Rajinder Goel vs High Court Of Punjab And Haryana on 2 August, 2021


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Supreme Court of India

Rajinder Goel vs High Court Of Punjab And Haryana on 2 August, 2021

Author: Uday Umesh Lalit

Bench: Uday Umesh Lalit, Ajay Rastogi

          Writ Petition (Civil)No. 696 of 2021
          Rajinder Goel vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana & Anr.
                                                                                                       1

                                                                                      REPORTABLE
                                          IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                            CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

                                     WRIT PETITION (CIVIL)NO.696 OF 2021


                          RAJINDER GOEL                                                    …Petitioner
                                                               Versus

                          HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB
                          AND HARYANA & ANR.                                            …Respondents



                                                          O R D E R

Uday Umesh Lalit, J.

1. The instant petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India has been

filed seeking appropriate writ, order or direction in the nature of Certiorari

quashing :-

a) the recommendation dated 14.12.2020 made by the Full Court of the

High Court1 recommending compulsory retirement of the petitioner

from the post of Additional District and Sessions Judge; and
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by Dr.
Mukesh Nasa
Date: 2021.08.02
17:27:55 IST
Reason:

1

High Court of Punjab and Haryana
Writ Petition (Civil)No. 696 of 2021
Rajinder Goel vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana & Anr.

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b) order dated 05.01.2021 passed by the Governor of Haryana

accepting the recommendation made by the Full Court of the High

Court1 and directing compulsory retirement of the petitioner with

immediate effect.

2. The petitioner joined Haryana Judicial Services on 16.02.1996 and was

promoted in 2008 to the Haryana Superior Judicial Services. Pursuant to certain

complaints made against the petitioner, including one made by the Bar

Association, an enquiry was conducted, during the course of which the petitioner

was asked to furnish statements regarding his bank accounts and property for the

years 2006 to 2009. A preliminary report dated 21.04.2011 found that there was

no documentary evidence regarding allegations of land purchases. It was,

however, observed that there were “heavy unexplained bank transactions”. The

report was reviewed by the Administrative Committee of the High Court1 on

03.08.2011, which decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the

petitioner and recommended that the petitioner be put under suspension. On

05.08.2011 the Full Court ordered that the Vigilance/Disciplinary Committee

proceedings be initiated against the petitioner and that the petitioner be suspended

till the proceedings were concluded.

Writ Petition (Civil)No. 696 of 2021
Rajinder Goel vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana & Anr.
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3. On 26.04.2012, a charge-sheet was served upon the petitioner accusing

him of conduct against judicial ethics inasmuch as he had deposited and

withdrawn large sums of money without giving any specific reason for that. The

petitioner replied to those charges submitting inter alia that those irregular

deposits in his accounts were from the maturity amounts of his LIC policies, sale

of properties which were acquired by him before he entered the judicial service,

maturity of PPF accounts and other bank bonds. The Inquiring Authority

submitted a report on 23.05.2016 finding the petitioner guilty of unexplained

transactions.

4. Accordingly, a show cause notice was issued to the petitioner on

29.08.2016, which was replied to by the petitioner on 15.02.2017. The matter

was looked into by the Vigilance/Disciplinary Committee of the High Court1

which found that the charges levelled against the petitioner were not proved and

recommended that he be cleared of all the charges. The matter was, thereafter,

placed before the Full Court of the High Court1 which resolved in its meeting

dated 04.02.2019 that the matter be referred back to the Vigilance/Disciplinary

Committee to scrutinize the property statements of the petitioner and the matter

be put up before the Full Court thereafter. Consequently, the matter was gone
Writ Petition (Civil)No. 696 of 2021
Rajinder Goel vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana & Anr.
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into by the Vigilance/Disciplinary Committee, which submitted its report on

18.12.2019.

5. The matter was placed before the Full Court. The Full Court in its meeting

dated 14.12.2020, after full deliberation, rejected the report dated 18.12.2019 of

the Vigilance/Disciplinary Committee and resolved as under:-

“The matter has been considered along with the note of the
Registrar General. After considering the Regular
Departmental Enquiry Report dated 23.05.2016, reply dated
15.02.2017 submitted by the officer to the show cause notice
dated 29.08.2016, both on the aspect of acceptance of
Enquiry Report as well as the proposed penalty, we find that
the Inquiry Authority has rightly rejected, for the reasons
recorded, the defence plea raised by the delinquent Officer
regarding retaining huge amounts of cash in hand for the
substantial periods in the financial years concerned, after
admitting the withdrawals and deposits from the accounts
specified in the Articles of Charge, which required no
further proof. Accordingly, the report dated17.10.2018 as
well as the decision dated 18.12.2019 of the Hon’ble
Vigilance/Disciplinary Committee are not accepted.

Keeping in view the findings of the Inquiry Authority, which
have been hereby accepted, the gravity of the matter and
standards of ethics required of a Senior Judicial Officer, it is
resolved that major penalty of compulsory retirement be
imposed upon the delinquent Officer under Rule 4(1)(viii)
of the Haryana Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal)
Rules, 1987 [Corresponding Rule 4(b)(v) of the Haryana
Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 2016] and a
recommendation be made to the Government of Haryana
that the Officer be compulsorily retired from service with
immediate effect.”
Writ Petition (Civil)No. 696 of 2021
Rajinder Goel vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana & Anr.
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6. An order was, thereafter, issued by the Competent Authority on

05.01.2021 compulsorily retiring the petitioner as a measure of penalty from

the membership of Haryana Superior Judicial Service.

7. The petitioner has approached this Court by filing a writ petition under

Article 32 of the Constitution and since a remedy under Article 226 of the

Constitution was available to him, it was suggested that a writ petition under

Article 226 of the Constitution before the High Court would give him

adequate and fuller remedy.

8. Shri Manoj Swarup, Senior Advocate for the petitioner, after seeking

instructions from his client made it clear that the petitioner would like to

pursue the present writ petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution. We,

therefore, proceeded to hear the learned counsel for the petitioner on merits.

9. Mr. Manoj Swarup, learned Senior Advocate submitted :-

a) Two Reports of the Committee dated 17.10.2018 and 18.12.2019

had found nothing against the petitioner. In the circumstances, the Full

Court could not and ought not to have recommended compulsory

retirement of the petitioner; and
Writ Petition (Civil)No. 696 of 2021
Rajinder Goel vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana & Anr.

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b) Once the Committee had concluded that there was nothing

against the petitioner, such conclusion was “for and on behalf of the

Full Court” of the High Court. Reliance in support of the submission

was placed on the Constitution Bench decision of this Court in State of

Uttar Pradesh vs. Batuk Deo Pati Tripathi and another2.

10. In Batuk Deo2, Rule 1 of Chapter III of Rules of Court, 1952 framed

by the Allahabad High Court specifically stated that the Administrative

Committee appointed in terms of said Rule ‘shall act for the Court’. In the

context of said Rule, this Court observed as under:-

“18. … … …We have pointed out above that the amplitude
of the power conferred by Article 235, the imperative need
that the High Courts must be enabled to transact their
administrative business more conveniently and an
awareness of the realities of the situation, particularly of the
practical difficulties involved in a consideration by the
whole court, even by circulation, of every day-to-day matter
pertaining to control over the District and subordinate
Courts, lead to the conclusion that by rules framed under
Article 235 of the Constitution the High Courts ought to be
conceded the power to authorise an Administrative Judge or
an Administrative Committee of Judges to act on behalf of
the Court. Accordingly, we uphold the minority judgment of
the Full Bench that Rule 1 of Chapter 3 of the 1952 Rules
framed by the Allahabad High Court is within the
framework of Article 235. The recommendation made by the
Administrative Committee that the respondent should be

2
(1978) 2 SCC 102
Writ Petition (Civil)No. 696 of 2021
Rajinder Goel vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana & Anr.

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compulsorily retired cannot therefore be said to suffer from
any legal or constitutional infirmity.”

11. The quoted portion from para 18 of the decision discloses that this

Court accepted that for the convenience of transacting administrative

business and for smooth functioning of day-to-day matters pertaining to

control over the subordinate judiciary, it would be possible for the High Court

to authorize and empower an Administrative Judge or an Administrative

Committee of Judges to act on behalf of the Court. It was in the context of

such specific authorization in favour of the Administrative Committee in

terms of Rule 1 of Chapter III of Rules of Court, 1952, framed by the High

Court, that the recommendations made by the Administrative Committee

were found to be without any constitutional infirmity.

12. It does not however mean that even in the absence of Rules authorizing

or empowering the Committee, the decision made by or conclusions arrived

at by the Committee would be binding on the Full Court or that the Full Court

would not be within its jurisdiction to take a different view in the matter. The

submission advanced by Mr. Swarup therefore, must be rejected.
Writ Petition (Civil)No. 696 of 2021
Rajinder Goel vs. High Court of Punjab and Haryana & Anr.
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13. Considering the facts and circumstances on record and in view of the

record indicating that there were multiple transactions showing deposits and

withdrawals of substantial amounts of money, it cannot be said that the Full

Court was not justified in taking the view that it did. We do not find any

reason to take a different view in the matter.

14. It must be stated that the petition was heard and the order was reserved

on 27.07.2021. Next day an application was preferred submitting that the

petitioner be allowed to withdraw the instant petition with further liberty to

approach the High Court invoking its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the

Constitution of India. Since the suggestion made by this Court as stated

earlier was not accepted after due instructions from the petitioner, we reject

the prayer.

15. As we see no merit in this petition, the same is accordingly rejected.

…………………………….J.

[Uday Umesh Lalit]

…………………………….J.

[Ajay Rastogi]
New Delhi;

August 02, 2021.



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