New Delhi: The Central Administrative
Tribunal has held that authorities are free to determine the
quantum of penalty to be imposed on delinquent employees and
the courts should not ordinarily interfere unless it shocks
the judicial conscience.
"The law is well settled that it is the authorities
(disciplinary) who are the best judge about the quantum of
penalty to be imposed on a delinquent officer unless the
penalty shocks the judicial conscience," the Tribunal bench
comprising members A K Mishra and Meera Chhibber said.
The Tribunal passed the order on an application filed by
Rajiv Saxena, an Assistant Enforcement Officer in the
Directorate of Enforcement challenging the punishment of
reducing his salary even after revocation of his suspension
Saxena was accused of demanding bribe from the director
of a company against whom he was assigned to hold inquiry.
He challenged the order of the Directorate of
Enforcement, the disciplinary authority, imposing the penalty
of reduction of his pay by two stages for a period of three
years from the date of revocation of his suspension order.
He contended that the penalty imposed was harsh and
patently disproportionate to the charges levelled against him,
besides being based on insufficient evidence.
The Authority sought to negate the contentions of Saxena
by arguing that the orders were passed after thorough enquiry
and after taking into account the relevant evidences.
The Tribunal, while rejecting the plea of Saxena, said,
"The scope of judicial review of disciplinary proceedings
against a government employee is limited."