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sc judgement - exercised judicial or quasi judicial powers

sc judgement - exercised judicial or quasi judicial powers

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Published by: K V Sridharan General Secretary P3 NFPE on Jan 16, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/01/2013

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SUPREME COURT'S HISTORICAL JUDGEMENT
When an officer who exercised Judicial or Quasi-Judicial powers acting negligently or
recklessly could be proceeded against by way of disciplinary action
(2006) 5 Supreme Court Cases 680
(Before Ruma Pal, C.K. Thakker and Markandey Katju, JJ.)
UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS
\u2026.. Appellants;
Versus
DULI CHAND
\u2026. Respondent.
Civil Appeal No. 2168 of 2006 decided on April 21, 2006

Service Law \u2013 Departmental enquiry \u2013 Against quasi-judicial exercise of power negligently \u2013 Permissibility \u2013 Initiation of disciplinary proceedings for committing gross negligence while discharging quasi-judicial functions, held, nonetheless permissible \u2013 Hence, punishment awarded consequent thereto, upheld

The respondent was punished by the disciplinary authority on the ground that he had negligently allowed claims for refund to an applicant on three different occasions. The punishment imposed was stoppage of two annual increments with cumulative effect. The respondent successfully challenged the action of the disciplinary authority before CAT on the ground that no disciplinary proceedings would lie against an officer discharging judicial / quasi- judicial functions unless there was an element of moral turpitude. CAT upheld the finding of gross negligence on the part of the respondent but relying on the decision in Zunjarrao case,

(1999) 7 SCC 409, quashed the proceedings against him. The High Court upheld the
decision. The Government then filed the present appeal by special leave.
Before the Supreme Court the appellant Government contended that the impugned decisions
were not consistent with the law as it stands at present.
ORDER
1. Leave granted.

2. The issue in this appeal is whether disciplinary action could be taken against the respondent employee on the ground that the employee had been found to be grossly negligent while discharging quasi-judicial functions. We need not go into the factual aspect of the dispute except to record that the respondent had been punished by the disciplinary authority on the ground that he had negligently allowed claims for refund to an applicant on three different occasions. The punishment imposed was stoppage of two annual increments with cumulative effect. It may also be noticed at this stage that there is no challenge to the fact that the disciplinary authority had complied with all the necessary procedures for passing the impugned order. However, the action of the disciplinary authority was challenged before the Central Administrative Tribunal on the ground that no disciplinary proceedings would lie against an officer discharging judicial / quasi-judicial functions unless there was an element of moral turpitude. The Central Administrative Tribunal upheld the finding of the gross negligence on the part of the respondent. But it was held, relying upon the decision of this Court in Zunjarrao Bhikaji

Nagarkar v. Union of India that disciplinary proceedings would not lie against the officer
discharging quasi-judicial functions unless it were established that the officer
concerned had obtained an undue advantage thereby or in connection therewith.
3. The decision of the Tribunal was challenged by the appellants before the High Court.
The High Court came to the conclusion that since no ulterior motive was alleged

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