Pravin Kumar v. Union of India & Ors.
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6270 of 2012
Pravin Kumar, joined the Central Industrial Security Force in January, 1995 as a Sub-Inspector. Later he was posted in Crime and Intelligence Wing and was specifically entrusted with conducting surprise searches of personnel and taking strict action against anyone indulging in corruption. He was later dismissed from service after conducting a disciplinary inquiry in which the charges of corruption and extra-constitutional conduct were found proved. The Bombay High Court dismissed his writ petition challenging the disciplinary inquiry. In this case, the authorities, in addition to appointment of enquiry officer, registered a criminal complaint with the CBI. After investigation, the CBI did not find adequate material to launch criminal prosecution. The contention raised by the delinquent employee was that he should be exonerated in disciplinary proceedings as no criminal charge sheet was filed by the CBI after enquiry. Judgment
The bench observed that the employer always retains the right to conduct an independent disciplinary proceeding, irrespective of the outcome of a criminal proceeding. The bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, S. Abdul Nazeer and Surya Kant observed that charges such as corruption, misappropriation and gross indiscipline are grave and ought to be dealt with strictly. The court also explained the scope of Judicial Review in Service Matters. It said that the power of judicial review discharged by Constitutional Courts under Article 226 or 32, or when sitting in appeal under Article 136, is distinct from the appellate power exercised by a departmental appellate authority. The Court also dismissed the plea that the punishment of dismissal was disproportionate to the allegation of corruption. It said that the Disciplinary Authority has wide discretion in imposing punishment for a proved delinquency, subject to principles of proportionality and fair play. The bench added that the punishment of dismissal from service is far from disproportionate to the charges of corruption, fabrication and intimidation which have unanimously been proven against the delinquent officer.