Jagdish Sahai, J.
1. The petitioner is a Dy. S. P. During his student days at Allahabad he got very friendly with a girl Kumari Kumudni who was a class fellow of the petitioner's niece. The petitioner and Kumari Kumudni were keen to marry each other. The parents of Kumari Kumudni did not agree to marrying her with the petitioner because they were Brahmins and the petitioner was a Thakur and thus belonged to two different castes. In 1940 Kumari Kumudni was, according to the petitioner, married to Sri S. K. Joshi against her will. It is alleged in the petition that Smt. Kumudni and Sri S. K. Joshi never led a happy married life and the former could not extend to the latter feelings of love and affection. Some time after Smt. Kumudni was married to Joshi, the petitioner was also married.
The petitioner's case is that Smt. Kumudni told Sri Joshi on occasions more than one that she did not love him and that she loved the petitioner with the result that Sri Joshi ill-treated her. On the evening of 20-8-1955 Smt. Kumudni suddenly came with her children to the petitioner's residence at Mirzapur where he was posted as a Dy. S. P. and stayed with him for some time, after having left a letter for her husband informing him that their married life had not been happy and she had decided to leave him. While she was with the petitioner at Mirzapur some C.I.D. officers were deputed to watch his activities.
This, it is said, was done at the instance of some highly placed government officers who were close relations of Sri S. K. Joshi and who had influence with the Inspector General of Police. After staying for sometime with the petitioner Smt, Kumudni left the petitioner's place and came to Allahabad where she filed a suit under Section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act for the dissolution of her marriage with Sri S. K. Joshi. On 12-9-1955 the petitioner was transferred to Pauri Garhwal by wireless with directions to join there by 15-9-1955. Sometime after joining at Pauri Garhwal the petitioner came to his father's place at Allahabad in order to take his winter clothing where he found Smt. Kumudni staying. During the petitioner's stay at Allahabad one day Smt. Kumudni and the petitioner got burns while Smt. Kumudni was lighting a stove.
The petitioner as also Smt. Kumudni were admitted in the Moti Lal Nehru Hospital. The petitioner recovered after a protracted illness but Smt. Kumudni succumbed to the injuries. On 12-4-1956 the petitioner had an interview with the Inspector General of Police, who informed the petitioner that he was being discussed in the Secretariat and either he should resign or face a dismissal. The petitioner did not agree to resign. An enquiry was got made against the petitioner through the Criminal Investigation Department (hereinafter referred to as the C. I. D.).
After the petitioner got well from the burn injuries received by him he was not for a long time posted anywhere in spite of reminders. In August 1957 he was posted as a Dy. S. P. at Bareilly. He w.as also not allowed to cross the efficiency bar.
According to the petitioner these steps were taken in order to make things difficult for him and make him resign from service. The petitioner however withstood all this but did not resign and ultimately his case was referred to the XI. P. Disciplinary Proceedings Administrative Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the Tribunal). The Tribunal framed the following charges against the petitioner.
'(a) You rented a house adjacent to the house of Srimati K. Joshi, Almora, under the name of your brother for May and June, 1955 and lived there for immoral purposes after obtaining leave on misrepresentation of facts.
(b) You maneuvered the elopement of Srimati K. Joshi for immoral purposes from her husband's residence at Faizabad on 20-8-1955 and kept her at Mirzapur, Varanasi, Allahabad and Lucknow etc.
(c) You admitted to Sri S. K. Joshi, Munsif husband of Srimati K. Joshi, of your love affair with her and also of her stay with you at Mirzapur.
(d) You persuaded Srimati S. K. Joshi to file an application in the Court of the City Munsif, Allahabad for the dissolution of her marriage with Sri S. K. Joshi.
(e) You are carrying on a love affair with Srimati Kumudni Joshi w/o Sri S. K. Joshi Munsif, then posted at Faizabad and have sexual relations with her.
(f) You kept Srimati K. Joshi concealed for the same purpose at several places until she was admitted in the hospital at Allahabad along with you with, severe burns on 11-10-1955 where she subsequently died.
(g) You are further charged with failure to discharge your duties properly under Rule 4 (1) (b) of the U. P. Disciplinary Proceedings (Administrative Tribunal) Rules, 1947, in respect of the period when you were posted as Superintendent of Police, Mirzapur, and Pauri Garhwal in 1955 as is evidenced by the following
(a) You obtained earned leave for 35 days from 21-5-1955 by misrepresenting facts for immoral purposes.
(b) You deliberately avoided disclosure of whereabouts of Srimati K. Joshi to the I. G. and D. I. G. U. P. although you knew where she was at that time.'
The petitioner submitted an explanation to the charges framed against him, and also urged that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to enquire into the charges framed against the petitioner. The Tribunal consisted of Sri Shiv Desani, I. C. S. Sri K. P. Mathur, Registrar of the High Court (as he then was) and Sri T. P. Srivastava, Deputy Inspector General of Police who was appointed as an assessor to assist the tribunal. On 26-9-1958 the Tribunal submitted its report to the Government recommending the dismissal of the petitioner from, service after holding several hearings in the case. On these facts the petition has been moved.
The prayer in the petition is that a writ of certiorari be issued quashing the findings of the Tribunal dated 26-9-1958, the order of the Tribunal dated 21-3-1958 asking the petitioner to submit an explanation and the charge sheet framed against him. It is also prayed that a writ of mandamus be issued directing the respondents neither to take into consideration nor to act upon the findings recorded by the Tribunal and not to take any steps against him in pursuance of the proceedings before the Tribunal or in respect of the charges framed and enquired into by the Tribunal.
2. Three counter affidavits have been filed on behalf of the respondents and a rejoinder affidavit has been filed on behalf of the petitioner. It is not necessary at this stage to mention the allegations made in the counter and rejoinder affidavits. The submissions that have been made on behalf of the petitioner are mostly those of law. However, if and when necessary I will mention the allegations made in the counter and rejoinder affidavits.
3. Though as many as 35 grounds have been taken in the petition learned counsel for the petitioner has urged only the following four :
1. Under the U. P. Disciplinary Proceedings (Administrative Tribunal) Rules, the petitioner's case could not have been referred to the Tribunal.
2. That the Rules are hit by Article 14 of the Constitution.
3. That the Rules are invalid inasmuch as they infringe the provisions of Section 241 of the Government of India Act, 1935 and also because they are inconsistent with Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India.
4. That the proceedings before the Tribunal Were not fair and the petitioner did not have a reasonable opportunity of defending himself.
4. I will first take the second submission of the learned counsel f6r the petitioner that the Tribunal Rules are hit by Article 14 of the Constitution. In order to correctly adjudicate upon this submission it would be necessary to look into the scheme of the Tribunal Rules. These rules were framed under Sections 241(2) and 266(3) of the Government of India Act, 1935, as amended, Section 234(a) and (b) of the U. P. Land Revenue Act Section 7 of the Police Act and all other powers enabling the Government to frame rules. The rules were framed for 'regulating in certain cases the conduct of disciplinary proceedings and the award of punishment to members of the public services under the Governor's Rule making control.' Rule 4 of the Tribunal Rules runs as follows :
'4. (1) The Governor may refer to the Tribunal cases relating to an individual government servant or class of Government servants or Government servants in a particular area only in respect of matters involving-
(b) failure to discharge duties properly;
(c) irremediable general inefficiency in a public servant of more than ten years' standing; and
(d) personal immorality.
(2) The Governor may, in respect of a gazetted Government servant on his own request, refer his Case to the Tribunal in respect of matters referred to in Sub-rule (1).'
The Tribunal contemplated by these rules had got to be constituted under Rule 3 of the Rules and is to consist of two members, one of whom is to be an officer of adequate seniority to be the head of a department or the Commissioner of a division and the other a judicial officer qualified for appointment as a judge of a High. Court under the provisions of Section 220(3) of the Government of India Act, 1935, as amended. The members of the Tribunal have got to be nominated by name by the Governor. The Tribunal under Sub-rule (4) of Rule 3 is required to co-opt an assessor to assist it.
This assessor has got to be a departmental officer higher in rank in the department to the official charged and in no case he can be a person below gazetted rank or that of the head of a district office in any department. Rule 5 requires that while referring the case to the Tribunal the Government shall state the particulars of the official involved, the particular matter or matters mentioned in Rule 4 on which it is proposed to take action and other material bearing on the case. Under Sub-rule (2) of Rule 5 the Tribunal has been given the power to peruse all records having a bearing on the case before it, The Rules do not provide any detailed procedure which the Tribunal would have to follow at the departmental trial. Rule 8 which runs as follows deals with the matter of procedure at the trial:
'8. (1) The Tribunal shall in each case make such enquiry as may be appropriate.
(2) In conducting such enquiry the Tribunal shall be guided by rules of equity and natural justice and shall not be bound by formal rules relating to procedure and evidence.
(3) Before formulating its recommendations, the Tribunal shall give a concise summary of the charges against the official, and shall if he is not absconding or untraceable, give him an opportunity orally or in writing within the time to be prescribed by the Tribunal to offer his explanation in respect of the charges. The oral explanation of the delinquent official shall be recorded as far as may be in his own words.'
Under Rule 9 the Tribunal has to make a record of the case in which it shall state the charges, the explanation, its own findings and the views of the assessor, and in case where it is of the opinion that some punishment should be imposed a recommendation about the punishment has also got to be formulated. The punishments which the Tribunal can recommend are those mentioned in the Civil Service (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules as also the compulsory retirement of the officer charged with or without full or proportionate pension, or with or without gratuity or compassionate allowance as it may deem suitable. Rule 10 as it originally stood has been amended and under the amended rule Governor has been given the Jurisdiction either to inflict punishment recommended by the Tribunal or a higher or lesser punishment or pass such other order as he may deem fit.
The Governor, however, before passing an order of removal, dismissal or reduction in rank has to give an opportunity to show cause against the action proposed to the delinquent officer. This rule also provides that it is not necessary to consult the Public Service Commission. The Governor under Sub-rule (1) of Rule 10 is not bound to consult the Public Service Commission but he may under Sub-rule (2) of Rule 10 consult the Tribunal if necessary before passing final orders. Sub-rule (3) of R. 10 however provides that no appeal shall lie against the order passed by the Governor.
Under Rule 13 the Governor can delegate the power under Rule 4 to refer cases of their subordinate officers to the Tribunal to gazetted officers incharge of districts in their respective departments or to those placed above them as also the power to pass an order of punishment under Rule 10 to a head of department in respect of non-gazetted officers to his department. There is a proviso to Rule 13 which is to the effect that in case an order is passed under the delegated powers by the head of the department an appeal shall lie to the Governor against that order. Rule 12 of the Rules does not exclude the operation of other rules or the provisions of law under which disciplinary proceedings can be conducted for offences other than those mentioned in Rule 4 and runs as follows :
'Nothing in these rules shall be deemed to affect tile conduct of disciplinary proceedings in cases other than those specially dealt with under the provisions of these rules.'
5. The submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner in the present case is that the Tribunal rules are more onerous and less favourable to a Government servant than the Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules hereinafter referred to as civil service rules and other laws as for example Section 7 of the Police Act read with the provisions of the Police Regulations or the U. P. Land Revenue Act. It has been contended that the petitioner could have been departmentally tried either under the Tribunal Rules or under the Civil Service Rules and it is further submitted that it has been left to the sweet will of the Government to refer the cases of some officers in the position of the petitioner to the Tribunal and leave that of the others similarly situated to be dealt with under the Civil Service Rules.
In other words the submission is that the powers given to the Governor under R. 4 of the Tribunal Rules are unguided by any statutory provision and he can in respect of two persons similarly situated refer the case of one to the Tribunal where the procedure and the rules are less favourable and leave that of the other to be dealt with under the Civil Service Rules which are more generous and which better safeguard the rights of the officer charged and thus discriminate between the two.
6. The first question in this connection to consider would be whether it is really a fact that the Tribunal Rules are more onerous and less favourable to a Government servant than the Civil Service Rules. In the present case admittedly the provisions of the Land Revenue Act or Section 7 of the Police Act read with the Police Regulations would not apply to the petitioner's case. The question therefore to consider is whether the provisions of the Civil Service Rules are more generous and safeguard the rights of government servants better than the Tribunal Rules. Under the provisions of the Civil Service Rules the punishing authority who is not always the Government can start enquiry or direct an enquiry being made against a person subordinate to it.
There is no provision in these rules like Rule 4 of the Tribunal Rules which -provides that only the Governor can initiate the proceedings against a delinquent officer. In other words the safeguard, of having a scrutiny of the case made by the Governor who is the highest authority in the State before a case is referred for enquiry is missing in the Civil Service Rules and to that extent it must be held that the rights of the delinquent officer are better safeguarded than of persons who are dealt with under the Civil Service Rules. Again the Tribunal has been given no power to pass any final order.
The findings and the report of the Tribunal only remain a report and a recommendation which may or may not be accepted by the Governor and in itself is inoperative. In other words the Governor has to scrutinise the case of a delinquent officer not only before referring the case but also after the Tribunal has submitted its report and to satisfy himself about the correctness of the findings as also the recommendation about the punishment to be imposed. Such a safeguard is not to be found in the Civil Service Rules where the orders of the punishing authority are operative and, final subject only to being set aside in appeal.
This would again show that the Tribunal Rules at least in these matters better safeguard the rights of the Government servants. Again it. would be noticed that a person whose case has been referred to the Tribunal has got the advantage of being tried by a very senior administrative officer as also by a very senior judicial officer who is qualified to be a High Court Judge and that too with the assistance of an assessor. Under the Civil Service Rules the delinquent officer has got to be tried only by one person and not by a Tribunal consisting of two persons and that person in most of the cases is less qualified than the members of the Tribunal and has not the judicial training which the judicial member of the Tribunal invariably has.
In this respect also it must be held that the Tribunal Rules are more generous to the Government servants. The only matter in respect of which it could be said by the learned counsel for the, petitioner that the Tribunal Rules are more onerous and less favourable to the Government servants are those relating to procedure provided by Rule 8 of the Rules. It is contended that the provisions of Rule 55 of the Civil Service Rules are more generous to the delinquent officer and safeguard his rights much better than Rule 8 of the Tribunal Rules. The relevant portion of Rule 55 of the Civil Service Rules runs as follows :
'55. Without prejudice to the provisions of the Public Servants Inquiries Act, 1850, no order (other than an order based on facts which had led to his conviction in a Criminal Court or by a Court martial) of dismissal, removal or reduction in rank (which, includes reduction to a lower post or time-scale, or to a lower stage in a time scale but excludes the reversion to a lower post of a person who is officiating in a higher post) shall be passed on a person who is a member of a civil service, or holds a civil post under the State unless he has been informed in writing of the grounds on which it is proposed to take action and has been afforded an adequate opportunity of defending himself.
The grounds on which it is proposed to take action shall be reduced in the form of a definite charge or charges which shall be communicated to the personcharged and which shall be so clear and precise asto give sufficient indication to the charged Government servant of the facts and circumstances againsthim. He shall be required, within a reasonabletime to put in a written statement of his defenceand to state whether he desires to be heard in person.If he so desires, or if the authority concerned sodirects, an oral inquiry shall be held in respect ofsuch of the allegations as are not admitted. At thatenquiry such oral evidence will be heard as the inquiring officer considers necessary.
The person charged shall be entitled to cross-examine the witnesses, to give evidence in person and to have such witnesses called as he may wish, provided that the officer conducting the inquiry may for sufficient reason to be recorded in writing refuse to call a witness. The proceedings shall contain a sufficient record of the evidence and statement of the findings and grounds thereof. The officer conducting the inquiry may also separately from these proceedings, make his own recommendation regarding the punishment to be imposed on the charged Government servant.'
It cannot be denied that a comparison of the two Rules would at first sight show that Rule 55 of the Civil Service Rules provides a very elaborate procedure which has got to be followed by the enquiring officer. Rule 8 of the Tribunal Rules does not provide such an elaborate procedure but only mentions that the Tribunal shall in each case make such enquiry as may be appropriate and be guided by the rules of equity and natural justice and shall not be bound by formal rules relating to procedure and evidence.
It is obvious that the Tribunal is not tied down to follow any such procedure which has the appearance of a judicial trial. It is also true that the Tribunal can make such enquiry as may be appropriate subject only to the rules of equity and natural justice being followed. On the 'other hand Rule 55 of the Civil Service Rules guarantees to the delinquent officer an enquiry the procedure of which is set and is similar to that of a Court of law and which does not give the punishing or the enquiring officer any control or power to regulate its own procedure and depart from the one provided by Rule 55. What are the rules of equity and natural justice has not been mentioned in the Rules and it has been left to the Tribunal to decide in each particular case as to what rules of natural justice and equity it has got to follow. It has been held that the rules of natural justice vary with the varying constitutions of statutory bodies and the rules prescribed by the Act under which they function.
The question whether or not any rules of natural justice have been contravened should be decided not under any preconceived notions but in the light of statutory rules and provisions (see Nagendra Nath v. Commissioner, Hills Division : 1SCR1240 and New Prakash Transport Co. Ltd. v. New Suwarna Transport Co. Ltd. : 1SCR98 .) There are no hard and fast rules of equity also. At first sight a comparison of R. 55 of the Civil Service Rules and R. 8 of the Tribunal Rules may reveal that the procedure for trial provided by the latter rules is much more summary and it does appear that the officer charged in a trial before the Tribunal is very much at its mercy and there are no set rules of procedure which can guide and control it in the conduct of the trial.
But even though that is so, it cannot be said that the procedure provided by Rule 8 is either harsh or results in a miscarriage of justice. In my opinion it is the phraseology of Rule 8 rather than its effect that at the first sight makes the provision appear to provide a procedure which militates against a fair trial. In my judgment all that is intended to convey by that rule is that the Tribunal is not bound by formal rules of procedure and evidence but can conduct its proceedings in a way which may result in a fair trial.
It appears to me that the fault, if at all, is with the way in which Rule 8 has been worded and neither that rule was intended to mean nor does it mean that the charged officer shall not know the charges against him, shall not be allowed to cross-examine the witnesses produced by the administration and shall not be allowed to examine evidence in his own defence. Such a procedure, in my opinion, is fully contemplated by Rule 8 and is guaranteed by the fact that one of the members of the Tribunal is a judicial officer having vast experience in the conduct of Court trials and qualified for being appointed as a Judge of the High Court.
There is another way of looking at the matter. Under Sub-rule (1) of Rule 8 the Tribunal has been given the power to make such enquiry as may be appropriate. At a hurried glance it may appear that the rule is more reactionary and less favourable to a delinquent officer. But it is clear that acting under that sub-rule the Tribunal. can in a suitable case have a much more elaborate and detailed enquiry than provided for by Rule 55 of the Civil Service Rules though in other cases considering the nature of the charge it may apply a more restricted procedure.
It may also be said that the words in Sub-rule (1) of Rule 8 are 'such enquiry as may be appropriate' without adding the words 'as may appear to the Tribunal.' This means that whether or not there has been an appropriate enquiry has got to be determined by an objective and not subjective test. The Governor and Courts of law can always scrutinise the procedure followed by the Tribunal and hold that it was not appropriate considering the nature of the charges.
In other words the judgment of the Tribunal with regard to the appropriateness of the proceedings is not final and is subject to scrutiny by the Governor and by the Court. For this reason also it cannot be said that the powers given to the Tribunal under Sub-rule (1) of Rule 8 are arbitrary. On a close examination of the two provisions I do not find any such marked difference between the procedure prescribed by Rule 8 of the Tribunal Rules and Rule 55 of the Civil Service Rules which their language may on a first glance make appear and which may lead to the inference that the trial under the latter Rules is more fair than the trial under the former Rules.
In fact in the present case it has not been complained that all that has been guaranteed under Rule 55 to a delinquent officer has not been extended to the petitioner. I am therefore unable to hold that the procedure provided by Rule 8 is more onerous and less favourable than the one provided by Rule 55 of the Civil Service Rules. It is true that in the States of Madras and Andhra the counterpart of our Rule 8 in their Tribunal Rules guarantees to all the delinquent officers who are tried before tribunals there for offences other than corruption the same procedure which is provided in the Madras Civil Service (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules which are similar to our Civil Service Rules, and in cases of corruption a more elaborate and generous procedure. The Governor may, if so advised, consider the desirability of amending our Rule 8 in a manner so as to bring it in line with its counterpart in the Madras and Andhra Rules.
7. It has been contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the Tribunal Rules are more onerous also for the reason that whereas under the Tribunal Rules the orders passed by the Governor are final, the Civil Service Rules provide a right of appeal under Rule 56 of those Rules. In my opinion there is no substance in this contention also. Rule 56 of the Civil Service Rules does not permit an appeal against the order of the Governor and in cases tried by the Tribunal it is the Governor alone who passes the final orders.
In cases where the Governor delegates his powers under Rule 13 of the Tribunal Rules and the authorities inferior to the Governor pass orders of punishment an appeal lies to the Governor. There is therefore no practical difference even in the matter of right of appeal between the two Rules. For the reasons mentioned above I have come to the conclusion that it cannot be said that the Tribunal Rules are more onerous and less favourable to a Government servant than the Civil Service Rules. Apart from it a perusal of the Tribunal Rules shows that those rules are not meant to govern the cases of all the government servants but only those who are charged with the offences mentioned in Rule 4 of the Rules.
These rules therefore apply only to a class which they have created unlike the Civil Service Rules which apply to a large number of government servants. It is well settled law that in order to pass the test of permissible classification two conditions must be fulfilled namely (1) that the classification must be founded on intelligible differentia which differentiates persons or dungs which are grouped togedier from diose which are left out of the group and (2) that the differentia must have a rational relation with the object sought to be achieved by the statute (see Budhan Choudhry v. State of Bihar : 1955CriLJ374 ). In the present case the rule-making authority has created a special class and has provided for it and there is a rational relation of the differentia which distinguishes persons or things of diat class to the object sought to be achieved by the rules creating that Clause.
8. It has been next contended that for the Government servants whose cases may fall under Rule 4 the Governor has the discretion either to refer their cases to the Tribunal or leave them to be dealt with under the provisions of the Civil Service Rules and it is there that discrimination may come in. This argument is fully met by the answer that in the first place it cannot be said that the procedure provided by the Tribunal Rules is more drastic and less beneficial to a government servant than that provided by the Civil Service Rules and secondly that Rule 12 and other provisions would bar the departmental trial of persons who can be charged under Rule 4 under any other provision. I have already quoted Rule 12 above.
It clearly provides that in cases other than those specially dealt with under the provisions of these rules the conduct of disciplinary proceedings remains unaffected. In other words this rule provides that in cases which can fall under these rules, these rules alone will be applicable and other rules would not apply. It is always open to a legislature or a rule-making authority to provide that a particular set of rules and not others will apply to a class of government servants and so long as the legislature or the rule making authority acts within jurisdiction, the matter is not justiciable and only that set of rules which is prescribed by them will apply to the case of the Government servant to whom the same is made applicable.
9. Even if the language of Rule 12 and other provisions of the Tribunal Rules had not been express and the case of persons to whom the Tribunal Rules applied could also be governed in a general way by the Civil Service Rules, the Tribunal Rules which are special provisions for such cases and not the Civil Service Rules will prevail because it is a well known principle of law that the special will exclude the general. Apart from it the Tribunal Rules are in force from November 8, 1947 and were framed in that year. The Civil Service Rules were framed under Section 96-B of the Government of India Act 1919 and are in force from 27th May. 1930.
Therefore the Tribunal Rules having been framed later in time will prevail over the Civil Service Rules in cases where they overlap. There might have been some scope for holding that Article 14 of the Constitution hits the Tribunal Rules if the Tribunal Rules could be held to be more onerous and less favourable than the Civil Service Rules but as this is not so and as the Tribunal Rules apply to a particular class of cases, in my judgment, this submission has got to be rejected,
10. I now take the third submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner. The submission made in this connection was that under the provisions of Section 241(5) of the Government of India Act no rules could be framed which would limit the power of the Governor to deal with the case of any person serving in a civil capacity in this state in such manner as may appear to him to be just and equitable. It was contended that inasmuch as Rule 10 of the Tribunal Rules provides that the recommendations of the Tribunal were binding on the Governor, the rule was void.
If is not necessary to go into the correctness or otherwise of this submission because Rule 10 of the Tribunal Rules has been amended and to the petitioner's case the amended and not the original rule shall apply. I have already given the gist of the amended Rule 10 in an, earlier part of this judge ment and the discretion of the Governor is not in any manner curtailed by that rule.
11. In this connection it was also contended that whereas Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India guarantees to a government servant a reasonable opportunity of showing cause, the provisions of Rule 8 of the Tribunal Rules have been so framed that in some cases the enquiry may be nothing but a mere farce and the powers of the Tribunal are so arbitrary that an officer charged before it may not have a reasonable opportunity of showing cause. It is contended that the opening words of Rule 8 that 'the Tribunal shall in each case make such enquiry as may be appropriate' has vested in the hands of the Tribunal extremely arbitrary powers.
It is contended that these words are wide enough to include an enquiry which may be so perfunctory in its nature as not to be an enquiry in the real sense at all and may be lacking in all the essentials of a fair trial. Whereas it is conceded that the Tribunal by virtue of the provisions of Sub-rule (2) is required to be guided by the rules of equity and natural justice, it is contended that even with regard to that provision a very wide discretion has been given to the Tribunal and for deciding as to which principles of natural justice to follow there is no guidance given to the Tribunal.
I have already said in an earlier part of this judgment that Rule 8 does at a first glance appear to be a rather harsh and reactionary provision. It is also true that its counterparts in the rules of other States as for example Andhra and Madras are in language much more generous. Even though that is so it is not possible to hold that Rule 8 does not guarantee a reasonable opportunity of showing, cause. As I have already said one of the members of the Tribunal is a very experienced judicial officer who is fully versed in traditions of judicial trials and the Tribunal cannot be expected while exercising the powers under Rule 8 to act in an arbitrary manner and to deprive the enquiry of all the trappings and safeguards of a fair and impartial departmental trial.
However as was said by Chief Justice S. R. Dass in the case of Ram Krishna Dalmia v. S. R. Tendolkar : 1SCR279 , if at any time it is brought to the notice of the Court and the Court is satisfied that the Tribunal has administered law with an evil eye and unequal hand or for an oblique or unworthy purpose the arms of the Court will be long enough to reach it and to strike down such abuse with a heavy hand. In the present case there is no complaint that the procedure that the Tribunal followed was not a fair one except with regard to the admissibility of Kake Babu's evidence with which I will deal later on. In my opinion therefore there is no substance in this submission of the learned counsel.
12. Coming to ground No. 4 the submission of the learned counsel is that the proceedings before the Tribunal were not fair inasmuch as the assessor Sri T. P. Srivastava tried to suborn the witnesses who were his departmental subordinates, and to interfere in the proceedings. At the request of file learned counsel for the petitioner and due to his objection, that the counter affidavit filed by Sri Srivastava was evasive Sri Srivastava was put in the witness box. He was cross-examined by Sri S. N. Misra, learned counsel for the petitioner,
Nothing has come out in his cross-examination and there is nothing on the record of the case which justifies the inference that he either suborned the witnesses or interfered unduly with the proceedings of the Tribunal. Sri Srivastava however did admit that he put some questions to some of the witnesses. In my opinion that by itself cannot vitiate the proceedings. Though it is true that an assessor is not a member of the Tribunal and is there to assist the Tribunal only and should not therefore either dominate the proceedings or put any question without the consent of the Tribunal, there is nothing which in my judgment prevents him from putting questions to the witnesses with the permission of the Tribunal. Reliance is placed upon the case of King Emperor v. Thirumalai Reddi, ILR 24 Madi 523 at p. 542. That was a case under the Cr. P. C., and does not support the submission of the learned counsel that an assessor cannot put questions as the following extract from the judgment would show :
'No doubt an assessor, like a juryman, is a public servant, vide Section 21, Clause (5), I. P. C., and like a juryman he is expected to form and give his opinion on the evidence given at the trial and not to act upon his personal knowledge of any relevant facts' of the case without giving evidence of the same as a witness in the case (vide Section 294, Cr. P. C.) and he may also, like the jury, be allowed to put questions through the Court to witnesses under examination (vide Section 166 of the Evidence Act).'
So far as an assessor under the rules is concerned he is co-opted under Rule 4 of the Tribunal Rules by the Tribunal to assist it. In Shorter Oxford Dictionary the word 'co-opt' has been given the meaning :
'To elect into a body by the votes of its existing members'.
The assessor in the case of the Tribunal Rules is therefore elected into the Tribunal though for the limited purpose of assisting it and does not become a part of the Tribunal. Under the circumstances I find nothing in the rules to justify the inference that the assessor is prevented from putting some questions to the witnesses with the permission of the Tribunal. There is nothing in the present case to show and none has been pointed out to me that the assessor Sri Srivastava put any question without the consent of the Tribunal. For these reasons I am satisfied that the findings of the Tribunal cannot be quashed on the ground that the proceedings before the Tribunal had been illegal and unfair because of any conduct of Sri Srivastava. There is therefore no substance in this submission of the learned counsel also.
13. I will now deal with the first submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner that a reference to the Tribunal in the present case was illegal inasmuch as the petitioner's case did not fall under Rule 4 of the Tribunal Rules. A reference to the Tribunal by the Governor is only permissible if, the case of the delinquent officer or a class of government servants fall under any of the Clauses of Sub-rule (1) of Rule 4. The Governor while referring and the Tribunal while considering the charges against the petitioner considered charge No. 1 to be one involving personal immorality and charge No. 2 as one relating to failure to discharge his duties properly. Personal immorality has been defined by Clause (e) of Rule 2 as follows :
'2(e) 'Personal immorality' means vicious habits relating to drink, sex and gambling which reduce the utility of a public servant so as to damage Government or the official generally in public esteem.'
Charge No. 1 is sub-divided into six charges i.e., (a) to (f). Of these sub-charges (a) and (d) have not been found to be proved by the Tribunal. We are not therefore concerned as to whether or not the reference to the Tribunal with regard to these sub-charges was valid. Sub-charge No. (c) which is to the effect that the petitioner admitted to Sri S. K. Joshi Munsif, the husband of Smt. Kumudni, of his love affair with her and also of her stay with him at Mirzapur.
What is contained in the sub-charge may constitute a piece of evidence which may go to prove sub-charge (b) or (e) or (f) of charge No. 1 and can never be an independent charge itself. It is a matter relating to evidence and not one which can be the subject matter of a charge. To love another man's wife and to make her stay with oneself may be the subject matter of a charge but how can a confession of that fact be a subject matter of the charge itself, I find difficult to understand. In my judgment sub-charge (c) of charge No. 1 could not be the subject matter of accusation though the facts mentioned therein may be treated as evidence. That being so I am of the opinion that even sub-charge (c) could not be referred to the Tribunal as a charge relating to personal immorality.
14. The facts with regard to charge No. 1 (b), (e) and (f) remain to be considered. Even if it be believed that the petitioner committed the elopement of Smt. Kumudni for immoral purposes and was carrying On love affair with her and kept her concealed at several places, it cannot be said that the conduct of the petitioner, would fall in the expression 'personal immorality' as defined by the Tribunal Rules. In other words can a vicious habit relating to sex be attributed to the petitioner and if so was it of such a nature which could reduce the utility of the petitioner as a public servant and could damage the government or the petitioner generally in public esteem?
The question whether or not the conduct of the petitioner is such as to reduce his utility as a public servant or one which is likely to damage the petitioner or the Government generally in public esteem need be considered only if a finding could be recorded that in the circumstances of the present case it is possible even prima facie to believe that the conduct of the petitioner would fall within the expression vicious habits relating to sex. In the present case all the acts committed by the petitioner were committed in one transaction and relating to one woman. Admittedly for 15 years after the marriage of Smt. Kumudni in 1940 the petitioner had nothing to do with her.
It was only during the period beginning with March 1955 and ending with October 1955 that the petitioner may be said to have revived his love for her and may have had sex relations with her. It is also the admitted case of the parties that before the petitioner and Smt. Kumudni were married they were loving each other and their determination to become life partners was only frustrated because of the orthodax attitude of their parents who could not tolerate the idea of an inter-caste marriage.
There is no allegation against the petitioner that he had sex relations with any other woman. On the basis of the single transaction though consisting of several acts a habit cannot be attributed to a person. The word 'habit' implies a tendency or capacity resulting from the frequent repetition o the same act. The words 'habit' and 'habitual' imply frequent practice or use. See Bhubaneshwar Kuar v. Emperor, AIR 1927 Pat 126. The Nagpur High Court in the case of Local Government v. Hanmant Rao, AIR 1924 Nag 19, held that the word 'habit' means persistence in doing an act, a fact which is capable of proof by adducing evidence of the commission of a number of similar acts, and that 'habitually' must be taken to mean repeatedly or persistently. In Ramnath Iyer's Law Lexicon, 1940 Ed. the following meanings have been given to the word 'habit' :
'Settled tendency or practice, mental constitution. The word 'habit' implies tendency or capacity resulting from the frequent repetition of the same acts. The words by 'habit' and 'habitually' imply frequent practice or use. Habit is the disposition of a person towards a certain thing. It need not be uniform or unvarying rule, but, to be a habit it must be the ordinary course of conduct -- general rule or custom. The word 'habit' has a clear, well understood meaning, being nearly the same as 'custom' and cannot be applied to a single act. When we speak of the habits of a person we refer to his customary conduct, to pursue which he has acquired a tendency from frequent repetition. It would be incorrect to say that a person has a habit of anything from a single act.'
In my judgment on the basis of the facts alleged and found by the Tribunal it cannot be said that even if sub-charges (b), (c), (e) and (f) are proved it can be said that the petitioner was suffering from vicious habits relating to sex. We need not consider whether he was suffering from vicious habits relating to drink or gambling because that is not the charge against him. I am of the opinion that none of the sub-charges of charge No. 1 which have been found to be proved against the petitioner are such which could have been referred to the Tribunal by the Governor under Rule 4 of the Rules for enquiry,
15. Coming to charge No. 2 its sub-charge (a) has been found not proved. So far as sub-charge (b) of charge No. 2 is concerned all that the Tribunal has said is that on the basis of what they have discussed in charge No. l(b) they have come to the conclusion that this charge is also established against the petitioner. They have not discussed this sub-charge separately. I have perused the findings and the report of the Tribunal and in my judgment on the basis of the findings on charge No. l(b) it cannot be said that charge No. 2(b) has also been brought home to the petitioner.
Apart from it, it has not been shown that the petitioner failed to discharge his duties properly in not disclosing to the authorities the whereabouts of Smt. Kumudni. Nothing has been brought to my notice by the learned counsel for the respondents which would justify the finding that even if the petitioner knew the whereabouts of Smt. Kumudni he was bound by his official duties to disclose the same to the Inspector General or to the Deputy Inspector General of Police or to the C.I.D. It is true that under Section 161, Cr. P. C., every person is bound to answer the questions put to him by the investigating officer but he is not so bound if the answer is one which may incriminate him.
In the first place the investigating officer never put any questions to the petitioner and in the second place he was not bound to answer them if he had actually made Smt. Kumudni elope and had sex relations with her. Besides, neither the Inspector General nor the Deputy Inspector General of Police were investigating officers and there is no evidence to show that even amongst the officers of the C.I.D. to whom he did not disclose was one who was the investigating officer, and who actually asked the petitioner to make a statement.
The questions that were put to the petitioner would be in his personal capacity and not as a Dy. S. P. It is the admitted case of the parties that the petitioner was never entrusted by the police department to find out the whereabouts of Smt. Kumudni. For these resaons it is difficult to hold that the petitioner failed to discharge his duties properly. In my opinion a reference to the Tribunal even with regard to this matter was not valid considering the language of Rule 4 of the Tribunal Rules.
Inasmuch as the charges which the Tribunal has found proved against the petitioner could not have been referred to it by the Governor and could not have been enquired into by the Tribunal, the reference to the Tribunal and the report recorded by it are without jurisdiction and are liable to be quashed. In a case like the present one the Madras High Court quashed the order of dismissal passed by the Governor accepting the report of the Tribunal see Rajagopala Ayyar v. Madras State : AIR1955Mad182 . I follow that decision with respect.
16. I may also point out that the Tribunal was not justified in relying upon the statement of Kake Babu as recorded by the C.I.D. That statement was not signed by Kake Babu. Kake Babu was not examined before the Tribunal. His- statement was not recorded by any Magistrate or by any independent officer. The C.I.D. was in the position of a prosecutor. The petitioner had no opportunity of testing the correctness of the statement purporting to be that of Kake Babu and recorded in the diary of the C.I.D.
In my opinion neither the principles of natural justice nor the canons of equity could justify the acceptance of the statement of Kake Babu as written in the case diary of the C.I.D. It is true that the provisions of the Indian Evidence Act do not govern the proceedings before the Tribunal but there are certain basic principles of evidence which no Tribunal can ignore and one of them is that evidence of doubtful nature e.g. unsigned statements of a person, who has not been produced before the Tribunal, recorded at the back of an accused person by an investigating officer who is also the prosecutor, should not be accepted.
This is the minimum safeguard against false evidence coming in. In the present case it was all the more necessary not to have placed reliance upon the evidence of Kake Babu because the Tribunal itself reached the conclusion that some of the prosecution witnesses produced by the administration e.g. P. W. 3 Dan Singh had spoken falsely. Since the Tribunal has given great importance to the evidence of Kake Babu in its findings and has been very much influenced by it, it must be held that its findings are based on inadmissible evidence.
Considering the findings of the Tribunal it is obvious that if it were to exclude the statement of Kake Babu from consideration it would have been very difficult if. not impossible for it to adjudge the petitioner guilty of charge No. 1 (b). Inasmuch as I am of the opinion that the evidence of Kake Babu ought to have been excluded from consideration and in view of the fact that if that evidence is excluded the findings of the Tribunal cannot be sustained, it must be held that the conclusions of the Tribunal have been based on inadmissible evidence.
I have already said in an earlier part of this judgment that the language of Sub-rule (1) of Rule 8 leads to the conclusion that the Tribunal was bound to follow a procedure which was appropriate in the circumstances of the present case. I have also said that as the appropriateness of the procedure has not been left to the subjectivity of the Tribunal and as the sub-rule does not say appropriate in the opinion of the Tribunal, the test would be objective arid the Court would always have the power of scrutinising the procedure carefully and of satisfying itself whether the enquiry was in the circumstances of the case appropriate or not. I am satisfied that for the reasons mentioned above it was not in the present case.
17. I do not want to express any opinion about the conduct of the petitioner. It may or may not have been bad. I neither exonerate him of the charges nor find him guilty of the same. I am allowing the petition on the ground that the reference to the Tribunal was not justified and the findings of the Tribunal are vitiated because they are based on inadmissible evidence. In my opinion the enquiry in which a statement recorded by the C.I.D. at the I back of the petitioner is taken as substantive evidence cannot be taken to be appropriate.
Inasmuch as the enquiry contemplated by the Tribunal Rules like proceedings under R. 55 of the Civil Service Rules is a part of the reasonable opportunity of showing cause contemplated by Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India, it must be held that the first part of the opportunity has not been extended to the petitioner. True, no final orders have been made by the Governor but himself having made the reference he cannot be expected to hold it invalid. The Court must therefore intervene.
18. For the reasons given above the petition is allowed, the findings and the report of the Tribunal dated 26th September 1958 are quashed and the respondents are restrained from taking any action against the petitioner on the basis of the said findings and report. There is no order as to costs.