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Union of India and ors. Vs. Madan Lal Sethee - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetter Patent No. 89 of 1975
Judge
Reported inILR1979Delhi312
ActsCentral Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 - Rule 27
AppellantUnion of India and ors.
RespondentMadan Lal Sethee
Advocates: Charanjit Talwar,; G.S. Vohra and; M.S. Vohra, Advs
Excerpt:
.....rules 1965 - rule 27--whether appellate authority considering an appeal under rule 27(2), should pass a speaking order.; in this letters patent appeal the question was 'whether the appellate authority considering an appeal under rule 27(2) of central civil services (classification, control & appeal) rules, 1965 is required to pass a speaking order.'; the respondent is a government servant, who was suspended on 4-11-1970 and on the same day was charged for misconduct and an enquiry was held against him under rule 14 of the central civil services, (classification, control & appeal) rules, 1965. on may 5/6, 1972, the respondent was removed from service with effect from may 6, 1972. on appeal, appellant no.2 converted the order of removal into one of reduction in rank but did not..........27(2) of central civil services (classification, control and appeal) rules, 1965, is required to pass a speaking order isthe question raised in this letters patent appeal.(2) the relevant material facts are these. the respondent is a government servant. he was placed under suspension on november 4, 1970. the same day he was charged for misconduct and enquiry was held against him under rule 14 of central civil services (classification, control and appeal) rules, 1965, (referred to as 'the rules'). on may 5/6, 1972 appellant no. 3 passed an order removing the respondent from service with effect from may 6, 1972. the respondent preferred an appeal to appellant no. 2 who by his order dated january 4, 1973 converted the order of removal from service into one of reduction in rank. the.....
Judgment:

V.D. Misra, J.

(1) Whether the appellate authority considering an appeal under Rule 27(2) of Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, is required to pass a speaking order

ISthe question raised in this letters patent appeal.

(2) The relevant material facts are these. The respondent is a Government servant. He was placed under suspension on November 4, 1970. The same day he was charged for misconduct and enquiry was held against him under Rule 14 of Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, (referred to as 'the Rules'). On May 5/6, 1972 appellant No. 3 passed an order removing the respondent from service with effect from May 6, 1972. The respondent preferred an appeal to appellant No. 2 who by his order dated January 4, 1973 converted the order of removal from service into one of reduction in rank. The respondent challenged this order by a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Various contentions were raised by the respondent. A learned Single Judge of this Court struck down the impugned order on the only ground that it was a non-speaking order, and remanded the case to appellant No. 3 for consideration on merits in accordance with law. The impugned order is in the following words :

'HAVINGconsidered the appeal dated the 5th August, 1972 of Shri M. L. Sethee, Ex-Cashier of Hrpu, Dehra Dun against the order of removal from service made by the Director, Hrpu, Dehra' Dun, I, the Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of defense and the Director General defense Research and Development, make the following order:

(A)the order of removal of service made by the Director Hrpu, Dehra Dun, in respect of Shri M. L. Sethee is set aside;

(B)Shri M. L. Sethee on reinstatement shall be reduced to the grade of Lower Division Clerk ;

(C)the period of absence caused by suspension and subsequent removal from service shall not count as duty for any purpose except pension. The absence shall be regularised by grant of leave of any kind due, followed by extraordinary leave without any and allowances :

(D)Shri M. L. Sethee shall be transferred out of Hrpu, Dehra Dun.

SD/-

B.D. Nagchaudhery.'

Mr. Charanjit Talwar, Central Government Standing Counsel, contends that under Rule 27(2) the appellate authority is not required to pass a speaking order. He submits that only if the law enjoins upon the authority to pass a speaking order, the authority is bound to give reasons. Otherwise, he contends, no reason need be given since no principle of natural justice is involved in passing an order.

(3) At this stage the relevant part of Rule 27 may be noticed. It is in the following terms:

'27.Consideration of appeal

(1)In the case of an appeal against an order of suspension

(2)In the case of an appeal against an order imposing any of the penalties specified in rule 11 or enhancing any penalty imposed under the said rule, the appellate authority shall consider :

(A)whether the procedure laid down in these rules has been complied with and, if not, whether such noncompliance has resulted in the violation of any provisions of the Constitution of India or in the failure of justice;

(B)whether the findings of the disciplinary authority are warranted by the evidence on the record; and

(C)Whether the penalty or the enhanced penalty imposed is adequate, inadequate or severe :

and pass orders :

(I)confirming, enhancing, reducing, or setting aside the penalty; or

(II)remitting the case to the authority which imposed or enhanced the penalty or to any other authority with such direction as it may deem fit in the circumstances of the case; * * * * * * *'

Before analysing this provision we will notice the decisions of the Supreme Court on the necessity of passing a speaking order.

(4) In the appellant applied for the renewal of lease in mining manganese ore to the State Government. The application was rejected. The order of rejection was a speaking order and contained the reasons for rejection. The appellant filed a revision against this order before the Central Government. The revision was rejected by a non-speaking order. Subba Rao, J., (as he then was) held that though a Court could dismiss an appeal or revision in liming without giving any reasons, it was the duty of the Executive Officer to pass a speaking order. He observed thus:

'THEleast a tribunal can do is to disclose its mind. The compulsion of disclosure guarantees consideration. The condition to give reasons introduces clarity and excludes or at any rate minimizes arbitrariness; it gives satisfaction to the party against whom the order is made; and it also enables an appellate or supervisory Court to keep the tribunals within bounds. A reasoned order is a desirable condition of judicial disposal. * * * * * * *

IFtribunals can make orders without giving reasons, the said power in the hands of unscrupulous or dishonest officers may turn out to be a potent weapon for abuse of power. But, if reasons for an order are to be given it will be an effective restraint on such abuse, as the order, if it disclose extraneous or irrelevant consideration will be subject to judicial scrutiny and correction. A speaking order will at its best be a reasonable and at its worst be at least a plausible one. The public should not be deprived of this only safeguard.

IT is said that this principle is not uniformly followed by appellate Courts, for appeals and revisions are dismissed by appellate and revisional Courts in liming without giving any reasons. There is an essential distinction between a Court and an administrative tribunal. A judge is trained to look at things objectively, uninfluenced by consideration of policy or expendiency; but an executive officer generally looks at things from the stand-point of policy and expediency. The habit of mind of an executive officer so formed cannot be expected to change from function to function or from act to act. So it is essential that some restrictions shall be imposed on tribunals in the matter of passing orders affecting the rights of parties : and the least they should do is to give reasons for their orders.'

(5) However, the two companion judges of Subba Rao, J., did not agree with the proposition that it was the duty of the Central Government to give any reasons.

(6) In a Bench of five judges of the Supreme Court overruled the majority judgment in the case of Madhya Pradesh Industries Ltd., and quoted with approval the observations of Subba Rao, J.

(7) After observing that Madhya Pradesh Industries Ltd. case has been overruled by the case of Bhagat Raja (supra), the court observed thus;

'NECESSITYto give sufficient reasons which disclose proper appreciation of the problem to be solved, and the mental process by which the conclusion is reached, in cases where a non-judicial authority exercises judicial functions, is obvious. When judicial power is exercised by an authority normally performing executive or administrative functions this Court would require to be satisfied that the decision has been reached after due consideration of the merits of the dispute, uninfluenced by extraneous considerations of policy or expediency. The Court insists upon disclosure of reasons in support of the order on two grounds: one, that the party aggrieved in a proceeding before the High- Court or this Court has the opportunity to demonstrate that the reasons which persuaded the authority to reject his case were erroneous: the other, that the obligation to record reasons operates as a deterrent against possible arbitrary action by the executive authority invested with the judicial power.'

(8) Mr. Talwar contends that these cases have no relevance for the decision of the present appeal. According to the learned counsel, in those cases there were disputes between two parties and the Central Government was required under law to decide those disputes and under these circumstances the Government was required to pass a speacking order.

(9) In our opinion the above-mentioned decisions of the Supreme Court are relevant for the decision of the present case. In this case also there acre two parties. One is the respondent who was proceeded against and the other is the authority proceeding against him. The rule laid down by the Supreme Court applies to all tribunals which have to exercise quasi judicial functions. It is not denied that the appellate authority, in the present case, is performing a quasi judicial function while hearing the appeal.

(10) It is not correct to say that unless the law requires a Tribunal to give reasons for its decision, the Tribunal is at liberty either to give reasons or refund to pass a speaking order. The supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court extends to all tribunals in terms of Article 227 of the Constitution. It is, thereforee, necessary for a Tribunal to pass a speaking order to enable the Courts to appreciate the reasons which weigh with the Tribunal in passing an order unless the law provides otherwise.

(11) In our opinion, Rule 27 does postulate the passing of a speaking order. The appellate authority is required to consider various matters enumerated in sub-clauses (a), (b) (c) of sub-rule (2) of rule 27. It should be apparent from the order that the appellate authority has taken into consideration all the relevant matters for arriving at a particular conclusion. It is not sufficient for the authority to use vague words like 'having considered the appeal'. The inpugned order does not show whether the appellate authority agreed with the finding of the disciplinary authority holding the respondent guilty of misconduct, and, if so, for what reasons. It also does not show why it was thought necessary by the appellate authority to reduce the respondent in rank to the grade of Lower Division Clerk. It may be noticed that in the case of Travancore Rayon Ltd. (supra), the Central Government used somewhat similar vague words while rejecting the revision. That order reads:

'THEGovernment of India have carefully considered the points made by the applicant (s), but see no justification for interfering with the order in appeal. The revision application is accordingly rejected.'

(12) We find that similar view has been taken in M. K. Bakshi, Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Shri H. K.Khanna, Vijay Singh Yadava, Ex-Stock Assistant, Sheep and Wool Extension.

(13) We are, thereforee, in respectful agreement with the view taken by the learned Single Judge. The appeal is dismissed with costs.


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