10 June 2024


High Court of Delhi

Anoop Kumar Mishra vs. Airport Authority Of India & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2024: DHC: 2451-DB)




Writ Court cannot sit in appeal against orders of Disciplinary Authority and Appellate Authority which are prescribed Statutory Authorities under Rules and Regulations

The Petitioner has filed the instant writ petition seeking issuance of issue a writ of Certiorari to quash the order by the appellate body i.e. sub- committee of the board of Airport Authority of India, and for issuance of a writ of Certiorari to quash the order of the Disciplinary Authority i.e. the Chairman of Airport Authority of India.

By the impugned order, the Disciplinary Authority held the petitioner guilty of the charges framed and imposed minor penalty of withholding of one increment of pay for a period of one year with cumulative effect. The Petitioner preferred a Statutory Appeal before the Appellate Authority which too was dismissed vide the impugned order.

The High Courts are highly circumscribed in their exercise of powers of judicial review in disciplinary matters. Infact, there is a clear preclusion from even considering the observations or factual errors in the Inquiry Report etc. The only remainder scope is in respect of such cases where there is gross violation of the prescribed Rules, Regulations or statutory procedure coupled with violation of the principles of natural justice or an imposition of a punishment grossly disproportionate to the charges levelled. Other than these, the Writ Court cannot sit as in Appeal against the orders of the Disciplinary Authority and the Appellate Authority which are prescribed Statutory Authorities under the Rules and Regulations.

A plain reading of Regulation 27 of the Airports Authority of India Employees (Conduct, Discipline and Appeal) Regulations, 2003 (CDA Regulations, 2003) particularly clause (b) would reflect that the punishment of withholding of increment of pay with or without cumulative effect would be considered as a minor penalty. It is not disputed that the petitioner was imposed a penalty of withholding of one increment for a period of one year with cumulative effect.

The petitioner does not dispute that in terms of Regulation 27, he was informed in writing of the imputations of misconduct/misbehaviour; does not dispute that he was indeed given an opportunity to submit his written statement of defence which he availed of; does not dispute that the Disciplinary Authority had indeed considered such defence statement, in which case in the considered opinion of this Court, the respondent had followed the due procedure. So far as the allegation that the Disciplinary Authority or the Appellate Authority did not appreciate the defence statement or the grounds of appeal in the right perspective is concerned, that would not be the matter which can be looked into by this Court as if sitting in appeal. The only prescription is to consider whether any rule or regulation has been violated. None has been brought to the attention of this Court nor could this Court find one. Appeal dismissed.

Tags : Increment Withholding of Legality

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