"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recent Judgments

Being Humane Wouldn’t Hurt

Angad Das v. Union of India CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 1429-1430 OF 2010 (Arising out of SLP (C) Nos.6975-6976/2009). Date of Judgment 18-02-10

Supreme Court chided the DIG of Police, CRPF, Avadi, for treating a request for re-employment to Additional District Inspector General as an appeal against an order and consequently enhancing punishment. Perusing the letter sent by the appellant the SC found that the prayer “made with folded hands and touching his [Addl.DIG] feet” could never be treated as an appeal. Considering this request letter as an appeal against the order of punishment of "compulsory retirement" as awarded by the Commandant, 51 BN, CRPF punishment was enhanced to “removal from service" w.e.f. 31.5.1996.

The treatment meted out to such a letter astonishes the court and expressed in the following words “[w]e fail to comprehend how such an innocuous and polite letter of request seeking re- employment on compassionate ground can ever receive such an unwarranted and arrogant reaction. The order is wholly arbitrary and illegal.”

Consequently, the order of compulsory retirement is restored, which will enable the appellant to receive all benefits including the pensionary benefits. The benefits are awarded with an interest of 9% per annum to be paid within two months, along with Rs. 50,000/- as cost.

Restoring justice to the appellant, the court reminded the outlook people in power and authority ought to have, in the following words:

“People in power and authority should not easily lose equanimity, composure and appreciation for the problems of the lesser mortals. They are always expected to remember that power and authority must be judiciously exercised according to the laws and human compassion. Arrogance and vanity have no place in discharge of their official functions and duties.”

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