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Service matter -Part III of The Railway Servants (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1968 Penalty 6(vii)- Disproportionate penalty – Removed from service for the bribe of petty amount – Punishment is disproportionate – not habitual briber-demanded petty amounts for issuing Fit Certificates – Apex court order for compulsory retirement as suitable penalty and order for payment of retirement benefits as he rendered service for 23 years = Ishwar Chandra Jayaswal …..Appellant Versus Union of India & Ors. …..Respondents = Published in judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41126

Service matter – Part  III  of   The   Railway   Servants (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1968 Penalty 6(vii)– Disproportionate penalty – Removed from service for the bribe of petty amount – Punishment is disproportionate – not habitual briber-demanded petty amounts for issuing Fit Certificates – Apex court order for compulsory retirement as suitable penalty and order for payment of retirement benefits as he rendered service for 23 years =

 

“whether  the  punishment

           of removal of service of the petitioner on the alleged demand of

           meagre amount  of  Rs.18-45  is  contrary  to  the  doctrine  of

           proportionality”.=

 In the present case, the Appellant has served  the

           Respondents for a period of twenty three years and removal  from

           service for the two charges  levelled  against  him  shocks  our

           judicial  conscience.   

Part  III  of   The   Railway   Servants

           (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1968 contains  the  penalties  that

           can be imposed against a Railway servant, both  Minor  Penalties

           as well as Major Penalties.  

We have already noted that  it  has

           not been established that the Appellant  had,  as  a  matter  of

           habit or on a wide scale,  made  illegal  demands  from  Railway

           servants desirous of  obtaining  a  Fit  Certificate.   

However,

           since two of the three charges have been proved, we are  of  the

           considered opinion that the imposition of compulsory  retirement

           i.e. Penalty 6(vii) would have better and more appropriately met

           the ends of justice.  

While this would have instilled sufficient

           degree of fear in the mind of the employees, it would  also  not

           have set at naught several years of service which the  Appellant

           had already given to the Respondent-Indian Railways.   

We  think

           that deprivation of retiral benefits  in  addition  to  loss  of

           service is  entirely  incommensurate  with  the  charge  of  the

           Appellant having taken very small sums of money for the issuance

           of Fit Certificate to other Railway employees.“

        7. It is in these premises that the Appeals are  accepted  and  the

           impugned Order dated 11.10.2010 is  set  aside.   The  Appellant

           shall be deemed to  have  compulsorily  retired  under  Part-III

           Penalty 6(vii) of the aforementioned Railway Rules  with  effect

           from 22.1.1991.  If he is entitled to retiral or other  benefits

           on the said date, the Respondents shall make  necessary  payment

           within three months from today.  This decision is restricted  to

           the facts of the present case.     

 

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 48-49 OF 2014
[Arising out of S.L.P.(C)Nos.20506-20507 of 2012]
Ishwar Chandra Jayaswal …..Appellant
Versus
Union of India & Ors. …..Respondents

 

 

 
J U D G M E N T

 

 

 
VIKRAMAJIT SEN, J.
1. Leave granted. These Appeals assail the Judgment dated
11.10.2010 of the Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature
at Allahabad in Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.38190 of 2004 as
well as the subsequent Order dated 28.3.2012 by which a Review
Application in respect of the former was dismissed.
2. The Division Bench was confronted with the dismissal from
service of the Appellant Dr. Ishwar Chandra Jayaswal against
whom three Articles of Charge had been framed. Article-I was
that he demanded and accepted a sum of Rs.26/- from Shri Pyare
Ram, Khalasi for issuing in his favour a Fit Certificate.
Article-II, in similar vein was that the Appellant demanded and
accepted a sum of Rs.34/- from Shri Nandlal, Semi-skilled
Revetter for issuing him a Fit Certificate. Article-III was
that the Appellant had demanded and accepted Rs.18/- from Shri
Balroop, Semi-skilled Revetter for issuing of Fit Certificate.
The Inquiry Officer, after duly perusing the entire evidence,
returned a finding that Charges 1 and 3 had been proved. The
Disciplinary Authority, after considering the response of the
Appellant, by its Order dated 22.1.1991 imposed the penalty of
removal of the Appellant from service.
3. A Revision came to be filed which appears to have attracted the
gravamen of challenge before the Division Bench. After
considering the manner in which the Revision was heard and
decided, the Division Bench in the impugned Order, has come to
the conclusion that the President had decided the Revision in
accordance with law.
4. In these proceedings, learned counsel for the Appellant has
confined his arguments to the ground – “whether the punishment
of removal of service of the petitioner on the alleged demand of
meagre amount of Rs.18-45 is contrary to the doctrine of
proportionality”.
5. It is now well settled that it is open to the Court, in all
circumstances, to consider whether the punishment imposed on the
delinquent workman or officer, as the case may be, is
commensurate with the Articles of Charge levelled against him.
There is a deluge of decisions on this question and we do not
propose to travel beyond Union of India v. S.S. Ahluwalia (2007)
7 SCC 257 in which this Court had held that if the conscience of
the Court is shocked as to the severity or inappropriateness of
the punishment imposed, it can remand the matter back for fresh
consideration to the Disciplinary Authority concerned. In that
case, the punishment that had been imposed was the deduction of
10% from the pension for a period of one year. The High Court
had set aside that order. In those premises, this Court did not
think it expedient to remand the matter back to the Disciplinary
Authority and instead approved the decision of the High Court.
6. The Appellant before us is presently 75 years of age. At the
time when the Articles of Charge had been served upon him, he
had already given the best part of his life to the service of
the Respondent-Indian Railways. It has been contended before us
that the three charges that have been sustained against the
Appellant reflected only the tip of the iceberg; however, there
is no material on record to substantiate this argument of
Respondents. In the present case, the Appellant has served the
Respondents for a period of twenty three years and removal from
service for the two charges levelled against him shocks our
judicial conscience. Part III of The Railway Servants
(Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1968 contains the penalties that
can be imposed against a Railway servant, both Minor Penalties
as well as Major Penalties. We have already noted that it has
not been established that the Appellant had, as a matter of
habit or on a wide scale, made illegal demands from Railway
servants desirous of obtaining a Fit Certificate. However,
since two of the three charges have been proved, we are of the
considered opinion that the imposition of compulsory retirement
i.e. Penalty 6(vii) would have better and more appropriately met
the ends of justice. While this would have instilled sufficient
degree of fear in the mind of the employees, it would also not
have set at naught several years of service which the Appellant
had already given to the Respondent-Indian Railways. We think
that deprivation of retiral benefits in addition to loss of
service is entirely incommensurate with the charge of the
Appellant having taken very small sums of money for the issuance
of Fit Certificate to other Railway employees.
7. It is in these premises that the Appeals are accepted and the
impugned Order dated 11.10.2010 is set aside. The Appellant
shall be deemed to have compulsorily retired under Part-III
Penalty 6(vii) of the aforementioned Railway Rules with effect
from 22.1.1991. If he is entitled to retiral or other benefits
on the said date, the Respondents shall make necessary payment
within three months from today. This decision is restricted to
the facts of the present case.
……………………………………..J.
[T.S. THAKUR]

 

……………………………………..J.
[VIKRAMAJIT SEN]
New Delhi
January 3, 2014.
———————–
5

 

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