The High Court is not a court of appeal wherein a departmental enquiry is
being carried against a public servant. The Supreme Court bench consisting of J.
Dr. Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, J. Indu Malhotra and J. K. M. Joseph, shed light
upon the jurisdiction of High Court under Article 226 and also elaborated upon
the objective of the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957 in the matter of Director
General of Police, Railway Protection Force and Ors. v. Rajendra Kumar Dubey
[Civil Appeal No. 3820 of 2020].
The Respondent was appointed as a Constable with the Railway Protection Free and
was posted as SIPF(Adhoc) Sub-Inspector at the Pulgaon Railway Station,
Maharashtra. Later he was placed under suspensions with immediate effect pending
enquiry and a charge sheet was issued for major penalty under Rule 153 of the
Railway Protection Force Rules, 1987 by the Sr. Divisional Security Commissioner
R.P.F. However, the Enquiry Officer (E.O) found that only a few of the charges
were proved. The Disciplinary Authority accepted these findings and imposed the
punishment of removal from service with immediate effect.
The respondent preferred an appeal before the DIG-cum-Additional Chief Security
Commissioner where the same was allowed and it was held that these charges did
not warrant the extreme punishment of removal from service as there was no
imputation of connivance or corrupt practice against the respondent. The
punishment was reduced to reversion in rank for a period of 6 months without
The Senior Divisional Security Commissioner reviewed the DAR
proceedings and pointed out certain lacunae and stated that the continuation of
the respondentís service would deteriorate the image of the R.P.F. During this,
the respondent had been arrested by the CBI, Nagpur in an Anti-Corruption case.
The CR issued for a show cause and proposed a penalty of compulsory retirement
from service which was further imposed.
The Respondent applied for a writ petition before the High Court which was
partly allowed by quashing the order of the compulsory retirement and restored
the first order of the Appellate authority. Aggrieved, the Department filed the
Civil Appeal to the Supreme Court, challenging the order of the HC directing to
re-instate the Respondent with consequential benefits and payment of 50%
The Supreme Court, discussing upon the authority of the HC and relying on the
case of State of Andhra Pradesh v. S. Sree Rama Rao
[AIR 1963 SC 1723], stated
the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is not a court of appeal
over the decision of the authorities holding a departmental enquiry against a
public servant. It is not the function of the High Court under its writ
jurisdiction to review the evidence, and arrive at an independent finding on the
Further the SC elaborated on the objective of Section 11 of the
Railway Protection Force Act, 1957 and held that:
A police officer in the
Railway Protection Force is required to maintain a high standard of integrity in
the discharge of his official functions.
In this case, the charges proved against the Respondent were of neglect of
which resulted in pecuniary loss to the Railways. The Respondent was a
Sub-Inspector in the Railway Police discharging an office of trust and
confidence which required absolute integrity.
The High Court was therefore not
justified in setting aside the order of compulsory retirement, and directing
re-instatement with consequential benefits, and payment of backwages to the
extent of 50%, and allowed the appeal, additionally directing the authorities
to release the respondentís gratuity.
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