Tara Chandkhatri Vs. Municipal
Corporation of Delhi & Ors  INSC 306 (26 November 1976)
SINGH, JASWANT SINGH, JASWANT RAY, A.N. (CJ)
BEG, M. HAMEEDULLAH
CITATION: 1977 AIR 567 1977 SCR (2) 198 1977
SCC (1) 472
CITATOR INFO :
RF 1986 SC1040 (8) R 1986 SC1173 (8) D 1987
SC 294 (39) RF 1990 SC1984 (32)
Authority--Recording, reasons--When obligatory.
High Court--If under a duty to enquire into
allegations of mala fides.
The appellant, a school teacher under the
Delhi Municipal Corporation. was dismissed from service by the Deputy
Commissioner (Education) after following the procedure prescribed under the
Regulations. His appeal to the Commissioner of the Corporation was dismissed
and his writ petition was dismissed in limine by the High Court. On further
appeal to this Court it was contended that (I ) the order of dismissal was
invalid for the reason that the Commissioner being the appointing authority,
the Deputy Commissioner was incompetent to dismiss him and the regulation
conferring power on the Deputy Commissioner to dismiss a municipal employee
drawing less than Rs. 350 being inconsistent with s. 95 of the Delhi Municipal
Corporation Act 1957 is void;
(2) since the disciplinary authority had neither
recorded its findings nor given its reasons in the order of dismissal it is
vitiated and (3) the petition should not have been dismissed in limine by the
Dismissing the appeal,
HELD: (1 ) The appellant's appointment having
been made by the Deputy Commissioner, who possessed plenary powers in that
behalf by virtue of the delegation of power to him, there was neither any legal
bar to 'his dismissal by that authority nor a breach of the first proviso to s.
95(1). In his writ petition before the High Court the appellant failed to make
any averment regarding the incompetence of the Deputy Commissioner to pass the
impugned order and the invalidity of the regulation. None of his pleas was
tenable in view of the order of the Commissioner delegating his powers to the
Deputy Commissioner his actual appointment as an Assistant Teacher by the
Deputy Commissioner and regulation 7 being consistent with s. 95(1) of the Act.
[204 E&C] The Managment of D.T.U. v. Shri B.B.L. Hajeley & Ant.
 2 S.C.R. 114 and Municipal Corporation
of Delhi v. Ram Partap Singh (Civil Appeal No. 2449(N) of 1969 delivered on
January 8, 1976), held inapplicable.
(2)(a) Although it may be necessary for the
disciplinary authority to record its provisional conclusions in the notice
calling upon the delinquent officer to show cause why the proposed punishment
be not imposed upon him if it differs from the findings arrived at by the
enquiry officer with regard to the charge, it is not obligatory to do so in
case the disciplinary authority concurs with the findings of the enquiring
officer. [205 F] In the instant case it is apparent from the order of the
Deputy Commissioner that he agreed with the findings of the Enquiring Officer.
[208 A] State of Orissa v. Govinddas Pande (Civil Appeal No. 412 of 1958
decided on December 10, 1962) and State of Assam & Anr. v. Vimal Kumar
Pandit A.I.R 1963 S.C. 1612 followed.
(b) While it may be necessary for a
disciplinary or administrative authority exercising quasi-judicial functions to
state the reasons, in support of its order if it differs from the conclusions
arrived at and the recommendations made by 199 the enquiring officer in view of
the scheme of a particular enactment or the rules made thereunder, it would be
laying down the proposition a little too broadly to say that even an order of
concurrence must be supported by reasons. it cannot be laid down as a general
rule that an order is a non-speaking order simply because it is brief and not
elaborate. Every case has to be judged in the light of its own facts. [208 B]
Sardar Govindrao & Ors. v. State of Madhya Pradesh  1 S.C.R. 678,
Bhagat Raja v. The Union of India & Ors.  3 S.C.R. 302, Travancore
Rayon Ltd. v. Union of India  3 S.C.R. 40; Mahabir Prasad Santosh Kumar
v. State of U.P. & Ors.  1 S.C.R. 201, Rangnath v. Daulatrao &
Ors.  1 S.C.C. 686 and The Siemens Engineering & Manufacturing Co. of
India Ltd. v. TIre Union of India & Anr.  2 S.C.C. 981, inapplicable.
(c) M.P. Industries Ltd. v. Union of India
 1 S.C.R. 466 contains a correct statement of law. In Bhagat Raja v. The
Union of India,  3 S.C.R. 302 this Court did not make any observations
which can be interpreted as overruling the majority judgment in the former
case. In view of the amendment of r. 55 of the' Mineral Concession Rules, 1960
the decision in Bhagat Raja's case was different from M.P. Industries case
which had been rendered on the unamended r. 55 of the Rules. [212 A; 211 B] (3)
The High Court was not wrong in dismissing the writ petition. in limine because
a prima jacie case requiring investigation had not been made out by the
appellant. The High Court would be justified in refusing to carry on investigation
into the allegations of mala fides if necessary particulars of the charge
making out a prima facie case are not given in the petition. Since the burden
of establishing mala fides lies very heavily on the person who alleges them and
the allegations made. in regard thereto, in the writ petition were not sufficient
to establish malus animus. The High Court was justified in dismissing the
petition without issuing notice to the other side. [212 C-D]
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 2471 of 1972.
Appeal by Special Leave from the Judgment and
Order dated the 28th March 1972 of the Delhi High Court in Civil Writ No.
M.K. Ramamurthi, K.B. Rohatagi, V.K. Jain and
Kashyap, for the Appellant.
S.N..Andley, B.P. Maheshwari and Suresh
Sethi, for the Respondents.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
JASWANT SINGH, J. This appeal by special leave is directed against the judgment
and order dated March 28, 1972 of the High Court of Delhi dismissing in limine
the writ petition filed by the appellant herein.
The facts essential for the purpose of this
The appellant was appointed as an Assistant
Teacher on temporary basis in the pay scale of Rs. 68-170, which was
subsequently revised to Rs. 118-225, in the Primary School, Northern Railway
Colony II run by the Education Department of the Municipal Corporation of
Delhi, with effect from October 1, 1958. He was confirmed on the said post on
September 30, 1959. On August 28, 1964, he was transferred to the Senior Basic
Middle School of the Corporation in Panna Mamirpur, Narela 11. In September,
1967, he was assigned the work of teaching certain subjects to both the
sections of Class V. In section A of Class V, there 200 was at that time a
student named Surinder Kumar, son of Dhan Raj. On September 6, 1967, Dhan Raj
made a written complaint to the Education Officer of the Corporation, a copy of
which he endorsed to the Head Master of the School, alleging therein that the
appellant bad sensually misbehaved with his son, Surinder Kumar in the School
Premises during the recess time on 2nd and 4th September, 1967. On October 5,
1967, the Education Officer suspended the appellant. On April 15, 1968, the
Assistant Education Officer, Rural North Zone, was directed by his superior to
prepare a charge sheet against the appellant whereupon a charge sheet was drawn
up and served on the latter on November '16, 1968. Therefore, the Director of
Inquiries, who was deputed to enquire into the matter proceeded to hold the
enquiry and on consideration of the evidence adduced before him, he submitted a
report on May 20, 1969, holding that the charge levelled against the appellant
had been established. On receipt of the report and perusal thereof, the Deputy
Commissioner, Education of the Corporation passed the following order on May
"I have gone through the report of the
Inquiry Officer and agree with his findings.
The Inquiry Officer has held the charge of
committing an immoral act with a student of Class V, levelled against Shri Tara
Chand Khatri, A/T (Respondent) as proved. Such an act on the part of a teacher
is most unbecoming, serious and reprehensible. I propose to impose the penalty
of 'dismissal' from service which shall be a disqualification for future
employment on the respondent." Consequent upon the passing of this order,
a notice was issued to the appellant requiring him to show cause why the
penalty of dismissal from service be not imposed on him. On July 11, 1969, the
appellant submitted his representation in reply to the show cause notice. By
order dated July 30, 1968, the Deputy Commissioner, rejected the representation
of the appellant and imposed the penalty of dismissal from service upon him.
Aggrieved by this order, the appellant preferred an appeal to the Commissioner
of the Corporation on August 29, 1969, under regulation 11 of the Delhi Municipal
Corporation Service (Control and Appeal) Regulations, 1959 (hereinafter
referred to as 'the Regulations') Which was rejected by the Commissioner on
September 13, 1969. On October 11, 1971, the appellant filed Civil Writ
Petition No. 1032 of 1969 in the High Court of Delhi challenging the aforesaid
order of his dismissal from service. 'The High Court allowed the petition on
the ground that the order of the Appellate Authority was made in violation of
the requirements of regulation 15 of the Regulations and directed the
Appellate' Authority to dispose of the appeal afresh on merits keeping in view
all the facts and circumstances of the case as also the requirements of
Regulation 15 of' the Regulation. While disposing of the writ petition, the
learned Judge added that if the appellant still felt aggrieved by the decision
of the Appellate Authority he would be at liberty in appropriate proceedings
not only to challenge the order of the Appellate Authority but the order of the
disciplinary authority as well. On remand, the Commissioner of the Corporation
who happened to be an officer different from the. one who rejected the
appellant's appeal on the former occasion heard the appellant at considerable
length but rejected the appeal by an elaborate order dated January 5, 1972. The
appellant thereupon filed writ petition No. 179 of 1972 in the High Court of
Delhi challenging the order dated July 30, 1969 of the Deputy Commissioner,
Education, as well as the order of the Appellate Authority dated January 5,
1972. This petition was, as already stated, summarily dismissed without the
issue of a notice to the respondents. The appellant then made an application to
the High Court for leave to appeal to this Court but the same was also
Appearing in support of the appeal, Mr.
Ramamurthi has vehemently contended that the appointing authority of the
appellant being the Commissioner under section 92 of the Delhi Municipal
Corporation Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as the Act'), his dismissal from
service by the Deputy Commissioner (Education)--an authority subordinate to the
Commissioner is illegal. The counsel has next urged that regulation 7 of the
Regulations and the Schedule referred to therein conferring power on the Deputy
Commissioner to dismiss a municipal officer or other employee drawing a monthly
salary of less than Rs. 350/being inconsistent with section 95 of the Act is
void and consequently the impugned order of the appellant's dismissal from
service passed in exercise of that power is also illegal and invalid. The
counsel has further contended that the impugned order of the appellant's
dismissal from service being a quasi-judicial order is vitiated as the
disciplinary authority has neither recorded its findings with respect to the
charge drawn up against the appellant as required by regulation 8(9) of the
Regulations nor has it given its reasons for passing the order. The counsel has
lastly urged that the High Court ought not. to have dismissed the petition in limine
without calling upon the respondents to file the return as it raised not only
arguable points of law but also contained allegations of male fides against the
respondents. We shall deal with these points seriatim. But before embarking on
that task, we consider it apposite to, refer to a few provisions of the Act and
regulations which have an important bearing on the case.
Under section 92(1)(b) of the Act, as in
force at the relevant time the power of appointing municipal officers and other
municipal employees whether temporary or permanent, to posts carrying a minimum
monthly salary (exclusive of allowances) of less than three hundred and fifty
rupees was vested in the Commissioner. Subsection (1)of section 95 of the Act
provided that every municipal officer or other municipal employee shall be
liable ......... to be censured, reduced in rank, compulsorily retired, removed
or dismissed for any breach of any departmental regulations or of discipline or
for carelessness, unfitness, neglect of duty or other misconduct by such
authority as may be. prescribed by regulations. The first proviso. to this subsection,
however, contained the following rider:-"Provided that no such officer or
other employee as aforesaid shall be reduced in rank, compulsorily retired,
removed or dismissed by any authority subordinate to that by which he was
appointed." 202 Section 491 of the Act which is in the nature of an
enabling provision provided as under:-"The Commissioner may by order
direct that any power conferred or any duty imposed on him by or under this Act
shall, in such circumstances and under such conditions, if any, as may be
specified in the order, be exercised and performed also by any officer or other
municipal employee specified in the order." It is admitted by the
appellant that in: exercise of the power conferred on him under section 491 of
the Act, the Commissioner had vide his order No. (1)58 Law Corp-1 dated April
7, 1958, directed that all the powers conferred on him under the various
provisions of. the Act would be exercised also by the Deputy Commissioner
subject to his supervision, control and revision.
Regulation 7 of the Regulations and the
Schedule referred to therein read as under:-"Regulation 7: The authority
specified in column 1 of the Schedule may impose on any of the municipal
officers. or other municipal employees specified there against in column 2
thereof any of the penalties specified there against in column 3 thereof. Any
such officer or employee may appeal against the order imposing upon him any of
those penalties to the authority specified in column 4 of the said
Schedule." SCHEDULE Description of posts Authority Penalties Appellate
competent Authority to impose penalties Posts whose minimum Deputy All
Commissioner monthly salary (exclusive Commissioner of allowances) is less than
three hundred and fifty rupees.
Do. Any municipal officer (i) & (ii)
Deputy Commissioner employee to whom powers to impose penalties is delegated
under section 491.
It would also be advantageous to refer to
regulation 8 of the Regulations in so far as it is relevant for the purpose of
"Regulation 8: ................
203 (9) The Disciplinary Authority, shall, if
it is not the Inquiring Authority, consider the record' of inquiry and record
its findings on each charge.
(10) If the Disciplinary Authority, having
regard to its findings on the charges, is. of the opinion that any of the
penalties specified in regulation 6 should be imposed, it shall :-(a) furnish
to the municipal officer or other municipal employee a copy of the report of
the Inquiring Authority and, where the Disciplinary Authority is not the
Inquiring Authority, a statement of its findings together with brief reasons
for disagreement, if any, with the findings of the Inquiring Authority; and,
(b) give him a notice stating the action proposed to. be taken in regard to him
and calling upon him to submit within a specified time such representation as
he may wish to make against the proposed action.
(11) The Disciplinary Authority shall
consider the representation, if any, made by the municipal officer or other
municipal employee in response to the notice under sub regulation (10) and
determine what penalty, if any, should be imposed on the municipal officer or
other municipal employee and pass appropriate orders on the case.
(12) Orders passed by the Disciplinary
Authority shall be communicated to the municipal officer or other municipal
employee who shall also be supplied with a copy of the report of the Inquiring
Authority and where the Disciplinary Authority is not the Inquiring Authority,
a statement of its findings together with brief reasons for disagreement, if
any, with the findings of the Inquiring Authority, unless they have already
been supplied to him." Having noticed the relevant provisions, we now pass
on to. consider the contentions raised on behalf of the appellant. Adverting to
the first two contentions raised before us on behalf of the appellant, it may
be stated that neither of them appear from the record to have been raised
before the High Court. It was not the case of the appellant in the petition
filed, by him under Article 226 of the Constitution that since his appointment
as an Assistant Teacher was actually made by the Commissioner, the Deputy
Commissioner was. not competent to dismiss him from service.
What was asserted by him at that stage is
contained in ground No. VI of the petition and' may be reproduced below for
facility of reference:-"Because in any. case, respondent No. 3 has no
jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Under section 92 of the Delhi Municipal
Corporation Act, 1957, the petitioner could be 204 appointed only by the
Commissioner and under section 95 of the said Act, he should be the dismissing
authority. In the present case, however, the Commissioner had by notification
under section 491 of the said Act, delegated his power to the Deputy
Commissioner under Circular NO. 4(1)/8-Law Corp. 1 dated 7.4.1958. The
dismissing order was made by the Deputy Commissioner as delegatee i.e. as
exercising the powers of the Commissioner.
The Commissioner, therefore, could not sit in
appeal on such an order. Only the Standing Committee of the Corporation could
have heard the appeal." The omission to make the aforesaid averments in
the writ petition regarding the incompetence of the Deputy Commissioner to pass
the impugned order of dismissal from service and invalidity. of regulation 7 of
the Regulations appears to be due to the. fact that the appellant fully
realised that none of these pleas could be tenable in view of the aforesaid
order No. (1) 58 Law Corp. 1 dated April 7, 1958 made by the Commissioner
delegating all his powers to the Deputy Commissioner his actual appointment as
an Assistant Teacher by the Deputy Commissioner and regulation 7 of the
Regulations which far from being repugnant to section,, 95 of the Act is
perfectly consistent with it as sub-section (1 ) of that section itself makes a
municipal employee liable to be compulsorily retired, removed or dismissed etc.
by such authority as may be prescribed by the Regulation. The prohibition
contained in the first proviso to this Subsection is confined in its operation
only to a case where an officer or employee of the Corporation is retired, removed
or dismissed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed. In
the instant case, 'the appellant's appointment having been made by the Deputy
Commissioner, who possessed plenary powers in., that behalf by virtue of the
aforesaid delegation order, there was; neither any legal bar to the appellant's
dismissal from service by that very authority nor a breach of the first proviso
to sub-section (1 ) of section 95 of the Act.
The decision of this Court in The Management
of D.T.U.v. Shri B.B.L. Halelay & Anr.(1) sought to be relied upon by Mr.
Ramamurthi related to an appointment which rested on a deeming provision and is
not at all helpful to the appellant. Rospondent No. 2 in that case was
Originally employed as a driver in the Delhi Road Transport Authority which had
been constituted under the Delhi Road Transport Authority Act, 1950. By section
516(1)(a) of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act,1957 which came into force in
January, 1958, the Delhi Road Transport Authority Act, 1950, was repealed and
the functions of the Delhi Road Transport Authority were taken over by the
Corporation by virtue of several other provisions of the Act. Under section 511
of that Act i.e.
the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957,
every officer and employee of the Transport Authority including respondent No,.
2 stood transferred and become an officer and employee of the Corporation and
under section 92(1) (b) read with section 516(2) (a) of the Act, the said
respondent was (1)  2 S.C.R. 114.
205 to be deemed to have been appointed by
the General Manager (Transport). The respondent in that case thus being required
by fiction of law to b,e taken to have been appointed by the General Manager,
he could not have been removed from service in May, 1963 by the Assistant
General Manager--an authority subordinate to the General Manager--in view of
the first.proviso to sub-section (1) of section 95 of the Act despite the fact
that the functions of the General Manager had been delegated to the Assistant
General Manager in May, 1961. In that case, it was made clear by this Court
that the only consequence of the delegation order was that if after 1961, the
Assistant General Manager had made the appointment of respondent No. 2, he
would have no doubt been entitled to remove him from service but the position
had to be determined with reference to the time, when he was absorbed in the
Corporation which was in January, 1958.
The judgment of this Court in. Municipal
Corporation of Delhi v. Ram Pratap Singh(1) is also not helpful to the appellant
as in that case, the appointment was in fact made by the Commissioner white the
dismissal was by the Deputy Commissioner.
In view of the foregoing discussion, the
first two contentions raised on behalf of the appellant which are totally
misconceived are repelled.
The third contention advanced by Mr.
Ramamurthi that the impugned order of the appellant's dismissal from service is
vitiated 'as the disciplinary authority has neither recorded its findings with
respect to the charge drawn up against the appellant as required by regulation
8(9) of the Regulations nor has it given its reasons for passing the order
cannot also, be countenanced as. it overlooks the decisions of this Court,
which fully cover the case.
Regarding the first limb of the contention, it
may be stated that although it may be necessary for the disciplinary authority
to record. its provisional conclusions in the notice calling upto the
delinquent officer to, show cause why the. proposed punishment be not imposed
upon him if it differs from the findings arrived at b,y the enquiring officer
with regard to the charge, it is not obligatory to do so in case the
disciplinary authority concurs with the findings of the enquiring officer. We
are supported in this view by two decisions of this Court in State of Orissa v.
Govinddas Panda(2)-and State of Assam &
Anr. v. Bimal Kumar Pandit(3). In Govinddas Panda's case (supra) where the
notice issued under' Article 311(2) did not expressly state.
that the State Government had accepted the
findings recorded by the enquiring officer against the Government servant in
question and where even the nature of the punishment which was proposed to be
inflicted on. him was not specifically and clearly indicated, this Court while
reversing the conclusions of the Orissa, High Court that the notice was
defective and so that provisions of Article 311(2) had been contravened
observed:-(1) C.A. No. 2249 (N.) of 1969 decided on 8-1-1976.
(2) C.A. No. 412 of 1958 decided on
(3) A.I.R. 1963 S.C. 1612.
206 "In the context, it must have been
obvious to the respondent that the punishment proposed was removal from service
and the respondent was called upon to show cause against that punishment. On a
reasonable reading of the notice, the only conclusion at which one can arrive
is that the appellant (the State) accepted the recommendation of the
Administrative Tribunal and asked the respondent to show cause against the
proposed punishment, namely, that of removal from service." In Bimal Kumar
Pandit's case (supra) while, reversing the judgment and order of the High Court
allowing the writ petition filed by the respondent against his reduction in
rank on the ground that the notice served upon him under Article 311 (2) of the
Constitution was void as it did not expressly and specifically indicate either
the conclusions of the dismissing authority or the findings recorded by the
enquiring officer or that the dismissing authority accepted the findings of the
enquiring officer and unless that course was adopted, it would not be clear
that the dismissing authority had applied its mind and had provisionally come
to some conclusion both in regard to the guilt of the public officer and the
punishment which his misconduct deserved the Constitution Bench of this Court
"It may be conceded that it is desirable
that the dismissing authority should indicate in the second notice its
concurrence with the conclusions of the enquiring officer before it issues the
said notice under Article 311(2).
But the question which calls for our decision
is it the dismissing authority does not expressly say that it has accepted the
findings of the enquiring officer against the delinquent officer, does that
introduce such an infirmity in the proceedings as to make the final order invalid
? We are not prepared to answer this question in the affirmative. It seems to
us that it would be plain to the delinquent officer that the issuance of the
notice indicating the provisional conclusions of the dismissing authority as to
the punishment that should be imposed on him obviously and clearly implies that
the findings recorded against him by the enquiring officer have been accepted
by the dismissing authority; otherwise there would be no sense of purpose in
issuing the notice under Article 311(2)." At another place, the Court
"We ought, however, to all that if, the
dismissing authority differs from the findings recorded in the enquiry report,
it is necessary that its provisional conclusions in that behalf should be
specified in the second notice. It may be that the report makes findings in
favour of the delinquent officer, but the dismissing authority disagrees with
the said findings and proceeds to issue the notice under Article 311 (2). In
207 such a case, it would obviously be necessary that the dismissing authority
should expressly state that it differs from the findings recorded in the
enquiry report and then indicate the nature of the action proposed to be taken
against the delinquent officer.
Without such an express statement in the
notice, it would be impossible to issue the notice at all. There may also be
cases in which the enquiry report may make findings in favour of the delinquent
officer on some issues and against him on other issues. That is precisely what
has happened in the present case. If the dismissing authority accepts all the
said findings in their entirety, it is another matter; but if the dismissing authority
accepts the findings recorded against the delinquent officer and differs from
some or all of those recorded in his favour and proceeds to specify the nature
of the action proposed to be taken on its own conclusions, it would be
necessary that the said conclusions should be briefly indicated in the notice.
In this category of cases, the action proposed to be taken would be based not
only on the findings recorded against the delinquent officer in the enquiry
report, but also on the view of the dismissing authority that the other charges
not held proved by the enquiring officer are according to the dismissing authority,
proved. In order to give the delinquent officer a reasonable opportunity to
show cause under Art. 311(2), it is essential that the conclusions
provisionally reached by the dismissing authority must, in such cases, be
specified in the. notice. But where the dismissing authority purports to
proceed to issue the notice against the delinquent officer after accepting the
enquiry report in its entirety, it cannot be said that the dismissing authority
must say that it has so accepted the report. As we have already indicated, it
is desirable that even in such. cases a statement to that effect should be
made. But we do not think that the words in Art. 311 (2) justify the view that
the failure to make such a statement amounts to. contravention of Art. 311(2) .......
There is no doubt that after the report is received, appropriate authority must
apply its mind to the report and must provisionally decide whether the findings
recorded in the report should be accepted or not. It is only if the findings
recorded in the report against the Government servant are accepted by the
appropriate authority that it has to provisionally decide what action should be
taken against him. But this does not mean that in every case, the appropriate
authority is under a constitutional obligation to state in the notice that it
has accepted the adverse findings recorded by the enquiring officer before it
indicates the nature of the action proposed to be taken against the delinquent
officer." In the instant case, the incorrectness of the first limb of the
contention is apparent from a bare reading of the aforesaid order passed 208 by
the Deputy Commissioner on May 20, 1969 which clearly states that he agrees
with the findings of the enquiring officer. Reading the order as a whole, it
becomes crystal clear that the disciplinary authority held the charge drawn up
against the appellant as proved.
The second limb of the third contention
raised on behalf of the appellant which also overlooks the decisions of the
Constitution Bench this Court does not commend itself to us. In this
connection, we would like to make it clear that while it may be necessary for a
disciplinary or administrative authority exercising quasi-judicial functions to
state the reasons in support of its order if it differs from the conclusions
arrived at and the recommendations made by the enquiring officer in view of the
scheme of a particular enactment or the rules made there under, it would be
laying down the proposition a little too broadly to say that even an order of
concurrence must be supported by reasons. It cannot also, in our opinion, be
laid down as a general rule that an order is a non-speaking order simply
because it is brief and not daborate. Every case, we think, has to be judged in
the light of its own facts and circumstances.
Reference in this connection may be made with
advantage to a catena of decisions. In Bimal Kurnar Pandit's case (supra) it
was categorically laid down by the Constitution Bench of this Court that it was
not a requirement of Article 311(2) that in every case, the punishing authority
should in its order requiring the civil servant to show cause give not only the
punishment proposed to be inflicted on him but also the reasons for coming to
that conclusion. In that case, it was clarified that the view is not justified
that the appropriate authority must state its own grounds or reasons for
proposing to take any specific action against the delinquent Government
In State of Madras v. A.R. Srinivasan(1) the
Constitution Bench this Court while repelling the contention advanced on behalf
of the respondent that the State Government's order compulsorily retiring him
from service was bad as it did not give reasons for accepting the findings. of
the enquiring tribunal and imposing the penalty of compulsory retirement
observed as follows:-"Mr. Setalvad for the respondent attempted to argue
that the impugned order gives no reasons why the appellant accepted the
findings of the Tribunal. Disciplinary proceedings taken against the
respondent, says Mr. Setalvad, are in the nature of quasijudicial proceedings
and when the appellant passed the impugned order against the respondent, it was
acting in a quasi-judicial character. That being so, the appellant should have
indicated some reasons as to why it accepted the findings of the Tribunal, and
since no reasons are given, the order should be struck down on that ground
We are not prepared to accept the argument.
In dealing with the question as to whether it is obligatory on the (1) A.I.R.
1966 S.C. 1827=(1966) 2 S.C.W.R. 524.
209 State Government to give reasons in
support of the order imposing a penalty on the delinquent officer, we cannot
overlook the fact that the disciplinary proceedings against such a delinquent
officer begin with an enquiry conducted by an officer appointed in that behalf.
That enquiry is followed by a report and the Public Service Commission is
consulted where necessary. Having regard to the material which is thus made
available to the State Government and which is made available to the delinquent
officer also, it seems to us somewhat unreasonable to suggest that the State
Government must record its reasons why it accepts the findings of the Tribunal.
It is conceivable that if the State Government does not accept the findings of
the Tribunal which may be in favour of the delinquent officer and proposes to
impose a penalty on the delinquent officer, it should give reasons why it
differs from the conclusions of the Tribunal, though even in such a case, it is
not necessary that the reasons should be detailed or elaborate. But where the
State Government agrees with the findings of the Tribunal which are against the
delinquent officer, we do not think as a matter of law, it could be said that
the State Government cannot impose the penalty against the delinquent officer
in accordance with the findings of the Tribunal unless it gives reasons to show
why they said findings were accepted by it. The proceedings are, no doubt,
quasi-judicial, but having regard to the manner in which these enquiries are
conducted, we do not think an obligation can be imposed on' the State
Government to record reasons in every case." In Som Datt Datta v. Union of
India & Ors. (1) while approving the English law and practice and
overruling 1he contention advanced on behalf of the petitioner that the orders
of the Chief of the Army Staff confirming the proceedings of the Court-Martial
under section 164 of the Army Act and the order of the Central Government
dismissing the appeal of the petitioner under section 165 of the Army Act were
illegal and ultra vires as they did not give reasons in support Of the orders,
the Constitution Bench of this Court summed up the legal position as follows :Apart
from any requirement imposed by the statute or statutory rule either expressly
or 'by necessary implication, there is no legal obligation that the statutory
tribunal should give reasons for its decision.
There is also no general principle or any
rule of natural justice that a statutory tribunal should always and in every
case give reasons in support of its decision.
In Madhya Pradesh Industries Ltd. v. Union of
India & Ors.(2) this Court repelled the contention of counsel for the
appellant that every order appealable under Article 1,36 of the Constitution
must be a speaking (1)  S.C.R. 176.
S.C.R. 466-A.I.R. 1966 S.C. 671.
--1458SCI/76 210 order and the omission to
give reasons for the decision is of itself a sufficient ground for quashing it
and held that an order of an administrative tribunal rejecting a revision
application cannot be pronounced to be invalid on the sole ground that it does
not give reasons for rejection.
While distinguishing the case of Harinagar
Sugar Mills Ltd.
v. Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala(1) where the
Central Government reversed the decision of the State Government without giving
reasons for reversal, this Court pointed out that there was a vital difference
between the order of reversal by the appellate authority and the order of
affirmance by the revising authority and that if the revising authority rejects
a revision application stating that there was no valid ground for interference
with the order of the subordinate authority in such a case, it could not be
held that the order was arbitrary or that there was no trial of the revision
application. Subba Rao, J. (as he then was) speaking for himself in that case
observed :"Ordinarily, the appellate or revisional tribunal shall give its
own reasons succinctly; but in a case of affirmance where the original tribunal
gives adequate reasons, the appellate tribunal may dismiss the appeal or the
revision, as the case may be, agreeing with those reasons." In Judicial
Review of Administrative Action (Second Edition), Prof. S.A. de Smith has
observed at page 418 as follows :"If the record is incomplete (e.g.
because reasons or findings of material fact
are omitted), has the court power to order the tribunal to complete its record?
It is common ground that the court has no inherent power to compel a tribunal
to give reasons for its decisions ........ If, of course, a tribunal is
required by statute to declare its reasons or its findings on the material
facts, an order of mandamus may be obtained to compel the tribunal to perform
its legal duty ....
Where a tribunal that is not expressly
obliged to give reasons for its decisions chooses not to give any reasons for a
particular decision, it is not permissible to infer on that ground alone that
its reasons for that decision were bad in law. Even if it gives reasons, which
are ex facie insufficient in law to support its decision, the court will not
necessarily assume that these are the sole reasons on which the tribunal has
based its decision.
(See Cf. Davies v. Price  1 Y.L.R. 434
at 440 and R.v. Minister of Housing and Local Government, ex. P. Chichester
R.D.C.  1 W.L.R. 587)." Before concluding the discussion in regard
to the third contention, we may point out that none of the decisions viz.
Sardar Govindrao & Ors. v. State of
Madhya Pradesh(2) Bhagat Raja v. The Union of India & Ors. (3) Travancore
Rayon Ltd. v. Union of India(4) Mahabir Prasad Santosh Kumar v. State of U.P.
& Ors.(5)Rangnath v. Daulat Rao & Ors. (6) and Siemens Engineering
& Manufacturing Company of India Ltd. v. The Union of India(7) on which Mr.
Ramamurthi has (1)  2 S.C.R. 339. (2)  1 S.C.R.678.
(3)  3 S.C.R. 302. (4)  3 S.C.R.
(5)  1 S.C.R. 201. (6)  1 S.C.C.
(7)  2 S.C.C 981.
211 heavily leaned has anything to do with
disciplinary proceedings. At such, they have little bearing on the point with
which we are at present concerned.
We would also like to point out that the
observations in Travancore Rayon Ltd. v. Union of India (supra) that in Bhagat
Raja v. The Union of India & Ors. (supra)., this Court in effect overruled
the judgment of the majority in Madhya Pradesh Industries Ltd. v. Union of
India & Ors.
(supra) seem to have crept therein through
A careful perusal of the decision in Bhagat
Raja v. The Union of India & Ors. (supra) would show that this Court did
not make any observations therein which can be interpreted as overruling the.
majority judgment in Madhya Pradesh Industries Ltd. v. Union of1 India &
Ors. (supra). It is also worthy of note that in Bhagat Raja's case (Supra), the
amendment of rule 55 of the Mineral Concession Rules,1960 introduced in July,
1965 laid down a special procedure in regard to revisions. It required the
Central Government to send copies of the application for revision to all the
impleaded parties including the person to whom a lease had been granted calling
upon them to make such comments as they might like to make within three months
from the date of the issue of the communication and on receipt of the comments
from any party to send copies thereof to the other parties calling upon them to
make further comments as they might like to make within one month from the date
of the issue of the communication. It also provided that the revision application,
the communications containing comments and counter comments referred to above
would constitute the record of the case. Thus under the amended rule, the party
whose application was rejected got an ample opportunity of showing to the
Central Government by reference not only to the record which was before the
State Government but by reference to the fresh material as well that the State
Government was misled in its consideration of the matter or that its decision
was based on irrelevant considerations. This is evident from the following
observations made in Bhagat Raja v. The Union of India & Ors. (supra):
"The old rule 55 was replaced by a new
rule which came into force on 19th July, 1965.
Whereas the old rule directed the Central
Government to consider comments on the petition of review by the State Government
or other authority only, the new rule is aimed at calling upon all the parties
including the State Government to make their comments in the matter and the
parties are given the right to make further comments on those made by the other
or others. In effect, the parties are given a right to bring forth material
which was not before the State Government. It is easy to see that an
unsuccessful party may challenge the gram of a lease in favour of another by
pointing out defects or demerits which did not come to the knowledge of the
State Government. The order in this case does not even purport to' show that
the comments and counter comments which were before the Central Government in
this case, had been considered." The above observations leave no manner of
doubt that it was in view of the amendment in rule 55 of the Mineral Concession
Rules, 212 1960 that the decision in Bhagat Raja v. The Union of India &
Ors. (supra) was different from Madhya Pradesh Industries Ltd. v. Union of
India & Ors. (supra) which had been rendered on the unamended rule 55 of
the said Rules. In our opinion, therefore, the observations made in Madhya
Pradesh Industries Ltd. v. Union of India & Ors. (supra) contain a correct
statement of law.
In view of the foregoing, we do not find any
merit in the third contention raised on behalf of the appellant.
This brings us to the last contention raised
by Mr. Ramamurthi that the writ petition should not have been dismissed by the
High Court in limine in view of the fact that it contained allegations of mala
fides against the respondents. We are unable to accept this contention. It has
been held time and again by this Court that the High Court would be justified
in refusing to carry on investigation into the allegations of mala fides if
necessary particulars of the charge making out a prima facie case are not given
in the writ petition. Keeping in view the well established rule that the burden
of establishing mala fides lies very heavily on the person who alleges it and
considering all the allegations made by the appellant in regard thereto, we do
not think that they could be considered as sufficient to establish malus
animus. The High Court was, therefore, not wrong in dismissing the petition in
limine on seeing that a prima facie case requiring investigation had not been
In the result, the appeal fails and is hereby
dismissed but in the circumstances of the case without any order as to costs.
P.B.R. Appeal dismissed.