Union of India & Ors Vs. Chander Mohan Trikha  INSC 510 (25
H.K. SEMA & MARKANDEY KATJU
O R D E R CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1334 OF 2005 Respondent, Shri Chander Mohan
Trikha, was working as Scientist B, Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, Chandigarh.
By an order dated 16/5/1991 passed in exercise of the powers conferred by
Clause (h) of Article 459 of the Civil Service Regulations, he was compulsorily
retired. The said order was passed on the basis of a recommendation by the
Review Committee. Aggrieved thereby, the respondent preferred an original
petition before the Central Administrative Tribunal. His original application
was dismissed by the CAT on 1/4/1999. Aggrieved thereby, he preferred a writ
petition before the High Court. The Division Bench of the High Court, by its
impugned order, set aside the order of the CAT dismissing the original
application. The High Court also set aside the order dated 16/5/1991
compulsorily retiring the respondent from service. By now it is a well-settled principle of law that an order of compulsory
retirement is not an order of punishment .......2.
- 2 - and, therefore, there is no question of violation of the principles of
The High Court was of the view that the Review Committee had not considered
the entire service record of the writ petitioner, the respondent herein, and on
that ground the order of compulsory retirement was set aside. We have gone
through the entire writ petition filed by the respondent before the High Court.
There was no allegation therein of malafide. There was also no allegation that
the entire service record was not placed before the Review Committee. In other
words, there was not even a whisper in the entire writ petition that the Review
Committee did not consider the entire service record of the respondent before
recommending the case of the respondent for compulsory retirement. The High
Court, in our view, was hence not correct to record a finding that the entire
service record was not considered when that was not even pleaded. Hence, on
that ground the order of compulsory retirement was wrongly nullified by the
High Court. Although no such allegation was made in the writ petition that the entire
service record was not placed before the Review Committee, the counsel for the
respondent contended at the time of hearing that the entire service record was
not placed before the Review Committee and, therefore, the Review ......3.
- 3 - Committee recommended the case of the respondent for compulsory
retirement without application of mind. Having regard to this submission, we
directed the appellant to produce the entire record which was considered by the
Review Committee. A perusal of the minutes of the Review Committee consisting
of senior bureaucrats, namely, Secretary, Department of Research and
Development and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Education clearly disclose that
the entire service record of the respondent has been perused by the Committee.
Although in the minutes the adverse remarks in the ACR of the year 1989 has been
recorded, a bare perusal of the minutes of the Review Committee clearly
discloses that the Committee had examined the entire service record of the
respondent. Therefore, the contention of the counsel for the respondent and
also the finding of the High Court that the Review Committee did not consider
the entire service record of the respondent is not found to be correct. At the
risk of repetition, we are also of the view that since this contention was not
taken by the respondent in the writ petition, the High Court ought not have
made a roving enquiry and given a finding on a case which was not pleaded
before it. The finding of the High Court, in our view, was completely outside
the record and was not pleaded by the respondent.
By now it is also a well settled principle of law that in exercise of
judicial review, the Court is not sitting as an ......4.
- 4 - appellate Court. Judicial review is against the decision making
process but not against the order itself. The High Court, while sitting in
judicial review, was not justified in making a roving enquiry and give a
different finding as if the High Court is sitting as an appellate Court. For the reasons afore-stated, the impugned order of the High Court is not
sustainable in law. It is, accordingly, set aside. The appeal is allowed. No