Ranjan Paul Vs. Steel Authority of India Ltd. & Ors.  INSC 57 (19
APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NOS.475-476 OF 2010 (Arising out of S.L.P.
(C) Nos.31376-31377 of 2008) Nantu Ranjan Paul ...Appellant(s) Versus Steel
Authority of India Ltd. & Ors. ...Respondent(s)
O R D E R
appeals are directed against the judgment of the Division Bench of the High
Court of Calcutta in F.M.A.
2003 and F.M.A. No.482 of 2003 dated 17th June, 2008.
facts which are necessary in these two appeals are recapitulated as under:
appellant, posted as Deputy Manager (Finance) under Durgapur Steel Plant and
discharging function of an Assistant Manager (Finance) in relation to the
miscellaneous work of Bill Section of Finance and Accounts Branch, was charged
with the alleged misconduct of passing false bills.
Inquiry Officer on 31st March, 1993, found that the charge of lack of integrity
and devotion to duty brought against the appellant was not proved. However, the
Inquiry Officer found that the charge pertaining to negligence of duty on the
part of the appellant and also acting in the manner prejudicial to the interest
of the company was proved. Based on the finding of the Inquiry Officer dated
31st March, 1993, in respect of the charges, the Disciplinary Authority
directed the appellant to suffer reduction to a lower stage in a time scale.
Aggrieved, the appellant preferred an appeal before the Chairman (SAIL).
Additional Chief Vigilance Officer, Durgapur Steel Plant vide order dated 8th
January, 1994, rejected the appeal. The appellant assailed the order of the
Disciplinary Authority dated 14th June, 1993, and rejection order dated 8th
January, 1994, preferred Writ Petition No.5360 of 1994 in the High Court of
April, 1994, a similar charge was issued to the appellant for two bills almost
for the same period, i.e., 1984 to 1987, namely, failed to maintain absolute
second Inquiry Officer found the appellant to be guilty of acting in a manner
prejudicial to the interest of the company and failing to maintain devotion of
duty but the appellant was, however, not found guilty to maintain absolute
integrity so far as second charge is concerned. The Disciplinary Authority
directed the appellant to suffer reduction to a lower post. In this matter
also, the appellant preferred an appeal before the Chairman (SAIL), which was
dismissed later on.
appellant preferred writ petition before the Calcutta High Court being C.O.
No.6493 of 1995. Both the writ petitions were heard by the learned Single Judge
and on 9th October, 2002, these writ petitions were allowed holding the
imposition of major penalty as illegal and the same was set aside. The learned
Single Judge further directed the respondents to give the appellant all service
benefits of backwages as if no order of major penalty was imposed upon him.
respondents, being aggrieved by the judgment of the learned Single Judge,
preferred two appeals before the Division Bench. The Division Bench party
allowed both F.M.A. No.481 of 2003 and F.M.A. No.482 of 2003 by directing:
F.M.A. No.481 of 2003 was partly allowed by directing the appellant's C.O.
No.6493(W) of 1995 to be heard afresh by the learned Single Judge at the
earliest; and (b) F.M.A. No.482 of 2003 was partly allowed whereby the
reduction in the scale of pay of the appellant was maintained. Only reduction
with cumulative effect was deleted.
appellant preferred these appeals by way of special leave petitions against the
judgment of the Division Bench.
Division Bench remitted the matter to the learned Single Judge to be heard
afresh and according to the Division Bench, the learned Single Judge ought to
have given separate judgment dealing with each and every issue raised by the
no serious infirmity with the impugned judgement of the Division Bench.
However, the appellant has been facing inquiry and Court proceedings for almost
twenty five years and at this stage remitting the matter to the learned Single
Judge would be very harsh to the appellant.
consideration of the totality of the facts and circumstances and in the
interest of justice, we direct that, instead of withholding of two increments,
three increments be withheld which should meet the ends of justice. In that
view of the matter, we set aside only that part of the judgement by which it
has been remitted to the learned Single Judge.
passed this order primarily to avoid, avoidable litigation which may take
several years before it is finally adjudicated. We, accordingly, put a quietus
to the entire dispute after balancing the equities.
appeals are, accordingly, disposed of.
parties to bear their own costs.
......................J.[ASOK KUMAR GANGULY]
January 19, 2010.