Utt HC | Error of law can be corrected by a writ but not an error of fact; held, the jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari is supervisory and not appellate

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan, C.J. and Alok Kumar Verma, J. entertained a writ petition which was initially filed in the Allahabad High Court in 1994.

Factual matrix of the case was that the petitioner was appointed as a Panchayat Mantri and thereafter the Panchayat Mantries were declared to be public servants. Petitioner sought leave for 15 days during his course of employment. Respondent demanded a health certificate by the petitioner, however, he failed. The services of the petitioner were terminated on various grounds; he questioned his termination on the principle of natural justice.

State Public Services Tribunal on the sole ground that the impugned order of termination dated had been passed with retrospective effect and the State Public Services Tribunal quashed the said order of termination and held that the order of termination cannot be passed with retrospective effect.

While the Tribunal held that the petitioner had been absent from duty throughout, and had filed the Claim Petition after a period of more than 12 years, the State Public Services Tribunal observed that, since the order of termination was void, the law of limitation had no application on void orders; but no order related to the payment of salary for intervening period was passed as the petitioner was at fault.

The Court in the instant writ held that while it was debatable whether the Tribunal was entitled to grant the relief sought for in the Claim Petition, despite the employee had invoked its jurisdiction 12 years’ after the order of termination was passed. The Court felt that it was inappropriate to examine that aspect since the Government had filed a Writ Petition before the Allahabad High Court questioning the very same order passed by the Tribunal, albeit to the extent the order of termination was quashed and the petitioner was reinstated into service. Hence the examination in the Writ Petition was limited to the action of the Tribunal in denying the petitioner salary for the period between the dates of his termination till the date on which the petitioner was required to join duty.

The writ was filed challenging the order passed by the State Public Services Tribunal, Lucknow where it quashed the termination order of the petitioner and had held it illegal and void. It further directed respondents to reinstate the petitioner and pay him salary and dues. The Tribunal, however, observed that no orders were passed for payment of salary to the petitioner, for the intervening period, on account of his continued absence from duty.

The Court held that, “unlike an appellate authority which can reappreciate the evidence on record, the High Court, in the exercise of its certiorari jurisdiction, would not substitute its views for that of the Tribunal, nor would it reappreciate the evidence on record to arrive at a conclusion different from that of the Tribunal whose order is impugned before it.”

The Court found no error in the order of the Tribunal as to pass certiorari, hence saw no reason to interfere with the order of the Tribunal in denying the salary from the date of the termination till reinstatement. The Court observed that “Having approached the State Public Services Tribunal after a period of 12 years, the petitioner cannot be heard to contend that he should also be paid his salary for the intervening period from the year 1980 to 1992 when he approached the Tribunal, even though it was he who had slept over his rights for around 12 years.”[Naresh Kumar Jain v. State Public Services Tribunal, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 613, decided on 16-07-2019]

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.