BHARAT BHUSHAN SINGH Vs. HIGH COURT OF J&K
HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Bharat Bhushan Singh
High Court Of JAndK
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(1.) THE petitioner challenges Government Order No. 918 -LD (A) 1994 dated June 01, 1994 by virtue of which he has been dismissed from service on
the recommendation of the High Court which found his conduct unbecoming
of a Judicial Officer. The facts of the case are these. The petitioner,
as a member of the Subordinate Judiciary, remained posted as Munsiff,
Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Budhal in the year 1987 -88. There were
some complaints against him alleging conduct unbecoming of a Judicial
Office. A preliminary enquiry revealed that there was substance in the
allegations. He was accordingly charged on as many as eleven counts, as
per charge sheet dated May 2, 1991 and Mir - J (Honble Justice A. M. Mir)
was appointed Inquiry Officer. The Inquiry Officer found as many as four
out of eleven charged proved against him. The High Court accepted the
report of the inquiry officer and recommended his dismissal to the
Government who passed the impugned order.
(2.) THE impugned order has been challenged on various grounds such as failure on the part of the Inquiry Officer to (i) give adequate
opportunity of being heard to the petitioner ;(ii) examine the material
witnesses to appreciate the evidence in the proper perspective; (iii)
furnish documents to the petitioner and above all the illegality of the
procedure adopted to enquire into the conduct of Judicial proceedings and
pronouncements for which the remedy under law was either review, revision
(3.) SINCE the petitioner was indicted on only four out of eleven charges, how these have been substantiated while holding against him is a
matter of appreciation of evidence. It is now well settled that the High
Court in cases of Departmental inquiries and the findings recorded
therein does not exercise the powers of appellate court or the authority.
The law on the point has been reiterated by a three Judge Bench of the
apex court in Indian Oil Corporation Limited Vs Ashok Kumar Arora (1997)3
SCC 72 holding as follows: -
"...The jurisdiction of the High Court in such cases is very
limited for instance where it is found that the domestic enquiry is
vitiated because of non -observance of principles of natural justice,
denial of reasonable opportunity; findings are based on no evidence,
and/or the punishment is totally disproportionate to the proved
misconduct of an employee. There is a catena of judgments of this court
which had settled the law on this topic and it is not necessary to refer
to all these decisions."
The question, therefore, is, whether the report of Inquiry Officer indicting the petitioner is based on no evidence? This takes us
to the charges found proved against the petitioner and the evidence
relied by the Inquiry Officer to sustain them.
Charge -3 Charge -3 reads as under : -"That, you dismissed the case
titled Siloo Versus Saldev Singh and others for non -appearance of the
complainant Siloo on 12.3.1988 and when the complainant appeared before
you at 10.30 AM on the same day and threatened him of sending him to Jail
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