Kumar Sinha Vs. Union of India & Ors  INSC 283
(16 September 1988)
Rangnath Misra Rangnath Venkatachalliah, M.N. (J)
1989 AIR 72 1988 SCR Supl. (3) 5 1989 SCC Supl. (1) 1 JT 1988 (4) 77 1988 SCALE
Services: Civil Services Regulation: Article 456(h)-Compulsory
retirement-Scientist working in Defence Research Laboratory-Post in which
appellant was working-- Responsible one Poor performance cannot be tolerated-
Retirement order held valid.
who was a scientist in the Defence Electronics Research Laboratory was
compulsorily retired from services by an order dated November 28, 1988 under Article 459(h) of the Civil
Services Regulations. He challenged the retirement order before the Central
Administrative Tribunal. It was contended on his behalf that he had a brilliant
academic career and a clean record of service and that he had actually been
interviewed for the post of Director during May-June, 1986, and that on account
of the representation made by him in February, 1986 to the authorities for redressal
of personal grievances wherein he had suggested improvements in the laboratory
and pointed out the defective functioning of the Institution, the authorities
developed bias against him. On behalf of the Department, these allegations were
countered and the service records of the appellant were produced before the
Tribunal rejected the allegations of bias, mala fide and the appellants' claim
that the order of retirement was based upon extraneous consideration, and
dismissed the appeal.
appeal to this Court it was contended on behalf of the appellant, that the
appellant had a clean service record and there was, therefore, no justification
to prematurely retire him, and that it has to be assumed that the appellants's
record of service was clean as he was not communicated any adverse entry in his
character roll. The Department made available for inspection at the hearing of
the appeal, the service records from 1973 till retirement, in support of its
stand that the guidelines prescribed for review for deciding whether an officer
should be prematurely retired had been strictly followed, and that the decision
to retire the appellant was taken in a bona fide and legitimate manner and
without any bias or prejudice and that there were several entries by the
authorities in the character roll to indicate deficiencies and drawbacks in the
6 Dismissing the appeal,
1. The post in which the appellant was working was a responsible one and poor
performance could not be tolerated. [IID]
appellant had served under four controlling authorities and three of them were
Scientists of international repute. These Scientists appear to have made a fair
assessment of the appellant's work and what is material is that there is
unanimity in their conclusion. Years back one of the entries had indicated that
the appellant had become `dead wood', and he was also communicated the general
disapproval of his method of working. [11A-B, 11D]
cannot be contended in the instant case, that there was no communication of
adverse entries because the entries were mostly based upon general assessment
of the performance. Ordinarily when the entries relate to specific instance
leading to adverse entries, the communication thereof is sent to the officer
concerned with a view to providing an opportunity for improvement of
review proceedings were in consonance with the guidelines framed by the Government.
From the proceedings of the Review Committee it is found that the Committee
took up the review of 19 officers and found the appellant alone liable for
retirement. Even at Government level after the recommendation of the review
committee, the report was duly scrutinised. [11D, 11F]
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 658 of 1988 From the Judgment and
Order dated 18.2.1987 of the Central Administrative Tribunal Hyderabad in OA
No. 522 of 1986.
and A. Subba Rao for the Appellant.
Ashok K. Srivastava and C.V.S. Rao for the Respondents.
Judgment of the Court was delivered by RANGANATH MISRA, J. This appeal by
special leave and is directed against the decision of the Central
Administrative Tribunal, Hyderabad bench, dismissing the claim of the appellant
and rejecting his challenge to the order dated PG NO 7 28th of November, 1986,
retiring the appellant from service under Article 459(h) of the Civil Services
order of the retirement impugned in the proceedings was to the following
the President is of the opinion that it is in the public interest to do so.
THEREFORE, in exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (h) of Article 459, of
Civil Services Regulations, the President hereby retires Dr. J.K. Sinha,
Scientist `E', DLRL, Hyderabad with immediate effect, he having
already attained the age of 50 years on 27th March, 1981. The President also directs that
Dr. J.K. Sinha shall be paid a sum equivalent to the amount of his pay plus
allowances for a period of 3 months calculated at the same rate at which he was
drawing them immediately before his retirement".
appellant was born on 27th March, 1931, and took the Master's Degree in Science
in Physics in 1953 and obtained Ph.D. in microwave Physics from the University
of London in 1959. He also became a senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, USA and a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, London. He acquired professional training in the Institute of Semi
Conductor, Leningrad USSR, Leveder Institute of Physics, Moscow, and Rice University, Texas, USA. In August 1960, he was appointed as Senior Scientific Officer, Grade-I
in the Defence Science Laboratory, Delhi and in 1969 was promoted as Principal Scientific Officer. In August,
1973, he was further promoted as Deputy Chief Scientific Officer and posted in Defence
Electronics Research Laboratory, Hyderabad. While serving in the said post he was prematurely retired by the
the Tribunal the appellant contended that he had a brilliant academic career
and had a clean record of service; his research projects had been highly
praised and appreciated and he deserved promotion to the post of Director
(Scientist `G'/`F'). The appellant was actually interviewed for the said post
during May and June 1986. In February, 1986, he had made a representation to
the authorities for redressal of personal grievances and while PG NO 8
suggesting for improvement in the laboratory he had pointed out regarding the
defective functioning of the Institution.
authorities developed bias against the appellant. This led to his not getting
selected for the post of Director and ultimately to the making of the impugned
order. These allegations were countered by the Department. Before the Tribunal
the service records of the appellant were produced.
Tribunal rejected the allegations of bias and mala fide and the appellant's
claim that the order of retirement was based upon extraneous consideration and
dismissed the appeal.
very contentions have been reiterated before us by Mr. Rao appearing for the
appellant. The Department made available for inspection at the hearing the
service records from 1973 till his retirement in support of its stand that the
guidelines prescribed for review for deciding whether an officer should be
prematurely retired had been strictly followed and the decision to retire the
appellant was taken in a bona fide and legitimate manner and without any bias
mainly emphasised that the appellant had a clean service record and, therefore,
there was no justification to prematurely retire him. This submission is based
upon the assumption that the appellant's record of service is clean as he has
not been communicated any adverse entry in his character roll. Mr. Dwivedi for
the respondent refuted the assumption by stating that there were several
entries by the authorities to indicate deficiencies and draw-backs in the
appellant's functioning and to support this submission he relied upon the
service records. According to Mr. Dwivedi the entries are such that there was
no obligation to communicate the same under the prescribed guidelines. We may
refer to some of the entries now:
Year Remarks ------------------------------------------------------------ 1975
"I have not been too impressed with this officer who does not seem to fit
into DLRL and its work. l agree with Director DLRL and CCR&D(E) in their
"I have not been impressed with this Officer. I doubt if he fits in well
with the work at DLRL. We will have to see how to redeploy him. This is not
easy in a post oriented budget system." PG NO 9 1977 "I am in full
agreement with Shri .................in his comments/assessment concerning this
officer also with the grading of Reviewing Officer. He would be best suited for
a preliminary Physics based and largely teaching oriented job. His promotion to
DCSO and posting to DLRL was a direct result of the irrelevant system of
Subject Pyramids, Vacancy based promotion defined by pure consideration of ACRs.
Thus one gets square pegs in round holes. It is this system which has been
changed recently after great effort.
position as earlier operated was unfair in the long term for the officers also,
as in this case.
principle Dr. Sinha would be a good man in the right place." 1979 "An
officer who thinks very much of himself but one who cannot claim to have done
something substantial. I have suggested that he shifts to IAT but he has
"From what I know of him, he merely talks but does nothing very much. He
refused to teach at IAT though qualified on papers. He is one of those whom we
have to keep on as dead wood".
"I agree. I have no high opinion of his work or as a man. The DRDO derives
no benefit from him but our rules are such that we have to live with such
"He is an average officer".
"Performance is average and fair".
"I am totally disappointed with the officer. My predecessors have also had
the same feeling. I tried to see whether he could be fit into MTRC Bangalore.
Even for this he has to appear for an interview. His performance as far as I
can see is mediocre and I accept...'s observation.
stated "he is in my opinion at the lowest limit of technical performance
and managerial performance in DCRL Scientist `E'." PG NO 10 By the time
the review was undertaken the report for the year 1985 was not ready mainly on
account of the appellant not furnishing his self-assessment but the report
which came latter indicated that he was graded as poor for that year.
the records we find that on June 9, 1980, the head of the establishment had
written to the appellant to the following effect:
your letter of 27th May, 1980. You will recall some time ago you sent me
several communications and also saw me in person about your future interests I
thought I had been able to give you a chance to expand on your interest, but
you have turned it down. It is, therefore, not clear what exactly you want. If
you want to take a dominant role in the microwave development and research and
its related activities, this cannot be done purely on a personal basis; it
should be a part of the overall programme of the Organisation. I am, therefore,
requesting Shri Narayana Rao to use you in whatever way he deems fit until a
suitable post is found for you." On 17th April, 1986, the Director of Defence
Electronics Research Laboratory, Hyderabad, had written a letter to the
Director of Personnel, R & D Organisation, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi,
about the appellant, a copy of which is on record. The letter makes grievance
that the appellant is non-cooperative in the matter of submission of his self-
assessment for the year 1985. It further stated:
do not recommend him for promotion, due to the above mentioned remedial defects
about which he has been told many time by me.
many years he has not been putting in even the minimum amount of effort which
is expected of a person of his level. With Government now extending the
services of Scientists/Engineers upto 60 years, I feel that in the best
interests of the Government, a careful study has to be made whether people of
his calibre and capabilities are allowed to be continued in Government service.
regard his overall performance is poor and he comes against the lowest 5% of
the Sc.E in the laboratory".
11 The appellant has served under four controlling authorities and three of
them are Scientists of international repute. These Scientists appear to have
made a fair assessment of the appellant's work and what is material is that
there is unanimity in their conclusion. Years back one of the entries had
indicated that the appellant had become "dead wood".
Tribunal rightly rejected the plea of mala fides.
appropriately, Mr. Rao did not reiterate that contention. There could be no
reason why everyone in the Institution should turn hostile to the appellant.
had contended that there was no communication of adverse entries. Ordinarily
when the entries relate to specific instances leading to adverse entries, the
communication thereof is sent to the officer concerned with a view to providing
an opportunity for improvement of performance. The entries which we have
extracted above are mostly based upon general assessment of the performance. As
we have already pointed out, he was communicated years back the general
disapproval of his method of working. We are satisfied that the review
proceedings were in consonance with the guidelines framed by the Government.
The post in which the appellant was working was a responsible one and poor
performance could not be tolerated.
Shyam Lal v. State of U.P. & Union of India,  1 SCR 26, a Constitution Bench had indicated that compulsory
retirement did not involve any stigma or implication of misbehaviour or
incapacity. Ever since then by a catena of decisions, the power of compulsory
retirement and the procedure prescribed for taking of such action have been
approved by this Court.
unnecessary to refer to those cases.
the proceedings of the Review Committee, we find that the Committee took up the
review of 19 officers and found the appellant alone liable for retirement. The
record of the proceedings shows that even at Government level after the
recommendation of review committee, the report was duly scrutinised.
opinion, the Tribunal rightly came to the conclusion that the order of
compulsory retirement was not open to challenge. The appeal is accordingly
would be no order for costs.