Court of Judicature at Allahabad Vs. Sarnam Singh & ANR  INSC
426 (15 December 1999)
Ahmad, D.P.Wadhwa, S. SAGHIR AHMAD, J.
Singh (respondent No.1), who shall hereinafter be referred to as respondent,
was compulsorily retired from service by order dated 12.11.1997 passed by the
State Government on the recommendation of the High Court which itself,
incidentally, is the appellant before us. This Court in All India Judges'
Association vs. Union of India, (1992) 1 SCC 119, had issued certain directions
for improvement of the service conditions of the members of the subordinate
judiciary in the country. The Union of India and various States thereafter
filed a Review Petition which was considered and disposed of by this Court on August 24, 1993 by Judgment since reported as All
India Judges' Association and Ors. vs. Union
of India & Ors., (1993) 4 SCC 288. It may be pointed out that by the
earlier Judgment in the main case of All India Judges' Association (supra), one
of the directions related to the enhancement of superannuation age of all the
subordinate Judicial Officers upto 60 years. This question was also considered
in the Review Petition and while rejecting the contention of the Union of India
and other States that age of retirement should not be enhanced to 60 years,
this Court, inter alia, observed as under:- "30. There is, however, one
aspect we should emphasise here. To that extent the direction contained in the
main judgment under review shall stand modified. The benefit of the increase of
the retirement age to 60 years, shall not be available automatically to all
judicial officers irrespective of their past record of service and evidence of
their continued utility to the judicial system.
benefit will be available to those who, in the opinion of the respective High
Courts, have a potential for continued useful service. It is not intended as a
windfall for the indolent, the infirm and those of doubtful integrity,
reputation and utility. The potential for continued utility shall be assessed
and evaluated by appropriate Committees of Judges of the respective High Courts
constituted and headed by the Chief Justices of the High Courts and the
evaluation shall be made on the basis of the Judicial officer's past record of
service, character rolls, quality of judgments and other relevant matters.
The High Court should undertake and complete the exercise in case of officers
about to attain the age of 58 years well within time by following the procedure
for compulsory retirement as laid down in the respective Service Rules
applicable to the judicial officers. Those who will not be found fit and eligibile
by this standard should not be given the benefit of the higher retirement age
and should be compulsorily retired at the age of 58 by following the said
procedure for compulsory retirement. The exercise should be undertaken before
the attainment of the age of 58 years even in cases where earlier the age of
superannuation was less than 58 years. It is necessary to make it clear that
this assessment is for the purpose of finding out the suitability of the
concerned officers for the entitlement of the benefit of the increased age of
superannuation from 58 years to 60 years. It is in addition to the assessment
to be undertaken for compulsory retirement and the compulsory retirement at the
earlier stage/s under the respective Service Rules." Pursuant to the above
directions, the High Courts, all over the country, before allowing Officers of
the subordinate judiciary to continue in service upto the age of 60 years, scrutinised
the work, conduct and performance of all Officers who were about to attain the
age of 58 years, to determine whether they were fit to be allowed an extension
in service or were fit to be compulsorily retired.
scrutiny was done in accordance with the procedure laid down by the respective
Service Rules relating to compulsory retirement as applicable to the Judicial
exercise was done in the case of respondent also who was compulsorily retired
from service principally on account of the adverse remark given by the then
Inspecting Judge who had made a surprise inspection of the Moradabad Judgeship
on April 18, 1995, in cognito, which was followed by the annual inspection by
the Inspecting Judge (Mr.Justice R.B. Mehrotra) from 22nd May to 28th May,
1995. A reference to the surprise inspection as also to the regular inspection
shall be made later as we intend to consider a more important aspect first on
which the whole appeal can be disposed of finally.
principal contention urged by Mr. P.P. Rao, learned Senior Counsel, appearing
on behalf of the respondent is that pursuant to the directions issued by this
Court in its Judgment in All India Judges' Association vs. Union of India and
others, (1992) 1 SCC 119, the U.P. Government framed new Rules, namely, U.P.
Judicial Officers (Retirement on Superannuation) Rules, 1992 which were
notified on 20.10.1992 by which the age of retirement of the Judicial Officers
was raised from 58 years to 60 years. It is contended that since the State
Government itself had framed new Rules by which the age of retirement was
raised from 58 years to 60 years, the age of retirement fixed under Fundamental
Rule 56, contained in Financial Hand Book, Volume II, Part 2 to 4, would not be
applicable to the Judicial Officers as it is specifically provided in the new
Rules that they shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary
contained in Rule 56 of the Fundamental Rules. Mr. P.P. Rao contends that the
age of retirement having been raised from 58 years to 60 years, the respondent
had a right to continue in service till the age of 60 years and the rule of
scrutiny envisaged by this Court in its Judgment dated August 24, 1993 [(1993)
4 SCC 288] would not be applicable.
Dwivedi, learned Senior Counsel, appearing on behalf of the High Court has, on
the contrary, contended that though the State Government had made a specific
Rule by which the age of retirement of Judicial Officers was raised from 58
years to 60 years, a scrutiny had still to be done to find out their
suitability to continue till the age of 60 years in terms of the directions
issued by this Court which had specifically provided that continuance upto the
age of 60 years would not be automatic and only those Officers who are found
suitable would alone be allowed the benefit of extension. It is further
submitted that the directions issued by this Court have to be read as
supplemental to the Rules already made by the State Government. Regarding the overriding
provision under the Rules, it is submitted by Mr.
Dwivedi that the new Rules override all other earlier rules relating to the age
of retirement of Judicial Officers but do not intend to override the directions
issued by this Court in All India Judges Association's case, (1992) 1 SCC 119.
direction relating to the age of retirement in the All India Judges
Association's case, (1992) 1 SCC 119, was to the following effect :
Retirement age of judicial officers be raised to 60 years and appropriate steps
are to be taken by December
31, 1992." Acting
upon these directions, the State Govt. framed the U.P. Judicial Officers
(Retirement on Superannuation) Rules, 1992, under Article 309 of the
Constitution. They came into force on October 20, 1992. Rules 2 and 4 of the aforesaid
Rules which are relevant for the present case are quoted below :
Overriding effect -- The provisions of these Rules shall have effect
notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in Rule 56 of the U.P. Fundamental
Rules, contained in the Financial Hand Book Volume II Parts 2 to 4 or any other
Rules made by the Governor under the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution
or orders, for the time being in force.
Retirement -- A Judicial Officer shall retire from service on superannuation in
the afternoon of the last day of the month in which he attains the age of sixty
years." The above Rules indicate that the age of superannuation of
Judicial Officers was fixed at 60 years.
also specifically provided that these Rules would have effect notwithstanding
anything to the contrary contained in Rule 56 of the U.P. Fundamental Rules
which provided that the age of superannuation of a Govt. servant would be 58
years. All Judicial Officers working in the subordinate courts are,
undoubtedly, Govt. servants and like all other Govt. servants, they retired
from service on attaining the age of 58 years in terms of Rule 56 of the
Fundamental Rules. But on account of the directions issued by this Court in the
All India Judges Association's case (1992) 1 SCC 119, the Govt. of Uttar
Pradesh, as pointed out earlier, framed new Rules specially for the Judicial
Officers and provided that their age of retirement would be 60 years. In order
to give effect to the new Rules, it was specifically provided that these Rules
would have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in
Fundamental Rule 56. The directions issued by this Court were thus fully
implemented and the State Govt., by bringing out new Rules, and that too with
effect from October 20,
1992, acted within the
time limit fixed by this Court. The age of superannuation thus having been
raised from 58 years to 60 years, all Judicial Officers in the State would
retire on attaining the age of 60 years and not earlier.
now examine the contention of Mr. Rakesh Dwivedi that before allowing them to
continue in service for another two years, that is from 58 to 60 years, there
should have been a scrutiny of their service record and only those who were
found suitable for continuance in service alone should have been given that
benefit in terms of the directions issued by this Court in the Review Judgment
[(1993) 4 SCC 288].
Court, while issuing directions for raising the age of superannuation of
Judicial Officers from 58 to 60 years had fixed a time limit within which
appropriate action was to be taken by the State Governments. It was provided
that appropriate steps in that direction may be taken by December 31, 1992. Instead of complying with those
directions, many of the States, including the Union of India filed Review
Petitions in which various contentions were raised for recalling the earlier
direction for raising the age of superannuation. The contentions raised by the
State Governments as also by the Union of India were not accepted and it was
provided that the age of superannuation of Judicial Officers would be 60 years.
Since all the State Governments had not, by that time, made a statutory rule to
give effect to the directions of this Court, it was provided that the benefit
of extension in the age of superannuation would be available to those officers
only who, in the opinion of the High Court, had meticulous service record and
were officers of integrity. This benefit, it was further provided, was not intended
to serve as a "windfall" for officers of doubtful integrity,
reputation or utility. It was left to the High Courts to consider the work,
conduct and performance of the Judicial Officers to assess their merit and to
decide whether they were fit to continue in service beyond 58 and upto the age
of 60 years. These directions were qualified by the following words :
directions issued are mere aids and incidental to and supplemental of the main
direction and intended as a transitional measure till a comprehensive national
policy is evolved." These observations indicate that the procedure
indicated by this Court for evaluating the work, performance and conduct of
Judicial Officers, before allowing them to continue in service upto the age of
60 years, was evolved as a temporary measure and was not to be adopted as a
permanent feature. The choice was thus left to the Appointing Authority. If the
Appointing Authority itself had made necessary Service Rules extending the age
of retirement, the above procedure was to be given up as the Officers would
continue in service in accordance with the Service Rules made by the Appointing
Authority in the respective States.
was not done, then the Judicial Officers were to continue in service till the
age of 60 years in accordance with the directions of this Court in the earlier
case, provided the Officers, on a scrutiny of their service records, in
accordance with the directions issued in the Review Petition, were found
suitable for the benefit of extended service.
pointed out above, the State Govt., acting upon the directions of this Court in
the earlier case [(1992) 1 SCC 119], made new Rules under Article 309 of the
Constitution, and that too within the time fixed by this Court, by which the
age of retirement of all Judicial Officers was raised from 58 to 60 years. In
view of these Rules, which also had the overriding effect over F.R. 56, the
Judicial Officers in the State of U.P.
became entitled to continue in service upto the age of 60 years. The directions
of this Court for scrutiny of their service records before allowing them to
continue in service beyond 58 years, being of a transitory character, yielded
place to the new Rules made by the State Govt. under Article 309 of the
Constitution and, therefore, it was no longer incumbent upon the High Court to
resort to the procedure of scrutiny of the service records of all Judicial
Officers before allowing them the benefit of extension in the age of
retirement. The contention of Mr.
Dwivedi, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the High Court, that the
directions of this Court about the scrutiny of the service record should be
read as supplemental to the new Service Rules cannot be accepted as this Court
itself had indicated clearly that the directions were intended to serve as a
Three-Judge Bench of this Court in Rajat Baran Roy & Ors. vs. State of W.B.
& Ors. (1999) 4 SCC 235, relating to the Judicial Service of the State of
West Bengal, has taken a similar view and has held that if a Rule is made by
the State Govt. extending the age of retirement of the Judicial Officers, the
directions of this Court in the Review Petition for scrutiny of the service
record would not be applicable as the Judicial Officers, by virtue of the new
Rule, would continue upto the age of superannuation fixed under the new Rule.
instant case, the service record of the respondent was scrutinised by the High
Court at the time when he was completing 58 years of age to decide whether he
was fit to be continued in service upto the age of 60 years.
exercise was undertaken by the High Court in accordance with the directions
issued by this Court in the Review Petition. The High Court overlooked the
vital fact that the new Rules already made by the State Government under
Article 309 of the Constitution provided specifically that the Judicial
Officers would retire on attaining the age of 60 years. That being so, it was
no longer necessary for the High Court to have scrutinised the service record
at that stage. The respondent, in view of the new Rules, was entitled to
continue in service upto the age of 60 years.
order of compulsory retirement passed by the State Govt. on the recommendation
of the High Court was wholly erroneous.
writ petition filed by the respondent, as pointed out earlier, has been allowed
by the High Court on the judicial side, on the ground that the order of
compulsory retirement passed on the recommendation of the High Court was based
on no material and was, therefore, erroneous. In view of the fact that we have
already found above that the respondent had a right to continue in service upto
the age of 60 years, there does not appear to be any need to enter into the
scrutiny of the reasoning adopted by the High Court for setting aside the order
of compulsory retirement as we are also of the view that the order of
compulsory retirement was bad, though for different reasons. But, looking to
the importance of the matter, particularly the adverse entries recorded in the
character roll of the respondent by the Inspecting Judge, we would rather
dispose of that issue as well.
III of the Rules of Court, 1952, (as amended upto 1.8.1994) made by the Allahabad
High Court, deals with the Executive & Administrative Business of the
Court. It provides for Inspecting Judges and Administrative Committee.
Rule relating to "Inspecting Judges" provides as under :
Judge The Chief Justice shall nominate and assign one sessions division to each
Hon'ble Judge as Inspecting Judge of that division for a period of one year. In
a given situation, however, the Chief Justice may assign more than one sessions
divisions to one Inspecting Judge and more than one Inspecting Judges to hold
the charge of one sessions division.
case of retirement, resignation, refusal or death of any Inspecting Judge,
another Hon. Judge shall be nominated by the Chief Justice.
Inspecting Judge shall proceed for inspection in consultation with the Chief
Justice. The Inspecting Judge will not ordinarily devote more than five working
days for annual inspections." The Rule relating to "Administrative
Committee" provides as under :
Committee There shall be a committee called the Administrative Committee
composed of the Chief Justice, two seniormost Judges and six Judges to be
nominated by the Chief Justice.
The two senior most Judges shall be permanent members and six Judges shall be
nominated as members by the Chief Justice for a term of three years.
The Chief Justice and in his absence the seniormost member of the Committee
shall preside over its meetings.
the case of retirement, resignation, refusal or death of any member of the
committee, another Judge shall be nominated by the Chief Justice in his place.
the event of a member being temporarily absent on leave or otherwise, it will
be open to the Chief Justice to assign his work to any other Judge.
Each member of the committee shall discharge such functions, dispose of such
executive and administrative business, as may be allocated to him by the Chief
Justice." "Matters" which are within the jurisdiction of the
Inspecting Judge are as under :
for Inspecting Judges (1) Review of Judicial work of subordinate Courts,
tribunals, district consumer forums and all other special courts and control of
their working including inspection thereof, to record entries in the character
rolls of the officers posted in the division assigned to the Inspecting Judge.
Perusal of returns, calendars, evaluation of inspection reports made by the
presiding officers in respect of their own offices, audit reports received from
those courts, tribunals etc. and to make orders thereon.
Any adverse remarks or strictures made by Inspecting Judge about Judicial work,
conduct or integrity of any officer under his charge will be communicated to
the officer concerned, who may make his representations, if any, within a month
and the same shall be placed before the Administrative Committee for
consideration and decision.
Grant of earned leave to officers posted in the sessions division under the
charge of the Inspecting Judge.
Grant of casual leave (including special casual leave) and permission to leave
headquarters to the District and Sessions Judge, Presiding Officers of the tribunals
and special Courts etc. howsoever designated.
Disposal of appeal against orders of punishment imposed on and representations
etc. of the employees of the subordinate Courts." The relevant portion
relating to the matters within the jurisdiction of the "Administrative
Committee" is reproduced below :
for the Administrative Committee 1 to 15. .........
Decision on the reports of the Inspecting Judge including annual confidential
remarks recorded by him in respect of an officer in his charge." The High
Court has also prescribed "Self Assessment Forms" which are filled up
by the Judicial Officers and are sent to the District Judges. The High Court
has also issued Circular Letters laying down the appropriate guidelines and
instructions for the District Judges to record the Annual Character Roll
entries. In Circular Letter No. C-54/71 dated 16th April, 1971, it is provided, inter alia, as under :
remarks recorded by the District Judges should give a correct and full picture
of the work, conduct and reputation of the officers. In case annual remarks do
not properly assess the work of the officers, administrative lapse on the part
of the District Judge concerned would be presumed." In Circular Letter No.
17/78 dated 2nd
February, 1978, it is
indicated as under :
evaluating the judicial work of an officer, the number of his judgments, orders
reversed or modified in appeal or revision will not be taken into account. The
assessment of judicial work of an officer will be asked on the quality of his
judgments or orders and not on the result of the appeals or revisions.
Henceforth, the work of an officer will be assessed on the basis of quality of
his judgments or orders and not on the basis of the number of judgments or
orders reversed or modified in appeal or revision." Vide Circular Letter
Nos. C-10/85 and C-14/89 dated 22nd March, 1985
and 10th March, 1989, respectively, it was emphasised that
District Judge shall ensure that the following instructions as contained in
various Circular Letters issued by the Court from time to time are followed
strictly in recording the annual remarks in respect of the judicial officers:
The annual remarks should be recorded in respect of all the officers whose work
and conduct was seen for three months or more during the year.
Even if an officer has worked at the station for period of less than three
months during the year, the District Judge should send the figures of his
disposal for that part of the year, so that his full figures of disposal during
the whole year may be worked out." The Inspecting Judges, as set out in
the Rules, are nominated by the Chief Justice and a particular sessions
division is assigned to them. The Rules also provide that the Chief Justice may
assign more than one sessions divisions to one Inspecting Judge or for one
sessions division, he may nominate more than one Inspecting Judges.
Rules visualise that the Inspecting Judge will be appointed by the Chief
Justice strictly in the interest of administration of justice and the Chief
Justice, while appointing an Inspecting Judge for a particular sessions
division or assigning more than one sessions divisions to one Inspecting Judge
or, for that matter, appointing two Inspecting Judges for one sessions
division, will be guided by relevant factors pertaining to the proper and
smooth running of the administration so that the High Court may effectively
exercise its power of control over the subordinate judiciary as contemplated by
Article 235 of the Constitution. Personal liking for a particular sessions
division or convenience of the Judge will not be a relevant factor for his
appointment as an Inspecting Judge.
Inspecting Judge, according to Rules of Court, 1952, will proceed to inspect
the sessions division assigned to him only in consultation with the Chief
Justice and will not ordinarily devote more than five working days for annual
inspection. The time limit has been fixed purposely so that the judicial work
in the High Court, which is of prime importance, may not suffer. This
philosophy leads to the conclusion that the Inspecting Judge would not normally
sacrifice the working days in the High Court at the cost of their visit to the
Districts. The Rules set out the matters which are within the jurisdiction of
the Inspecting Judge and those which are within the jurisdiction of the
Administrative Committee. According to the scheme set out in the Rules as also
various circular letters issued by the High Court from time to time, it appears
that annual remarks would be recorded by the District Judges who would give a
correct and full picture of the work, conduct and reputation of the Officers.
The guidelines on the basis of which annual remark would be given have also
been laid down by the High Court in the circular letters issued from time to
High Court, thereafter, records the Character Roll entry.
Justice R.B. Mehrotra, who has since retired, was the Inspecting Judge of the Moradabad
Judgeship at the relevant time. In the counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the
appellant in the writ petition while it was pending in the High Court,
regarding which it is erroneously mentioned by the Division Bench that it was
not filed, it has been stated, inter alia, as under :
That the then Inspecting Judge, Moradabad, Hon. Mr. Justice R.B. Mehrotra, sent
a D.O. Letter dated 20.4.95 addressed to Hon'ble the Chief Justice stating
therein that His Lordship made a surprise visit to District Judgeship of Moradabad
on 18.4.1995. His lordship went around Civil Court compound in cognito, made queries from litigants and met
several Advocates without disclosing his lordship's identity. The enquiries
made by his lordship from litigants and Advocates without knowing lordship's
identity revealed that petitioner and four other Judicial Officers whose names
mentioned in the D.O. letter dt.20.4.1995 of Hon'ble Mr. Justice R.B. Mehrotra
command stinking reputation of being corrupt. Thereafter, Hon'ble the
Inspecting Judge made queries from District Judge regarding stinking reputation
of being corrupt in respect of the officer. The District Judge has confirmed
that all the officers whose names mentioned in the instant D.O. Letter of Hon'ble
the Inspecting Judge are having a very bad reputation of being corrupt Judicial
Officers. The District Judge has expressed his regrets for not having brought
to the aforesaid facts to the knowledge of the Hon'ble Court.
Lordship was strongly of the opinion that all the officers whose name mentioned
in the D.O. letter of Inspecting Judge, Moradabad, who had stinking reputation should be transferred and he be given
punishment posting to far-fetched stations.
dictation of the aforesaid report by Hon'ble the Inspecting Judge, Moradabad
Session, a Confidential report from District Judge, Moradabad was received by his lordship and
the same were also sent to Hon'ble the Chief Justice for his lordship's kind
perusal and orders. The District Judge in his D.O. letter dated 20.4.95 has
informed the Hon'ble the Inspecting Judge in respect of the petitioner that
though there is no complaint against Sri Sarnam Singh (petitioner), Special
Judge (Essential Commodities), Moradabad, he also has connections with the said
a cocous of lawyers and public-men. His reputation is also very bad.
District Judge had also requested to his lordship to transfer the officer whose
names mentioned in his report (including petitioner) from this Judgeship
immediately so that pubic confidence in judiciary may be restored and judicial
discipline be maintained in the Judgeship.
orders of Hon'ble the Chief Justice these officers including the petitioner
have been transferred.
petitioner was transferred from Moradabad to Aligarh vide Court's notification No.
C-304/DR(S)/1995 dated 29.5.1995." It was further stated as under :
That thereafter Hon'ble Mr. Justice R.B. Mehrotra, the Inspecting Judge, Moradabad, made annual Inspection of this
judgeship and submitted his report to the Court on 16.10.1995. It is apparent
from Inspection Note that the then Hon'ble Inspecting Judge also inspected the
court of Special Judge (ECA) Moradabad and at that time the petitioner was the
Presiding Officer of that Court. In his Inspection Note Hon'ble the Inspecting
Judge had made the assessment of Judicial performance of the petitioner.
the Inspecting Judge had made observation that he had seen the file of 13
Sessions Trials and 6 bail Applications decided by him in the month of August,
these Sessions Trials the accused had been acquitted.
six Sessions Trials the accused had been acquitted on the ground that
prosecution witnesses turned hostile. In Sessions Trial No. 119/89 the accused
had been acquitted u/s 399/402 IPC and section 25 Arms Act. The Hon'ble the
Inspecting Judge after perusal of judgment in the instant case has observed
that judgment is sketchy and no proper reason had been recorded discarding the
Bail Application No. 1980/94 bail had been granted in case of fire arm injury
u/s 302 IPC on the ground that 2 persons fired whereas injury found on person
of the deceased was only one. Even assuming that bullet fired by the other
person did not hit the deceased admittedly the allegation is that both accused
had fired with the intention to kill the deceased who was actually killed. Hon'ble
the Inspecting Judge observed that there was absolutely no justification of
granting bail on the aforesaid ground.
Bail Application No. 187/95, bail had been granted by referring that there was
a Judgment of Justice Palok.
the Inspecting Judge observed that there was no way of quoting precedent. The
reference of judgment should have been mentioned if the Judge wanted to rely on
decision of this Court. Mr. Justice Palok Basu delivered many judgments and on
which judgment petitioner relied should have also been indicated in the order.
the Inspecting Judge likewise in Bail Application No. 3241/94 has also observed
that bail had been granted on the basis of parity. No reference has been
mentioned in the order that who was co-accused, who had been granted bail, what
was the role assigned to him and what was the role assigned to the applicant. Hon'ble
the Inspecting Judge on persual of orders passed in the aforesaid bail
applications has observed that they are also sketchy. The judicial performance
of the petitioner is assessed to be poor and unsatisfactory.
That the Hon'ble Inspecting Judge (Hon'ble Mr. Justice R.B. Mehrotra) while
giving annual remarks to the petitioner for 1994-95 had recorded that the
officer enjoyed a stinkingly bad reputation as revealed in his lordship's
Surprise Inspection in cognito dated 18th April, 1995. The assessment of judicial
performance of the petitioner was adjudged as poor and unsatisfactory. The
petitioner made representation dated 26.08.1996 to the Court against the
aforesaid adverse remarks and same was duly considered and rejected by the
Court. The petitioner was informed accordingly through the District Judge, Aligarh, vide Court's D.O. No. C-189/CF(A)/97,
That during his surprise Inspection, Hon'ble Inspecting Judge also contacted
various sections of lawyers, a good number of lawyers were opposed to strike
and were appearing in Court but due to strike the work by and large remained paralysed
for one and half months and only urgent bail applications were being attended
by District Judge and other officers to whom bail applications were
lordship tried to persuade the Lawyers to withdraw the strike so that their
grievances if any may be looked in it.
lordship was given to understand by section of lawyers supporting the strike
that strike would be called of." The original service record of the
respondent was placed before us which reveals that respondent, at no time, was
given any adverse remarks during the entire tenure of his service. The High
Court had itself, while disposing of the writ petition, scrutinised the service
record of the respondent and observed as under :
appears that petitioner joined, as already stated, U.P. Higher Judicial Service
on 23.4.1984. He was posted as Additional District Judge Moradabad from June,
1992 under Sri Tej Shankar, the then District Judge, Moradabad, who was later on elevated to the
Bench. He was also posted under Sri Bhagwandin, the then Distt. Judge Moradabad
who also was elevated to the Bench later on. It may be stated that the
petitioner was posted with (three) Distt. Judges who were later on elevated to
the Bench namely, Sri N.S.Gupta, Sri Bhagwandin and Sri Tej Shankar, and
according to petitioner there was no complaint to all those 3 (three) the then
District Judges against his work and conduct." It was further observed by
the High Court as under :
may be mentioned that in the year 1984-85 the then Administrative Judge Hon'ble
Mr.Justice N.N. Mithal gave remark that petitioners relations with members of
the Bar are reported to be good, the District Judge rated the officer as good
and the officer was transferred on administrative grounds from Etawah. In the
year 1985-86 the same Administrative Judge has certified integrity of the
petitioner and has given remark that the officer took pains to dispose of old
Sessions Trials and Special cases under the Dacoity Affected Areas Act and his
judgments are properly written and expressed in good language.
year 1986-87 there is no adverse entry against the petitioner. There is remark
that he has taken interest in disposal of old cases both Civil and Criminal.
His judgments on facts and law are sound, well reasoned and expressed in good
language. The officer has good control over his office and possesses
administrative capacity and tact. Relations with the members of the Bar are
overall assessment Sri P.K. Jain the then District Judge (subsequently elevated
to the Bench) had rated the petitioner to be good officer. In the year 1987-88
more or less the entry is similar, to that of 1986-87.
year 1988-89 the entry of the petitioner is recorded by Sri N.S. Gupta, the
then District Judge (subsequently elevated to the Bench). He has given remark
to the petitioner that the integrity of the officer is beyond doubt, judgments
on facts and law are sound, well reasoned and expressed in good language and on
over all assessment the officer has been rated as good.
year 1988-89 good entry has been given to petitioner by the then District Judge
Sri P.P. Gupta and in the year 1990-91 also the petitioner has been given good
entries, and his integrity has been certified. More or less similar entry is
awarded to petitioner in the year 1991-92.
year 1992-93 Sri Tej Shankar the then District Judge Moradabad (subsequently
elevated to the Bench) has given good entry to the petitioner and his integrity
is stated to be beyond doubt. Similar entry has been given by Sri Bhagwan Din
the then District Judge (subsequently elevated to the Bench) in the year
1993-94. Similarly in the year 1994-95 Sri Bhagwan Din the then District Judge Moradabad
has stated that the integrity of the officer was beyond doubt and on overall
assessment the officer was rated as good, before the visit of Hon'ble the then
have perused the entire service record of the petitioner and there is nothing
adverse against him." The High Court, thereafter, proceeded to consider
various aspects of the matter, including the fact that at the time when Mr.
Justice R.B. Mehrotra made a surprise Inspection of the Moradabad Judgeship,
the lawyers were on strike, and ultimately recorded a finding that the impugned
adverse entry was unjustified, arbitrary and based on non- existent facts and
was, therefore, liable to quashed. We uphold the findings of the High Court,
but we do not subscribe to the view that before an adverse entry was recorded
in the Character Roll, an opportunity of hearing was, by any principle,
required to be given to the respondent. [See: Major General I.P.S. Dewan vs.
Union of India & Ors. (1995) 3 SCC 383, in which R.L. Butail vs.
of India (1970) 2 SCC 876 = (1971) 2 SCR 55 has been followed.] The decision of
this Court in Sukhdeo vs. Commissioner, Amravati Division, Amravati & Anr. relied
upon by the respondent regarding Adverse Remarks in the service record cannot
be pressed into aid as in that case it was held that Adverse Remarks suffered
from inconsistency and lack of bona fides. We may also point out that the High
Court in its judgment was wrong in observing that no counter-affidavit on
behalf of the appellant was filed as counter-affidavits both on behalf of the
State Govt. as also on behalf of the appellant were filed at the stage of writ
petition, copies whereof have been placed before us.
role of Inspecting Judges and the manner in which they are to assess the work
of the Judicial Officers were considered by this Court in High Court of Punjab
& Haryana through R.G. vs. Ishwar Chand Jain and Another JT 1999 (3) SC 266,
in which one of us (Brother Wadhwa, J.), speaking for the Court, said :
late this Court is watching the spectre of either judicial officers or the High
Courts coming to this Court when there is an order pre-maturely retiring a
judicial officer. Under Article 235 of the Constitution High Court exercises
complete control over subordinate courts which include District Courts.
Inspection of the subordinate courts is one of the most important functions
which High Court performs for control over the subordinate courts. Object of
such inspection is for the purpose of assessment of the work performed by the
subordinate judge, his capability, integrity and competency. Since judges are
human beings and also prone to all the human failings, inspection provides an
opportunity for pointing out mistakes so that they are avoided in future and
deficiencies, if any, in the working of the subordinate court, remedied.
should act as a catalyst in inspiring subordinate judges to give best results.
They should feel a sense of achievement. They need encouragement. They work
under great stress and man the courts while working under great discomfort and
hardships. A satisfactory judicial system depends largely on the satisfactory
functioning of courts at grass root level. Remarks recorded by the inspecting
judge are normally endorsed by the Full Court and become part of the Annual Confidential Reports and are foundations
on which the career of a judicial officer is made or marred.
of subordinate court is thus of vital importance.
to be both effective and productive. It can be so only if it is well regulated
and is workman like.
of subordinate courts is not a one day or an hour or few minutes affair. It has
to go on all the year round by monitoring the work of the court by the
casual inspection can hardly be beneficial to a judicial system. It does more
harms than good. As noticed in the case of R. Rajiah (JT 1988 (2) SC 567) there
could be ill conceived or motivated complaints. Rumour mongering is to be
avoided at all costs as it seriously jeopardizes the efficient working of the
subordinate courts." These are extremely important observations and
constitute important guidelines for assessing the work of a Judicial Officer.
These observations also indicate the attitude with which the Inspecting Judge
should objectively consider the work and conduct of the Judicial Officers who
sometimes have to work under difficult and trying circumstances. The same views
were earlier expressed in State Bank of India & Ors. vs. Kashi Nath Kher
8 SCC 762 = AIR 1996 SC 1328. [See also : Union
of India vs. N.R. Banerjee (1997) 9 SCC 287;
State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Yamuna Shanker Mishra (1997) 4
SCC 7 as also Swatantra Singh vs. State of Haryana (1997) 4 SCC 14 = AIR 1997 SC 2105 on the question as to what precisely
is the object and purpose of writing Annual Confidential Report.] We would
conclude the discussion by referring to the observations of this Court in M.S.Bindra
vs. Union of India, JT 1998 (6) SC 34 = (1998) 7 SCC 310, which are as under :
dunk an officer into the puddle of "doubtful integrity" it is not
enough that the doubt fringes on a mere hunch. That doubt should be of such a
nature as would reasonably and consciously be entertainable by a reasonable man
on the given material. Mere possibility is hardly sufficient to assume that it
would have happened. There must be preponderance of probability for the
reasonable man to entertain doubt regarding that possibility. Only then there
is justification to ram an officer with the label "doubtful
the reasons stated above, we do not find any merit in this appeal which is
dismissed, but without any order as to costs.