Respondent was appointed in 1984 as a Constable with the Railway Protection force in Jhansi and on 28.02.2006 he was posted as SIPF(Adhoc) Sub-Inspector at the Pulgaon Railway Station, Maharashtra. Respondent was put under suspension with immediate effect pending inquiry on 11.12.2006.
The charge sheet was filed on 04.01.2007 for major penalty under Rule 153 of the Railway protection force rules, 1987 by the Sr. Divisional Security Commissioner R.P.F. Three charges were filed under GROSS NEGLECT OF DUTY and ABUSE OF AUTHORITY.
The report given by the Enquiry Officer exonerated Respondent from Charge 1(a) under Gross Neglect of Duty as it was not proved, the rest of the charges were proved. The Disciplinary Authority accepted the finding of E.O. and imposed punishment of removal from service with immediate effect on Respondent.
The Respondent preferred an Appeal before DIG-cum- Additional Chief Security Commissioner, R.PF. Mumbai. The Appellate Authority partially allowed the appeal, reduced the punishment from the removal of service to reversion in rank.
The Chief Security Commissioner issued a show-cause notice to the Respondent. After considering his reply it was concluded that the punishment of compulsory retirement from service with immediate effect was imposed. It was further noted that the delinquent employee had been arrested by the CBI, Nagpur in a trap case, under Section 7 and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The E.O. had conducted the Departmental Enquiry as per extant DAR Rules and that there were no lapses or irregularities in the inquiry proceedings.
The Respondent filed an appeal before the Director-General, R.P.F Railway Board. The appeal was rejected no fresh material had been brought on record which would merit interference.
The Respondent filed Writ Petition before the High Court Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench. The High Court partly allowed the Writ Petition. It was directed that the writ petitioner be reinstated in service and would be entitled to all consequential benefits, including back wages to the extent of 50% on the remitted post, without future effect.
Whether the Judgment passed by the High Court in the exercise of its writ jurisdiction valid or not?
Whether the order of compulsory retirement passed by the authorities valid based on the charges?
The High Court must not act as an Appellant authority, it is not the function of the High Court under its writ jurisdiction to review the evidence, and arrive at an independent finding on the evidence.
Union of India v. P. Gunasekaran [(2015) 2 SCC 610] this Court held that the High Court in the exercise of its power under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India shall not venture into re-appreciation of the evidence.
We have decided the issue of the validity of the order of compulsory retirement on the basis of the material in the inquiry proceedings, and the orders passed by the statutory authorities in this regard.
The Charges under 1 (b) and 1 (c) have been concurrently found to have been proved by the Disciplinary Authority, Appellate Authority – the Chief Security Commissioner, R.P.F. and the Director-General of the R.P.F. Railway Board.
The Order of compulsory retirement passed by the Chief Security Commissioner, as affirmed by the Director-General, R.P.F is restored.
The Respondent has stated in his written submissions that the Gratuity which was payable to him, has not been released by the Department so far. The Court directs the Appellant Department to release Gratuity.
The appeal is allowed, and the Judgment of the High Court is set aside
Supreme Court was just in establishing the jurisdiction of High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.
Even though some of the charges were not proved and the charge filed against the Respondent under “Abuse of Authority” was not properly interrogated, compulsory retirement order by the Authorities seems unfair.