Vs. Haryana Seeds Development Corporation Ltd. & Ors  INSC 269 (5 September 1990)
M.N. (J) Venkatachalliah, M.N. (J) Saikia, K.N. (J)
1991 AIR 1221 1990 SCR Supl. (3) 13 1991 SCC (2) 283 JT 1991 (5) 191 1991 SCALE
Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1952-Rule 7(5)--Charges likely to
result in dismissal of delinquent Government servant in inquiry--Representation
by counsel whether permitted in the disciplinary proceeding.
Service--Disciplinary proceeding--Presenting Officer trained in law--Denial of
representation by counsel to delinquent Government servant--Violates natural
and Phrases--`Legal Adviser', 'Lawyer'--Construction of.
disciplinary inquiry was initiated against the appel- lant, who was the Company
Secretary of the Corporation on certain charges which if established might lead
to his dismissal from service.
rejected the appellant's prayer made at the initial stage of the inquiry for
permission to engage the services of a lawyer.
the High Court, appellant challenged the inquiry proceedings on grounds of
denial of natural justice.
High Court dismissed the Writ-Petition in-limine against which this appeal was
the appeal, this Court,
1. The right of representation by a lawyer may not in all cases be held to be a
part of natural justice. No general principle valid in all cases can be
In the present case, the matter is guided by the Provi- sions of Rule 7(5) of
the Civil Services (Punishment & Appeal) Rules, 1952. [17C] 14 The Rule
itself recognises that where the charges are so serious as to entail a
dismissal from service, the inquiry- authority may permit the services of a
lawyer. This rule vests a discretion. In the matter on exercise of this dis- cretion
one of the relevant factors is whether there is likelihood of the combat being
unequal entailing a miscar- riage or failure of justice and a denial of a real
and reasonable opportunity for defence by reason of the appel- lant being
pitted against a presenting officer, who is trained in law. [17G-H, 18A] In the
inquiry, the Respondent-Corporation was repre- sented by its Personnel and
Administration Manager, who is stated to be a man of law. Moreover, appellant,
it is claimed, has had no legal background. The refusal of the service of a
lawyer, in the facts of this case, results in denim of natural justice. [17G,
18G] Pett v. Grehound Raling Association Ltd.,  1 QB 125; Pett's case No.
2, 1970(1) QB 46: Enderby Town Football Club Ltd. v. Football Association Ltd.,
 Chancery Div. 591; C.L. Subrahmaniam v. Collector of Customs, Cochin,  3 SCR 485, referred.
of Trustees of the Port of Bombay v. Dilip Kumar,  1 SCR 828, followed.
Legal Adviser and a lawyer are for this purpose somewhat liberally construed
and must include "whoever assists or advises on facts and in law must he deemed
to he in the position of a legal adviser." [18A-B]