Govt can`t be selective in placing materials before court: Delhi HC
The government is not allowed to place only records favourable to its case and is bound to produce all material, including those that go against it, before the court for adjudication of a matter, the Delhi High Court has said.
New Delhi: The government is not allowed to
place only records favourable to its case and is bound to
produce all material, including those that go against it,
before the court for adjudication of a matter, the Delhi High
Court has said.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said government cannot claim
the same discretion as that of a private party in bringing the
material selectively before the court.
The court passed the order while granting relief to a
former engineer of ONGC whose service was terminated following
his unauthorised absence from duty for 387 days.
"The state and other authorities are bound to produce
the complete records relating to the case. The government and
the governmental authorities do not enjoy the same amount of
discretion as that of a private party even in the matter of
conduct of litigation," the court said.
The court disapproved of the conduct of the counsel for
ONGC for its deliberate omission in not citing cases which
directly dealt with the matter before the court for
"ONGC is expected to be fair and to place all the
relevant material in its knowledge before the court to enable
the court to come to a right conclusion. The burden in this
regard is more on public sector undertaking," it said.
The public enterprise had terminated the service of
engineer Anil Chuttani in 1995 for his unauthorised absence
from duty, following which he had made a representation to the
company which rejected it.
Considering the nature of the job and that 15 years had
elapsed since Anil`s job was terminated, the court did not
find it appropriate for directing his reinstatement and
ordered a compensation of Rs five lakh.
The court rejected the contention of ONGC that the
service rules permitted it to deem the employee to have
resigned under such circumstances, saying unless determination
was carried out by the authorities with reason in this regard,
it has no power to do so under the rules.
ONGC was not only bound to give proper hearing but also
under obligation to deal with representations and to give
reasons for the decision, the court said while rejecting plea
of the PSU that it followed the procedure by publishing a
notice in newspapers.
"The principle requiring reasons to be given in support
of an order is a basic principle of natural justice and it
must be observed in its proper spirit and mere pretence of
compliance with it would not satisfy the requirement of law,"
the court said.