Boutique Litigation Law Firm - Retain Lawyers - Research based Law Firm - Complete legal services

Judicial Review is an evaluation of the decision­ making process, and not the merits of the decision: SC

The SC on September 10, 2020 {Pravin Kumar vs. Union of India and Ors. } held that as   the   threshold   of interference   in   the   present proceedings is quite high. It was held that the power of judicial review discharged by Constitutional Courts under Article 226 or 32, or when sitting in appeal   under   Article   136,   is   distinct   from   the   appellate   power exercised by a departmental appellate authority. It was held that it would be gainsaid that judicial review is an evaluation of the decision­ making process, and not the merits of the decision itself. It was held that Judicial Review seeks to ensure fairness in treatment and not fairness of conclusion. It was held that it ought to be used to correct manifest errors of law or procedure, which might result   in   significant   injustice;   or   in   case   of   bias   or   gross unreasonableness of outcome.

It was further observed by the SC Bench, comprising of Justice N.V. RAMANA, Justice S. ABDUL NAZEER & Justice SURYA KANT, that it   is   thus   well   settled   that   the   Constitutional   Courts   while exercising their powers of judicial review would not assume the role of an appellate authority. It was held that their jurisdiction is circumscribed by limits of correcting errors of law, procedural errors leading to manifest injustice or violation of principles of natural justice. Put differently, it was held that judicial review is not analogous to venturing into the merits of a case like an appellate authority.

It was held that the   High   Court   was   thus   rightly   concerned   more   about   the competence of the enquiry officer and adherence to natural justice, rather than verifying the appellant’s guilt through documents and statements. It was held that it clearly noted that evidence was led, cross­examination was conducted and opportunities of addressing arguments, raising objections, and filing appeal were granted. It was held that the conclusion obtained was based upon these very evidences and was detailed and well reasoned. Furthermore, it was held that the High Court didn’t restrict the scope of judicial review, rather adopted a liberal approach, and delved further to come to its own independent conclusion of guilt. Similarly, it was held that the SC has no doubt in its minds that the appellate authority had carefully dealt with each plea raised by the appellant in his appeal and had given detailed responses to all the contentions to satisfy the appellant’s mind. It was held that the disciplinary authority too was impeccable and no infirmity can be found in the report of the enquiry officer either.

It was held that the present case is neither one where there is no evidence, nor is it one where we can arrive   at   a   different   conclusion   than   the   disciplinary   authority.

It was held by the SC thus, the appellant’s contention that he should be exonerated in the present proceedings as no criminal chargesheet was filed by the CBI after enquiry, is liable to be discarded. It was held that the employer always retains the right to conduct an independent disciplinary proceeding, irrespective of the outcome of a criminal proceeding. 

It was held that still further, the appellant’s actions would most probably have caused huge consequential losses to BPCL and lowered the reputation of the CISF amongst members of the public. It was held that given the paramilitary nature   of   the   appellant’s   force,   a   sense   of   integrity,   commitment, discipline, and camaraderie is paramount. It was held that this expectation is only heightened in the case of the appellant given how he was specifically tasked with weeding out corruption and conducting surprise raids. It was held that once shattered through acts of intimidation, forgery, and corruption; only the severest penalty ought to be imposed.

In light of the above discussion, the SC held that it does not find any merit in the appeal which is accordingly dismissed.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published