Pratap Singh Vs. State
of U.P. & ANR.
R.M. Lodha, J.
appellant - a judicial officer - having not been promoted in the substantive vacancy
to Uttar Pradesh Higher Judicial Service (for short, `UPHJS') and, as a result
of which, was reverted as Civil Judge (Senior Division) is in appeal, by special
appellant, after due selection, joined judicial service in Uttar Pradesh as
Munsiff on May 16, 1977 and was confirmed as such on August 30, 1982. He became
Additional Civil Judge on January 4, 1986 and got selection grade of Rs. 3700 -
5000 with 1effect from April 1, 1990. He then became Civil Judge (Senior
Allahabad High Court, on the administrative side, in its full court meeting held
on November 18, 1995, approved promotion of the appellant in officiating
capacity under Rule 22(3) of Uttar Pradesh Higher Judicial Service Rules, 1975
(for short, `1975 Rules'). Pursuant to the above decision taken by the full court,
a notification was issued on June 7, 1996 promoting and posting the appellant
as Additional District and Sessions Judge, Lalitpur.
the appellant was posted as Additional District and Sessions Judge, Lalitpur,
Shri Mukteshwar Prasad happened to be District Judge, Lalitpur. The appellant was
made Officer in-charge, Nazarat by the District Judge with effect from
September 10, 1996. The appellant continued as such until March, 1997 or so. It
so happened that in the intervening night of January 30/31, 1997, some thieves entered
the residence of the appellant and tried to break open the doors. The appellant
suspected the involvement of class-IV employees of Lalitpur Judgeship.
On that day, the
District Judge was on leave and the appellant handed over an application to the
Senior Administrative Officer wherein he alleged the support of the District 2Judge
to class IV employees suspected to have entered the house of the appellant for
theft. The application made by the appellant to the Senior Administrative
Officer was kept in an open envelope.
The District Judge, Lalitpur
sought explanation from the appellant with regard to the allegations made by him
in his application and also gave information of the incident to the Registrar
of the High Court as well as the inspecting Judge of Lalitpur Judgeship on
February 19, 1997.
the appellant's annual confidential report (ACR) of the year 1996-97 (June 12,
1996 to March 31, 1997), the District Judge (Shri Mukteshwar Prasad) made the
of the officer whether beyond doubt, doubtful or positively lacking.
doubt. No complaint received.
he is fair and impartial in dealing with the public and bar.
specific complaint was made to me.
he is cool-mind and does not lose temper in court.
private character, if such as to lower him in the estimation of the public
and adversely affects the discharge of his official duties.
complaint received against his private character.
over the file in the matter of-
fixation of cause list.
proper. On an Average, he fixed 22-23 cases.
of unnecessary adjournments
of old cases.
satisfactory. Disposed of one S.T. of 1991, 2 of 1992 and 6 of 1993 out of 7
of 1991, 32 of 1992 and 36 of 1993.
and disposal of execution cases.
were execution cases of 1996 but no case was disposed of. One case is stayed by
the Hon'ble High Court.
orders, injunctions Being granted, refused to retained for sufficient
cases remanded on substantial grounds?
appeal was remanded.
judgments on facts and law are on the whole sound, well reasoned and expressed
in good language.
of average quality.
disposal of work is adequate (give percentage & reasons for short
being 132% is above the standard. As per statement received as against 133 working
days, he gave work for 175.88.
over the office and administrative capacity and tact.
with members of the bar [mention incidents, if any]
in relation to brother Officers [mention incidents, if any]
the officer has made Regular inspections of his court and Offices in his
charge during the year and whether such inspections were full and effective.
punctuality in sitting in the court
amenable to advice of District Judge and other superior Officers.
is not amenable at all to the advice of the District Judge. Reasons given below
in column no. 3.
assessment of the merit of the officer-out-standing, very good, good, fair,
Irresponsible and indisciplined officer who has no regard for his superiors or
truth. Details mentioned in column no. 3 below.
3. Other Remarks, if
any. After taking over charge by me in this district, the officer was appointed
Officer-in-Charge, Nazarat w.e.f. 10.9.1996. He being the next senior most
officer in the Judgeship and only Addl. District Judge at that time, was
expected to extend his full cooperation and assistance in the affairs of the
Judgeship. Since very beginning, I found that his attitude was not cooperative and
in fact he took no interest at all for improvement in working of Nazarat.
He never came to me
in the chamber or at the residence to discuss any problem relating to Nazarat. In
the month of November, 1996, he made a request in writing for relieving him from
the post of Officer-in-charge, Nazarat. I summoned him and persuaded to
continue as Officer-in-charge, Nazarat. With reluctance, he agreed to continue.
Again he sent an application on 22.1.97 for removing him from the post of
Officer-in- charge, Nazarat on the ground that Sri Shanker Lal, a Class IV
employee was not transferred by me on his oral and written request.
It is noteworthy that
Sri Shanker Lal was transferred and in his place Sri Manik Chand was posted in
his court vide order dated 30.1.97. Sri Singh was highly interested in a Class
IV employee [Sri Swand Singh] and wanted his posting in his court but he was
not transferred there for some administrative reasons. He joined the service in
August, 1996. He always complained of non-cooperation of Central Nazir and other
officials working in the Nazarat and passed an order also on 23.12.96 to the effect
that the Central Nazir never took round of the courts and never checked
In pursuance of this order,
Central Nazir Sri Shamsher Bahadur Srivastava took a surprise round of the Civil
Court building on 12.1.97 at about 3.35 a.m. and checked both Chowkidars at 3.50
a.m. Both Chowkidars, namely, Sarvasri Swank Singh and Gulab Chand Saroj were
found sleeping. He submitted his report to 6 the Officer-in-charge, Nazarat to call
explanation of the Chowkidars. Sri Singh took no action against the Chowkidars
and warned them to be vigilant in future. Sri Singh always found shirking from
work and never rendered any assistance to me in dealing with various problems
of the Judgeship.
Before posting of Sri
Jai Singh, a newly promoted Addl. District Judge in the district in the month of
March, 1997, he was senior most Addl. District Judge in the Judgeship. He, however,
did not play his role properly for the simple reason that a Class IV employee of
his choice was not posted by me in his court. 2. Sri Singh levelled totally false
and baseless allegation against me in writing on 31.1.1997 when I was out of station
and had gone to Gwalior.
In my absence he handed
over an application to Senior Administrative Officer and did not even keep the application
in an envelope. Consequently, the contents of the letter were well-known to all
the officials and officers working under me before my arrival at the headquarters.
He levelled accusation against me that some thieves tried to break open the doors
of his residence in the night intervening 30/31.1.1997. He suspected the
involvement of some Class IV employees of the judgeship.
According to him the thieves
were Class IV employees of the judgeship and I was supporting them. After having
gone through the contents of the letter, I was stunned. I sent a letter to Sri
Singh and sought his reply on a few questions. In his reply dated 6.2.97, he tried
to twist his letter dated 31.1.97. Thus the officer tried to tarnish my image in
the eyes of other officers and officials of the Judgeship and committed an act of
I have already communicated
these facts to the Registrar of the Hon'ble High Court of Judicature at Allahabad
as well as Hon'ble the Inspecting Judge of Lalitpur through my D.O. letters No.
4 and 5/P.A./1997 dated 19.2.1997. 7 For all the above reasons, I have rated the
officer to be most irresponsible and indisciplined.
above adverse remarks recorded by the District Judge, Lalitpur were communicated
to the appellant on May 30, 1997. On receipt of the communication, the appellant
made representation to the Registrar on June 28, 1997 and prayed that the adverse
remarks recorded by the District Judge be expunged.
October 21, 1997, the appellant was communicated by the Joint Registrar that
after consideration of his representation, the remarks recorded by the District
Judge in Column No. 1(e)(iii), 1(e)(iv) for the year 1996-97 have been expunged
and Column No. 2 has been substituted by the court as - `overall assessment - just
is the appellant's case that on July 11, 1998, he came to know that the full court
in its meeting held on that day did not approve the appellant's name for his appointment
in the substantive vacancy in UPHJS. The appellant submitted a representation to
the High Court on administrative side on August 19, 1998 to reconsider the decision
taken on July 11, 1998. The representation of the appellant was not favourably considered
and 8on December 5, 1998 a notification was issued on the basis of the decision
taken by the full court on July 11, 1998 reverting the appellant to the
judicial service, i.e. Civil Judge (Senior Division).
appellant challenged the notification dated December 5, 1998 in a writ petition
before the Allahabad High Court at Lucknow Bench and prayed for quashing the
same. He prayed that report of the selection committee dated May 18, 1998 and record
of the decision of the full court taken on July 11, 1998 insofar as appellant
was concerned be called for and a writ of mandamus be issued commanding the
respondents to treat the appellant having been promoted to the UPHJS and ignore
the remarks made by the District Judge in the ACR for the year 1996-97.
above writ petition was contested by the respondents.
Division Bench of the High Court, after hearing the parties, by its order dated
December 21, 2009 dismissed the writ petition.
heard Mr. Dinesh Dwivedi, learned senior counsel for the appellant and Mr. Ravi
Prakash Mehrotra, learned counsel for the respondent no. 2.
the counter affidavit filed before this Court on behalf of respondent No. 2 -
High Court of Judicature at Allahabad - it transpires that the matter for promotion
of the appellant in UPHJS under Rule 22 (3) of the 1975 Rules was considered by
the HJS Selection Committee of three-Judges in its meeting held on November 10,
1995 and the name of the appellant was recommended for promotion to UPHJS in ad-hoc
capacity. The report of the selection committee was considered by the full
court in its meeting held on November 18, 1995 and the appellant's name was approved
for promotion to UPHJS in ad-hoc capacity.
The appellant was
accordingly promoted to UPHJS and given posting at Lalitpur as Additional District
and Sessions Judge. Thereafter appellant's matter for promotion in the substantive
vacancy in UPHJS was considered by the selection committee comprising of
three-Judges on May 18, 1998. The committee, however, did not recommend the
appellant's name for promotion under Rule 22(1) of the 1975 Rules in view of
the remarks given by the District Judge in the ACR for the year 1996-97.
The committee referred
to the remarks of the District Judge made in column 3 that he was most irresponsible
and indisciplined officer. The report of the above 10committee was considered by
the full court in its meeting held on July 11, 1998 and his name was not approved
for appointment in UPHJS under Rule 22 (1) of the 1975 Rules. The question
before us is : whether non-approval of the appellant for promotion in the
substantive vacancy in UPHJS under Rule 22(1) of the 1975 Rules suffers from
is not in dispute that the remarks recorded by the District Judge, Lalitpur in the
ACR for 1996-97 (June 12, 1996 to March 31, 1997) formed the basis of
non-approval of the appellant's name for promotion in the substantive vacancy
in the UPHJS. That the District Judge, Lalitpur rated the appellant in the ACR
recorded for the above period as an `irresponsible and indisciplined officer'
is borne out from the record.
Against the remarks
made by the District Judge, the appellant made a comprehensive representation to
the Registrar on June 28, 1997.
It is not necessary to
refer to the representation made by the appellant in detail. Suffice it to say
that the appellant did highlight that his integrity has been found to be beyond
doubt and that in about 20 years of his judicial service, he has been posted with
24 District Judges and except the adverse remarks made by Shri Mukteshwar Prasad,
District Judge, Lalitpur for the above period at no point of time any District
Judge recorded any adverse remark about his conduct, integrity or performance.
The appellant emphatically
denied the observations of the District Judge, Lalitpur, recorded in the ACR and
explained the entire episode.
representation made by the appellant was considered by the Inspecting Judge of Lalitpur
District. Vide communication dated October 21, 1997, the appellant was informed
that the adverse remarks recorded by the District Judge in column No. 1 (e)(iii)
- `disposal of old cases : not satisfactory" and the adverse remarks in
column no. 1 (e)(iv) -"progress and disposal of execution cases: there
were three execution cases of 1996 but no case was disposed of" had been expunged.
In the above
communication, the appellant was also informed that column no. 2--"overall
assessment of the merit of the officer - outstanding, very good, good, fair,
poor : Poor. Irresponsible and indisciplined officer who has no regard for his superiors
or truth. Details mentioned in column no. 3 below" has been substituted by
"overall assessment - just average".
A careful reading of
the communication dated October 21, 1997 leaves no manner of doubt that the
adverse remarks given by the District Judge, Lalitpur in column no. 2 that appellant
was irresponsible and indisciplined officer for the facts stated in column no. 3
no longer remained as it is and were substituted by "just average". The
consideration of the remarks recorded by the District Judge, Lalitpur by the
selection committee as well as by the full court in its meeting held on July
11, 1998 was, thus, not proper.
in the counter affidavit filed on behalf of respondent No. 2 before this Court,
in paragraph `C', the complete text of the order passed by the Inspecting Judge
on August 6, 1997 on the representation of the appellant has been re-produced
which reads as follows : "I have gone through the adverse remarks given by
the District Judge, Sri Mukteshwar Prasad in para - 1 (e)(i), 1(e)(iii), 1(e)(iv),
1(f) and 1(m) as well as in column no. 2 relating to "over all
assessment" and column no. 3 relating to "other remarks, if any",
I have also gone through
the representation preferred by the officer concerned. Looking to the
representation made by the officer concerned, I feel that the conclusions
arrived at by the District Judge in para 1(e)(i) and 1(f) do not deserve to be expunged
while the conclusions arrived at under column 1(e)(iii) and 1(e)(iv) deserve to
be expunged. The details given by the District Judge in remarks column no. 3 do
go to indicate that Sri Pratap Singh--II is not amenable to the advice of the former,
i.e. District Judge.
As far as the
over-all assessment taken to be `poor' by the District Judge is concerned, I do
not agree with the conclusions arrived at by him. Instead, looking to the reasons
given by the Judicial Officer, Sri Pratap Singh-II in this regard, I find logic
in them; since his integrity has been described by the District Judge to be
beyond doubt and his work out-turn has been described to be above standard then,
obviously, the over all assessment could not be `poor'.
Thus, it deserves to be
expunged, and, instead, keeping in mind the complete A.C.R. and the remarks given
by the District Judge, overall assessment can be rated as "just
average". Further, since remarks given by the District Judge, Sri Mukteshwar
Prasad are based on factual aspects which had also been communicated to the
Registrar of the High Court as well as to me, the Inspecting Judge, at the opportune
time, hence, they do not deserve to be expunged, and the representation made by
the Judicial Officer, Sri Pratap Singh-II in this regard deserves to be rejected."
October 11, 2011, in course of hearing, Mr. Ravi Prakash Mehrotra, learned counsel
for respondent No. 2 made a request for adjournment to enable him to seek instructions
as to whether or not along with the communication dated October 21, 1997, copy
of the decision of the Inspecting Judge, as reproduced above, was sent to the
appellant. We acceded to the request of the counsel and kept the matter for
October 18, 2011.
On October 18, 2011,
Mr. Ravi Prakash Mehrotra, fairly stated that the copy of the decision of the
Inspecting Judge was not sent to the appellant and he was informed of what was
contained in the communication dated October 21, 1997 only. In our view, in the
above circumstances the 14text of the decision of the Inspecting Judge dated August
6, 1997 cannot be used against the appellant. It needs no emphasis that a judicial
officer has to be disciplined and must behave as a responsible officer.
Indiscipline in the judiciary cannot be tolerated.
However, as noted
above, the remarks of the District Judge that the appellant was, `irresponsible
and indisciplined officer who has no regard for superiors or truth' have been
expunged/substituted by the Inspecting Judge. The effect of such
expunction/substitution is that the appellant cannot be considered an
irresponsible or indisciplined officer on the basis of remarks recorded by the
The gravity of what has
been recorded in column (3) is, thus, lost. Moreover, the root of the problem between
the two senior judicial officers appears to be clash of ego. In the words of Samuel
Johnson, every man is of importance to himself. The observation noted in column
(3), `He never came to me in the chamber or at the residence to discuss any
problem relating to Nazarat' indicates that the District Judge was not happy with
the appellant for having not given due importance to him.
that as it may, due to consideration of the remarks recorded by the District
Judge and not taking into consideration that 15such remarks were expunged/substituted
as communicated to the appellant vide communication dated October 21, 1997, the
very consideration of the appellant's case for promotion in the substantive
vacancy in UPHJS under the 1975 Rules by the selection committee in its meeting
dated May 18, 1998 and by the full court in its meeting held on July 11, 1998
gets seriously and vitally affected.
is important to notice that in the counter affidavit filed on behalf of respondent
no. 2, it has been stated that appellant's matter for promotion in the
substantive vacancy in UPHJS was again considered by the selection committee on
November 24, 2004 but in view of the matter being sub judice, it was resolved
that appellant's name could not be considered for regular appointment under Rule
22(1) of the 1975 Rules and the above report of the selection committee was accepted
by the full court in its meeting held on February 5, 2005.
what we have discussed above, it is not necessary to consider the submissions of
the learned senior counsel for the appellant that under Chapter III, Rule
4(B)(3) and Rule 4(C)(16) of the Allahabad High Court Rules (Rules of the
Court), 1952 framed 16under Article 225 of the Constitution of India, the
District Judge had no competence to make any remark with regard to the
our view, the matter for the appellant's promotion in the substantive vacancy in
UPHJS which was considered by the selection committee on May 18, 1998 and by
the full court on July 11, 1998 needs to be reconsidered in light of the
discussion made above and in accordance with law. Since the appellant is likely
to superannuate shortly, we expect the High Court on its administrative side to
complete this exercise as early as possible and preferably within one month
from the date of the communication of this order.
appeal is allowed, as indicated above, with no order as to costs.
(JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR )