5 Mar 2010

People in power to maintain composure and appreciation: Supreme Court

"People in power and authority should not easily lose equanimity, composure and appreciation for the problems of the lesser mortals." This is the message the Supreme Court has given to all governmental officers in a recently delivered decision. The Court was dealing with the challenge to the validity of the Director General of Central Reserve Police Force relating to application for leniency made by a constable. 

The constable, who had been handed out the punishment of compulsorily retirement for having given a wrong date of birth at the time of joining, had requested the Director General "praying that his request for re-employment be kindly considered because he has enormous responsibility of educating and marrying five daughters. The prayer was made with folded hands and touching his feet. The letter reflected pinnacle of humility." The Director General, however, treated the compassionate letter as a appeal and in fact went on to increase the punishment to one of 'removal from service'. 

The Court, however, was not impressed. Holding that "no provision of law permits him to treat a letter of request for re-employment as an appeal. The DIG (Police) has no power or authority to enhance the sentence of the appellant. We fail to comprehend how such an innocuous and polite letter of request seeking reemployment on compassionate ground can ever receive such an unwarranted and arrogant reaction. The order is wholly arbitrary and illegal", the Court further went on to observe as under 

People in power and authority should not easily lose equanimity, composure and appreciation for the problems of the lesser mortals. They are always expected to remember that power and authority must be judiciously exercised according to the laws and human compassion. Arrogance and vanity have no place in discharge of their official functions and duties. ... We hope and trust that senior officials in future would not be totally oblivious of the problems of the humble and modest employees and pass similar orders.
Holding a compassionate view for the constable, the Supreme Court also made provision for him, holding as under;
10. The appellant and his family have suffered tremendous mental agony and harassment caused to them on account of totally arbitrary orders mentioned above.
11. We also direct that the appellant be paid all the pensionary benefits which have become due and payable to him, with interest at the rate of 9% per annum, within two months from the date of communication of this order.
12. Consequently, these appeals are allowed. Respondent No.1, Union of India is directed to pay costs of Rs.50,000/- to the appellant within two months. 

No comments: