Surya Mani Sharma
& Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors.
O R D E R
this common judgment and order, we propose to dispose of all these appeals as the
issues raised are interconnected and similar.
appellants herein were Constables (Rakshak) [one being Head Rakshak and the other
two being Rakshaks] with the Railway Protection Force. One of the respondents
herein namely Sub Inspector (Investigation), Railway Protection Force lodged a complaint
in respect of theft of G.P. Sheets at Police Station Hirapur, Disrict Burdwan. A
case was registered and thereafter the appellants were put under suspension. However,
subsequently, the aforesaid order of suspension was revoked. After revocation of
the aforesaid suspension order an order was passed by the respondents
terminating the services of the appellants herein by exercising the power vested
under Rule 47 of the Railway Protection Force Rules, 1959. The said order was passed
on 5th February, 1981.
aforesaid order came to be challenged by the appellants by filing a writ
petition in the High Court which was registered as Civil Rules No. 1117W to
1119W of 1981. A learned Single Judge of the Calcutta High Court took up the aforesaid
Writ Petitions for final hearing and by judgment and order dated 14th March,
1991 the said writ petitions were allowed and the impugned order of termination
was set aside. The High Court also directed that the appellants should be reinstated
in service and the period of suspension would be treated as the period spent on
duty and that the appellants would be entitled to all service benefits excepting
the arrears of salaries which the Court directed that they would receive only
to the extent of 50 per cent of the arrears of salaries which would have been payable
to them had they continued in service.
aggrieved by the said judgment and order dated 14th March, 1991, of the learned
Single Judge of the Calcutta High Court, an appeal was filed before the Division
Bench of the High Court. The High Court, however, allowed the said appeal
holding that the order passed by the respondents terminating the service was justified.
According to the Division Bench, it was a case where it was not reasonably
practicable to hold an inquiry. However, the appellants being aggrieved filed the
present appeals on which we have heard the learned counsel appearing for the
the matter was taken up, the counsel appearing for the parties have taken us through
the records. A perusal of the said record indicates that the records showing the
satisfaction of the Authority that it was not possible to hold an inquiry due
to the circumstances and the reasons which were formally recorded in the
records of the respondents could not be produced before the learned Single Judge
by the respondents or even before us. The learned Single Judge in the judgment had
observed that the report of the inquiry dated 10th October, 1980, had not been produced
before the Court. Since no material was placed which could justify the action taken
under Rule 47 of the Railway Protection Force Rules, the order terminating the
service was set aside. The Division Bench, however, has referred to reasons
recorded insofar as S.M. Sharma is concerned which is extracted from the order itself
which was issued under Rule 47 of the Rules aforesaid. It does not appear from
the tenor of the said judgment that any additional record wherein such
satisfaction was recorded was produced before the Division Bench.
us also no such record is placed either by filing a counter affidavit or
otherwise and, therefore, it could not be shown to us that any reason has been recorded
to justify the action of not holding an appropriate inquiry which is required to
be done otherwise. The power provided to the Authority under Rule 47 is an extraordinary
power which must be exercised with due care and attention and also upon proper application
of mind. Such a power cannot be exercised arbitrarily as in the present matter the
respondents have not been able to show us any record to justify the action of
the respondent in not holding an inquiry.
we are of the opinion that the impugned judgment and order passed by the Division
Bench is required to be set aside which we hereby do. While doing so, we restore
the order of the learned Single Judge. We are however, informed that except for
appellant No. 4 Bhanu Pratap Dubey all other appellants have already reached
the age of superannuation. We are also informed that all the appellants were
reinstated in service after the order was passed by the learned Single Judge
and received the benefit till June, 2002 i.e., all the benefits that were ordered
to be given to them by the learned Single Judge. However, since the order of the
learned Single Judge was set aside by the Division Bench on 13th March, 2002,
thereafter the services of the appellants again stood terminated and they remained
out of service till the date of their superannuation. We, however, do not
intend to pass any order for payment of any back wages for the aforesaid period
from 2002 namely the date of their subsequent order of release on till the date
of their superannuation/reinstatement but we order that all these appellants shall
be entitled to continuity of service and other benefits for the purpose of
payment of pension and gratuity.
informed earlier by the learned counsel that Bhanu Pratap Dubey is yet to attain
the age of superannuation, he shall, therefore, be reinstated in service giving
him continuity of service and all other benefits but except for payment of any arrear
salaries between the period from 2002 to the date of reinstatement which shall be
issued by the respondents as expeditiously as possible preferably within a
period of four weeks from the date of receipt of copy of this order.
dispose of the appeals in terms of the aforesaid observations.
[DR. MUKUNDAKAM SHARMA]
[ANIL R. DAVE]