Dr. Gajendra Singh Versus Union of India & Ors.

Dr. Gajendra Singh Versus   Union of India & Ors. 

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4149 of 2022 
Dr. Gajendra Singh           ...Appellant 
Versus  
Union of India & Ors.                           
...Respondents
J U D G M E N T 
M. R. Shah, J.
1. Feeling   aggrieved   and   dissatisfied   with   the   impugned
Judgment and Order 14.02.2017 passed by the High Court of
Judicature at Allahabad in Writ Appeal No.64492 of 2008 by
which the High Court has dismissed the said appeal and has
not interfered with the judgment and order passed by the
learned Single Judge in which the petitioner challenged the
penalty imposed by the disciplinary authority of “removal from
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service   which   would   not   be   disqualification   for   future
employment”, the original petitioner has preferred the present
appeal.
2. The   appellant   herein   was   a   Branch   Manager   of   the
United Insurance Company during the period 1995­96.   He
issued an Insurance Cover Note No.543675 on 20.03.1996
with respect to the vehicle bearing no.DL 1P 7143 belonging to
one Chander Singh for the period 20.03.1996 to 19.03.1997.
On that very day, he issued another cover note.  It was found
that for the first cover note No.543675, he had not taken any
premium and for the second Cover Note No.543680 a cheque
given by the insured had bounced.  The vehicle insured met
with an accident on 20.04.1996 relating to which a claim was
filed on the basis of the first insurance Cover Note No.543675.
An award of Rs.3,24,400/­ came to be passed by the Motor
Vehicle Accident Tribunal.  The Insurance Company accepted
the   same.     However,   the   disciplinary   authority   issued   a
charge­sheet to the appellant on 18.10.2001 alleging that the
appellant   had   issued   a   Cover   Note   No.543675   without
collecting any premium, he had thus caused a financial loss
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to the insurance company.  Therefore, it was alleged that the
appellant had failed to maintain integrity, devotion to duty
and acted in a manner prejudicial to the interest of company.
The charges were replied to by the appellant.   He explained
the circumstances under which he had issued the first cover
note as at the relevant time when the cover note was issued,
he had relied upon the assurance given by the insured that he
will send the amount through his person, but he did not send
the   premium   amount.     Instead,   the   insured   applied   for
another   insurance   policy   for   which   a   cheque   was   given,
however the cheque bounced.  Therefore, it was the case on
behalf of the appellant that having long standing relations
between the insured and the insurance company, he relied
upon the assurance given by the insured that he will send the
amount and, on that assurance, he issued the first cover note.
In the departmental enquiry the charge levelled against the
appellant came to be proved.  The enquiry report was accepted
by the disciplinary authority.  Therefore, the appellant came to
be removed from service however without any disqualification
of a future employment.  The appellant challenged the order of
removal before the learned Single Judge.  The learned Single
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Judge dismissed the writ petition.   The judgment and order
passed   by   the   learned   Single   Judge   dismissing   the   writ
petition has been confirmed by the impugned judgment and
order passed by the Division Bench.
3. Having heard learned counsel for the respective parties
and   considering   the   reply   to   the   charge­sheet   and   the
plausible   explanation   given   by   the   appellant   –   delinquent
officer, we are of the opinion that the order of removal passed
by the disciplinary authority against the appellant who had
rendered approximately over twenty years of service and the
fact that the appellant had an unblemished service record
throughout, we are of the opinion that the punishment of
removal from service is disproportionate to the charge and the
misconduct held to be proved.   It appears that the insured
was   an   old   customer   and   the   insured   and   the   insurer
company  had  a  long­standing  relationship  with  him.   The
petitioner relied upon the assurance given by the insured that
he will send the money and on that assurance the appellant
issued the first cover note.  However, at the same time when
the second cover was issued with respect to the very vehicle,
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the appellant was required to cancel the earlier cover note
which the appellant did not cancel, which has resulted in loss
to the insurance company.   However, at the same time it
cannot be said that the appellant failed to maintain integrity.
Therefore, this is a fit case to impose any other punishment
lesser/other than the removal from service.
4. In view of the above and for the reason stated above
present Appeal Succeeds in Part.   The impugned judgment
and orders passed by the High Court are hereby quashed and
set   aside.     The   order   of   punishment   imposed   by   the
disciplinary authority removing the appellant from service is
hereby quashed and set aside and the matter is remitted to
the   disciplinary  authority  to  impose  any   other  appropriate
punishment   lesser/other   than   the   order   of   removal   from
service.   The aforesaid exercise shall be completed within a
period of three months from the date of present order.
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Present appeal is partly allowed to the aforesaid extent.
However, in the facts and circumstances of the case there
shall be no order as to costs.
…………………………………J.
            (M. R. SHAH)
…………………………………J.
                                                 (B.V. NAGARATHNA)
New Delhi, 
July 11, 2022.
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