Ac­tion where an em­ployee con­victed by a Court files an ap­peal in a higher court


In many cases, Gov­ern­ment ser­vants who have been found guilty by lower courts and have filed ap­peals in higher courts rep­re­sent for re­in­state­ment/set­ting aside the penalty im­posed un­der Rule 19 (i) of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965. In such cases, the fol­low­ing ob­ser­va­tions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in KC Sa­reen v CBI, Chandi­garh [2001(6) SCC 584] are to be kept in view:

When a pub­lic ser­vant was found guilty of cor­rup­tion af­ter a ju­di­cial ad­ju­di­ca­tory process con­ducted by a court of law, ju­di­cious­ness de­mands that he should be treated as cor­rupt un­til he is ex­on­er­ated by a su­pe­rior court. The mere fact that an ap­pel­late or re­vi­sional forum has de­cided to en­ter­tain his chal­lenge and to go into the is­sues and find­ings made against such pub­lic ser­vants once again should not even tem­po­rar­ily ab­solve him from such find­ings. If such a pub­lic ser­vant be­comes en­ti­tled to hold pub­lic of­fice and to con­tinue to do of­fi­cial acts un­til he is ju­di­cially ab­solved from such find­ings by rea­son of sus­pen­sion of the or­der of con­vic­tion, it is pub­lic in­ter­est which suf­fers and some­times even ir­repara­bly. When a pub­lic ser­vant who is con­victed of cor­rup­tion is al­lowed to con­tinue to hold pub­lic of­fice, it im­pairs the mo­rale of the other per­sons man­ning such of­fice, and con­se­quently that would erode the al­ready shrunk con­fi­dence of the peo­ple in such pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions be­sides de­mor­al­iz­ing the other hon­est pub­lic ser­vants who would ei­ther be the col­leagues or sub­or­di­nates of the con­victed per­son. If hon­est pub­lic ser­vants are com­pelled to take or­ders from pro­claimed cor­rupt of­fi­cers on ac­count of the sus­pen­sion of the con­vic­tion the fall-out would be one of shak­ing the sys­tem it­self.

Thus ac­tion against a con­victed Gov­ern­ment ser­vant should be taken straight­away un­der Rule 19 (1).

An ap­peal against the con­vic­tion or even a stay on the sen­tence will have no ef­fect un­less the con­vic­tion it­self is stayed.

In view of the law laid down in var­i­ous judg­ments, in­clud­ing the ones quoted above, in cases of se­ri­ous charges of mis­con­duct, par­tic­u­larly in­volv­ing moral turpi­tude, the Min­istries/ De­part­ments should keep the fol­low­ing points in view to take prompt ac­tion:

(i) All in­crim­i­nat­ing doc­u­ments should be seized promptly to avoid their tam­per­ing or de­struc­tion of ev­i­dence.

(ii) Par­tic­u­lar care needs to be taken for re­ten­tion of copies of such doc­u­ments while hand­ing over the same to an in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency. These doc­u­ments may be at­tested af­ter com­par­i­son with the orig­i­nals.

(iii) In case the doc­u­ments have been filed in a court, cer­ti­fied copies of doc­u­ments may be ob­tained.

(iv) Doc­u­ments and other ev­i­dence must be ex­am­ined to see whether any mis­con­duct, in­clud­ing favour, ha­rass­ment, neg­li­gence or vi­o­la­tion of rules / in­struc­tions has been com­mit­ted. If there is a prima fa­cie ev­i­dence of mis­con­duct, charge-sheet un­der the ap­pro­pri­ate rule must be is­sued.

(v) Court judg­ments should be promptly acted upon:

(a) In cases of con­vic­tion, ac­tion is to be taken un­der Rule 19 (i) of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965;

(b) In cases of ac­quit­tal also, if the Court has not ac­quit­ted the ac­cused hon­ourably, charge-sheet may be is­sued;

(c) An ac­quit­tal on tech­ni­cal grounds or where a ben­e­fit of doubt has been given to the ac­cused will have no ef­fect on a penalty im­posed un­der CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965, as while in a crim­i­nal trial the charge has to be proved be­yond rea­son­able doubt, in the de­part­men­tal in­quiry, the stan­dard of ev­i­dence is pre­pon­der­ance of prob­a­bil­ity.

(vi) An ap­peal by the ac­cused against con­vic­tion, but where the con­vic­tion has not been over­turned/stayed, will have no ef­fect on ac­tion taken un­der Rule 19 (i) of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965, even if the Court has di­rected stay/sus­pen­sion of the sen­tence. ■

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