Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal: The Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, Member (A) slammed the Union of India opining that gross injustice done to the applicant was a case of mind set and adhering to old junk system. Opining that it requires interference by administration of justice so that one has to obey and respect law, the Bench remarked,

“It is a matter of great surprise that 23 years have elapsed but order of High Court Allahabad has not yet been complied with and respondents are stating that compliance of order is in process.”

Brief facts of the case were that the applicant’s husband was enrolled in the army on 15-12-1971 and dismissed from service on 22-11-1986, after completing about 14 years and 11 months of service. Noticeably, on 03-02-1985 the husband of the applicant had written a to Defence Secretary, Chief of Army Staff and GOC-in C, Southern Command containing allegation against his Squadron Commander. The matter was investigated and disciplinary action was taken against her husband for direct writing to superior officers.

The applicant’s husband was tried by District Court Martial (DCM) for an offence under Army Act Section 56 (a); i.e. making a false accusation. Consequently, he was punished and was dismissed from service.

The husband of the applicant preferred appeal before the Allahabad High Court which was allowed His appeal was allowed vide order dated 27.07.1998 and order of punishment awarded by DCM was quashed and respondents were directed to reinstate husband of the applicant in service and treat him in continuous service with all service benefits including increment and promotion as per relevant rules.

The grievance of the applicant was that instead of complying with the decision of the High Court, the respondents had filed an appeal on 18-11-1998 against the judgment which was dismissed on 08-07-2010. During pendency of the appeal, husband of the applicant died on 31-01-2002. The applicant contended that though there was no any stay against the order of High Court, the same was not complied with.

Noticing that the High Court had passed detailed order in favour of the husband of the applicant granting all service benefits including promotion and pay and allowance and that the appeal against the order was dismissed in the year 2010, the Bench opined that the respondents should have immediately reinstate the husband of the applicant in service and grant his dues.

The public interest demands that administration must abide by the promises held out to citizens. It is totally immoral to go back from the promises held out by the mighty state to the detriment of a small people.

Considering that the husband of the applicant died during pendency of the matter and applicant suffered mental pain and agony for more than 34 years and had to enter in unnecessarily litigation even after her case was decided by the High Court, the Bench imposed exemplary cost of Rs. 75,000 on the respondents for not implementing the order of the High Court for about 23 years.

Accordingly, the respondents were directed to grant all service benefits as applicable to the husband of the applicant in terms of order of the High Court Allahabad along with arrears and further grant family pension to the applicant from the next date of death of her husband within four months. Interest at the rate of 8% was also awarded on the amount accrued from due date till the date of actual payment. [Gulkandi Devi v. Union of India, Original Application No. 605 of 2018, decided on 13-10-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

For the Applicant: Advocate Birendra Prasad Singh

For Union of India: Central Govt. Counsel RC Shukla

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Administrative Tribunal: The Division Bench of Justice R.N. Singh and A. K. Bishnoi, Member (A), settled a case of family pension and retirement dues in favour of widow of the deceased ASI who had committed suicide while in judicial custody. The Bench held,

“When subjective satisfaction of dispensing with the inquiry is not supported by any independent material, dispensing with holding the inquiry would be illegal and if a preliminary inquiry could be conducted, there may not be any reason as to why formal departmental inquiry could not have been initiated against the delinquent.”

The applicant – widow of deceased Satbir Singh, ASI (Exe.) in Delhi Police, had challenged the impugned order whereby the deceased was dismissed from service by the respondents without conducting the regular departmental inquiry.

The deceased was implicated in case under Sections 302 of Penal Code, 1860 read with Sections 25/54/59 of Arms Act, pursuant to which he was placed under suspension w.e.f. 21-01-2019. A preliminary inquiry was conducted by the respondents and taking into account the allegations levelled against the deceased the respondents had dismissed him from service by dispensing with the departmental inquiry by invoking the provisions of Article 311 (2) (b) of the Constitution. Consequently, the deceased committed suicide while in judicial custody.

The applicant contended that though the respondents had heavily relied upon the report of the preliminary inquiry as well as the allegations levelled against the her husband, no copy of the said report was ever served to the deceased and so her husband was deprived of an opportunity to refute the said report, findings in the said preliminary inquiry report and/or the allegations levelled against him in the said FIR, therefore, the impugned order was illegal, bad in the eyes of law and not sustainable.

The Bench noticed that the deceased had 37 years of unblemished service under the respondents and was to retire on attaining the age of superannuation on 31-05-2021. Moreover, keeping in view the facts noted hereinabove, he committed suicide while in judicial custody on 08-06-2019 and whatever the applicant would have got as retirement/terminal benefits had also been taken away in view of the orders passed by the respondents.

Hence, the application was allowed and the impugned orders were set aside. The respondents were directed to grant and release death-cum-retirement dues, viz., family pension, DCRG, leave encashment etc. with all consequential benefits family pension, arrears of family pension and interest on family pension, gratuity, etc. [Santra Devi v. GNCT of Delhi, O.A. No.3170 of 2019, decided on 07-10-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

Appearance by:

For the Applicant: Advocate Sourabh Ahuja

For the GNCT of Delhi: Advocate Sameer Sharma

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi, J. while holding the reason assigned by the Director-General of Police (DGP) while rejecting the claim of the petitioner to review the order of his suspension bad in law, directed the DGP to reconsider the matter.

The petitioner had preferred this writ petition for quashing the order of the Director-General of Police, Government of Jharkhand, whereby, the revision application preferred against the order passed by the Inspector General of Police had been affirmed.

The petitioner, a Sub-Inspector was alleged to have shot his wife dead and was charged with offences under Section 302 of the Penal Code, 1860 and Section 27 of the Arms Act, 1959. Pursuant to which the petitioner was suspended from service and a show cause notice was issued. Meanwhile, the Trial Court convicted and sentenced the petitioner to undergo life imprisonment in the said case and accordingly, the inquiry report was submitted in the departmental proceeding.

The petitioner assailed the impugned order on the ground that in the departmental proceeding, inquiry report was submitted only on the ground that the petitioner had been convicted by the Trial Court and without adducing any evidence in the departmental proceeding, the inquiry report was submitted without giving him any opportunity, hence, the same was against the principle of natural justice. Moreover, the petitioner was acquitted by the High Court in an appeal against the judgment of the Trial Court.

On the contrary, the State argued that the departmental proceeding and criminal proceeding are two different subjects and parameters of both the proceedings are different. Merely on the ground that the petitioner had been acquitted in the criminal case by the High Court, the case of the petitioner could not be considered for reinstatement.

Noticeably, when the inquiry report was submitted in the departmental proceeding, the petitioner was being treated in Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry & Allied Sciences (RINPAS), for mental illness (Schizophrenia), which was why reply to the show-cause had not been received. Considering the stand taken by the State that the Director General of Police had rejected the revision application of the petitioner after acquittal by the High Court, on the ground that the High Court had not directed for reinstatement of the petitioner in service while acquitting the petitioner, the Bench stated that,

“It is well known that the High Court while acquitting the petitioner has decided the criminal case only and the authority concerned has to consider the reinstatement of the petitioner in service while passing a reasoned order.”

From the inquiry report, it transpired that the petitioner was being treated in RINPAS and the inquiry report had been submitted only taking into consideration that the petitioner had been convicted by the Trial Court. Hence, the Bench held that the reason assigned by the Director General of Police while rejecting the claim of the petitioner did not sound good.

In the light of above, the impugned order was quashed and the matter was remitted to the Director General of Police to consider the case of the petitioner afresh and pass a reasoned order.  [Anil Kumar Singh v. State of Jharkhand, W.P. (S) No. 6342 of 2017, decided on 10-09-2020]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

For the Petitioner: Mr. Diwakar Upadhyay, Advocate

For the Respondent-State: Mr. Rahul Kamlesh, A.C. to SC.-VI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of R. Subhash Reddy* and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ has held that reinstatement with full back wages is not automatic in every case, where termination/dismissal is found to be not in accordance with procedure prescribed under law.

The ruling came in the matter where,

  • A Clerk-cum-Cashier was dismissed by the Allahabad Bank, alleging his involvement in the incident relating to burning of relevant Bank records.
  • The respondent was appointed in the Bank as Clerk–cum– Cashier on 23.09.1985 and he was placed under suspension on 13.02.1989 and dismissed from service vide Order dated 22.08.1991.
  • The Industrial Tribunal–cum–Labour Court found that though there was a strong suspicion, but there was no sufficient evidence to prove his misconduct to dismiss from service. However, on the ground that a case is made out by the management of loss of confidence, ordered payment of compensation of Rs.30,000/- in lieu of reinstatement.
  • The respondent, aggrieved by the award of the Industrial Tribunal–cum–Labour Court, seeking reinstatement with back wages, carried the matter to the High Court wherein it was held that suspicion, however, high may be, can under no circumstances be held a substitute to legal proof. The High Court, hence, directed reinstatement with all consequential benefits.
  • The directions issued by the High Court of Allahabad for reinstatement were stayed by this Court on 23.08.2019. During the pendency of these proceedings, the respondent – workman had attained age of superannuation.

Considering the aforementioned facts and circumstances, the Supreme Court held,

“Though, there was strong suspicion, there was no acceptable evidence on record for dismissal of the workman. However, as the workman has worked only for a period of about six years and he has already attained the age of superannuation, it is a fit case for modification of the relief granted by the High Court.”

Noticing that reinstatement with full back wages is not automatic in every case, where termination / dismissal is found to be not in accordance with procedure prescribed under law, the Court held that in the present case, the ends of justice would be met by awarding lump sum monetary compensation. It, hence, directed payment of lump sum compensation of Rs.15 lakhs to the respondent, within a period of eight weeks, failing which, the respondent will be entitled for interest @ 6% per annum, till payment.

[Allahabad Bank v. Krishan Pal Singh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 751, decided on 20.09.2021]


Appearances before the Court:

For Bank: Advocate Rajesh Kumar Gautam

For Respondent: Advocate Rakesh Taneja

*Judgment by: Justice R. Subhash Reddy

Know Thy Judge| Justice R. Subhash Reddy

Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by PTI, the Single Judge Bench of Mukta Gupta, J. granted anticipatory bail to an Air India Pilot. He was accused of violating the aircraft rules.

The pilot was accused of forgery and evading the breath-analyzer test.

Pilot had refused to go through the breath analyser test in 2017 before taking the flight from Delhi to Bengaluru and he refused the same when he landed due to which he was suspended for a period of 3 years by DGCA.

“The Court had earlier restrained the police from taking coercive steps against Kathpalia, who was removed as the director of operations of Air India last November after failing to clear pre-flight alcohol test, with the government citing “serious nature of the transgression and (his) failure to course-correct.”

[Judgment Awaited]

[Source: PTI]

Hot Off The PressNews

Ministry of Home Affairs has issued orders to suspend the LoC trade in Jammu & Kashmir w.e.f 19-04-2019. This action has been taken as the Government of India has been receiving reports that the Cross LoC trade routes are being misused by the Pakistan based elements for funneling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency, etc.

It may be recalled that the LoC trade is meant to facilitate the exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir. The trade is allowed through two Trade Facilitation Centres located at Salamabad, Uri, District Baramulla and Chakkan-da-Bagh, District Poonch. The trade takes place four days a week. Trade is based on the Barter system and zero duty basis.

However, reports have been received that the LoC trade is being misused on a very large scale. It has been revealed that the trade has changed its character to mostly third party trade and products from other regions, including foreign countries, are finding their way through this route. Unscrupulous and anti-national elements are using the route as a conduit for Hawala money, drugs and weapons, under the garb of this trade.

During the ongoing investigations of certain cases by NIA, it has been brought out that a significant number of trading concerns engaged in LoC trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist organizations involved in fuelling terrorism/separatism. Investigations have further revealed that some individuals, who have crossed over to Pakistan and joined militant organizations have opened trading firms in Pakistan. These trading firms are under the control of militant organizations and are engaged in LoC trade.

After the Pulwama incident, the Government of India has withdrawn the MFN status to Pakistan. Inputs have also been received that in order to evade the consequent higher duty, LoC trade is likely to be misused to a much larger extent.

It has, therefore, been decided by the Government of India to suspend the LoC trade at Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect. Meanwhile, a stricter regulatory & enforcement mechanism is being worked out and will be put in place in consultation with various agencies. The issue of reopening of LoC trade will be revisited thereafter.

[Dated: 18-04-2019]

Ministry of Home Affairs

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: The Division Bench of Surya Kant, CJ and Ajay Mohan Goel, J. disposed of the petition allowing the petitioner to continue in the office of Pradhan of Gram Panchayat subject to certain restrictions.

In the case a complaint was made against the petitioner, alleging huge irregularities in the execution of development works, including misappropriation/embezzlement of funds. Subsequently, the preliminary enquiry report was also released in support of the same which later resulted in the petitioner’s suspension. The appellate authority also declined to interfere in the suspension orders and directed to conclude the inquiry within 6 months. However, the Court allowed the petitioner to continue in the office subject to certain restrictions since it would be preposterous to assume the allegations against him would hold true in the ongoing enquiry.

It cannot be overlooked that due to personal rivalry within the village, there would be unabated complaints against an elected office bearers in whom the majority of resident of the village have expressed their faith. Such an elected person should not be lightly suspended from the office and/or be deprived from performing the duties of elected office merely because there is a complaint against irregularities.

The petition was accordingly disposed of. [Roshan Lal v. State of H.P., 2019 SCC OnLine HP 125, Order dated 11-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: A  Bench of Dr S. Vimala, J. addressed a writ petition in which it was stated that petitioner was charged with corruption and put on suspension for which no order has yet been passed in a period of 9 years.

The petitioner in the present case was working in TANGEDCO and was placed under suspension on charges of corruption. For the said charge, a criminal case was filed but after a lapse of even more than 9 years, no order has been passed by the respondents and the grievance of the petitioner for the said issue is that his suspension is prolonged for which he has made a representation seeking to reinstate him in service.

Learned Counsel for the petitioner Mr Ravi Anantha Padmanaban contended that the prolonged suspension was against the decision of the Supreme Court in Ajay Kumar Choudhary v. Union of India, (2015) 7 SCC 291, which held that:

“Currency of a suspension order should not extend beyond 3 months, if within this period, the memorandum of charges/ charge sheet is not served on the delinquent officer/ employee; if the memorandum of charges/ charge sheet is served, a reasoned order must be passed for the extension of suspension”.

Thus, the High Court on perusal of records and the decision of the Supreme Court placed above held that the order of suspension be revoked and the respondents were directed to reinstate the petitioner in service and post him in any non-sensitive post. The petition was disposed of accordingly. [S.P. Chandrasekar v.  TANGEDCO, 2018 SCC OnLine Mad 3607, Order dated 04-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Anant S. Dave and Biren Vaishnav, JJ., allowed a regular bail application along with the order of the suspension of the sentence.

The present application was preferred under Section 389 CrPC for the suspension of sentence and grant of bail for the offences punishable under Sections 302, 307, 324, 452, 118 and 114 IPC including a sentence for rigorous imprisonment for life with fine.

It was contended that both the petitioners who were convicts, were only seen abusing, instigating and giving fist blows, none of which constituted towards the injury conferred on the deceased or the injured person by any weapon of assault. Also, the witnesses present confirmed the same. Further, one of the cross-complainants was herself convicted under Section 323 of IPC and thus this version of the alleged allegation cannot be taken into consideration on the account of being untrustworthy. Hence the two incidences that took place on the same date and the nature of quarrel presuppose the involvement of both the parties.

The Court was of the view that the nature of testimonies implicated the petitioners for a limited role and prima facie, no clear or specific role of both the petitioners could be surfaced on record. Accordingly, the court deemed it just and proper to consider their case for suspension of sentence and grant of regular bail as prayed for and allowed the petition. [Kavlaben v. State of Gujarat, 2018 SCC OnLine Guj 1396, order dated 14-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Arun Bhansali, J., dismissed a writ petition filed challenging the order of suspension passed against the petitioner.

The petitioner was aggrieved by the order of Deputy Director, Secondary Education, Bikaner, whereby the petitioner was placed under suspension and his headquarter was fixed at Senior Secondary School, Gadiyala, Bikaner. The petitioner assailed the said order stating it to be against Rule 13 of Rajasthan Civil Services (Classification, Control, and Appeal) Rules 1958, wherein a suspension can only take place in contemplation of an inquiry or pending inquiry; however, no inquiry was pending against the petitioner as was indicated by the impugned order.

The High Court considered the submission made by the respondent Deputy Director that the order was passed contemplating enquiry against the petitioner. A preliminary inquiry had already started and the prima facie finding was that the petitioner had hit the Principal. The Court perused the impugned order and observed that the language used in the order though gives an impression that inquiry was pending against the petitioner, however, the respondents had clarified the real intention was to suspend the petitioner contemplating inquiry. The Court opined that the use of incorrect phrase in the order does not by itself vitiates it. In such facts and situation, the Court held that no interference was called for in the impugned order. Thus, the petition was dismissed. [Vijay Kumar Sharma v.  State of Rajasthan, 2018 SCC OnLine Raj 1335, dated 01-06-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab & Haryana High Court: In the Haryana Judicial Services Preliminary exam paper leak controversy, the 3-judge bench of Rajesh Bindal, Tajan Gupta and GS Sandhawalia, JJ, has suspended Dr. Balwinder Sharma, Registrar (Recruitment) after the Recruitment/Promotion/ Court Creation Committee (Subordinate Judicial Services) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, submitted in it’s report that there was, prima facie, material suggesting that he was involved in the paper leak.

On 13.09.2017, it was submitted before the Court that there were total 760 calls and SMSs exchanged between Dr. Balwinder Sharma and Sunita, one of the canditates who has allegedly leaked the paper, during last one year. The Committee had recommended the Court that since atleast two candidates namely Sunita and Sushila had the question papers, the possibility that other candidates may have also had access to the question paper cannot be ruled out and hence, an FIR should be lodged against Sunita, Sushila and Dr. Balwinder Sharma.

The Court, after considering the fact that the exam was held in Chandigarh and the alleged conversations and Transaction also took place in Chndigarh, directed that the FIR be registered in Chandigarh. The Court also made it clear that the investigation in the matter will be done by Chandigarh Police only.

Accepting the contention of the counsel appearing for the High Court that if the investigation is to be done by a Special Investigating Team then it should be done by senior officers only, the Court asked Randeep Singh Rai, Public Prosecutor, UT Chandigarh to submit a list of senior officers who can be a part of the SIT. The Court now hear the matter on 18.09.2017.

On 14.09.2017, the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a public notice stating that it has scrapped the Haryana Judicial Services Preliminary Exam held on 16.07.2017 in the light of the paper leak allegations. The date of re-exam will be notified soon. [Suman v. State of Haryana, 2017 SCC OnLine P&H 2340, order dated 15.09.2017]

High Courts

Karnataka High Court: Striking a blow against the rampant corruption prevalent in the executive, the Court while deciding the instant case concerning a member of Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) being suspended on the charges of corruption by the Governor observed that Article 317(2) and the Constitution at large should be given a dynamic and purposive interpretation rather than a rigid textual interpretation and observing thus the Court therefore upheld the suspension of the petitioner under Article 317(2). 

The basis for the impugned order was an allegation of corruption against the petitioner during the selection of Gazetted Probationers which had caused the Governor to order her suspension under the provisions of Article 317(2). The petitioner’s counsel K.V. Dhananjaya argued that an order of suspension must be preceded by a reference  made by the President to the Supreme Court and mere request by the Governor to the President to make a refrence does not amount to the reference as stated in Article 317(1), while Ravivarma Kumar, Advocate General, representing the State refuted the contention. Interpreting Art. 317, the Court observed that the order of suspension by the Governor is binding until an order is issued by the President after receiving a report from the Supreme Court. The Court further observed that Article 317(2) is silent as to when the reference by President to the Supreme Court would commence therefore the provision has a connotation of a continuing circumstance, the starting point of which would be when the Governor makes a request to the President to make a reference. The Court also stated that the provision of suspension must be interpreted in a way so as to give positive content to the power of the Governor and the Governor therefore need not wait for an actual reference by the President.  Mangala Shridhar v. Karnataka Governor, 2014 SCC OnLine Kar 3872, decided on 23.09.2014

To read the full Order, refer SCC OnLine