Jagdish Prasad Gupta  INSC 624 (25 March 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. OF 2009 (Arising out of
SLP (C) no. 4465/06) U.P.S.R.T.C. ....Appellant Versus Jagdish Prasad Gupta
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the order passed by a learned Single Judge of the
Allahabad High Court dismissing the Writ Petition filed by the appellant.
Challenge in the writ petition was to the order passed by the Presiding
Officer, Labour Court, Gorakhpur.
facts as projected by the appellant are as follows:
Respondent was posted
as Booking Clerk at Gorakhpur Station. He was found involved in serious acts of
misconduct, not taking interest in the job, carelessness in performance and
usually coming late to office and remaining absent and not complying with
orders. In this regard several letters were written by the senior Foreman
directing the respondent to improve his conduct and warning him that unless he
improved himself, necessary orders shall be passed. He was asked to make
certain clarifications by letter dated 24.4.1980 to which he did not submit a
He was suspended from
service on 26.7.1980 and was asked to place his defence. Since his reply was
found not satisfactory, a decision was taken to conduct an enquiry on
30.8.1980. A charge sheet was issued to him and he was asked to furnish reply
in respect of the following charges:
1. for not
maintaining vehicle wise register as per rules and not making up to date
entries in the same.
2. For not taking
interest in work, carelessness in performance and not producing the requisite
clarifications when asked to do so by superiors.\
3. For marking his
presence on the attendance register on a day when he remained absent and 4.
Willfully causing disappearance of departmental records.
enquiry was initiated and the Enquiry officer after concluding the same
submitted the enquiry report. During enquiry the charges leveled against the
respondent were found to be proved and as such he was removed from service by
order dated 30.7.1988. Respondent filed an application in 2002 before the
Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Gorakhpur which was listed as Adjudication
Case No.25 of 2002. In course of examination by the Labour Court on 28.1.2004,
respondent admitted that certain entries in register entered by him could not
be made. The Labour Court directed re-instatement with 50% backwages. The writ
petition was filed which was dismissed summarily after issuance of notice to
the respondent who filed his reply.
4. The basic stand of
the appellant is that the order is non-reasoned and the High Court had not even
considered the various stands highlighted by the appellant.
5. Learned counsel
for the respondent on the other hand supported the order of the High Court.
6. It appears that
the High Court had initially issued notice and reply was filed by the
respondent. After that the High Court has dismissed the writ petition in a
summary manner. It cannot be said that the various aspects highlighted by the
appellant were without any substance. What would have the effect of it was to
be enquired in the writ petition which apparently has not been done. The order
reads as follows:
does not suffer from any infirmity warranting interference by this Court.
petition is dismissed."
7. As the quoted
portion of the order goes to show that practically no reason was indicated, the
dismissal of the writ petition in such summary manner without indicating any
reason is clearly indefensible.
8. Reasons introduce
clarity in an order. On plainest consideration of justice, the High Court ought
to have set forth its reasons, howsoever brief, in its order indicative of an
application of its mind, all the more when its order is amenable to further
avenue of challenge. The absence of reasons has rendered the High Court's
judgment not sustainable.
9. Even in respect of
administrative orders Lord Denning M.R. in Breen v. Amalgamated Engineering
Union (1971 (1) All E.R. 1148) observed "The giving of reasons is one of
the fundamentals of good administration".
Machinery (Dudley) Ltd. v. Crabtree (1974 LCR 120) it was observed:
"Failure to give reasons amounts to denial of justice. Reasons are live
links between the mind of the decision taker to the controversy in question and
the decision or conclusion arrived at". Reasons substitute subjectivity by
objectivity. The emphasis on recording reasons is that if the decision reveals
the "inscrutable face of the sphinx", it can, by its silence, render
it virtually impossible for the Courts to perform their appellate function or
exercise the power of judicial review in adjudging the validity of the
decision. Right to reason is an indispensable part of a sound judicial system,
reasons at least sufficient to indicate an application of mind to the matter
before Court. Another rationale is that the affected party can know why the
decision has gone against him. One of the salutary requirements of natural
justice is spelling out reasons for the order made, in other words, a speaking
out. The "inscrutable face of a sphinx" is ordinarily incongruous
with a judicial or quasi-judicial performance.
10. This Court in
State of Orissa v. Dhaniram Luhar (2004 (5) SCC 568) has while reiterating the
view expressed in the earlier cases for the past two decades emphasised the
necessity, duty and obligation of the High Court to record reasons in disposing
of such cases. The hallmark of a judgment/order and exercise of judicial power
by a judicial forum is to disclose the reasons for its decision and giving of
reasons has been always insisted upon as one of the fundamentals of sound
administration justice- delivery system, to make known that there had been
proper and due application of mind to the issue before the Court and also as an
essential requisite of principles of natural justice. Any judicial power has to
be judiciously exercised and the mere fact that discretion is vested with the
court/forum to exercise the same either way does not constitute any license to
exercise it at whims or fancies and arbitrarily as used to be conveyed by the
well-known saying: "varying according to the Chancellor's foot".
been always held to be the anathema of judicial exercise of any power, all the
more so when such orders are amenable to challenge further before higher
forums. Such ritualistic observations and summary disposal which has the effect
of, at times, cannot be said to be a proper and judicial manner of disposing of
judiciously the claim before the courts. The giving of reasons for a decision
is an essential attribute of judicial and judicious disposal of a matter before
courts, and which is the only indication to know about the manner and quality
of exercise undertaken, as also the fact that the court concerned had really
applied its mind.
11. The attempt to
draw an analogy on the power of this Court under Article 136 of the
Constitution of India, 1950 (in short the `Constitution') and the practice of
rejecting appeals at the SLP stage invariably without assigning reasons with
the one to be exercised while dealing with a writ petition has no meaning and
is illogical. First of all, the High Court is not the final court in the
hierarchy and its orders are amenable to challenge before this Court, unlike
the obvious position that there is no scope for any further appeal from the
order made declining to grant special leave to appeal. It has been on more than
one occasion reiterated that Article 136 of the Constitution does not confer
any right of appeal in favour of any party as such and it is not that any and
every error is envisaged to be corrected in exercising powers under Article 136
of the Constitution of India. The powers of this Court under Article 136 of the
Constitution are special and extraordinary and the main object is to ensure
that there has been no miscarriage of justice. That cannot be said to be the
same with a writ petition.
12. The above
position is highlighted in Dr. Vishnu Dev Sharma v. State of U.P. & Ors.
[2008(3) SCC 172].
13. In the
circumstances the impugned order of the High Court is clearly unsustainable and
is set aside. The matter is remitted to the High Court to hear the Civil Misc.
Writ Petition No. 52959 of 2005 to be disposed of by a reasoned order. There
shall be no order as to costs.
14. Appeal is
disposed of accordingly.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)