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Raj Kumar Makkad (Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh)     11 January 2010

SC: Court could not interfere with competent authority order

The Supreme Court has held that a court hearing a criminal appeal could not interfere with the order passed by the competent authority like dismissal from service.

A senior engineer, G Prem Raj, was convicted by the Special Judge, Hyderabad, for demanding a bribe of Rs 50,000 from a contractor for giving him a detailed programme of the work schedule, for signing the contract for construction of structural steel sheds for VSSC stores at MIDHANI.

The accused was caught red-handed on May 27, 1998, while accepting Rs 5,000 from the complainant, Preetpal Singh Sodhi, as the first installment of the bribe.

The trial court convicted him while the Andhra Pradesh High Court acquitted him and also ordered his reinstatement as senior most civil engineer with all usual retrial monetary benefits inclusive of restoration of seniority and others, with retrospective effect.

A bench comprising Justices V S Sirpurkar and Deepak Verma, while expressing shock at the conduct of the High Court, noted, ‘Last but not least, we are extremely surprised to read the last portion of the judgment of the High Court, wherein, the High Court has honorably acquitted the accused and directed his reinstatement as senior most civil engineer, civil department, MIDHANI, with all usual retrial monetary benefits inclusive of restoration of seniority and others, with retrospective effects.

‘We wonder as to under what powers the High Court has acted. This was certainly not the jurisdiction on the part of the High Court, which had only to find whether the respondent accused was guilty or not of the offence alleged against him.


 4 Replies

S.B.adil rahman (Legal Consultant )     11 January 2010


The  acquittal in a criminal case has nothing to do with the departmental proceedings for misconduct. The departmental proceedings are based on the preponderance of probablity. Strict proof as under Evidence Act is not required in proceedings. The employee however move to the Administrative Tribunal or High Court if there has been any violation of the principles of Natural Justice in course of proceedings. The Courts except in the cases of disproportionate punishment or violation of Natural justice or  in no evidence, can not interfere with the administrative orders.


Binod Kumar Mishra (Government Service)     16 January 2010

Mr. Rahman,


agreeing with your views i must say that this type of comments has given free hands to the competent authorty to show their muscles in reaching any order according to their wish. this is the sadest part of the legal machinery of the country.


there should be a debate on this topic that whether any court can interfere with the order of competent authority or not, if there are gross violation, bias and malafides on the part of competent authority.

S.B.adil rahman (Legal Consultant )     16 January 2010


There is always a scope for review of the order of the Competent Authority if the decision is in violation to the principles of natural justice and based on malice or bias or malafide  or illogical reasonings.The Apex Court in Sugarbai M. Siddiq and others - vrs - Ramesh S. Hankare (Dead) by LRS reported in (2001) 8SCC 477 held that "the court is concerned not with the decision but with the decision-making process." In CASE NO.: 
Writ Petition (crl.) 284-285 of 2005
PETITIONER: Epuru Sudhakar & Anr.Vs Govt. of A.P. & Ors. Hon'ble Justice ARIJIT PASAYAT of Supreme Court has held that in the departmental proceedings the Court is duty bound to see that: a.Whether a decision making authority exceeded its power?Committed an error of law?Committed a breach of the rules of natural justice?Reached a decision which no reasonable tribunal would have reached? or Abused its power. I think that if the grounds are reasonable and fall within the periphery then there is always a scope of a judicial scrutiny.






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