HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH : AT JABALPUR
It was found that in more than 9 cases assessments were made by Shri K.K. Dhawan during the financial year 1982-83 in an irregular manner with undue haste and it was inferred that this was with a view to confer undue favour on the assessee. In the case of K.K. Dhawan (supra) also similar grounds as were canvassed by Shri Brian D'Silva, learned Senior Advocate, were put forth and a Three Judge Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court took note of certain principles and observations made in Pearce Vs. Foster, (1866) 17 QBD 536, 542, wherein the following observations were taken note of:
" If a servant conducts himself in a way inconsistent with the faithful discharge of his duty in the service, it is misconduct which justifies immediate dismissal. That misconduct, according to my view, need not be misconduct in the carrying on of the service of the business. It is sufficient if it is conduct which is prejudicial or is likely to be prejudicial to the interests or to the reputation of the master, and the master will be justified, not only if he discovers it at the time, but also if he discovers it afterwards, in dismissing that servant., (Emphasis supplied) Thereafter, in paragraph 18, certain contentions with regard to exercise of quasi judicial powers was taken note of and the charge with regard to recklessness disclosed in the discharge of duties in utter disregard to settled norms were evaluated and it was held that if an employee discharging quasi-judicial functions acts in a manner which can be termed as reckless and the act discloses utter disregard to relevant provisions of rule and regulation, the same amounts to misconduct. After taking note of all this propositions in paragraph 19, the principle laid down is to the following effect [i.e... on the basis of the law laid down in the case of A.N. Saxena (supra)]:
"19. The above case, therefore, is an authority for the proposition that disciplinary proceedings could be initiated against the Government servant even with regard to exercise of quasi-judicial powers provided:
(i) The act or omission is such as to reflect on the reputation of the Government servant for his integrity or good faith or devotion to duty, or
(ii) there is prima facie material manifesting recklessness or misconduct in the discharge of the official duty, or
(iii) the officer had failed to act honestly or in good faith or had omitted to observe the prescribed conditions which are essential for the exercise of statutory power."
Thereafter, in paragraph 26 of the judgment reference is made to an earlier judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of A.N.
Saxena (supra) and after taking note of the principles laid down in paragraphs 7 and 8, it is held that disciplinary action could be taken if the officer who exercises judicial and quasi-judicial function acts in a reckless or negligent manner. The conclusion in this regard drawn in paragraph 28, reads as under:
"28. Certainly, therefore, the officer who exercises judicial or quasi-judicial powers acts negligently or recklessly or in order to confer undue favour on a person is not acting as a Judge. Accordingly, the contention of the respondent has to be rejected. It is important to bear in mind that in the present case, we are not concerned with the correctness or legality of the decision of the respondent but the conduct of the respondent in discharge of his duties as an officer. The legality of the orders with reference to the nine assessments may be questioned in appeal or revision under the Act. But we have no doubt in our mind that the Government is not precluded from taking the disciplinary action for violation of the Conduct Rules. Thus, we conclude that the disciplinary action can be taken in the following cases:
(i) Where the office had acted in a manner as would reflect on his reputation for integrity or good faith or devotion to duty;
(ii) if there is prima facie material to show recklessness or misconduct in the discharge of his duty;
(iii) if he has acted in a manner which is unbecoming of a Government servant
(iv) if he had acted negligently or that he omitted the prescribed conditions which are essential for the exercise of the statutory powers;
(v) if he had acted in order to unduly favour a party; (vi) if he had been actuated by corrupt motive, however, small the bribe may be because Lord Coke said long ago 'though the bribe may be small, yet the fault is great'. " 22- If the aforesaid principle is taken note of, it would be seen