Inspector (Postal) & Ors Vs. K.K. Pavitheran  INSC 1229 (30 September
O R D
learned counsel on both sides.
respondent while in service as Extra-Departmental Agent was charge-sheeted, for
misconduct of temporary absence from duty, under Rule 8 of the P & T Extra
Departmental Agents (Conduct and Services) Rules, 1964 on June 6, 1985. By order dated March 31,1986, the enquiry was cancelled and
fresh enquiry was conducted. Later, on conclusion of the departmental enquiry
proceedings, by order dated July 9, 1990,
the respondent was removed from service.
filed an application in the Tribunal. By order dated May 28, 1992, the Tribunal remitted the matter
for reconsideration on the nature of punishment. That order was unsuccessfully
challenged in this Court and had become final. Subsequently, when the order of
removal was passed again, it was challenged in the Tribunal. The Tribunal by
order dated September
4, 1993 quashed the
proceedings and directed reconsideration of the quantum of punishment on the
basis of amended rules. Again, it was challenged in the special leave petition
before this Court which was dismissed. Consequently, the respondent was
reinstated. He again filed an application. In the impugned order dated December 5, 1995 made in O.A. No.787/94, the
Tribunal has directed payment of back-wages. Thus, these appeals by special
Court in Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation vs. Bhagyo Mal & Ors.
[194 supp.(l) SCC 573] held that while the High Court had found that the
respondent-employee deserved punishment on account of his misconduct, and
awarded lesser punishment, it is not liable to grant back-wages particularly
when the Tribunal had converted the order of dismissal into stoppage of two
increments with cumulative effect. Therefore, the order of the High Court was
set aside to that effect. It is now settled law that imposition of punishment
is in the discretion of the disciplinary authority. But the authority is
expected to exercise the discretion properly taking into consideration all the
relevant facts and circumstances. In this case, the punishment of removal was
found to be not justified for the reason that the respondent was temporarily
absent from duty. But the order of dismissal having been converted into one of
reinstatement with lesser punishment, the question arises whether the
respondent is entitled to back-wages? The Tribunal was not right in directing
payment of back-wages for the reason that the respondent was found to be
responsible for misconduct though lesser punishment was imposed. Under these
circumstances and following the above judgment, we hold that the respondent is
not entitled to back wages.
appeals are accordingly allowed. No costs.