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V.B.Srivastava v. The High Court Of Judicature At Allahabad And Another - WRIT - A No. 35005 of 1995  RD-AH 4379 (18 October 2005)
COURT NO. 34
CIVIL MISC. WRIT PETITION NO. 35005 OF 1995
V.B. Srivastava (Dead) through L.Rs.----------- Petitioners
The High Court of Judicature at
Allahabad & Anr. ------------- Respondents
Hon'ble Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.
Hon'ble Bharati Sapru, J.
(By Hon'ble Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.)
This writ petition has been filed for quashing the report 06/9/1994 (Annex-2) of the District Judge, Etawah on the basis of which disciplinary proceedings stood initiated. On Inquiry by the High Court, one annual grade of the petitioner was withheld with cumulative effect and was communicated to the petitioner by the District Judge Etawah on the D.O. Letter dated 28/8/1995 sent to him informing that the said punishment was imposed upon the petitioner on the Inquiry Report submitted by the Hon'ble Inspecting Judge after consideration by the Court.
During the pendency of the writ petition, it has been amended praying for quashing of the order of this Court as communicated vide letter dated 24/1/1996, whereby the petitioner was informed that his representation and memorial dated 26/7/1995 and 27/10/1995 respectively, against the adverse remarks recorded by the Court as well as by the District Judge, Etawah for the year 1994-1995 have been rejected.
The facts and circumstances giving rise to this case are that the petitioner Shri V.B. Srivastava, after his selection in the U.P. Nyayik Sewa had joined as a Munsif on 23/11/1976. He was promoted to the post of Civil Judge on 29/5/1985 and subsequently to the post of Additional District and Sessions Judge on 23/3/1991. When petitioner was posted as 3rd Additional District Judge, Etawah, the then District Judge, Etawah recorded adverse remarks in his Character Roll for the year 1994-1995 (Annex-11). In Column No. 1 (a) of the Annual Confidential Report, the Reporting Officer i.e. the District Judge reported "Integrity of the officer positively lacking". Further, in Column No. 1 (b) of the same it has been recorded that "there have been complaints of partiality against him of patronizing certain lawyers acting as contactmen for passing illegal gratification to him from the side of claimants for getting higher amounts of compensation in M.A.C. cases". On overall assessment of the merits of the petitioner, the Reporting Officer in Column No. 2 of the Report rated him as a "poor" officer. Giving his reasons for such an assessment, it was indicated as under:
"In May 1994, Sri Nishesh Kant Singh Advocate and Sri Jitendra Singh Chauhan, Advocate made separate written complaints of corruption against this Officer with regard to the Motor Accident Claims decided by him to these two advocates cited a number of Motor accident claims decided by the officer to support their allegations of corruption against him.
Making over the copies of the complaints to the Officer, I called for his comments which he gave separately on the above two complaints. After carefully perusing the comments of the Officer and scrutinising eight Motor Accident Claim cases decided by him, I wrote a letter to the Registrar of the Hon'ble High Court of Judicature at Allahabad bearing No. 961/I dated Etawah September 6, 1994 for holding vigilance enquiry against the Officer. "
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On the basis of the complaints received, this Court initiated the departmental proceedings against the petitioner appointing the Hon'ble Enquiry Judge. Two charges were framed against the petitioner and the same related to having negotiation with some Advocate for fixing the percentage of amount to be paid as compensation in MAC cases, and other related to giving the awards without observing impartiality, i.e. in similar kind of cases, different amounts were awarded as compensation.
The enquiry was concluded and the petitioner was found guilty of both the charges. Report was accepted and punishment of withholding one annual grade increment was imposed. Against the adverse remarks as well against the punishment imposed, representations/memorials had been submitted by the petitioner which were rejected by this Court. Hence this petition.
Shri S.C. Budhwar, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioner has submitted that the inquiry report was based on conjecture and surmises. There was no material to support the finding recorded by the Inquiry Judge, therefore, the punishment imposed by this Court is liable to be set aside. The adverse remarks had been made without objectivity and representations/memorials have wrongly been rejected by this Court, the same are liable to be expunged.
On the other hand, Shri K.R. Sirohi, learned counsel appearing for the respondents has vehemently opposed the petition contending that there were serious charges relating to integrity of the petitioner and once the charge stood proved and the report of the Inquiry Judge has been accepted by the Court, no punishment other than dismissal from service could have been awarded. The Court had taken a very lenient view, therefore, it is a fit case for substituting the punishment by dismissal from service. Further, the remarks impugned herein have been recorded with all sense of responsibility and the same are based on material on record, thus are not liable to be expunged. The scope of judicial review is limited to the decision making process and not against the decision itself.
We have considered the rival submissions made by learned counsel for the parties and perused the record including the original proceedings of the Domestic Enquiry/Proceedings of the Administrative Committee as produced by Shri K.R. Sirohi before us.
Two charges levelled against the petitioner are extracted below:-
That while you were posted as Additional District and Sessions Judge at Etawah, in the month of November, 1992, at his residence, you expressed your desire to Sri Nishesh Kant Singh, Advocate, Etawah to fix up your percentage of money to be forked out from the claimants in the Motor Accident Claims, for awarding higher amount of compensation. As such, you did not maintain the absolute integrity and thereby committed violation of Rule 3 (1) of U.P. Government Servants' Conduct Rules, 1956.
Charge No. 2
That while you were posted as Additional District and Sessions Judge at Etawah having powers of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, in awarding the compensation to the claimants, you exercised your powers with gross arbitrariness and on considerations which were not judicial, as under:-
(i)In M.A.C. Case no. 110 of 1991, Smt. Sushila Vs. Ram Autar and others, decided on 30/9/93, a compensation of Rs. 1,01,000/- has been awarded to the injured-claimant, Smt. Susheela Devi aged about 55 years, who suffered commuted fracture of upper tibia and fibula of left leg.
(ii)In another M.A.C. No. 55 of 1992, Ram Rati alias Ramwati Vs. Noor Mohammad and others, decided on 18/1/1994, a compensation of Rs. 75,900/- has been awarded to the injured claimant, Smt. Ram Rati alias Ramwati aged about 32 years, whose both legs were amputed below knee owing to injuries sustained in the motor accident.
On comparison of this case with that of at serial no. (i) above in conjunction with the age of the injured and the nature as also the extent of injuries, vast disparity in arriving at the amounts of compensation in two cases is apparent and the compensation awarded in the case at serial no. (i) (M.A.C. No. 110 of 1991) is obviously on much higher side than that of the compensation awarded in the present case (M.A.C. No. 55 of 1992).
(iii)In M.A.C. No. 15 of 1992, Ramesh Chandra Vs. Govind Ram and others decided on 31/1/1992, a boy aged about 13 or 14 years had died in a motor accident. He was a student of Class VIth. The claimants were his parents. You awarded a compensation of Rs. 32,200/- in this case.
(iv)In M.A.C. No. 42 of 1993, Awadh Behari Vs. Fazal Ansari and others, decided on 27/4/1994, a girl aged about 8 years, studying in Class IIIrd had died in a motor accident and the claimants were his parents. In this case you awarded a compensation of Rs. 84,400/-.
Obviously, in each of the cases at serial Nos. (iii) and (iv), a child had died. In the case (M.A.C. No. 15 of 1992) at serial No. (iii), it was a boy aged about 13 years, whereas in the present (M.A.C. No. 42 of 1993) case at serial No. (iv), it was a girl aged about 8 years. The claimants in both the cases were the parents of the deceased but there is yawning gap between the amounts of compensation arrived at in the two cases.
(v)In M.A.C. No. 175 of 1992, Shyam Babu Vs. Ram Kishan Yadav and others, decided on 22/4/1994, the deceased was boy aged bout 13 years alleged to be a student. The claimants were the father and grand mother of the deceased. The father was said to be aged about 40 years and grand mother to be 66 years. You awarded a compensation of Rs. 92,900/- in this case.
(vi)In M.A.C. No. 218 of 1991, Abdul Karim Vs. Subhash Chandra and others, decided on 04/4/1994, the deceased was an unmarried girl aged about 18 years doing household work. The claimants were her parents. You awarded compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- in this case, oblivious to the fact that the girl being of marriageable age was likely to be married soon and could hardly be an earning member for her parent.
A careful comparison of the cases mentioned at serial Nos. (iii), (iv), (v) and the present case at serial No. (vi) would indicate that there is no consistency in the manner adopted by the petitioner in awarding compensation in all these claim cases of death. In claim case at serial No. (iii) above also (M.A.C. No. 15 of 1992), the deceased was a boy aged about 13 years and a student. In case at serial No. (v) above also (M.A.C. No. 175 of 1992) it was a boy aged about 13 years and a student. Though in the case at serial No. (iii) above (M.A.C. No. 15 of 1992) the claimants were the parents of the deceased, yet only a compensation of Rs. 32,000/- was awarded by you. However, in the case at serial No. (v) (M.A.C. No. 175 of 1992) with almost identical facts, you awarded a compensation of Rs. 92,9000/- though here the claimants were the father of the deceased and his grand mother who was herself aged about 66 years. It also spills beyond comprehension as to how could a compensation of Rs. 1,00,000/- be awarded in the present claim case (M.A.C. No. 218 of 1991) at serial No. (vi) to the parents of an unemployed deceased girl aged about 18 years.
(vii)In M.A.C. No. 190 of 1991, Babu Ra, Vs. Rajendra Prasad and others, decided on 15/4/1994, a boy had died. The claimants were his parents. As per the post-mortem report his age was only 10 years. You accepted that he was a labourer earning about Rs. 900/- per month and awarded a compensation of Rs. 1,69,500/- in this case of child's death. The compensation awarded appears to be very much on the higher side.
(viii)In M.A.C. No. 191 of 1991, Chameli Devi Vs. Rajendra Prasad and others, decided on 15/4/1994, the deceased was an old man whose age was about 62 years as per the post-mortem report. The claimant was his wife. On the scrutiny of the testimony of wife of the deceased (produced as a witness in the case) she herself was aged about 60 years, you awarded a compensation of Rs. 83,600/- in this case of an old man's death to his wife.
In view of the above facts, the compensation awarded appears to be very much on the higher side.
As such he did not maintain the absolute integrity and devotion towards his duties and thereby committed violation of Rule 3 (i) of the U.P. Government Servants' Conduct Rules, 1956.
Enquiry was conducted. A number of witnesses were examined as is evident from the Inquiry Record itself and the Hon'ble Inquiry Judge found both the charges against the petitioner proved. The Disciplinary Authority enquiry accepted the enquiry report and imposed the punishment of withholding one annual grade increment with cumulative effect.
So far as the first charge was concerned, the complainant Advocate mainly dealing with the M.A.C. Cases was examined by the department and the delinquent officer in his cross examination could not elucidate anything in his favour nor he could challenge successfully the veracity of his depositions nor he could shatter him. The Hon'ble Inquiry Judge dealt in detail on the motive on the part of the Advocate to lodge the complaint against the delinquent officer and recorded the finding that it was not motivated and delay in lodging the complaint could not doubt the allegations made in the complaint. The charge no.1 stood proved.
On the issue of Charge No. 2, the Hon'ble Inquiry Judge compared the award and recorded the following findings:
"A bare reading of the comparative statement of those cases, which is annexed herewith as Annexure 1, shows that Shri V.B. Srivastava having powers of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in awarding the compensation to the claimants exercised his powers with gross arbitrariness and considerations which were not judicial, as he held that Charge No.2 also stands proved."
In a case like the one in hand, the Court can review only the "decision making procedure" and not the "decision" of the authority. The Court, not being a Court of Appeal, is not competent to substitute its own view on factual aspects of the case.
There is also a very little scope of judicial review on the quantum of punishment, and it has always been held that the Court can review to correct errors of law or fundamental procedural requirements, which may lead to manifest injustice and can interfere with the impugned order in "exceptional circumstances".
In judicial review, the Court "has no power to trench on the jurisdiction to appreciate the evidence and to arrive at its own conclusion. Judicial review is not an appeal from a decision but a review of the manner in which the decision is made. It is meant to ensure that the delinquent receives fair treatment and not to ensure that the conclusion, which the authority reaches, is necessarily correct in the view of the Court or the Tribunal. When the conclusion reaches by the authority is based on evidence, the Court or the Tribunal is devoid of power to re-appreciate the evidence and would come to its own conclusion on the proved charges. The only consideration the Court/Tribunal has, in its judicial review, is to consider whether the conclusion is based on the evidence on record that support the finding, or whether the conclusion is based on no evidence."
In The General Court Martial & Ors. Vs. Col. Aniltej Singh Dhaliwal, AIR 1998 SC 983, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that the High Court, in its limited power of exercise of judicial review, may interfere by appreciating the evidence only if there is an omission on the part of the Inquiry Judge or the Disciplinary Authority, to consider the relevant evidence.
Similarly, in Rajender Kumar Kindra & Ors. Vs. Delhi Administration, (1984) 4 SCC 635, the Court observed as under:-
"It is equally well settled that where a quasi-judicial Tribunal or arbitrator records findings based on no legal evidence and the findings are either his ipse dixit or based on conjectures and surmises, the enquiry suffers from the additional infirmity of non-application of mind and stands vitiated..... Viewed from either angle, the conclusion of the Inquiry Officer......are wholly perverse and hence unsustainable. The High Court, in our opinion, was clearly in error in declining to examine the contention that the findings were perverse on the short, specious and wholly untenable ground that the matter depends on appraisal of evidence. Between appraisal of evidence and total lack of evidence, there is an appreciable difference which could never be lost sight of and the High Court ought not to have short-circuited the writ petition."
In R.S. Saini Vs. State of Punjab & Ors., (1999) 8 SCC 90, the Apex Court noted as follows:-
"We will have to bear in mind the rule that the court while exercising writ jurisdiction will not reverse a finding of the inquiring authority on the ground that the evidence adduced before it is insufficient. If there is some evidence to reasonably support the conclusion of the inquiring authority, it is not the function of the court to review the evidence and to arrive at its own independent finding. The inquiring authority is the sole judge of the fact so long as there is some legal evidence to substantiate the finding and the adequacy or reliability of the evidence is not a matter which can be permitted to be canvassed before the court in writ proceedings."
The next question which deserves attention is the issue of interference on the quantum of punishment. The same has been considered by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in a catena of judgments, and it was held that if the punishment awarded is disproportionate to the gravity of the misconduct, it would be arbitrary, and thus, would violate the mandate of Article 14 of the Constitution. Thus, being illegal, it cannot be enforced. (Vide Bhagat Ram Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors., AIR 1983 SC 454; S.K. Giri Vs. Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ors., 1995 Suppl (3) SCC 519; Union of India & Ors. Vs. Giriraj Sharma, AIR 1994 SC 215; Bishan Singh & Ors. Vs. State of Punjab & Anr., (1996) 10 SCC 461; Ranjit Thakur Vs. Union of India & Ors., AIR 1987 SC 2386; & B.C. Chaturvedi Vs. Union of India & Ors., AIR 1996 SC 484).
In Ranjeet Thakur (supra), the Hon'ble Apex Court observed as under:-
"But the sentence has to suit the offence and the offender. It should not be vindictive or unduly harsh. It should not be so disproportionate to the offence as to shock the conscience and amount in itself to conclusive evidence of bias. The doctrine of proportionality, as part of the concept of judicial review, would ensure that even on the aspect, which is otherwise, within the exclusive province of the Court Martial, if the decision of the court even as to sentence is an outrageous defiance of logic, then the sentence would not be immune from correction. In the present case, the punishment is so stringently disproportionate as to call for and justify interference. It cannot be allowed to remain uncorrected in judicial review."
The said judgment has been approved and followed by the Apex Court in Union of India & Ors. Vs. G. Ganayutham, AIR 1997 SC 3387, and after examining elaborately the concept of reasonableness, rationality and proportionality, the same view has been reiterated.
In B.C. Chaturvedi (supra), after examining various earlier decisions of the Supreme Court, the Court observed that in exercise of the powers of judicial review, the Court cannot "normally" substitute its own conclusion or penalty. However, if the penalty imposed by an Authority "shocks the conscience" of the Court, it would appropriately mould the relief either directing the Authority to reconsider the penalty imposed and in exceptional and rare cases, in order to shorten the litigation, itself, "impose appropriate punishment with cogent reasons in support thereof. While examining the issue of proportionality, Court can also consider the circumstances under which the misconduct was committed. In a given case, the prevailing circumstances might have forced him to do so, though he had no intention to do so. (Vide Giriraj Sharma (supra). The Court may further examine the effect, if order is set aside or substituted by some other minor penalty.
In G. Ganayutham (supra), the Apex Court has considered the entire law on the subject and compared the Indian Law with English, Australian and Canadian Laws, and held that in case the Court comes to the conclusion that the punishment awarded is disproportionate or the Disciplinary Authority was irrational in imposing the punishment, the punishment cannot be quashed as even then the matter has to be remitted back to the appropriate authority for reconsideration and it is only in very rare cases that the Court might- to shorten the litigation-think of substituting its own view as to the quantum of punishment in place of punishment awarded by the Competent Authority. In Aniltej Singh Dhaliwal (supra); U.P.S.R.T.C. & Ors. Vs. A.K. Parul, (1998) 9 SCC 416; and Teri Oat Estates (P) Ltd. Vs. U.T., Chandigarh & Ors., (2004) 2 SCC 130, the Apex Court has taken the same view.
In Regional Manager, U.P.S.R.T.C. Vs. Hoti Lal, (2003) 3 SCC 605, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that judicial review of the quantum of punishment is not warranted by a writ Court unless it is held to be arbitrary. While deciding the said case, the Hon'ble Supreme Court placed reliance upon its earlier judgment in Om Kumar Vs. Union of India, (2001) 2 SCC 386.
In view of the above, it is not permissible for us to reappreciate the evidence as there is nothing on record to substantiate the averments made by Shri S.C. Budhwar that the findings recorded by the Inquiry Officer are perverse being based on no evidence or being contrary to the evidence on record. The Inquiry Report has been accepted by the Court and once the charges stood proved, this Court cannot sit in appeal against the same.
However, once the report of the Inquiry Officer was accepted, and findings recorded therein remained in tact, there was no scope for the Disciplinary Authority to take such a lenient view while imposing the punishment in the fact situation of this case.
In Ruston & Hornsby (I) Ltd. Vs T.B. Kadam, AIR 1975 SC 2025, the workman faced the charge of suspected dishonesty in connection with company's property. The Hon'ble Supreme Court held that the workman "being a Watchman, the charge is serious one and if it was held proved he deserves nothing short of dismissal.
Dealing with a similar situation the Apex Court in Municipal Committee, Bahadurgarh Vs. Krishnan Behari & Ors., AIR 1996 SC 1249, held as under:-
"In a case of such nature, in deed, in cases involving corruption, there can be no other punishment than dismissal. Any sympathy shown in such cases is totally uncalled for and opposed to public interest. The amount misappropriated may be small or large; it is the act of misappropriation that is relevant. The Director had interfered in the punishment under a total misapprehension of relevant factors to be borne in mind in such a case."
Similar view has been taken by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in U.P. State Road Transport Corporation Vs. Basudeo Chaudhary & Anr., (1997) 11 SCC 370, wherein the Court held that in a case of misappropriation, dismissal from service was justified by the Corporation. Placing reliance upon the said judgment in Krishnan Behari (supra) and Basudeo Chaudhary (supra), the Supreme Court, in Janatha Bazar (South Kanara Central Cooperative Wholesale Stores Ltd.) & Ors. Vs. Secretary, Sahakari Noukarara Sangha & Ors., (2000) 7 SCC 517, reiterated the same view, observing that in case of breach of trust and misappropriation of funds, once the charge stood proved, interference by courts, showing uncalled for sympathy, is totally unwarranted as it is a case of loss of confidence of the employer that the employee would truthfully and faithfully carry on his duty in future.
In Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Vs. B.S. Hullikatti, AIR 2001 SC 930, the Hon'ble Supreme Court considered a case where the bus conductor had charged a fare of Rs. 2.25 and issued the ticket of Rs. 1.75 and misappropriate fifty paise, the Apex Court held that the appropriate punishment in that case should be dismissal from service.
Similar view has been reiterated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Regional Manager, R.S.R.T.C. Vs. Ghanshyam Sharma, JT 2001 (10) SC 12.
Thus, it is the essence of mens rea involved therein which is a determining factor for imposing the punishment. In a case of this nature no punishment other than dismissal from service could be imposed.
In the instant case, the charges relating to the integrity of the petitioner were proved and it was established that he had been negotiating for percentage of the compensation awarded to the claimants in MAC cases, and he had also not maintained any uniformity in awarding the compensation while deciding similar kind of cases of the claimants. The enquiry report was accepted by the Administrative Committee as well as by the Full Court. The petitioner had been given full opportunity to defend himself and the enquiry had been conducted in accordance with the statutory rules and the principles of natural justice.
Shri S.C. Budhwar has not raised any grievance in respect of holding the enquiry, and in view of the above, imposition of punishment of withholding one annual grade increment with cumulative effect is nothing but a mockery.
We are in full agreement with Mr. Sirohi that the Court had unnecessarily shown misplaced sympathy to the petitioner and it is a fit case for enhancement of punishment by the Court itself. However, considering the fact that the petitioner is no more alive, we do not want to take that course.
So far as the second issue regarding quashing of the adverse entry is concerned is also no more res-integra. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has considered it time and again.
In Chandra Gupta Vs. Secretary Government of India & ors, (1995) SC 44; Sukhdeo Vs. Commissioner Amravati Division & Anr., (1996) 5 SCC 103; and State Bank of India Vs. Kashinath Kher AIR 1996 SC 1328, while dealing with the issue of writing the A.C.Rs. the Apex Court observed that the superior officer, must show impartiality, objectivity and fair assessment without any prejudice whatsoever with highest sense of responsibility to inculcate in the officer's devotion to duty, honesty and integrity so as to improve excellence of the Government officer, lest the officer can be demoralized which would be deleterious to efficiency and efficacy of public servants.
In S. Ramchandra Raju Vs. State of Orissa, 1994 Supp. (3) SCC 424 the Hon'ble Apex Court explained the scope, object and proper mode of writing the A.C.Rs. The Court held as under:-
"This case would establish as a stark reality that writing confidential reports bears onerous responsibility on the reporting officer to eschew his subjectivity and personal approaches or proclivity or predilections as to make objective assessment. It is needless to emphasize that the career prospects of a subordinate officer / employee largely depends upon the work and character assessment by the reporting officer. The latter should adopt fair objective, dispassionate and constructive commends/comments in estimating or assessing the character, ability, integrity and responsibility displayed by the officer / employee concerned during the relevant period or the above objectives if not directly adhered to in making an honest assessment, the prospect and career of the subordinate officer being put to great jeopardy..........Therefore, writing the confidential reports objectively and constructively and communication thereof at the earliest would pave way for amend by erring subordinate officer or to improve the efficiency in service. At the same time, the subordinate employee /officer should dedicate to it hard work and duty; assiduity in the discharge of the duty honesty with integrity in performance thereof which alone would earn his usefulness in relation to his service".
In Union of India & Ors. Vs. E.G. Nambodiri & ors., AIR 1991 SC 1216 the Hon'ble Supreme Court considered the contention as to whether a representation against the adverse entry can be rejected by a non-speaking order. The Court held as under:-
"In the absence of any statutory rule or statutory instructions requiring the competent authority to record reasons in rejecting a representation made by a Government servant against the adverse entries the competent authority is not under any obligation to record reason. But the competent authority has no licence to act arbitrarily, he must act in a fair and just manner. He is required to consider the questions raised by the Government servant and examine the same, in the light of the comments made by the officer awarding the adverse entries and the officer countersigning the same. If the representation is rejected after its consideration in a fair and just manner, the order of rejection would not be rendered illegal merely on the ground of absence of reasons .........In Governmental functioning before any order is issued, the matter is generally considered at various levels and the reasons and comments are contained in the notes on the file. The reasons contained in the file and even the competent authority to formulate its opinion if the order is communicated to the Government servant rejecting the representation does not contain any reason, the order cannot be held to be bad in law. If such an order is challenged in a court of law it is always open to the competent authority to place the reasons before the Court, which may have led to the rejection of the representation. It is always open to an administrative authority to produce evidence aliunde before the Court to justify its action."
Similar view has been reiterated by the Hon'ble Apex Court in Ram Kumar Vs. State of Haryana, AIR 1987 SC 2043; Somdutta Vs. Union of India & ors., AIR 1989 SC 414; S.N. Mukherji Vs. Union of India & ors., (1990) 4 ASCC 594; State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur Vs. Prabhu Dayal Grover, (1995) 6 SCC 279.
In State of U.P. Vs. Narendra Nath Sinha, 2001 AIR SCW 3380, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that while grading an officer/employee the reporting officer may record some reasons/justification in support of such an entry for the reason that when he is graded down by the review officer and accepting officer the authority may also give reasons for down grading him.
In State of U.P. Vs. Yamuna Shanker Mishra & Anr. AIR 1997 SC 3671 the Hon'ble Supreme Court dealt with issue and observed as under:-
"Officer entrusted with the duty to write confidential reports, has a public responsibility and trust to write the confidential reports objectively, fairly and dispassionately while giving, as accurately as possible, the statement of facts on an overall assessment of the performance of the subordinate officer. It should be founded upon the facts or circumstances. Though sometimes, it may not be part of record, but the conduct, reputation and character acquire public knowledge or notoriety and may be within his knowledge. Before forming an opinion to be adverse, the reporting officers writing confidentials should share the information which is not a part of the record with the officer concerned, have the information confronted by the officer and then make it part of the record. This amounts to an opportunity given to the erring/corrupt officer to correct the errors of the judgment, conduct, behaviour, integrity or conduct/corrupt officer to correct the errors of the judgment, conduct, behaviour, integrity or conduct/corrupt proclivity. If, despite giving such an opportunity, the officer fails to perform the duty, correct his conduct or improve himself necessarily, the same may be recorded in the confidential reports and a copy thereof supplied to the affected officer so that he will have an opportunity to know the remarks made against him. If he feels aggrieved, it would be open to him to have it corrected by appropriate representation to the higher authorities or any appropriate judicial forum for redressal. Thereby, honesty, integrity, good conduct and efficiency get improved in the performance of public duties and standards of excellence in services constantly rises to higher levels and it becomes successful tool to manage the services with officers of integrity, honesty, efficiency and devotion."
Scope of judicial review of the ACR or in cases of expunging the adverse entry is very limited and the writ Court can interfere only in exceptional circumstances, for compelling reasons, where it comes to conclusion that there was no occasion for the authority concerned to record adverse entries. ( Vide Badri Nath Vs. Government of Tamil Nadu & Ors., (2000) 8 SCC 395).
Thus, in view of the above, the law on this issue can be summarised that the superior Court should be reluctant to make any adverse remark against the judicial officers. Their confidential reports should be filled up with all sincerity without any ill-will or affection on the basis of their performance. There must be some material on the basis of which the adverse remarks may be made by the Reporting Officer. The reviewing authority, if does not agree with the remarks made by the Reporting Officer, should record the reasoning before down grading the ACRs. The instance case required to be considered in the light of aforesaid settled legal proposition.
If the instant case is examined in the light of the aforesaid settled legal proposition, we are of the considered opinion that there is no reason for quashing the same as the same have been recorded by the learned District Judge who had an opportunity to regularly superwise his work and examine his conduct and it was on his complaint, the Disciplinary Proceedings were initiated by the High Court and the Inquiry Officer has found the charges of corruption proved. We do not see any cogent reason to grant any relief. More so, the petitioner though has sought for quashing of the report of the District Judge dated 06/9/1994, but still no relief in respect of the quashing of the Inquiry Report submitted by the Hon'ble Inquiry Judge in the departmental enquiry has been sought.
Petition lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed.
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