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Hansraj Kahan Chand Vs. Union of India (Uoi) Through the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 230-D of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1966P& H447
ActsCentral Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1957 - Rules 15, 18 and 18(1) - Schedule - Article 311(2)
AppellantHansraj Kahan Chand
RespondentUnion of India (Uoi) Through the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and ors.
Appellant Advocate B.R. Aggarwal and; O.P. Sharma, Advs.
Respondent Advocate Parkash Narain, Addl. Central Govt. Counsel
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....that the appellant had been convicted of forgery. he says that if a person is convicted on a criminal charge he can be dismissed without any enquiry even if the conduct taken into consideration is the conduct for which he had been convicted, as well as any other conduct, referring to the facts of the present case, mr. parkash narain submits that the appellant had been convicted of a criminal charge, namely, contempt of court, and even if he was dismissed for having committed forgery as well as contempt no opportunity was required to be given. the dismissal for a conduct other than the conduct leading to a conviction on a criminal charge could only be ordered after an enquiry as provided in rule 15. i can well visualise a case where the conduct of a person may constitute several..........and the fourth line appears to have been added later on by way of some sort of defence to the contempt charge.'again while considering the sentence to be awarded to the appellant me court said:'the next question is what is the suitable punishment which can be awarded to the respondents in the circumstances of this case. the offence of hans raj, bailiff, appears to me to be the gravest. apart from disobeying the order of this court, after he had come to know that the eviction had been stayed, he went to the length of subsequently adding a line in the statement of kartar singh in order to counter kartar singh's allegation regarding the newspaper.'after this judgment had been delivered the administrative sub-judge, delhi, by his order dated 15th march, 1963, dismissed the appellant.....
Judgment:

S.K. Kapur, J.

1. This regular second appeal is directed against the judgment of Shri K.S. Sidhu, Senior Subordinate Judge, Delhi, dated the 29th July, 1965. The appellant was convicted by this Court on 21st February. 1963, for committing contempt of Court and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 250 or in default of payment to suffer simple imprisonment for one month. In the course of the judgment this Court observed as under:

'The Bailiff Hans Raj has aggravated his offence by adding to the statement of Kartar Singh what he had not stated. The statement of Kartar Singh runs in four lines and the first three lines admittedly contain what Kartar Singh had said. The fourth and the last line has been inserted in the space left between the third line and the words 'Alabad' at one place and 'Gawahasud' at two places. The fourth line is to the following effect:

'I had seen the list in the Hindustan Times, dated 10-1-1963. I cannot produce the same.'

There is over-writing on some of the words and the fourth line appears to have been added later on by way of some sort of defence to the contempt charge.'

Again while considering the sentence to be awarded to the appellant me Court said:

'The next question is what is the suitable punishment which can be awarded to the respondents in the circumstances of this case. The offence of Hans Raj, Bailiff, appears to me to be the gravest. Apart from disobeying the order of this Court, after he had come to know that the eviction had been stayed, he went to the length of subsequently adding a line in the statement of Kartar Singh in order to counter Kartar Singh's allegation regarding the newspaper.'

After this judgment had been delivered the Administrative Sub-Judge, Delhi, by his order dated 15th March, 1963, dismissed the appellant from service with immediate effect. The opening part of the order of the learned Administrative Sub-Judge is in the following words:

'Whereas Shri Hans Raj, Process Server, Civil Courts, Delhi, has been convicted on a criminal charge of contempt of Court and committing forgery by the Hon'ble Judges of the Punjab High Court, Circuit Bench, Delhi. Two contentions have been raised by the learned counsel for the appellant:

(1) The appellant could not have been dismissed without an enquiry as provided in Article 311(2) of the Constitution or by Rule 15 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1957; and

(2) The dismissal order is bad on its face inasmuch as the same is based on the wrong assumption that the appellant had been convicted of forgery. If the punishing Authority had not been influenced by the aforesaid mistaken view he may have awarded no punishment or a lesser punishment.

The learned counsel contends that the appellant has been dismissed without any enquiry and that could be done under Rule 13 of the said Rules only if he had been dismissed on the ground of conduct which had led to his conviction on a criminal charge. He further submits that proviso (a) to Sub-article (2) of Article 311 of the Constitution excludes the applicability of Sub-article (2) only when a person is dismissed on the ground of conduct which had led to his conviction on a criminal charge. According to the learned counsel, conviction of the appellant for contempt of Court was not a conviction on a criminal charge and it was, therefore, obligatory to hold an enquiry as provided in Article 311 of the Constitution and R. 15 of the said Rules.

2. Mr. Parkash Narain, the learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, submits that dismissal of the appellant was on the ground of conduct which had led to his conviction on a criminal charge since the conviction for contempt was a conviction on a criminal charge. He further submits that the dismissal contemplated by Rule 18 and by proviso (a) to Article 311(2) of the Constitution is on account of conduct of the employee and not on account of his conviction. He says that if a person is convicted on a criminal charge he can be dismissed without any enquiry even if the conduct taken into consideration is the conduct for which he had been convicted, as well as any other conduct, Referring to the facts of the present case, Mr. Parkash Narain submits that the appellant had been convicted of a criminal charge, namely, contempt of Court, and even if he was dismissed for having committed forgery as well as contempt no opportunity was required to be given.

He further emphasises the above-quoted passages from the judgment of this Court and submits that, as a matter of fact, this Court found that the appellant had committed forgery and consequently this misconduct could also have been taken into consideration for the purpose of inflicting punishment on the appellant. I need not pronounce on the validity of the appellant's contention that his conviction was not on a criminal charge since I am inclined to agree with the learned counsel for the appellant that he ought to succeed on his second contention. Assuming for the sake of arguments that the appellant had been convicted on a criminal charge, namely, contempt of Court, no opportunity need have been given to him either under Article 311 of the Constitution or under Rule 18 of the said Rules in case he had been dismissed on the ground of conduct which had led to his conviction on a criminal charge. Sub-rule (1) of Rule 18 is more or less to the same effect as Article 311(2), Proviso (a) and provides that where a penalty is imposed on a Government servant on the ground of conduct which has led to his conviction on a criminal charge no enquiry as contemplated by Rule 15 need be held. It is, therefore, clear that before an action under Rule 18 (1) can be justified his dismissal must be on the ground of conduct which has led to his conviction. What is the position here? The conduct of committing forgery never led to the appellant's conviction on a criminal charge. The dismissal for a conduct other than the conduct leading to a conviction on a criminal charge could only be ordered after an enquiry as provided in Rule 15.

I can well visualise a case where the conduct of a person may constitute several offences. The person concerned may have been convicted only for one of these offences, yet he may be dismissed for that conduct without an enquiry thought convicted for all the offences that could be said to have been committed as a result of that conduct. To give one example take the case of a Government servant who accepts illegal gratification. That may constitute offences under the Indian Penal Code as well as Prevention of Corruption Act. He may be tried and convicted only for an offence under the Indian Penal Code, yet his conduct of accepting illegal gratification would be one leading to his conviction on a criminal charge. In such a case if the punishing Authority says that the employee has accepted illegal gratification in violation of the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code and should, therefore, be dismissed without an enquiry, he would be right, because the conduct of employee complained against is that of accepting bribe and that conduct has led to his conviction on a criminal charge. In this case the conduct of committing forgery was distinct from the conduct of committing contempt and the former was never the subject-matter of any charge or conviction. If the dismissal had been only for commission of contempt of Court the order may not be assailable, but, that is not the case. It follows that Rule 15 was, in any case, attracted since one of the grounds of dismissal was commission of forgery. No such opportunity having been given the order based on the said two grounds must be held to be illegal.

Faced with this situation, Mr. Parkash Narain submitted that word 'conviction' in Rule 18 (1) must be given a wide interpretation and since the High Court found that the appellant had committed forgery it was a conviction for forgery within the meaning of Rule 18(1). I am afraid, I do not agree. The fact that the Court observed in considering the sentence to be awarded that the appellant had committed forgery cannot be said to be a conviction on a criminal charge. In this view, the appeal must succeed and the dismissal order set aside. There will be no order as to costs. It would, however, be open to the authorities concerned to take such fresh action as they may deem proper.


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