Om Pal Singh vs Disciplinary Authority on 14 January, 2020


Supreme Court of India

Om Pal Singh vs Disciplinary Authority on 14 January, 2020

Author: L. Nageswara Rao

Bench: L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta

                                                       Non-Reportable

           IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
            CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

             CIVIL APPEAL NO. 176 OF 2020

Om Pal Singh
                                                .... Appellant(s)
                              Versus

Disciplinary Authority & Ors.
                                             …. Respondent (s)

                        JUDGMENT

L. NAGESWARA RAO, J.

1. The Appellant worked as an officer of Regional Rural

Bank Services with the Muzaffarnagar Kshetriya Gramin

Bank (hereinafter, ‘the Bank’). On 27.05.2003, he was

served with a charge sheet and was asked to submit his

reply within a period of fifteen days. The charges that were

framed against the Appellant are:

1. You did not comply the directions and regulations of
Head Office.

2. You have worked against the interest of Bank/Injurious
work, you was unauthorised absent.

3. You are isolated for the interest of Bank and to your
duties.

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2. Yet another charge sheet was issued on 30.05.2003 in

which the following charges were framed:

i. You have violated discipline of bank.
ii. You are accused of misconduct.

iii. You have made effort to diffuse the Bank image and on
the basis of it your worked that injurious to the health
of Bank.

3. The Appellant submitted his reply to the said charge

sheets dated 27.05.2003 and 30.05.2003. The Appellant

was placed under suspension by an order dated 29.07.2003.

He challenged the order of suspension by filing a Writ

Petition which was disposed of with a direction to the bank

to complete the inquiry within four months. The High Court

of Judicature at Allahabad refused to grant reinstatement.

The Inquiry Officer submitted the inquiry report on

23.12.2003 to the Disciplinary Authority. An opportunity

was given to the Appellant to submit his remarks on the

inquiry report. Thereafter, a show cause notice was issued

to the Appellant to explain as to why he should not be

dismissed from service. A reply was submitted by the

Appellant on 11.06.2004, which was considered by the

Disciplinary Authority. Another reply was submitted by the

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Appellant on 23.06.2004. By an order dated 05.07.2004,

the Appellant was dismissed from service without any

benefits under Regulation No.38 (kha) (4) of Muzaffarnagar

Kshetriya Gramin Bank (Modified) Officer and Staff Services

Regulations, 2010 (hereinafter, ‘the Regulations’).

4. The Appellant filed a Writ Petition challenging the order

of dismissal which was not entertained by the High Court.

Liberty was given to the Appellant to file an appeal.

Pursuant to the liberty granted by the High Court, the

Appellant submitted an appeal against the order of the

Disciplinary Authority dismissing him from service to the

Board of Directors, Muzaffaragar Kshetriya Gramin Bank.

The said appeal was dismissed by the Board of Directors by

an order dated 24.03.2005. The Appellant was successful in

his challenge against the order passed by the Board of

Directors dismissing his appeal before the High Court. The

High Court set aside the order passed by the Board of

Directors on 24.03.2005 and remanded the matter back to

the Board of Directors to consider the appeal filed by the

Appellant afresh. The Board of Directors dismissed the

appeal on reconsideration. A Writ Petition filed against the

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order of the Board of Directors dismissing the appeal second

time was allowed and the Appellate Authority was directed

to apply its mind to the quantum of punishment and pass a

fresh order. A Sub-Committee was constituted by the Board

of Directors and it was held by the Committee that the

charges of misconduct against the Appellant did not warrant

the penalty of dismissal from service. The Committee

further recommended that the penalty of dismissal be

reviewed and reduced to that of reduction of 15 stages in

payment, lower in time scale of pay for a period of eight

years with a further direction that the Appellant shall not

earn increment of pay during the period of such reduction

and on expiry of such period, the reduction shall have the

effect of postponing the future increments of his pay in

terms of Regulation 39 (1) (b) (i) of Chapter IV of the

Regulations. The recommendation made by the Committee

was accepted by the Board of Directors and the punishment

suggested by the Committee was imposed by the Board of

Directors on 10.09.2012. The Appellant retired on attaining

the age of superannuation on 31.12.2012.

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5. The penalty of reduction of pay of 15 stages was

challenged by the Appellant by filing a Writ Petition. The

High Court allowed the Writ Petition and directed the

Respondent-Disciplinary Authority to re-examine the matter

afresh. The Disciplinary Authority, in compliance with the

order of the High Court, reconsidered the matter and

reiterated the penalty of reduction of 15 stages lower in

time scale of pay for a period of eight years. Later, the

Disciplinary Authority modified the punishment of reduction

to 10 stages (increments) lower in time scale of pay for a

period of six years with further direction that the officer

shall not earn the increments of pay during the period of

said reduction and on expiry of such period, the reduction

shall have the effect of postponing the future increments on

his pay. Thereafter, the Appellant filed an appeal which was

dismissed by the Appellate Authority. The High Court

upheld the order passed by the Appellate Authority by

dismissing the Writ Petition filed by the Appellant.

6. The High Court was of the opinion that the charges

framed against the Appellant were fully proved and the

imposition of penalty by the order dated 29.10.2015 was

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commensurate with the delinquency of the Appellant as the

penalty imposed on the Appellant was not shockingly

disproportionate. The High Court felt that the order dated

29.10.2015 did not warrant any interference.

7. Notice was issued to the Respondent by this Court to

show cause as to why the Appellant shall not be entitled for

salary for the period of suspension from 29.07.2003 to

10.09.2012.

8. Mr. M. Karpaga Vinayagam, learned Senior Counsel

appearing for the Appellant submitted that the Appellant

shall be entitled for payment of the salary during the period

of his suspension as the order of dismissal was set aside and

substituted by a lesser punishment. According to him, the

principle of ‘no work no pay’ shall not apply to the instant

case. He relied upon several judgments of this Court in

Bank of India v. T. S. Kelawala 1, Syndicate Bank v. K.

Umesh Nayak2, Ranchhodji Chaturji Thakore v.

Superintendent Engineer, Gujarat Electricity

1 (1990) 4 SCC 744
2 (1994) 5 SCC 572

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Board3and Commissioner, Karnataka Housing Board v.

Muddaiah4 in support of his submission.

9. Mr. Rajesh Kumar-I, learned counsel appearing for the

Bank submitted that the Appellant was not exonerated on

the charge. The Disciplinary Authority merely reduced the

penalty from dismissal to reduction in time scale of pay

which does not entitle the Appellant to claim full salary for

the period of suspension. A charged employee shall be

entitled to claim full salary for the period of suspension only

in case the order of penalty is set aside and he is held not

guilty of any of the charges. He relied upon the judgment of

this Court in Managing Director, ECIL, Hyderabad And

Others v. B. Karunakar and Others5.

10. The only question that arises for our consideration in

the present appeal is whether the Appellant is entitled to

payment of salary for the period of suspension i.e. from

29.07.2003 to 10.09.2012. There is no need to reiterate

that the order of dismissal was set aside and the

punishment of reduction in time scale of pay was imposed
3 (1996) 11 SCC 603
4 (2007) 7 SCC 689
5 (1993) 4 SCC 727

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on the Appellant. It is clear that the findings of the Inquiry

Officer that the charges against the Appellant were proved

and have not been disturbed. Reduction of the penalty from

dismissal to that of reduction in time scale of pay does not

result in exoneration of the Appellant of the charges framed

against him. However, it is for the Disciplinary Authority to

take a decision as to how the period of suspension shall be

treated. While passing the impugned order dated

29.10.2015, the Disciplinary Authority held that the

Appellant shall not be entitled for any payment from

06.07.2004 to 29.08.2012.

11. In J.K. Synthetics Ltd. v. K.P. Agrawal & Anr. 6, this

Court dealt with the issue regarding the entitlement of a

delinquent to claim continuity of service and consequential

benefits in all cases of reinstatement as follows:

“17. There is also a misconception that whenever

reinstatement is directed, ‘continuity of service’ and

‘consequential benefits’ should follow, as a matter of

course. The disastrous effect of granting several

promotions as a ‘consequential benefit’ to a person who

has not worked for 10 to 15 years and who does not have

the benefit of necessary experience for discharging the

6 (2007) 2 SCC 433

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higher duties and functions of promotional posts, is

seldom visualized while granting consequential benefits

automatically. Whenever courts or Tribunals direct

reinstatement, they should apply their judicial mind to the

facts and circumstances to decide whether ‘continuity of

service’ and/or ‘consequential benefits’ should also be

directed. We may in this behalf refer to the decisions of

this Court in A.P.S.R.T.C. v. S. Narasa Goud [2003 (2) SCC

212], A.P.S.R.T.C. v. Abdul Kareem [2005 (6) SCC 36]

and R.S.R.T.C. v. Shyam Bihari Lal Gupta [2005 (7) SCC

406].”

12. It was further held in the said judgment that if

reinstatement is a consequence of imposition of a lesser

punishment, neither back-wages nor continuity of service

nor consequential benefits follow as a natural or necessary

consequence of such reinstatement. This Court went on to

hold that where the misconduct was held to be proved,

reinstatement by itself is a consequential benefit arising

from imposition of a lesser punishment. However, this Court

was of the opinion that award of back wages for the period

when the employee has not worked may amount to

rewarding the delinquent employee and punishing the

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employer for taking action against the misconduct

committed by the employee, which should be avoided.

13. Following the aforementioned judgment, we are of the

opinion that the decision of the Disciplinary Authority in not

paying the salary for the period of suspension cannot be

said to be contrary to law.

14. For the aforementioned reasons, the appeal is

dismissed.

……………………………J.
[L. NAGESWARA RAO]

..

…………………………J.

[HEMANT GUPTA]
New Delhi,
January 14, 2020.

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