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Satyavir Singh and ors. Vs. Union of India (Uoi) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService;Constitution
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Appeal Nos. 242 and 576 of 1982
Judge
Reported inAIR1986SC555; [1986(52)FLR62]; 1986LabIC1; (1986)ILLJ36SC; 1985(2)SCALE488; (1985)4SCC252; [1985]Supp2SCR791; 1986(1)SLJ1(SC)
ActsCentral Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 - Rule 19; Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 149, 186, 332, 333, 342, 353 and 506; Constitution of India - Articles 14, 22(5), 31-A(1), 31-B, 31-C, 32, 33, 74(2), 226, 309, 310, 310(1), 311 and 311(2)
AppellantSatyavir Singh and ors.;d.P. Vohra
RespondentUnion of India (Uoi) and ors.;union of India (Uoi) and ors.
Appellant Advocate V.N. Ganpule and; V.M. Tarkunde and; G.B. Sathe, Advs
Respondent Advocate K. Parasaran, ; Attorney General and ; A. Subhashini, Advs.
Prior historyFrom the Judgment and Order dated September 25, 1981 of the Delhi High Court in Civil Writ Petition 1786 of 1980
Excerpt:
.....the affidavits filed in the high court clearly show that the situation had so changed after the orders of suspension were issued against the appellants that it was not reasonably practicable to hold any inquiry against the appellants. the affidavits filed in the high court clearly show that this is exactly what happened when the suspension orders were issued and that what was required was prompt and urgent action against those who were considered to be the ring leaders and that once such action was taken the situation improved and started becoming normal. we do now how what precisely the situation at lucknow was and how many employees were actively engaged in leading the agitation, and the fact that it was thought fit to dismiss only two employees of the lucknow office cannot lead to..........several points were urged in support of this contention.16. the first point was that the orders of suspension showed that a disciplinary inquiry was in fact contemplated and, if so, nothing had happened between the date of the orders of suspension and the date of the orders of dismissal to come to the conclusion that the inquiry was not reasonably practicable. (each order or suspension stated that the concerned employee was being suspended in the exercise of the powers conferred by rule 10 (1) of the said rules because a disciplinary proceeding against him under rule 14 of the said rules 'was contemplated.) clause (a) of rule 10(1) confers power upon a disciplinary authority to place the government servant under suspension where a disciplinary proceeding against him is.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Whereas a large number of employees of the Cabinet Secretariat (R & AW) located at Delhi have for some time past been indulging in various acts of misconduct, indiscipline, intimidation and insubordination, such as abstaining from work, wilful neglect of the duties assigned to them and disobedience of lawful instructions and orders of the official superiors;

and whereas the said employees are also regularly holding meetings and demonstrations unauthorisedly and in violation of specific orders, within the office premises and its precincts;

and whereas the said employees have resorted to coercion, intimidation and incitement of other fellow employees which has a serious demoralizing effect on the members of the organization, and whereas such conduct of the said employees is unbecoming of a Government servant and is in gross violation of the Central Civil Service (Conduct) Rules, 1964;

and whereas Shri Satyavir Singh, Field Assistant, is one of the said employees actively participating in such activities; and whereas due to the practice of coercion, intimidation and such like threats and postures adopted by the said employees the atmosphere is so tense and abnormal that no witness will co-operate with any proceedings in accordance with the provisions of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965;

and whereas I am satisfied that the circumstances are such that it is not reasonably practicable to hold a regular enquiry as contemplated by the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal.) Rules, 1965;

and whereas on a consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, I am satisfied that the penalty of dismissal from service should be imposed on Shri Satyavir Singh, Field Assistant;

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers under the proviso (b) of Clause (2) of Article 311 of the Constitution read with rule 19 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, I as the appointing authority do hereby dismiss Shri Satyavir Singh from the post of Field Assistant in the R & AW with effect from the forenoon of December 6, 1980.

Sd/-

6.12.80.

(H.N. KAK)

Joint Director

Contentions

15. Though several contentions were raised in the said writ petition, in view of the judgment in Tulsiram Patel's Case : (1985)IILLJ206SC , the only contention taken at the hearing of these two Appeals was that the said orders of dismissal were passed mala fide and the reasons given therein for dispensing with the inquiry were not true and that an inquiry was reasonably practicable. Several points were urged in support of this contention.

16. The first point was that the orders of suspension showed that a disciplinary Inquiry was in fact contemplated and, if so, nothing had happened between the date of the orders of suspension and the date of the orders of dismissal to come to the conclusion that the inquiry was not reasonably practicable. (Each order or suspension stated that the concerned employee was being suspended in the exercise of the powers conferred by Rule 10 (1) of the said Rules because a disciplinary proceeding against him under Rule 14 of the said Rules 'was contemplated.) Clause (a) of Rule 10(1) confers power upon a disciplinary authority to place the government servant under suspension where a disciplinary proceeding against him is contemplated or is pending. Rule 14 prescribes the procedure for imposing major penalties. One of the major penalties set out in Rule 11 is the penalty or dismissal from service. It is thus clear that at the date of the orders of suspension disciplinary proceedings against the Appellants was in contemplation. This however, does not mean that the situation will continue to be the same and that at no time thereafter will the holding of the inquiry become 'not reasonably practicable'. As pointed out in Tulsiram Patel's Case : (1985)IILLJ206SC , it is not necessary that a situation which makes the holding of an inquiry not reasonably practicable should exist before the disciplinary inquiry is initiated, because a situation which renders the holding of an inquiry not reasonably practicable can come into being even during the course of an inquiry. The affidavits filed in the High Court clearly show that the situation had so changed after the orders of suspension were issued against the appellants that it was not reasonably practicable to hold any inquiry against the Appellants. The all-India pen-down strike was spreading. More and more centers in India were joining in the said strike. The position was fast deteriorating. Employees were being instigated into further acts of indiscipline and insubordination and loyal employees and senior officers were being intimidated. Meetings and demonstrations were regularly being held within the office premises and their precincts and there was no possibility of any witness coming forward to give evidence against the Appellants who were said to have taken a leading part in this agitation. It is also pertinent to note that when the first batch of dismissal orders was served upon some of the Appellants on December 8, 1980, the pen-down strike was called off on December 9, 1980. In such a situation as was then prevailing, prompt and urgent action was required to bring the situation under control. As pointed out in Tulsiram Patel's Case : (1985)IILLJ206SC , sometimes not taking prompt action may result in the trouble spreading and the situation worsening and at times becoming uncontrolable, and may at times be also construed by the trouble-makers and agitators as a sign of weakness on the part of the authorities and encourage them to step up the tempo of their activities or agitation. The affidavits filed in the High Court clearly show that this is exactly what happened when the suspension orders were issued and that what was required was prompt and urgent action against those who were considered to be the ring leaders and that once such action was taken the situation improved and started becoming normal.

17. The next point which was urged was that while eight employees were dismissed for their part in the agitation which took, place in Delhi, in respect of the agitation which took place in the Lucknow office of the RAW only two employees of that office were dismissed and, therefore, there was no application of mind on the part of the disciplinary authority. It is very difficult to understand this argument. We do now how what precisely the situation at Lucknow was and how many employees were actively engaged in leading the agitation, and the fact that it was thought fit to dismiss only two employees of the Lucknow Office cannot lead to the conclusion that the Appellants were wrongly dismissed without any application of mind.

18. The next point which was urged was that even on December 6, 1980, a suspension order was issued against one of the employees and that on December 9, 1980, suspension orders were issued against two other employees, and that the issuance of these suspension orders on the 6th and 9th December show what the holding of the inquiry was reasonably practicable. As the charge-sheets issued against these three employees show, these employees were working in the R.K. Puram Office and are not alleged to have taken any leading part in the agitation or in bringing about the atmosphere of violence, insubordination and indiscipline.

19. The next point was that it was not alleged by the authorities that anyone was physically injured in the agitation. This is another argument which is difficult to understand. As held in Tulsiram Patel's case, it will not be reasonably practicable to hold an inquiry where an atmosphere of violence or of general indiscipline and insubordination prevails. It is, therefore, not necessary that the disciplinary authority should wait until incidents take place in which physical injury is caused to others before dispensing with the inquiry.

20. It was next submitted that after the suspension orders, the appellants were prohibited from visiting any of the Cabinet Secretariat Offices except for the purpose of collecting their they could not have held any meeting or demonstration inside the office premises. There is no substance in this submission. The admitted position is that the Appellants were regularly coming to the office building and talking with other employees over the wall and at the gate twice a day at 11.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. and were making inflamatory speeches and holding out threats.

21. The point which was next urged in support of the contention that the impugned orders were passed mala fide was that even though co-workers may not have been available as witnesses, there were policemen and police officers posted inside and outside the building and they were available to give evidence and that superior officers were also available to give evidence. The crucial and material evidence against the Appellants would be that of their co-workers for these co-workers were directly concerned in and were eye-witnesses to the various incidents. Where the disciplinary authority feels that crucial, and material evidence will not be available in an inquiry because the witnesses who could give such evidence are intimidated ana would not come forward and the only evidence which would be available, namely, in this case, of policemen, police officers and senior officers, would only be peripheral and cannot relate to all die charges and that, therefore, leading only such evidence may be assailed in a court of law as being a mere farce of an inquiry and a deliberate attempt to keep back material witnesses, the disciplinary authority would be justified in coining to the conclusion that an inquiry is not reasonably practicable. The affidavit filed by the Joint Director, Research and Analysis Wing, Cabinet Secretariat, Hari Narain Kak, who had passed the impugned orders sets out in detail the various acts of intimidation, violence and incitement committed by each of the Appellants. Copies of the written reasons for dispensing with the inquiry in the case of the Appellants have also been annexed to the said affidavit. It is clear from a perusal of the said affidavit. It is clear from a perusal of the said affidavit and its annexures that the police officers, policemen and senior officers could not have possibly given evidence, with respect to all these acts. The said affidavit further states that the senior officers of the RAW in the said charter of demands submitted by the said Association and the evidence of senior officers would have been attacked as being biased and partisan. There is thus no substance in this point also.

22. The last point which was urged that D.P. Vohra, the Appellant in Civil Appeal No. 576 of 1982 was posted at Jammu and could not, therefore, have taken any active part in the agitation which took place in Delhi. This submission is completely belied by the said affidavit of Hari Narain Kak. The said affidavit shows that during the relevant time Vohra had taken leave for personal reasons and have come down to Delhi and had played on active role in the said agitation. He made inflammatory speeches on the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th of December, 1980 and had instigated the other employees to continue the agitation and intimidated those who had not joined in the agitation into doing so. In a speech made by him on December 4, 1980, he had tried to make public some of the top secret operations of the RAW claiming to have special knowledge of these operations by virtue of having been posted earlier in a sensitive oranch. He was also actively engaged in collecting funds for continuing the agitation.

23. We are, therefore, of the opinion that Clause (b) of the second proviso to Article 311(2) and Rule 19 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, were properly applied to the case of each of the Appellants and the impugned orders of dismissal were validly passed against them.

Final Orders

24. In the result, both these Appeals fail and are dismissed and the interim orders passed in these Appeals are hereby vacated. If any payment has been made to any of the Appellants in the pursuance of any interim order, such Appellant will not be liable to refund such amount or any part thereof. The Appellants have a right to file a departmental appeal under the Central Civil Services (Classification Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965. In case they desire to file such an appeal, we give them time until October 31, 1985, to do so and we direct the appellate authority to condone in the exercise of its power under the proviso to Rule 25 of the said Rules the delay in filing the appeal and to hear and dispose of such appeals expeditiously subject to what has been laid down in Tulsiram Patel's case and summarized in the earlier part of this judgment.

25. There will be no order as to the costs of these Appeals.


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