Dismissal from Service on Violation of Channel by Class-IV Employee is not Proper : Supreme Court

dismissal from service

Dismissal from Service on Violation of Channel

Whether dismissal from service on violation of channel by Class-IV employee is  proper or not ?

The Supreme Court decided a case Chatrapal Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr SLP(C) No. 11975/2019. 

The Supreme Court held that dismissal from service for Class-IV employee for violation of channel is not proper. 

Representation to Higher Authorities  

The appellant was appointed on the post of Ardly (a class IV Post) in the Bareilly Judgeship.

He was getting less salary therefore made a representation to Higher Authorities.

Further, he made a representation dated 05.06.2003 to the Janapad Nyaayaadeesh.

And stated that he is deprived of the allowance that is admissible to the other incumbents.

Suspension by Disciplinary Authority

The District Judge placed the appellant under suspension vide Suspension Order dated 21.06.2003 and initiated a departmental inquiry.

Issue of Charge Sheet

The appellant was subjected to the departmental inquiry on two charges of misconduct and insubordination. For the first charge, it was alleged that he used inappropriate, derogatory and objectional language and made false allegations against the Central Nazir and higher officials and earlier also he had lodged a false report against the Presiding Officer of Aonla Court. For the second charge, he allegedly sent a representation dated 05.06.2003 to the Registrar General of the High Court and Harijan Society Welfare Minister as also to the Chief Minister without using the proper channel and without permission of the Head of the Department.

Inquiry Report

The Inquiry Officer in his report dated 21.04.2006 that the charges levelled against the appellant are duly established.

The District Judge, Bareilly accepted the inquiry report dated 21.04.2006 and vide order dated 30.04.2007 dismissed the appellant

Punishment Order by Disciplinary Authority

The Disciplinary Authority accepted the inquiry report and dismissed the appellant.

The appellant authority also affirm the dismissal order of the appellant vide Order 19.07.2007.

Writ Petition before High Court

Being aggrieved by the order dated 19.09.2007 passed by the Administrative Judge of the High Court of Allahabad, the appellant filed the Writ Petition (C) No. 297 of 2008 before the High Court.

High Court Judgment on Dismissal Matters

The High Court heard the matter and did not interfere in the dismissal Order.

Accordingly,  High Court dismissed the writ petition and upheld the dismissal Order of the employee.

Appeal before Supreme Court

The employee being aggrieved by the High Court Judgment on the dismissal matters file Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court of India.  

Supreme Court Judgment on Dismissal from Service

The Hon’ble Supreme Court considered various laws holding that there will be no termination without departmental Enquiry, if employee is confirmed.  

The Supreme Court also considered various laws dismissal from service , Judicial Intervention in Disciplinary Proceedings  and held as follows :-

“11. The charge no. 2 against the appellant concerns directly sending the representations to the High Court and Hon’ble Chief Minister/Minister without routing the same through proper channel. In this regard, it is suffice to observe that Class-IV employee, when in financial hardship, may represent directly to the superior but that by itself cannot amount to major misconduct for which punishment of termination from service should be imposed. Even otherwise, the appellant has cited examples of other employees of the District Court, Bareilly who have sent representations directly to the superiors, but no action has been taken against them.

Even otherwise, the appellant has cited examples of other employees of the District Court, Bareilly who have sent representations directly to the superiors, but no action has been taken against them.

12.   It is trite law that ordinarily the findings recorded by the Inquiry Officer should not be interfered by the appellate authority or by the writ court. However, when the finding of guilt recorded by the Inquiry Officer is based on perverse finding the same can always be interfered as held in Union of India vs. P. Gunasekaran3, State of Haryana vs. Rattan Singh4 and Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board vs. T.T. Murali Babu5. In P. Gunasekaran (supra), the following has been held by this Court in para nos. 12, 13, 16 & 17:-

“12. Despite the well-settled position, it is painfully disturbing to note that the High Court has acted as an appellate authority in the disciplinary proceedings, reappreciating even the evidence before the enquiry officer. The finding on Charge I was accepted by the disciplinary authority and was also endorsed by the Central Administrative Tribunal. In disciplinary proceedings, the High Court is not and cannot act as a second court of first appeal. The High Court, in exercise of its powers under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India, shall not venture into reappreciation of the evidence. The High Court can only see whether:

(a) the enquiry is held by a competent authority;

(b) the enquiry is held according to the procedure prescribed in that behalf;

(c) there is violation of the principles of natural justice in conducting the proceedings;

(d) the authorities have disabled themselves from reaching a fair conclusion by some considerations extraneous to the evidence and merits of the case;

(e) the authorities have allowed themselves to be influenced by irrelevant or extraneous considerations;

(f) the conclusion, on the very face of it, is so wholly arbitrary and capricious that no reasonable person could ever have arrived at such conclusion;

(g) the disciplinary authority had erroneously failed to admit the admissible and material evidence;

(h) the disciplinary authority had erroneously admitted inadmissible evidence which influenced the finding;

(i) the finding of fact is based on no evidence.

13. Under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India, the High Court shall not:

(i) reappreciate the evidence;

(ii) interfere with the conclusions in the enquiry, in case the same has been conducted in accordance with law;

(iii) go into the adequacy of the evidence;

(iv) go into the reliability of the evidence;

(v) interfere, if there be some legal evidence on which findings can be based.

(vi) correct the error of fact however grave it may appear to be;

(vii) go into the proportionality of punishment unless it shocks its conscience.

16. These principles have been succinctly summed up by the living legend and centenarian V.R. Krishna Iyer, J. in State of Haryana v. Rattan Singh [(1977) 2 SCC 491 : 1977 SCC (L&S) 298] . To quote the unparalleled and inimitable expressions: (SCC p. 493, para 4)

“4. in a domestic enquiry the strict and sophisticated rules of evidence under the Indian Evidence Act may not apply. All materials which are logically probative for a prudent mind are permissible. There is no allergy to hearsay evidence provided it has reasonable nexus and credibility. It is true that departmental authorities and administrative tribunals must be careful in evaluating such material and should not glibly swallow what is strictly speaking not relevant under the Indian Evidence Act.

For this proposition it is not necessary to cite decisions nor textbooks, although we have been taken through case law and other authorities by counsel on both sides. The essence of a judicial approach is objectivity, exclusion of extraneous materials or considerations and observance of rules of natural justice. Of course, fair play is the basis and if perversity or arbitrariness, bias or surrender of independence of judgment vitiate the conclusions reached, such finding, even though of a domestic tribunal, cannot be held good.”

17.   In all the subsequent decisions of this Court up to the latest in Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board v. T.T. Murali Babu (2014) 4 SCC 108: (2014) 1 SCC (L&S) 38, these principles have been consistently followed adding practically nothing more or altering anything.”

18.   Having considered the entire material available on record and keeping in view that the appellant is a Class-IV employee against whom charge no. 1 was found proved on the basis of perverse finding and charge no. 2 is only about sending the representation to the High Court directly without availing the proper channel, we deem it appropriate to set-aside the impugned judgment of the High Court as well as the order dated 30.04.2007 whereby the appellant was terminated from service. Consequently, the appellant is reinstated in service with all consequential benefits. The appeal is allowed.

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Tag: Dismissal from Service