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Nelson Motis Versus Union Of India And Another

1992 (9) TMI 355 - SUPREME COURT

C.A. 3516 OF 1992 - Dated:- 2-9-1992 - L M Sharma, M Punchhi, & Y Dayal, JJ. ORDER Lalit Mohan Sharma, J. 1. Special leave is granted. 2. The main question which has been raised in this appeal relates to the interpretation and scope of Rule 10(4) of the Central Civil Services (Classification Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, and its consequent validity. 3. A disciplinary proceeding was initiated against the appellant on the basis of several charges and an inquiry was conducted. The Inquiry Of .....

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ant, the proceeding got vitiated in law. Relying upon an earlier Full Bench decision of the Tribunal the plea was accepted and the application was allowed setting aside the penalty and directing reinstatement of the appellant with the observations that it would be open to the authorities concerned to take up the proceedings afresh, unless they chose to drop the same. It was also observed that a crimur 1 case which had been started against the appellant on the basis of the same charges had conclu .....

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from 4.2.1984, the date on which he was removed from service. This order was challenged by the appellant by a fresh application before the Tribunal, registered as OA No. 631 of 1989. The continuance of the enquiry was impugned on the ground of the appellant's acquittal in the criminal case. So far the question of deemed suspension is concerned, it was contended on behalf of the appellant that Sub-rule (4) to Rule 10 was ultra vires Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. Both the points were .....

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m those of a departmental disciplinary proceeding and an order of acquittal, therefore, cannot conclude the departmental proceeding. Besides, the Tribunal has pointed out that the acts which led to the initiation of the departmental disciplinary proceedings were not exactly the same which were the subject matter of the criminal case. 6. The other question relating to the automatic suspension of the appellant by virtue of Rule 10(4) is a serious one and in order to appreciate the argument of the .....

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val or compulsory retirement and shall remain in force until further orders. (4) Where a penalty of dismissal, removal or compulsory retirement from service imposed upon a Government servant is set aside or declared or rendered void in consequence of or by a decision of a Court, of Law and the disciplinary authority, on a consideration of the circumstances of the case, decides to hold a further inquiry against him on the allegations on which the penalty of dismissal, removal or compulsory retire .....

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en contended on behalf of the appellant that while in a case governed by Sub-rule (3), a Government servant, on the order of his punishment by way of dismissal, removal or compulsory retirement from service being set aside, stands suspended only if he had been under suspension earlier, Sub-rule (4) provides for automatic suspension of a Government servant, even if he was never under suspension at any point of time; and this invidious distinction amounts to illegal discrimination which renders Su .....

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ar language of Sub-rule (4), the same should be struck down as unconstitutional. In either event, it should be further held that the appellant, who was not under suspension earlier, cannot be treated to have been placed under suspension when his writ petition was allowed by the Tribunal. Reliance has been placed on the decision of the Central Administrative Tribunal in Shri N.V. Karwarkar v. The Administrator of Goa, Daman and Dieu and Ors. A.T.R. (1988) 2 C.A.T. 232. Reference was also made to .....

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that meaning, irrespective of consequences. The language of the sub-rule here is precise and unambiguous and, therefore, has to be understood in the natural and ordinary sense. As was observed in innumerable cases in India and in England, the expression used in the statute alone declares the intent of the legislature. In the words used by this Court in State of Uttar Pradesh v. Dr. Vijay Anand Maharaj , when the language is plain and unambiguous and admits of only one meaning, no question of con .....

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nsion" while the words "under suspension", is omitted in Sub-rule (4). Also the Sub-rule (3) directs that on the order of punishment being set aside, "the order of his suspension shall be deemed to have continued in force" but in Sub-rule (4) it has been said that "the Government servant shall be deemed to have been placed under suspension". The departure made by the author in the language of Sub-rule (4) from that of Sub-rule (3) is conscious and there is no s .....

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next arises for decision is whether as a result of the above interpretation, Sub-rule (4) has to be struck down on the ground of illegal discrimination. It is contended on behalf of the appellant that for the purpose of disciplinary proceedings, the cases governed by Sub-rules (3) and (4) cannot be divided into two separate classes and subjected to differential treatment. The point, therefore, is whether the basis of classification of these two categories bears a rational relationship to the ob .....

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llate authority while hearing a regular appeal under Rule 27 or by the President exercising the power of revision under Rule 29 or of review under Rule 29A. On all such occasions a reconsideration of the merit of the charge is involved. The grounds mentioned in Rule 27(2) permit the appellate authority to re-appraise the evidence on the record for examining whether the findings recorded by the disciplinary authority are warranted by such evidence. So far non-compliance of a procedural Rule is co .....

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ry nature of the case. Sub-rule (3) of Rule 10 is applicable to these groups of cases, where the interference with the penalty is connected with the merits of the charge against the Government servant. On the setting aside of the order of punishment in such a case, the finding against the Government servant disappears and he is restored to the earlier position. Consequently only if he was under suspension earlier, he will be deemed to have continued so with effect from the date of the order of d .....

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nciple is discovered, a court of law does not ordinarily substitute its own views on the evidence. But the matter does not end there. The scope of the sub-rule, for the purpose of automatic suspension has been further limited by the proviso as mentioned earlier in paragraph 6, which reads as follows: Provided that no such further inquiry shall be ordered unless it is intended to meet a situation where the Court has passed an order purely on technical grounds without going into the merits of the .....

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to the object of the Rules and Rule 10(4) has to be held as constitutionally valid. 12. The decision of the Constitution Bench in Khem Chand v. Union of India [1963] Supp. 1 S.CR. 229, was referred to on behalf of both sides. This Court was, in that case, dealing with a matter governed by the earlier Rules of 1957, but the learned Counsel relied upon the decision on the ground that the 1957 Rules and the present 1965 Rules are in pan materia. This is not quite accurate. The main portion of the .....

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(4) (without proviso) thus goes a long way to support the case of the respondent, but is of no help at all to the appellant. The learned Counsel for the appellant, has, however, placed great reliance on the observation in the judgment to the effect that it was "entirely unlikely however that ordinarily a Government servant will not be placed under suspension prior to the date of his dismissal". A close examination of the judgment clearly shows that on the basis of this observation, pr .....

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de in relation to Sub-rule (3) and not Sub-rule (4). Besides, we cannot ignore the fact that the observation was made in respect to Rule 12(4) of the 1957 Rules which did not contain the proviso as in the present Sub-rule (4). The learned Counsel for the appellant, next, drew our attention to the fact that Khem Chand, the appellant in that case, was under suspension earlier, and, on that basis urged that the case is distinguishable. We do not find any merit in this suggestion. The decision uphol .....

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