Ranganath Misra, C. J. -
(1.)Special leave ranted in special leave petitions. All the Civil Appeals by special leave are heard together.
(2.)The short point that falls for determination in this bunch of appeals is as to whether with the alteration of the provisions of Art. 311 (2) under the Forty-second Amendment of the Constitution doing away with the opportunity of showing cause against the proposed punishment, the delinquent has lost his right to be entitled to a copy of the report of enquiry in the disciplinary proceedings.
(3.)Sub-Art. (2) of Art. 311 in the original Constitution read thus:
"No such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank until he has been given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken in regard to him;"
The effect of this provision came to be considered by a Constitution Bench of this Court in Khem Chand v. Union of India, (1958) SCR 1080. The learned Chief Justice traced the history of the growth of the service jurisprudence relating to security of the civil service in the country beginning from the Government of India Act of 1915 followed by S. 240 of the Government of India Act of 1935. This Court on that occasion also noticed the judgments of the Privy Council in the cases of R. Venkata Rao v. Secretary of State for India, (1937) 64 Ind App 55 High Commissioner for India v. 1. M. Lall (1948) 75 Ind App 225 and the judgment of the Federal Court in Secretary of State for India v. 1. H. Lall 1945 FCR 103, and summed up the meaning of 'reasonable opportunity' thus:
"The reasonable opportunity envisaged by the provision under consideration includes -
(a) an opportunity to deny his guilt and establish his innocence, which he can only do if he is told what the charges levelled against him are and the allegations on which such charges are based; (b) an opportunity to defend himself by cross-examining the witnesses produced against him and by examining himself or any other witnesses in support of his defence; and finally.
(c) an opportunity to make his representation as to why the proposed punishment should not be inflicted on him, which he can only do if the competent authority, after the enquiry is over and after applying his mind to the gravity or otherwise of the charges proved against the government servant tentatively proposed to inflict one of the three punishments and communicates the same to the government servant."