Road Transport Corpn.
& Ors Vs. Mansaram Nainwal  Insc 457 (28 July 2006)
Pasayat & Lokeshwar Singh Panta
out of SLP ( C ) No. 162 of 2006) ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
call in question legality of the judgment rendered by a learned Single Judge of
the Uttaranchal High Court. By the impugned judgment, the learned Single Judge
set aside the order of termination passed by appellant No.2 and directed
re-instatement of the respondent in service with continuity of service, but
without back wages.
background needs to be noted in brief.
respondent was appointed as Driver in appellant No.1-U.P. State Road Transport
Corporation (hereinafter referred to as the 'Corporation'). On 10.10.1990 while
the respondent was plying the bus No.UGA 938 on Mussoorie road, all of a sudden
the vehicle met with an accident and fell into a ditch. Thereafter, a
disciplinary enquiry was initiated against the respondent in which the charges
against the respondent were found proved and the appellant vide its order dated
31.3.1993 dismissed the respondent from service.
the respondent filed an appeal before appellant No.2, which was rejected on
30.6.1993. Thereafter, the respondent raised an industrial dispute under
Section 4-K of the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (in short the 'Act'). The
industrial dispute decided by the award was referred in the following terms:-
"Whether the termination of the services of applicant/workman Sri Mansaram
Nainwal s/o Visheshware Dutt Nainwal, driver by the employers from 31.3.1993 is
unjustified and/or illegal? If so, to which benefit/compensation the
applicant/workman is entitled and to what extent?" The Labour Court issued notice to the parties. The
appellants and the respondent filed their written statement/objection. The
stand of appellants before the Labour Court
was that the respondent was appointed as a Driver. On 10.10.1990 when he was
plying the bus No. UGA 938 on Dehradun-Mussoorie Road, due to his rash and
negligent driving, the bus fell into the ditch in which 12 persons died and
some other persons got seriously injured and the bus was also got damaged as a
result of which the Corporation suffered a huge loss of Rs.2,50,000/-. It was
also pleaded that the respondent was charge sheeted and a departmental enquiry
was held against him in which full opportunity of hearing was provided to the
respondent. In the enquiry, the charges against the respondent were found
proved and he was removed from the service.
other hand, the respondent in his written statement accepted that he was served
charge sheet and a departmental enquiry was also held against him. But he
pleaded that the necessary documents were not being produced though demand was
made several times. The Investigating Officer found him not guilty in the
enquiry, even though he was dismissed from service.
Court found the
respondent guilty and held that the termination was not unjustified.
the order of Labour
Court, the respondent
filed a Writ Petition which, as noted above, was allowed by the impugned
judgment. The foundation of the High Court's judgment was to the effect that in
the criminal trial the respondent was acquitted and placing reliance on a
decision of this Court in Capt. M. Paul Anthony v. Bharat Gold Mines Ltd. and Anr.
(1999 (3) SCC 679) the order of termination was set aside.
support of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the
ratio in Anthony's case (supra) has no application to the facts of the present
case. It has not even been indicated as to how the factual position is similar.
event, acquittal in a criminal case does not lead to an automatic
re-instatement and also does not render the departmental proceedings invalid.
It was, therefore, submitted that the High Court was clearly wrong in its
other hand, learned counsel for the respondent submitted that the departmental
authorities in the enquiry conducted against the respondent had clearly found
that he was not responsible for the accident and there was no misconduct
position in law relating to acquittal in a criminal case, its effect on
departmental proceedings and re- instatement in service has been dealt with by
this Court in Union of India and Anr. v. Bihari Lal Sidhana (1997 (4) SCC 385).
It was held in paragraph 5 as follows:
"It is true
that the respondent was acquitted by the criminal court but acquittal does not
automatically give him the right to be re- instated into the service. It would
still be open to the competent authority to take decision whether the
delinquent government servant can be taken into service or disciplinary action
should be taken under the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and
Appeal) Rules or under the Temporary Service Rules.
the respondent had been working as a temporary government servant before he was
kept under suspension. The termination order indicated the factum that he, by
then, was under suspension. It is only a way of describing him as being under
suspension when the order came to be passed but that does not constitute any
stigma. Mere acquittal of government employee does not automatically entitle
the government servant to reinstatement. As stated earlier, it would be open to
the appropriate competent authority to take a decision whether the enquiry into
the conduct is required to be done before directing reinstatement or
appropriate action should be taken as per law, if otherwise, available. Since
the respondent is only a temporary government servant, the power being
available under Rule 5(1) of the Rules, it is always open to the competent
authority to invoke the said power and terminate the services of the employee
instead of conducting the enquiry or to continue in service a government servant
accused of defalcation of public money. Re- instatement would be a charter for
him to indulge with impunity in misappropriation of public money." The
ratio of Anthony's case (supra) can be culled out from paragraph 22 of the
judgment which reads as follows:
conclusions which are deducible from various decisions of this Court referred
to above are:
proceedings and proceedings in a criminal case can proceed simultaneously as
there is no bar in their being conducted simultaneously, though separately.
departmental proceedings and the criminal case are based on identical and
similar set of facts and the charge in the criminal case against the delinquent
employee is of a grave nature which involves complicated questions of law and
fact, it would be desirable to stay the departmental proceedings till the
conclusion of the criminal case.
nature of a charge in a criminal case is grave and whether complicated
questions of fact and law are involved in that case, will depend upon the
nature of offence, the nature of the case launched against the employee on the
basis of evidence and material collected against him during investigation or as
reflected in the charge sheet.
mentioned at (ii) and (iii) above cannot be considered in isolation to stay the
departmental proceedings but due regard has to be given to the fact that the
departmental proceedings cannot be unduly delayed.
If the criminal
case does not proceed or its disposal is being unduly delayed, the departmental
proceedings, even if they were stayed on account of the pendency of the
criminal case, can be resumed and proceeded with so as to conclude them at an
early date, so that if the employee is found not guilty his honour may be
vindicated and in case he is found guilty, the administration may get rid of
him at the earliest." Though the High Court had not indicated as to how
the decision of this Court in Anthony's case (supra) laid down as a matter of
law that whenever there is acquittal in a criminal trial re-instatement is
automatic, in all probabilities basis was para 36 of Anthony's case (supra)
which reads as follows:
reasons stated above, the appeal is allowed, the impugned judgment passed by
the Division Bench of the High Court is set aside and that of the learned
Single Judge, insofar as it purports to allow the writ petition, is upheld. The
learned Single Judge has also given liberty to the respondents to initiate
fresh disciplinary proceedings. In the peculiar circumstances of the case, specially
having regard to the fact that the appellant is undergoing this agony since
1985 despite having been acquitted by the criminal court in 1987, we would not
direct any fresh departmental enquiry to be instituted against him on the same
set of facts. The appellant shall be reinstated forthwith on the post of
Security Officer and shall also be paid the entire arrears of salary, together
with all allowances from the date of suspension till his reinstatement, within
three months. The appellant would also be entitled to his cost which is
quantified at Rs.15,000/-." (underlined for emphasis) The High Court
unfortunately did not discuss the factual aspects and by merely placing
reliance on earlier decision of the Court held that reinstatement was mandated.
Reliance on the decision without looking into the factual background of the
case before it is clearly impermissible. A decision is a precedent on its own
facts. Each case presents its own features. It is not everything said by a
Judge while giving judgment that constitutes a precedent. The only thing in a
Judge's decision binding a party is the principle upon which the case is
decided and for this reason it is important to analyse a decision and isolate
from it the ratio decidendi.
to the well-settled theory of precedents, every decision contains three basic
material facts, direct and inferential. An inferential finding of facts is the
inference which the Judge draws from the direct, or perceptible facts;
statements of the
principles of law applicable to the legal problems disclosed by the facts; and
on the combined effect of the above. A decision is an authority for what it
actually decides. What is of the essence in a decision is its ratio and not
every observation found therein nor what logically flows from the various
observations made in the judgment. The enunciation of the reason or principle
on which a question before a Court has been decided is alone binding as a
precedent. (See: State of Orissa v. Sudhansu
Sekhar Misra and Ors. (AIR 1968 SC 647) and Union
of India and Ors. v. Dhanwanti Devi and Ors.
(1996 (6) SCC 44). A case is a precedent and binding for what it explicitly
decides and no more. The words used by Judges in their judgments are not to be
read as if they are words in an Act of Parliament. In Quinn v. Leathem (1901)
AC 495 (H.L.), Earl of Halsbury LC observed that every judgment must be read as
applicable to the particular facts proved or assumed to be proved, since the
generality of the expressions which are found there are not intended to be
exposition of the whole law but governed and qualified by the particular facts
of the case in which such expressions are found and a case is only an authority
for what it actually decides.
the High Court has not discussed the factual scenario as to how the Anthony's
case (supra) had any application. As noted above, the position in law relating
to acquittal in a criminal case and question of re-instatement has been dealt
with in Sidhana's case (supra). As the High Court had not dealt with the
factual scenario and as to how the Anthony's case (supra) helps the respondent,
we think it appropriate to remit the matter back to the High Court for fresh
consideration. Since the matter is pending for long, it would be in the
interest of the parties if the High Court is requested to dispose of the writ
petition within a period of 4 months from the date of receipt of this order.
appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent with no order as to costs.
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