Tag Archives: service law

Compulsory Retirement — Subjective Satisfaction

The Hon’ble Apex Court in re: S. Ramachandra Raju v. State of Orissa, 1994 Supp (3) SCC 424, has held that the subjective satisfaction must be based on adverse material of the incumbent. It was held as under:

“In Baikuntha Nath Das v. Chief District Medical Officer, (1992) 2 SCC 299, a bench of three Judges of the Hon’ble Apex Court was to consider whether uncommunicated adverse remarks would be conisered to order compulsory retirement. The Court considering the scope of Fundamental Rule 56(j) on the anvil of administrative law, held that the order of compulsory retirement has to be passed on forming the opinion that it is in the public interest to retire a Government Servant compulsorily though the order is passed on the subjective satisfaction of the Government, the Government or the Review Committee shall have to consider the entire record of service before taking a decision in the matter, of course, attaching more importance to record of and performance during the later years. The record so considered would naturally include the entries in the confidential records, character rolls, both favourable and adverse. The order of compulsory retirement is not liable to be quashed on mere showing that while passing it, uncommunicated adverse remarks were taken into consideration. Further, this does not mean that judicial scrutiny is excluded altogether. Though the court would not examine the matter as an appellate court, they may interfere if they are satisfied that the order if mala fide or passed on no evidence or that is arbitrary, in the sense that no reasonable person would form the requisite opinion or the given material, in short, if it is found to be a perverse order, the remedy under Article 226 is an important safeguard, since the remedy is an effective check against arbitrary, mala fide or perverse actions.”  Mukhtar Ahmad v. State of U.P., 2018 (3) ESC 1432.

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Appointment Obtained – Fraudulently

Fraudulently obtained order of appointment or approval can be recalled by the authority concerned. In such cases, merely because the employee continued in service for a number of years, on the basis of fraudulently obtained order, cannot get any equity in his favour or any estoppels against the employer/authority. When appointment or approval has been obtained by a person on the basis of forged documents, it would amount to misrepresentation and fraud on the employer. It would create no equity in his favour or any estoppel against the employer to cancel such appointment or approval since “Fraud and justice never dwell together.” Committee of Management v. State of U.P., (2018) 1 UPLBEC 610.

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Delay in Payment of Retirement Dues – Penal Interest

Interest on delayed payment on retiral dues has been upheld time and again in a catena of decisions. In Shamal Chand Tiwari v. State of U.P.¸(W.P. No. 34804 of 2004) decided on 06.12.2005 it was held: “Now the question comes about entitlement of the petitioner for interest on delayed payment of retiral benefits. Since the date of retirement is known to the respondents well in advance, there is no reason for them not to make arrangement for payment of retiral benefits to the petitioner well in advance so that as soon as the employee retires, his retiral benefits are paid on the date of retirement or within reasonable time thereafter. Inaction and inordinate delay in payment of retiral benefits is nothing but culpable delay warranting liability of interest on such dues. In the case of State of Kerala v. M. Padnaban Nair, 1985 (1) SLR 750, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held as under:
“Since the date of retirement of every Government Servant is very much known in advance we fail to appreciate why the process collecting the requisite information and issuance of these two documents should not be completed at least a week before the date of retirement so that the payment of gratuity amount could be made to the Government Servant on the date he retires or on the following day and pension at the expiry of the following months. The necessity for prompt payment of the retirement dues to a Government Servant immediately after his retirement cannot be overemphasized and it would not be unreasonable to direct that the liability to pay penal interest on these dues at the current market rate should commence at the expiry of two months from the date of retirement.” Dr. Chandrakant Sharma v. Vice Chancellor, 2017 (1) ESC 128.

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Eligibility for Selection – Possession of Prescribed Qualification

The principle enunciated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in State of U.P. v. Vijay Kumar Mishra, (2017) 11 SCC 521 are as under:
“The position is fairly well settled that when a set of eligibility qualifications are prescribed under the rules and an applicant who does not possess the prescribed qualification for the post at the time of submission of application or by the cut-off date, if any, prescribed under the rules or stated in the advertisement, is not eligible to be considered for such post. It is relevant to note here that in the rules or in the advertisement no power was vested in any authority to make any relaxation relating to the prescribe qualifications for the post. Therefore, the case of a candidate who did not come within the zone of consideration for the post could not be compared with a candidate who possessed the prescribed qualifications and was considered and appointed to the post. Ramesh Chand v. State of Haryana, (2017) 11 SCC 516.

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Deficiencies in Ability – Would Not Constitute Misconduct

The Supreme Court in Union of India v. J. Ahmed, AIR 1979 SC 1022, observed that failure to attain the highest expectation of an officer holding responsible post or lack of aptitude of quality of leadership would not constitute as failure to maintain devotion to duty because if it is so then every officer rated average would be guilty of misconduct. In the said case the charges leveled against the officer indicated lack of efficiency, lack of foresight and lack of indecisiveness but the Supreme Court observed that these deficiencies in personal character or personal ability would not constitute misconduct for the purposes of disciplinary proceedings.
In M.M. Malhotra v. Union of of India, JT 2005 (9) SC 506, it was observed as under:
“Misconduct” as stated in Batt’s Law of Master and Servant (4th Edition) (at page 63) is comprised positive acts and not mere neglects or failures. The definition of the work as given in Ballentine’s Law Dictionary is “A transgression of some established and definite rule of action, where no discretion is left except what necessity may demand, it is a violation of definite law, a forbidden act. It differs from carelessness.” Chandra Bhushan Tripathi v. State of U.P., 2017 (6) AWC 6106.

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Departmental and Criminal Proceedings – Are Different

The law is fairly well settled. Acquittal by a criminal court would not debar an employer from exercising power in accordance with the Rules and Regulations in force. The two proceedings, criminal and departmental, are entirely different. They operate in different fields and have different objectives. Whereas the object of criminal trial is to inflict appropriate punishment on the offender, the purpose of enquiry proceedings is to deal with the delinquent departmentally and to impose penalty in accordance with the service rules. In a criminal trial, incriminating statement made by the accused in certain circumstances or before certain officers is totally inadmissible in evidence. Such strict rules of evidence and procedure would not apply to departmental proceedings. The degree of proof which is necessary to order a conviction is different from the degree of proof necessary to record the commission of delionquency. The rule relating to appreciation of evidence in the two proceedings is also not similar. In criminal law, burden of proof is on the prosecution and unless the prosecution is able to prove the guilt of the accused “beyond reasonable doubt”, he cannot be convicted by a court of law. In a departmental enquiry, on the other hand, penalty can be imposed on the delinquent officer on a finding recorded on the basis of “preponderance of probability”. Acquittal by the Trial Court, therefore, does not ipso facto, absolve the employee from the liability under the disciplinary jurisdiction. Om Prakash Singh v. State Bank of India, 2016 (150) FLR 939.

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Communication of Order of Dismissal

In State of Punjab v. Amar Singh Harika, AIR 1966 SC 1313 it was held that mere passing of an order of dismissal or termination would not be effective unless it is published and communicated to the officer concerned. If the appointing authority passes an order of dismissal, but does not communicate it to the officer concerned, theoretically it is possible that unlike in the case on a judicial order pronounced in Court, the authority may change its mind and decide to modify its order. The order of dismissal passed by the appropriate authority and kept with itself, cannot be said to take effect unless the officer concerned knows about the said order and it is otherwise communicated to all the parties concerned. If it is held that mere passing of order of dismissal has the effect of terminating the services of the officer concerned, various complications may arise.

In Union of India v. Dinanath Shantaram Karekar, (1998) 7 SCC 569 it was held as under:

“Where the services are terminated, the status of the delinquent as a Government Servant comes to an end and nothing further remains to be done in the matter. But if the order is passed and merely kept in the file, it would not be treated to be an order terminating services nor shall the said order be deemed to have been communicated.” Dulu Devi v. State of Assam, (2016) 1 SCC 622.

 

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