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A concurrent findings of facts in departmental proceedings cannot be set aside by the tribunal; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice Hemant Gupta & Justice S. Abdul Nazeer

The SC {THE STATE OF KARNATAKA & ANR. v. N. GANGARAJ} holds that once the evidence has been accepted by the departmental authority, in exercise of power of judicial review, the Tribunal or the High Court could not interfere with the findings of facts recorded by reappreciating evidence as if the Courts are the Appellate Authority. It was held that, therefore, the orders passed by the Tribunal and the High Court suffer from patent illegality and thus cannot be sustained in law. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed and orders passed by the Tribunal and the High Court were set aside and the order of punishment imposed was restored.

It was held that if the disciplinary authority records a finding that is not supported by any evidence whatsoever or a finding which is unreasonably arrived at, the Writ Court could interfere with the finding of the disciplinary proceedings. It was held that the present is not the case of no evidence or that the findings are perverse. The finding that the respondent is guilty of misconduct has been interfered with only on the ground that there are discrepancies in the evidence of the Department. It was held that the discrepancies in the evidence will not make it a case of no evidence. The Inquiry Officer has appreciated the evidence and returned a finding that the respondent is guilty of misconduct

In the present case, the disciplinary authority agreed with the findings of the enquiry officer and had passed an order of punishment. An appeal before the State Government was also dismissed.The Tribunal set aside the order of punishment by holding that the criminal court on the same set of facts has not placed reliance on the deposition of the witnesses, therefore, it was not proper on the part of the Disciplinary Authority to rely upon such evidence, which view was affirmed by the HC. Both the judgments were set aside by the SC.

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