What falls for determination is whether these approvals  can  be  said
to be sufficient compliance with the provisions  of  Section  20-A  of  TADA
that reads as under:-

“20-A  Cognizance of offence.

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code,  no  information  about  the
commission of an offence under this Act shall  be  recorded  by  the  police
without the prior approval of the District Superintendent of Police.

No court shall take cognizance of any offence under  this  Act  without  the
previous sanction of the Inspector-General of Police, or  as  the  case  may
be, the Commissioner of Police.”



17.   A careful reading of the above leaves no  manner  of  doubt  that  the
provision starts with a non obstante  clause  and  is  couched  in  negative
phraseology. It forbids recording of information  about  the  commission  of
offences under TADA  by  the  Police  without  the  prior  approval  of  the
District Superintendent of Police.  The question is  whether  the  power  of
approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be  exercised
by either the Government or the Additional  Police  Commissioner,  Surat  in
the instant case.  Our answer to that question  is  in  the  negative.   The
reasons are not far to seek.  We say so firstly because  the  statute  vests
the grant approval in an authority specifically designated for the  purpose.
 That being so, no one except the  authority  so  designated,  can  exercise
that power.  Permitting  exercise  of  the  power  by  any  other  authority
whether superior or inferior to the  authority  designated  by  the  Statute
will  have  the  effect  of  re-writing  the  provision  and  defeating  the
legislature  purpose  behind  the  same  -   a  course   that   is   legally
impermissible. In Joint Action Committee of Air Line Pilots’ Association  of
India (ALPAI) and Ors. V.  Director  General  of  Civil  Aviation  and  Ors.
(2011) 5 SCC 435, this Court declared  that  even  senior  officials  cannot
provide any guidelines or direction to the authority under  the  statute  to
act in a particular manner.

18.   Secondly, because  exercise  of  the  power  vested  in  the  District
Superintendent of Police under Section 20-A (1)  would  involve  application
of mind by the officer concerned to the material placed before  him  on  the
basis whereof,  alone  a  decision  whether  or  not  information  regarding
commission of an offence  under  TADA  should  be  recorded  can  be  taken.
Exercise of the power granting or refusing approval under Section  20-A  (1)
in its very nature casts a duty upon the officer concerned to  evaluate  the
information and determine  having  regard  to  all  attendant  circumstances
whether or not a case for invoking the  provisions  of  TADA  is  made  out.
Exercise of that power by anyone other than the  designated  authority  viz.
the District Superintendent of Police would amount to such  other  authority
clutching at the jurisdiction of the  designated  officer,  no  matter  such
officer or authority purporting to exercise that power is superior  in  rank
and position to the officer authorised by law to take the decision.

19.   Thirdly, because if the Statute provides for a thing to be done  in  a
particular manner, then it must be done in  that  manner  alone.  All  other
modes  or  methods  of  doing  that  thing  must  be  deemed  to  have  been
prohibited. That proposition of law first was stated  in  Taylor  v.  Taylor
(1876) 1 Ch. D426 and adopted later  by  the  Judicial  Committee  in  Nazir
Ahmed v. King Emperor AIR 1936 PC 253 and by  this  Court  in  a  series  of
judgments including those in Rao Shiv Bahadur  Singh  &  Anr.  v.  State  of
Vindhya Pradesh AIR 1954 SC 322, State of Uttar Pradesh  v.  Singhara  Singh
and Ors. AIR 1964 SC 358, Chandra Kishore Jha v. Mahavir Prasad & Ors.  1999
(8) SC 266, Dhananjaya Reddy v. State  of  Karnataka  2001  (4)  SCC  9  and
Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. V. Essar Power Ltld. 2008  (4)  SCC  755.  The
principle stated in the above decisions applies to the  cases  at  hand  not
because there is any specific procedure that is prescribed  by  the  Statute
for grant of approval but because  if  the  approval  could  be  granted  by
anyone in the police hierarchy the provision specifying  the  authority  for
grant of such approval might as well not have been enacted.

20.   In Anirudhsinhji & Anr. v.  State of Gujarat (1995) 5 SCC  302  relied
upon by Mr. Sushil Kumar, this Court  was  dealing  with  a  fact  situation
where a case was registered initially under  the  Arms  Act.   The  District
Superintendent of Police  had  instead  of  giving  approval  for  recording
information himself made a report to the Additional Chief  Secretary  asking
for permission to proceed under  TADA.   The  Deputy  Director  General  and
Additional Director General of Police also sent fax messages  to  the  Chief
Secretary requesting him to grant permission to proceed under TADA.  It  was
on that basis that the Additional  Chief  Secretary,  Home  Department  gave
sanction/consent to proceed under the provisions of TADA. The question  that
fell for consideration before this Court was whether Section  20-A  (1)  was
violated and, if so, whether the prosecution of the  accused  in  that  case
was legally valid. Repelling the contention  that  the  approval  was  valid
this Court observed:


“11. The case against the appellants originally was registered on  19-3-1995
under the Arms Act. The DSP did not give any prior approval on  his  own  to
record any information about the commission of an  offence  under  TADA.  On
the contrary, he made a report to the Additional Chief Secretary  and  asked
for permission to proceed under TADA. Why? Was it because he  was  reluctant
to exercise jurisdiction vested in him by the provision of Section  20-A(1)?
This is a case of power conferred upon one authority being really  exercised
by another. If a statutory authority has been vested with  jurisdiction,  he
has to exercise it according to its own discretion.  If  the  discretion  is
exercised under the direction or in compliance with some higher  authority’s
instruction, then it will be  a  case  of  failure  to  exercise  discretion
altogether. In other words, the discretion vested in the DSP  in  this  case
by Section 20-A(1) was not exercised by the DSP at all.”



21.   This Court relied upon the  decision  in  Commissioner  of  Police  v.
Gordhandas Bhanji AIR 1952 SC 16 where the Commissioner  of  Police  had  at
the behest of the State Government  cancelled  the  permission  granted  for
construction of a cinema  in  Greater  Bombay.   The  order  passed  by  the
Commissioner was quashed on the ground that the  authorities  concerned  had
vested the power to cancel in  the  Commissioner  alone  who  was  bound  to
exercise the  same  himself  and  bring  to  bear  on  the  matter  his  own
independent and unfettered judgment instead of acting at  the  instance  of,
any other party.  This  Court  borrowed  support  for  that  view  from  the
following passage by Wade and Forsyth in ‘Administrative Law’,  7th  Edition
Page Nos.358-359 under the heading ‘SURRENDER ABDICTION, DICTATION’ and sub-
heading ‘power in the wrong hands’:

“Closely akin to delegation, and scarcely distinguishable from  it  in  some
cases, is any arrangement by which a power conferred upon one  authority  is
in substance exercised by another.   The  proper  authority  may  share  its
power with some one else, or may allow some one else to  dictate  to  it  by
declining to act without their consent or by submitting to their  wishes  or
instructions.   The  effect  then  is  that  the  discretion  conferred   by
Parliament is exercised, at least in part, by the wrong authority,  and  the
resulting decision is ultra vires and void.  So strict  are  the  courts  in
applying this principle that they condemn some  administrative  arrangements
which must seem quite natural and proper to those who make them....

Ministers and their departments have several times fallen foul of  the  same
rule, no doubt equally to their surprise...”



22.     Anirudhsinhji (supra) was followed in Manohar Lall  (dead)  by  Lrs.
V. Ugrasen (dead) by Lrs. and Ors.  (2010) 11 SCC  557  where  the  question
that fell for consideration was whether  the  State  Government,  exercising
revisional power under U.P. Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973,  could
take up the task of a lower  statutory  authority.  Relying  upon  the  view
taken in Anirudhsinhji case (supra) this Court observed:

“23. Therefore, the law on the question can  be  summarised  to  the  effect
that no higher authority in the hierarchy  or  an  appellate  or  revisional
authority can exercise the power of the  statutory  authority  nor  can  the
superior authority mortgage its wisdom and direct  the  statutory  authority
to act in a particular manner. If  the  appellate  or  revisional  authority
takes upon itself the task of the statutory authority and passes  an  order,
it remains unenforceable for the reason that it cannot be termed  to  be  an
order passed under the Act.”


23.   That Section 20-A (1) is mandatory  is  also  no  longer  res  integra
having been settled by this Court in Rangku Dutta @ Ranjan  Kumar  Dutta  v.
State of Assam (2011) 6 SCC 358. This Court in that  case  held  that  since
the provision was couched in  negative  terms,  the  same  is  mandatory  in
nature no matter the statute does not provide any penalty for  disobedience.
 This Court observed:

“18. It is obvious that Section 20-A(1) is a mandatory requirement  of  law.
First, it starts with an overriding clause  and,  thereafter,  to  emphasise
its mandatory nature, it uses  the  expression  “No”  after  the  overriding
clause. Whenever the intent of a statute is mandatory, it is clothed with  a
negative command. Reference in this connection can be made to  G.P.  Singh’s
Principles of Statutory Interpretation, 12th Edn.”


24.   Relying upon Ahmad Umar Saeed Sheikh v. State of U.P.  (1996)  11  SCC
61, this Court has in Ashrafkhan @ Babu Munnekhan Pathan and Anr.  v.  State
of Maharashtra (2012) 11 SCC 606 not only held that the  approval  given  by
the Chief Secretary (Home Department) of the  State  Government  was  not  a
sufficient compliance with Section 20-A (1) but  also  that  the  difficulty
arising out of it was not curable under Section 465 of the Code. This  Court
observed:

“34. ……… Section 465 of the Code, which falls in Chapter  35,  covers  cases
triable by a Court of Session also. Hence, the prosecution can take  shelter
behind Section 465 of the Code. But Section 465 of the Code shall not  be  a
panacea for all error, omission or irregularity.  Omission  to  grant  prior
approval for registration of the case under TADA by  the  Superintendent  of
Police is not the kind of omission which is covered  under  Section  465  of
the Code. It is a defect which goes to the root of the matter and it is  not
one of the curable defects.”


25.   This Court also rejected the argument that grant of sanction in  terms
of Section 20-A(2) of the Act rendered the infirmity in the  approval  under
Section 20-A(1) inconsequential. This Court held  that  the  two  provisions
operate in different and distinct stages  and  that  both  the  requirements
have to be  complied  with  for  a  successful  prosecution.  The  following
passage is in this regard apposite:


“37. ……. Both operate in different and distinct stages and,  therefore,  for
successful prosecution both the requirements have to be  complied  with.  We
have not come across any principle nor are we inclined to lay down  that  in
a case in  which  different  safeguards  have  been  provided  at  different
stages, the adherence to the last  safeguard  would  only  be  relevant  and
breach of other safeguards shall have no bearing on  the  trial.  Therefore,
we reject the contention of the State that the accused cannot  assail  their
conviction on the ground of absence of approval  under  Section  20-A(1)  of
TADA by the  Deputy  Commissioner,  when  the  Commissioner  of  Police  had
granted sanction under Section 20-A(2) of TADA.”


26.   In two subsequent decisions rendered by this Court in Mohd.  Iqbal  M.
Shaikh & Ors. v. The State of Maharashtra (1998) 4 SCC 494 and Manjit  Singh
@ Mange CBI, through its SP: (2011) 11 SCC 578 a slightly liberal  view  has
been taken but having regard to the fact that Anirudhsinhji’s  case  (supra)
was decided by a three-Judge  Bench  of  this  Court,  we  do  not  see  any
compelling reason to depart from the ratio of that decision especially  when
the view taken in that decision proceeds on sound  and  well  settled  legal
principles to which we have briefly adverted in the  earlier  part  of  this
judgment.

27.    The  upshot  of  the  above  discussion,  therefore,  is   that   the
requirement of a mandatory statutory provision  having  been  violated,  the
trial and conviction of the petitioners for offences under the TADA must  be
held to have been vitiated on that account.  The  argument  that  the  first
information report regarding the two incidents had  been  registered  before
the introduction of Section 20-A (1) in the statute book making approval  of
the competent authority unnecessary has not impressed us. It  is  true  that
the two incidents had taken place and cases registered  regarding  the  same
under TADA before Section 20-A (1) came on the statute book,  but  the  fact
remains that the provisions of TADA were removed from the  reports  pursuant
to the recommendations of the Review Committee. By the time  fresh  evidence
came to light  requiring  re-introduction  of  the  provisions  of  the  Act
approval for recording information regarding commission  of  offences  under
TADA, had become necessary. The  fact  that  such  approval  was  considered
necessary even by the investigating agency and was prayed  for,  only  shows
that  the  authorities  were  aware  of  the  requirement  of  law  and  had
consciously attempted to comply with  the  said  requirement  no  matter  by
applying for such approval to an authority not competent to grant the same.

28.   Mr. Yashank Adhyaru next argued that even if the  provisions  of  TADA
were not available  against  the  appellants  the  prosecution  could  still
succeed in sustaining the conviction of the appellants  under  IPC  and  the
Explosive Substances Act.  That  would  indeed  be  so,  provided  there  is
enough evidence on record to support that course  of  action.   When  called
upon to show evidence  that  could  warrant  conviction  of  the  appellants
independent of provisions of TADA and the  confessional  statements  of  the
accused allegedly recorded under the said provisions,  Mr.  Yashank  Adhyaru
fairly conceded that while there may be evidence regarding recovery of  some
of the weapons the same would not by itself be  sufficient  to  justify  the
conviction of the appellants. Even otherwise the recovery of the weapons  is
also not satisfactorily proved by cogent and reliable evidence.  Such  being
the position, we have no manner of doubt left that  the  conviction  of  the
appellants cannot be sustained.

29.   We accordingly allow Criminal Appeals No.92 of 2009, 110 of  2009  and
658-659 of 2009 and set aside the orders of conviction  passed  against  the
appellants who shall be released from custody forthwith unless  required  in
any other case. Criminal Appeals No.303-304 of 2009, 305 of  2009  and  432-
433 of 2009 filed by the State of Gujarat shall, however,  stand  dismissed.






                                                  ……………………………………….……….…..…J.
                                                               (T.S. THAKUR)





                                                 …………………………..…………………..…..…J.
New Delhi                                            (C. NAGAPPAN)
July 18, 2014