Union of India & Ors Vs. Narender
Singh  Insc 378 (29
Pasayat & H. K. Sema Arijit Pasayat, J.
of India and the Additional Commissioner of
Police (OPS), New Delhi have questioned correctness of the
order passed by a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court dismissing writ
petition filed by the present appellants as infructuous.
controversy lies within a very narrow compass and is as under:
(herein referred to as the 'employee') was proceeded against departmentally on
the charge that on 27/28.2.1996 while posted in the vigilance cell at the Indira Gandhi International Airport he accepted illegal gratification for getting two Afghan
nationals cleared through Customs without paying the Customs duty payable. He was
ultimately dismissed by the disciplinary authority by order dated 7.8.1997. The
appeal preferred by him was also rejected by the appellate authority by order
dated 20.11.1997. Challenging these orders the respondent-employee filed
Original Application before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Principal
Bench, New Delhi (in short the 'Tribunal'). By order dated 21.11.2000, the
Tribunal quashed and set aside the order of dismissal dated 7.8.1997 passed by
the disciplinary authority as also the order dated 20.11.1997 passed by the
appellate authority. The respondent-employee was directed to be reinstated
order passed by the Tribunal was questioned by the present appellant by filing
writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950 (in short
'the Constitution'). The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court by its order
dated 5.12.2001 dismissed the writ petition as infructuous by observing as
are informed that respondent stands already reinstated in service pursuant to
Tribunal order dated 21.11.2000 passed in OA.95/98 rendering this petition as
good as infructuous. But L/C for petitioners still tried to justify the
departmental action. We are not impressed as petitioner had already implemented
petition is, accordingly, dismissed as infructuous." Stand of the
appellant in the present appeal is that the view taken by the High Court is
because the respondent-employee had been reinstated in service pursuant to
impugned orders that did not render the petition infructuous.
response, learned counsel for the respondent- employee submitted that
Tribunal's order is without blemish and even on merits there is no scope for
interference with the said order. Even otherwise as has been rightly held by
the High Court after the order of reinstatement the writ petition had really
High Court's order is clearly indefensible. A writ petition questioning the
Tribunal's order on merits does not become infructuous by giving effect to the
because the order of reinstatement had been implemented by the appellant, that
did not render the writ petition infructuous as has been observed by the High
position was clearly stated in Union of India v. G.R. Prabhavalkar and Ors. (1973
(4) SCC 183). In para 23 of the decision it was observed as follows:
Singhvi, learned counsel, then referred us to the fact that after the judgment
of the High Court the State Government has passed an order on March 19, 1971, the effect of which is to equate
the Sales Tax Officers of the erstwhile Madhya Pradesh State with the Sales Tax Officers, Grade III, of Bombay. This order, in our opinion, has
been passed by the State Government only to comply with the directions given by
the High Court. It was made during a period when the appeal against the
judgment was pending in this Court. The fact that the State Government took
steps to comply with the directions of the High Court cannot lead to the
inference that the appeal by the Union of India has become infructuous."
The expression infructuous means ineffective, unproductive and unfruitful. It
is derived from the Latin word "fructus" (fruit). By implementing an
order, the challenge to the validity of the order is not wiped out and is not
inevitable result is that the appeal deserves to be allowed which we direct.
The order of the High Court is set aside and the matter is remitted to it for
fresh disposal on merits. We make it clear that we have not expressed any
opinion on the merits of the case.
is allowed with no order as to costs.