Union of India & Anr Vs. S.K. Goel & Ors  Insc 122 (12
Dr. AR. Lakshmanan & Altamas Kabir
(Arising Out of SLP (C) NO. 2410 OF 2007) Dr. AR. Lakshmanan, J.
The Union of India through Secretary, Department of Revenue, Ministry of
Finance, New Delhi is the first appellant in this appeal. The second appellant
is the Department of Personnel and Training through its Secretary, Ministry of
Personnel & Pension, New Delhi.
The first respondent is the contesting respondent.
Respondent Nos. 2-5 and the first respondent joined the Indian Customs and
Central Excise Service as a Grade A Officer on probation and was promoted as
Assistant Collector of Central Excise after selection by the UPSC.
Respondent No.1 and other respondents were confirmed in Group A service. In
the order, the proforma respondents were placed higher in order of seniority.
Thereupon respondent No.1 was promoted as Deputy Collector of Central Excise
on an ad hoc basis in the year 1983 and the said appointment was regularized as
Deputy Collector of Customs and Central Excise, vide order dated 16.7.1985. The
Government of India, Ministry of Finance issued an Office Order No. 187 of 1997
for the ad hoc promotion of respondent No.1 and proforma respondents to officiate
in the grade of Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise.
The Departmental Promotion Committee (for short "the DPC) was
constituted for considering officers for promotion to the post of Commissioner
of Customs and Central Excise in April, 1997 and February, 1998.
Respondent No.1 represented against the seniority assigned to him and he
claimed that his ACR's for the year 1994-1995 had not been properly graded or
considered by the DPC and the lower grading given to him by the Reviewing
Officer on one ACR was not proper and DPC ought to have considered the higher
grading given by the reporting Officer.
The Office Order No. 11 of 1999 was issued on 12.1.1999 by the Government of
India, Ministry of Finance whereby promotions of these officers were made on
the post of Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise. Office Memorandum No.
F. No.Q-32012/10/97- AO-II Govt. of India, Ministry of Finance, Department of
Revenue was issued whereby the representation of respondent No.1 was rejected
for the following reasons stated as under:
"The recommendations of the 5th Central Pay Commission that for
promotion to the Central Services, as in the case of IAS Officers, the inter-se
seniority as fixed by the UPSC at initial entry into the service, should remain
unaffected, is under consideration of the Govt. and a decision in this respect
is likely to take time as these involve significant modifications in DPC
guidelines. As the recommendations of the Pay Commission are yet to be accepted
by the Govt., the existing instructions/guidelines of the Govt. pertaining to
DPC are required to be followed.
The provisions of para 6.2.1(e) of the DPC guidelines circulated by
DOP&T vide their OM dated 10th April, 1989 were followed by the DPC which
met in UPSC and considered the case of Sh. Goel for promotion to the grade of
Commissioner. As such, it may not be appropriate to say that the DPC took into
consideration the lower grading given to Shri Goel by the reviewing officer and
not the higher grading given by the reporting officer.
Although, the reviewing officer had slightly downgraded the overall
grading on Shri Goel in the ACR for the year 1994-95 and the ACR also could not
be sent to CVC for counter signature, it cannot be concluded that it had
adverse impact on the findings of the DPC in the matter of his promotion to the
grade of Commissioner. The DPC made its own assessment on the basis of the
entries in the ACRs and overall grading of the reviewing /reporting officers
was of no consequence.
It is not for an individual officer to claim that his case is
outstanding or otherwise as has been claimed by Shri Goel in his
representation. It is for the DPC to make assessment on the officer after going
through his service records. The mere grant of presidential Award cannot
entitle an Officer to claim that he should be awarded outstanding grading by
Respondent No.1 filed OA No. 141 of 2000 before the Central Administrative
Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi with the following prayers:- "
direct that, in the grade of Commissioner, the seniority of the applicant over
respondents 3 to 6 be maintained, and, therefore, to declare the impugned
Office order No.11 of 1999 illegal to the extent it places respondents 2 to 5
above the applicant, and to give correct placement of the applicant at Sl. No.1
of the list contained in the said order,
In the alternative, to set/quash the
promotions of respondents 3 to 6 insofar as they have been promoted and given
seniority above the applicant,
To quash and set aside the undated
Office Memorandum (Annexure-A2) issued by the respondent No.2,
To grant costs of this application to
the applicant herein, and v) To pass such other order or orders as may be deemed
fit and proper in the interests of justice."
The appellants filed their counter affidavits rebutting the claim of
respondent No.1. It was submitted that the DPC had followed duly approved norms
and procedure as prescribed vide para 6.2.1 of M.M. (DOP &
T) No. 22011/556-Estt.(D) dated 10.4.1989.
The Tribunal dismissed the said petition by following the Full Bench
decision in the case of Manik Chand vs. U.O.I. & Ors. 2002(3) ATJ 268 to
hold that it is not necessary to communicate the remarks/grading which are not
adverse or not below the bench mark prescribed for promotion to a particular
post in respect of a selection post. In other words, if the applicant was
meeting the bench mark, the question of communication of the entry, which in no
event can be termed as adverse, would have arisen.
The Tribunal also considered and distinguished the facts and ratio of the
case of U.P. Jal Nigam vs. Prabhat Chandra Jain AIR 1996 SC 1616 by observing
that it was not shown that the confidential reports had been down graded and
once they were not down graded, the question of communicating such grading did
Respondent No.1 filed Writ Petition No. 5404 of 2003 before the High Court
of Delhi. The High Court allowed the writ petition and quashed the orders of
the Tribunal and ACRs for the years 1992-1993, 1993-1994 and 1994-1995 and
remanded the matter to the appellant for fresh consideration of the seniority
of respondent No.1 in terms of the observations made by the High Court. The
High Court in the concluding portion of its order observed as under:
"Similar is the view expressed in Full Bench Judgment of this Court in
J.S.Garg vs. Union of India reported in 100 (2002) DLT 177. From the catena of
cases cited above it emerges that when an entry reflects an adverse element it
may not amount to adverse entry in the strict sense of the promotion since both
may be positive grading but as observed in U.P. Jal Nigam's case, the authority
recording the confidential report in such situation must record reasons for
such down grading in the personal file of the officer concerned and inform him
of the change in the form of an advice.
The rate must be given appropriate guidance and opportunity as and when his
weakness is noticed. If taking that entry into consideration seniority is not
granted to the rate, it has an element of adverseness as far as his service
profile is concerned. Therefore, it is well settled that although the Court
cannot moderate the appraisal and grading given by an officer while exercising
the power of judicial review but as the entries for the period indicated above
had an element of adverse reflection and for that purpose his seniority has
been downgraded, the ACRs ought to have been communicated to the petitioner,
which has not been done in the instant case, therefore, reliance placed by the
Tribunal on the decision of Punjab and Haryana High Court in Union of India
&Ors vs. M.S. Preet and Anr. In Civil Writ Petition No. 13024/CAT/2002
rendered on 22.11.2002 would not come into play. We set aside and quash the
order of the Tribunal and the ACRs for the year 1992-1993. 1993-1994 and 1994-
1995 and remand the case back to the respondent to reconsider afresh within a
period of three months the seniority of the petitioner in terms of the above
observations qua the respondents."
Aggrieved by the said order, appellant Nos. 1 & 2 preferred the above
appeal by way of special leave petition before this Court.
We have heard Mr. R. Mohan, learned Additional Solicitor General and Mr.
T.S. Doabia, learned senior counsel appearing for the appellants and Mr. Rajiv
Dutta, learned senior counsel appearing for respondent No.1.
Mr. R. Mohan, learned Additional solicitor General took us through the
impugned order passed by the High Court and other relevant records and
submitted that the High Court erred in its failure/omission to take into
consideration the Government instructions for regulating recording of Annual
Confidential Reports which provide for only communication of adverse remarks in
Since respondent No.1 had received no adverse remarks and has rather been
graded at the level of the prescribed bench mark of 'above average', therefore,
there was neither any onus nor requirement upon the appellant to have
communicated the ACR entry to respondent No.1.
Learned Additional Solicitor General further submitted that the DPC followed
the prescribed norms as also applied its discretion vested in it to determine
the comparative merit of the eligible officers and thereafter made
recommendations in order of merit. There was thus no justification for
interference in the order passed by the appellants as upheld by the Central
Learned Additional Solicitor General has also invited our attention to the
judgment passed by the Tribunal as well as by the High Court. He also cited the
Union of India & Anr. vs. Major Bahadur Singh , (2006) 1 SCC 368
R.L. Butail vs. Union of India & Ors. 1970(2) SCC 876
Anil Katiyar(Mrs.) vs. Union of India & Ors., (1997) 1 SCC 280 Mr.
Rajiv Dutta, learned senior counsel appearing for the contesting respondent
No.1 submitted that respondent No.1 along with respondent Nos. 2-5 joined the
Indian Custom and Central Excise Services on probation in Group A after
selection by the UPSC and that at the initial entry stage, respondent No.1 was
fixed over and above respondent Nos. 2-5 vide notification in the Customs and
Central Excise establishment S.No. 148 dated 19th December, 1975. In the said
seniority list Shri Y.G. Parande was shown at S.No.2, Shri Hari Om Tiwari,
respondent No.3 was shown at S.No.3, Shri C.
Sathpathy, respondent No.4 was shown at S.No.12 and Shri Iype Mathew,
respondent No.5 was shown at S.No.14 and respondent No.1 was promoted as Deputy
Collector of Central Excise on ad hoc basis vide Order No.149/83 dated
12.8.1983 and was appointed on regular basis as Deputy Collector of Customs and
Central Excise vide notification dated 16.7.1985. Thereupon, the Department of
Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India issued a civil list of Indian
Revenue Services and in that list also respondent No.1 was shown as senior to
respondent Nos.2-5 and that in the year 1991, respondent No.1 was decorated
with President's award for specially distinguished services after considering
his achievements for the past 15 years.
Mr. Rajiv Dutta further submitted that right from the day of initial entry
stage to the date of ad hoc promotion to the post of Commissioner, respondent
No.1 was shown senior to respondent Nos. 2-5. He further submitted that
respondent No.1 has been an upright, hardworking and honest officer and has
been rated as outstanding from 1989-1990 to 1996-1997 by the reporting
officers. However, subsequently respondent No.1 came to know that for the years
1992-1993, 1993- 1994 and 1994-1995, the reviewing officer had down graded his
ACR by one step i.e. from 'outstanding' to 'very good'. It is significant that
for the years 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 the reporting officer rated respondent
No.1 as 'outstanding' and on his ACR being forwarded to the Central Vigilance
Commissioner also respondent No.1 was rated as 'outstanding'.
According to Mr. Rajiv Dutta, the reviewing officer did not give any reason
for downgrading respondent No.1 from 'outstanding' to 'very good'. Moreover,
there was no material before him for downgrading the rank of respondent No.1.
The Reviewing did not indicate any material on the basis of which the said
reviewing officer purported to reduce the grading of respondent No.1 from
'outstanding' to 'very good'. It was also contended that respondent No.1 was
never communicated this downgrading by the reviewing officer in the form of
advice or otherwise and respondent No.1 was never given an opportunity to show
that the downgrading was totally unjustified and uncalled for.
It was further submitted that in February, 1998, DPC was held for promotion
to the post of Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise. The said DPC
considered the case of respondent No. 1 along with the case of respondent Nos.
2-5. No interviews were held by the DPC. For considering the merits and
demerits of the candidates, the DPC took into consideration only the ACRs for
the years 1988-90 to 1996-1997. In the case of respondent No.1, the defective
and incomplete ACRs for the years 1992-1993, 1993-1994 and 1994-1995 were
considered by the DPC and the panel was prepared for promotion to the post of
Commissioner, Customs and Central Excise by the DPC and respondent No.1 was
placed below respondent Nos. 2-5 thereby disturbing his seniority. The DPC
apart from taking the defective and incomplete ACRs of respondent No.1 for the
years 1992- 1993 to 1994-1995 did not take into considering the recommendations
of the 5th Pay Commission to the effect that the inter se seniority of the
candidates should be maintained. Mr. Rajiv Dutta also relied on the decision in
State Bank of India vs. Kashinath Kher (1996) 8 SCC 762 at 771 para 15 wherein
this Court pointed out that the object of writing the confidential report is
two fold i.e.
to give an opportunity to the officer
to remove inefficiency and to inculcate discipline;
It seeks to serve improvement of
quality and excellence and efficiency of public service. The officers while
writing confidential reports should show objectivity, impartiality and fair
assessment without any prejudice whatever with the highest sense of
responsibility to inculcate in the officer devotion to duty, honesty and
integrity so as to improve excellence of the individual officers.
Mr. Rajiv Dutta also cited the judgment of this Court in State of U.P. vs.
Yamuna Shankar Mishra AIR 1997 SC 3671 wherein this Court held that the object
of writing the confidential reports and making entries in the character rolls
is to give an opportunity to a public servant to improve excellence. Article 51
A(j) of the Constitution of India enjoins upon every citizen the primary duty
to constantly endeavour of prove excellence, individually and collectively, as
a member of the group.
Given an opportunity, the individual employee strives to improve excellence
and thereby efficiency of administration would be augmented. The 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 confidential reports
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 proclivity. If despite giving such an opportunity, the officer fails
to perform the duty, correct his conduct or improve himself, 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.
It was also submitted that in the case of U.P. Jal Nigam & Ors. vs.
Prabhat Chandra Jain & Ors., (supra), this Court reiterated these very
principles in the matter of recording the ACRs and that of bringing the
downgrading/adverse remarks to the notice of the officer with the sole aim of
giving opportunity to the officer to improve his conduct. In the case of
respondent No.1, he was downgraded from 'outstanding' to 'very good' and no
reason for the same was given and that there was no material on the basis of
which the reviewing officer could downgrade respondent No.1. No reasons for
such downgrading were given nor was respondent No.1 appraised of the
downgrading, thereby rendering the ACRs defective which could not be considered
by the DPC.
Arguing further, learned senior counsel, submitted that if the downgraded
entry is considered to be positive still it may adversely affect the rating as
it happened in the case of respondent No.1 and that the DPC considered only
ACRs from 1989-1990 to 1996-1997 in respect of promotions to the post of
Commissioner to Central Excise. Apart from ACRs, the DPC had no other material
It was submitted further that the DPC had also fallen into grave error in
ignoring the recommendations of the 5th Pay Commission followed by the
Government of India to the effect that in the matter of promotion inter se
seniority fixed at the time of initial enty stage should not be disturbed. In
the facts and circumstances of the case, learned senior counsel submitted that
the impugned judgment of the High Court which is clearly based upon the law as
laid down by this Court in a number of cases is unassailable and, therefore,
the civil appeal has no merits.
We have carefully considered the rival submissions with reference to the
records placed and material placed before us and the judgment of the Tribunal
and that of the High Court. We heard extensive arguments from both sides. The
only question that arises for consideration in the instant case is as to
whether the High Court has erred in its failure/omission to take into
consideration the government instructions for regulating recording of ACR which
provide for only communication of adverse remarks in the ACRs.
In the instant case, respondent No.1 had received no adverse remarks and had
rather been graded at the level of the prescribed bench mark of 'above
average', therefore, as rightly pointed out by learned Additional Solicitor
General, there was neither any onus nor requirement upon the appellant to have
communicated the ACR entry to respondent No.1.
At the time of hearing, the original record was placed before us. We have
carefully perused the same.
The DPC, in our view, followed the prescribed norms as also applied its
discretion vested in it to determine the comparative merit of the eligible
officers and thereafter made recommendations in order of merit. There was thus
no occasion or justification for interference in the order passed by the
appellants, as upheld by the Tribunal.
Learned senior counsel appearing for respondent No.1 placed strong reliance
on the judgment of this Court in U.P. Jal Nigam(supra). In our opinion, the
said decision is entirely distinguishable on facts and circumstances from the
case on hand and is wrongly been relied upon by the High Court. In the U.P. Jal
Nigam's case, the officer concerned Shri P.C. Jain had been downgraded at
certain point of time. Before the High Court, it had been alleged that
downgrading of entry could not be termed as adverse and that the same should be
communicated. The U.P. Jal Nigam Service Rules provided for communication of
adverse entries. In this case, downgrading had been done by comparison and
there appears to be no reason recorded for such downgrading. However, in the
instant case, the downgrading still meets the bench mark and therefore, merely
because certain persons have been assessed by the DPC to be better than the
respondent, did not imply that he should have been communicated his grading.
In our opinion, the judgment of the Tribunal does not call for any
interference inasmuch as it followed the well settled dictum of service
jurisprudence that there will ordinarily be no interference by the courts of
law in the proceedings and recommendations of the DPC unless such DPC meetings
are held illegally or in gross violation of the rules or there is mis-grading
of confidential reports. In the present case, the DPC had made an overall
assessment of all the relevant confidential reports of the eligible officers
who were being considered. The DPC considered the remarks of the reviewing
There was clear application of mind. Respondent No.1 did fulfill the bench
mark. Hence, the impugned direction of the High Court ought not to have been
issued as the same will have the impact of causing utter confusion and chaos in
the cadre of the Indian Revenue Service, Customs and Central Excise Service.
It was also argued by the learned senior counsel appearing for respondent
No.1 that the entries for the period had an element of adverse reflection and
for that purpose the seniority of respondent No.1 was downgraded and,
therefore, the ACR ought to have been communicated to respondent No.1. In our
opinion, the observations of the High Court are wholly unjustified inasmuch as
the post of Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise is a post required to be
filled up on selection made strictly on the basis of merit. No judicial review
of DPC proceedings, which are ordinarily conducted in accordance with the
standing government instructions and Rules is warranted. The norms and
procedure for DPC are prescribed in O.M. dated 10.4.1989. It is thus seen that
the decision taken by the appellants has been as per the instructions issued on
the subject that only adverse entries and remarks are to be communicated and
there is no provision to communicate the downgrading of ACR to a government
employee. The decision of the Central Government is in strict accordance with
the prevailing rules and government instructions. In the absence of any
violation, the impugned order of the High Court while undertaking a judicial
review under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India, is wholly unjustified.
Since the matter of seniority has been well settled and this Court in a
plethora of cases has held that the seniority/promotion granted on the strength
of DPC selection should not be unsettled after a lapse of time. Therefore, in
the facts and circumstances of the present case, where there is no adverse
remarks whatsoever against respondent No.1, the High Court ought not to have
interfered with and passed the impugned direction. This apart, as per the
instructions contained in para 6.21 of DOPT Order No.
22011/5/86/Estt. D dated 19.4.1981, as amended, the DPC is not required to
be guided merely by the overall grading, if any, that may be recorded in the
CRs but to make its own assessment on the basis of the entries in the CRs. The
DPC enjoyed full discretion to devise its method and procedure for objective
assessment of suitability and merit of the candidate being considered by it.
Hence, the impugned order of the High Court, in our opinion, is liable to be
Case law on the subject
Anil Katiyar(Mrs.) vs. Union of India & Ors., (1997) 1 SCC 280 : The
appellant and respondent No.4 in this case had joined the Central Agency
Section in the Ministry of Law of the Government of India as Assistant
Government Advocates. The appellant was junior to respondent No.4. While
considering them for promotion to the post of Deputy Government Advocate, which
is a selection post, the DPC graded both of them as "very good" and
on the ground of seniority selected respondent No.4 for the said post. The
appellant unsuccessfully challenged the selection of respondent No.4 before the
CAT on the ground that the DPC was not justified in grading her merely as
"very good" as in the ACRs for two of the relevant three years the departmental
authorities had graded her as "outstanding" and for the third year as
"very good" while they had graded respondent No.4 as "very
good" in all the three ACRs. The CAT while refusing relief to the
appellant on the ground of want of jurisdiction to scrutinize the
recommendations of the DPC, this Court perused the confidential procedure
followed by the DPCs in the Union Public Service Commission for giving overall
grading, including that of "outstanding" to an officer. Thereafter,
refusing to interfere with the selection of respondent No.4 by the DPC but
setting aside the said observation of the CAT, this Court held as under:
"Having regard to the confidential procedure which is followed by the
Union Public Service Commission, it is not possible to hold that the decision
of the DPC in grading the appellant as "very good" instead of
"outstanding" was arbitrary. No ground is, therefore, made out for
interference with the selection of respondent 4 by the DPC on the basis of
which he has been appointed as Deputy Government Advocate. But, at the same
time, it has to be held that the Tribunal was in error in going into the
question whether the appellant had been rightly graded as
"outstanding" in the ACRs for the years 1990-1991 and 1991-1992.
The observations of the Tribunal that out of the two "outstanding"
gradings given to the appellant one "outstanding" grading does not
flow from various parameters given and the reports entered therein, cannot,
therefore, be upheld and are accordingly set aside."
Union Public Service Commission vs.
Tiwari & Ors. 2006(12) SCALE 278: This case relates to grading in
selection list for promotion to Indian Forest Service. The jurisdiction of
Courts to interfere with evaluation made by the expert committee was under
consideration. The respondents were serving as State Service Forest Officers in
the post of Assistant Conservator of Forests. Both the officers became eligible
to be promoted to the Indian Forest Service. On an overall service records,
Selection Committee assessed respondent as being "very good" and
included his name at S.No.10 in the Select List of 2001. Respondents 4-8 were
assessed as "outstanding" by the Selection Committee and were
included at S.Nos. 3-7 in the selection list. Respondent No.1 claimed that he
ought to have been assessed as "outstanding" and should have been
assigned seniority in the Indian Forest Service Cadre over respondents 4-8. The
Tribunal came to the conclusion that patent material irregularities had been
committed by the Selection Committee for the year 2001.
This Court allowed the appeal filed by the UPSC and held that the evaluation
made by an expert committee should not be easily interfered with by the Courts
which do not have the necessary expertise to undertake the exercise that is necessary
for such purpose. Speaking for the Bench, Altamas Kabir,J. in paragraphs 12, 13
& 14 of the judgment held as under:
"It is now more or less well-settled that the evaluation made by an
expert committee should not be easily interfered with by the Courts which do
not have the necessary expertise to undertake the exercise that is necessary
for such purpose. Such view was reiterated as late as in 2005 in the case of U.P.S.C. v.
K. Rajaiah and Ors. reported in (2005) 10 SCC 15, wherein the aforesaid Rules
for the purpose of promotion to the I.P.S. Cadre was under consideration.
Apart from the above, at no stage of the proceedings, either before the
Tribunal or the High Court or even before this Court, has any allegation of
mala fides been raised against the Selection Committee and the only grievance
is that the Selection Committee erred while making assessment of the
comparative merits of the respective candidates. While concluding his
submissions, Mr. Rao had pointed out that the direction given by the High Court
to the appellant to hold a Review Departmental Promotion Committee was also
erroneous since the Regulations provided for selection to be made not by a
Departmental Promotion Committee but by a Selection Committee constituted as
per the Regulations.
Although, on behalf of the respondents it has been urged that there was
no bar which precluded the Tribunal from looking into the original ACRs of the
respective candidates, what we are required to consider is whether it was at
all prudent on the part of the Tribunal to have adopted such a procedure which
would amount to questioning the subjective satisfaction of the Selection
Committee in preparing the Select List.
From the submissions made and the
materials on record, we are satisfied that the methodology which has been
evolved and included in the Regulations for grading the eligible officers have
been religiously followed by the Selection Committee which did not call for any
interference by the Tribunal. The High Court has merely followed the decision of
the Tribunal without independently applying its mind to the facts involved."
For the foregoing reasons, we hold that the DPC enjoyed full discretion to
devise its method and procedure for objective assessment of suitability and
merit of the candidate being considered by it. Hence, the interference by the
High Court is not called for.
Accordingly, the Civil Appeal stands allowed and the judgment of the High
Court is set aside. However, there shall be no order as to costs.