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Union of India & Ors. Vs. Amar Singh

Posted on 24 June 2009 by jyoti

Title

Union of India & Ors. Vs. Amar Singh



Coram

TARUN CHATTERJEE, P. SATHASIVAM



Act

Central Reserve Police Force Act



Subject

Central Reserve Police Force Rules, 1955-rr. 42, 14 & 27-Central Reserve Police Force Act, 1949-s. 11 & 18-CRPF constable dismissed for having entered service by submitting fictitious certificate-His prayer for grant of pensionary benefits-Allowed by trial court and first appellate court-High Court, dismissed second appeal in limini holding that Rule 24 of the CCS (Pension) Rules did not govern the service conditions of respondent-Held: Rule 42 of CRPF Rules, which provides that even for CRPF personnel/force, Civil Service Regulations or Pension Rules are applicable, was not brought to notice of High Court-High Court wrongly concluded that CCS (Pension) Rules were not applicable, and made no discussion on merits-Matter remitted to it for fresh disposal on merits-Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972-r.24.

The respondent was enrolled as a constable in the Central Reserve Police Force. More than 29 years after his enrollment, respondent was found to have entered service by submitting fictitious school leaving certificate. He was held guilty under section 11(1) of the Central Reserve Police Force Act, 1949 read with Rule 27 of the CRPF Rules, 1955 and dismissed from service. He filed civil suit praying for reversal of the dismissal order and for grant of pensionary benefits for the past service rendered. Both the trial court and the first appellate court upheld the validity of the dismissal order but directed grant of pensionary benefits to respondent. High Court, held that Rule 24 of the CCS (Pension) Rules did not govern the service conditions of respondent, and dismissed the second appeal in limine. Hence the present appeal.



Citation

, 2007(12 )SCR498 , , 2007(13 )SCALE454 , 2007(13 )JT281



Head Notes

Allowing the appeal, the Court

HELD: 1.1. The provisions of Central Reserve Police Force Act, 1949 and Central Reserve Police Force Rules, 1955 are applicable to the respondent. By virtue of Section 18 of the Act, the Central Government framed the Central Reserve Police Force Rules, 1955. Rule 42, which speaks about pensions and gratuities for service in the Force, makes it clear that even for the personnel/force in Central Reserve Police Force, Civil Service Regulations or Pension Rules are applicable. [Para 9] [503-F, G; 504-D]

1.2. It is seen that Rule 42 of the Central Reserve Police Force Rules, 1955 has not been brought to the notice of the High Court. Inasmuch as the High Court has dismissed the second appeal only on this ground, it is but proper to remit the matter to the High Court to consider the claims of the parties on merits. [Para 9] [504-F, G]

2. As regards the claim of the respondent that irrespective of the order of dismissal/removal he is entitled to pension and gratuity for the past service rendered by him, this Court is refraining from expressing any opinion on merits, in view of its conclusion to remit the matter to the High Court. However, it is reiterated that a person who seeks equity must come with clean hands. Also equity jurisdiction cannot be exercised in the case of a person who got the appointment on the basis of a false certificate by playing a fraud. [Para 10] [505-C, D]

Union of India and Ors. v. Ghulam Mohd. Bhat, [2005] 13 SCC 228; Ram Saran v. IG of Police, CRPF and Ors., [2006] 2 SCC 541; Shri Krishnan v. The Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, [1976] 1 SCC 311 and Major G.S. Sodhi v. Union of India, [1991] 2 SCC 371, referred to.

3. In so far as the plea of the respondent that it was not open to the authorities to verify his particulars after a lapse of 29 years and 7 months of service, Rule 14 of the Central Reserve Police Rules enables the authorities concerned to verify the particulars with regard to the same as soon as the person concerned has been inducted into the Force. It is not stated anywhere that "false" or "fake certificate" of education is to be verified immediately as stated in sub-clause (a) of Rule 14. On the other hand, it is the responsibility of the person who seeks employment to place authenticated certificate about his educational qualification and community etc. [Para 11] [505-E, G, H; 506-A]

4. The High Court wrongly concluded that the CCS (Pension) Rules were not applicable and made no discussion on merits of the case. The matter is, therefore, remitted to High Court for fresh disposal.
[Para 12] [506-B]

Binu Tamta (for Sushma Suri), for the Appellant.

Shweta Kapoor (for Anis Ahmed Khan), for the Respondent.



Judgment Made On

23/11/2007

CASE NO.:
Appeal (civil) 5367 of 2007

JUDGMENT:
JUDGMENT
(Arising out of SLP (C) No. 1082 OF 2005)
P. Sathasivam, J.
1) Leave granted.
2) Challenge in this appeal is by the Union of India
and its functionaries to the judgment dated 27.09.2004
rendered by a learned Single Judge of the High Court of
Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh holding that the
services of the respondent-herein are governed by the
Central Reserve Police Force Act, 1949 (in short the Act)
and Rule 24 of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules,
1972 does not govern the service conditions is without
jurisdiction.
3) The factual position in a nutshell is as follows:-
The respondent herein was enrolled as Constable in
the Central Reserve Police Force on 28.02.1968. At the time
of enrolment, he had submitted a certificate regarding his
qualification. After completion of 29 years and 7 months of
service, in order to verify the service rendered by him to
determine the qualifying service with regard to pension, it
has been observed by the Pay and Accounts Office that his
date of birth has been amended in the School Leaving
Certificate without any authority. Therefore, the Pay and
Accounts Office directed OC Gurgaon to verify the
authenticity of the School Leaving Certificate and intimate
the actual date of birth in respect of the respondent hererin
from the School Authorities. The School Authorities, vide
their letter No.E-2/638 dated 26.08.1996 and letter dated
05.03.1997, confirmed that the School Leaving Certificate is
fictitious and bogus and not issued by them. On the basis
of the report received from the School Authorities, a
departmental enquiry was ordered against the respondent
herein. Consequently, on 05.05.1997, Shri Puran Singh
Asst. Commandant was appointed as Enquiry Officer to
enquire into the charges. On completion of the enquiry, the
Enquiry Officer submitted his report and found that the
articles of charges framed against the delinquent were
substantiated vide prosecution as well as defence evidence
cited as proof and it was established that the School
Leaving Certificate submitted by him at the time of
enrolment was fake which was also confirmed by the
concerned school. A copy of the Enquiry Report was
provided to the respondent herein asking for his
representation if any, within a period of 15 days, but he did
not submit anything new for consideration.
After the charges leveled against the respondent herein
having been proved beyond doubt, he was found guilty
under Section 11(1) of the Act read with Rule 27 of the
CRPF Rules, 1955, on 20.09.1997 and was removed from
service.
Aggrieved by the dismissal order, on 01.02.2000, the
respondent herein filed a civil suit in the Court of Civil
Judge (Sr. Division), Narnaul, inter alia, praying that the
order of dismissal was bad and without jurisdiction and
that he may be granted pensionary and retrial benefits.
The learned Civil Judge, on 22.10.2002, decreed the suit
of the respondent herein holding that the dismissal order
was passed as per law but he was entitled to pension,
gratuity, provident fund etc. Aggrieved by the said
judgment, the appellants herein filed Civil Appeal No. 418 of
2002 in the District Court, Narnaul praying for setting aside
the same. The learned District Court, vide order dated
28.02.2004, dismissed the appeal of the appellants-herein
by holding that the decision of the trial court was correct
and based on proper appreciation of evidence and proper
application of law and came to the conclusion that in view
of the provisions of Section 2 of CCS (Pension) Rules 1972,
Rule 24 of the said Rules would not be applicable to the
respondent herein who is governed by the provisions of the
CRPF Act, 1949. Aggrieved by the same, the appellants
herein moved R.S.A. No. 3891 of 2004 before the High
Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh. A learned
Single Judge of the High Court, by order dated 27.09.2004,
dismissed the appeal of the appellants herein holding that
there was no infirmity in the order of the courts below and
held that the services of the respondent was governed by
the provisions of the Act and the provisions of Rule 24 of
the Central Civil Services Rules does not govern the service
conditions of the respondent herein. Questioning the order
of the learned Single Judge of the High Court, the
appellants have filed the above appeal by way of special
leave.
4) We have heard Ms. Binu Tamta, learned counsel,
appearing for the appellants and Ms. Shweta Kapoor,
learned counsel, appearing for the respondent.
5) Ms. Binu Tamta, learned counsel appearing for the
Union of India by drawing our attention to the relevant
provisions of the Central Reserve Police Force Act, 1949, the
Central Reserve Police Force Rules, 1955 and the CCS
(Pension) Rules, 1972 submitted that the High Court
committed an error in concluding that Rule 24 of the CCS
(Pension) Rules would not be applicable to the respondent
herein and in the absence of any provision in the CRPF
Rules that provide for forfeiture of past service in case of
dismissal or removal from service, the appellant was
entitled to pensionary benefits after dismissal from service.
On the other hand, Ms. Shweta Kapoor, learned counsel
appearing for the respondent, submitted that in the absence
of specific provision either in the Act or Rules governing
Central Reserve Police Force, the Courts below including the
High Court were right in rejecting the stand of Central
Reserve Police Force. She also contended that in view of the
fact that no specific order forfeiting the past service in the
order of dismissal from service, the authorities were not
entitled to forfeit pension or other benefits.
6) We have carefully considered the rival submissions
with reference to the pleadings and also perused the
annexures and records filed along with this appeal.
7) Before answering the above question, it is relevant
to refer to the impugned order passed by the learned Single
Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which reads
as under:-
Services of the respondent in the present case are
governed by Central Reserve Police Force Act, 1949. Rule 24
of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 does not
govern the service conditions of the respondent.
Learned counsel for the appellants could not point out
to me as to under which rule or section, forfeiture of past
service of the respondent can be done in case of dismissal.
No substantial question of law involves in this appeal.
I do not find any infirmity in the judgment dated
28.02.2004 of the Additional District Judge, Narnaul.
Dismissed.
It is clear that the learned Judge after finding that Rule 24
of the CCS (Pension) Rules does not govern the service
conditions of the respondent and finding no substantial
question of law dismissed the second appeal in limine.
8) After going through the relevant provisions as
pointed out by learned counsel for the Union of India, we
are unable to accept the conclusion arrived at by the High
Court for the following reasons:
9) It is not in dispute that the provisions of Central
Reserve Police Force Act, 1949 and Central Reserve Police
Force Rules, 1955 are applicable to the respondent herein.
By virtue of Section 18 of the Act, the Central Government
framed the Central Reserve Police Force Rules, 1955.
Among the Rules, we are concerned with Chapter VIII and,
more importantly, Rule 42 which speaks about pensions
and gratuities for service in the Force. Rule 42 reads as
follows:
42. Pension.- (a) Pensions and gratuities for service in
the Force shall be regulated according to the provisions
contained in Chapters XV to XXI and XLVII and XLVIII of
the Civil Service Regulation as may be amended from time
to time and the new Pension Rules promulgated in the
Government of India in the Ministry of Finance
Memorandum No. F.3(1)E(Spl)/47, dated the 17th April,
1950 as may be amended from time to time.
(b) Pensions and gratuities to enrolled followers for service
in the Force shall be governed by provisions contained in
the Central (Class IV) Services (Gratuity, Pension and
Retirement) Rule, 1936 and the New Pension Rules
published in the Government of India in the Ministry of
Finance Memorandum No.F3(1)E(Spl)/47, dated the 17th
April, 1950, as may be amended from time to time.
The above referred provision makes it clear that even for the
personnel/force in Central Reserve Police Force, Civil
Service Regulations or Pension Rules are applicable. In
fact, except Rule 42 clarifying that in respect of pensions
and gratuities for persons in the Force, certain provisions of
civil service regulations and pension Rules promulgated
Ministry of Finance, Government of India are applicable no
other provision speaks about the same. Rule 24 of the CCS
(Pension) Rules reads as under:-
24. Forfeiture of service on dismissal or removal.-
Dismissal or removal of a Government servant from a service
or post entails forfeiture of his past service.
It is seen that the above provision particularly Rule 42 of
the Central Reserve Police Force Rules, 1955 has not been
brought to the notice of the High Court. Inasmuch as the
High Court has dismissed the second appeal only on this
ground, in view of the present position as rightly pointed
out by learned counsel for the appellants, it is but proper to
remit the matter to the High Court to consider the claim of
both parties on merits.
10) Learned counsel for the Union of India placed
reliance on two recent judgments of this Court, namely,
Union of India and Others vs. Ghulam Mohd. Bhat,
(2005) 13 SCC 228 and Ram Saran vs. IG of Police, CRPF
and Others, (2006) 2 SCC 541 and submitted that the right
of pension and monetary benefits can be given only if the
appointment was valid and legal. According to her, in view
of the conclusion of the Courts below (trial and lower
appellate Court) and in the light of the fact that the
respondent who entered service by producing false
educational certificate, does not deserve any sympathy or
indulgence or equity from this Court. Equally learned
counsel appearing for the respondent, placing reliance on
the decisions of this Court in Shri Krishnan vs. The
Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, (1976) 1 SCC 311
and Major G.S. Sodhi vs. Union of India, (1991) 2 SCC
371 submitted that irrespective of the order of
dismissal/removal the respondent is entitled to pension and
gratuity for the past service rendered by him. In view of our
conclusion to remit the matter to the High Court, we are not
expressing any opinion on merits. However, we reiterate
that a person who seeks equity must come with clean
hands. We also reiterate that equity jurisdiction cannot be
exercised in the case of a person who got the appointment
on the basis of a false certificate by playing a fraud.
11) Learned counsel for the respondent by drawing our
attention to Rule 14 of the Central Reserve Police Rules
submitted that it is incumbent on the part of the authorities
to verify as soon as he is enrolled in the Force and they are
not permitted to do the same after 29 years and 7 months of
service. The said Rule reads thus:
14. Verification.- (a) As soon as a man is enrolled, his
character, antecedents, connections and age shall be
verified in accordance with the procedure prescribed by
the Central Government from time to time. The
Verification Roll shall be sent to the District Magistrate or
Deputy Commissioner of the District of which the recruit
is a resident.
A reading of the said Rule clearly stipulates that after
enrolment in the Force, his character, antecedents,
connections and age shall be verified in accordance with
the procedure prescribed. In other words, the said Rule
enables the authorities concerned to verify the particulars
with regard to the same as soon as the person concerned
has been inducted into the Force. It is not stated anywhere
about false or fake certificate of education is to be
verified immediately as stated in sub-clause (a) of Rule 14.
On the other hand, it is the responsibility of the person who
seeks employment to place authenticated certificate about
his educational qualification and community etc.
12) In view of our conclusion and of the fact that the
High Court has wrongly concluded that CCS (Pension) Rules
are not applicable and in the light of the fact that no
discussion on merits of the case, we set aside the impugned
order of the High Court and remit the same to the High
Court for fresh disposal. Inasmuch as the High Court
dismissed the RSA in limine and in the light of the legal
position as pointed out above, the High Court is requested
to decide the issue after affording opportunity to both
parties. As observed earlier, both parties are free to put-
forth their respective claim/stand before the High Court by
placing all the relevant materials which support their case
and it is for the High Court to consider the same
expeditiously.

14) Civil Appeal is allowed to this extent as indicated
above. No costs.



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