Leave rules for the Judicial Officers of the Criminal Courts in West Bengal

Rules 489 to 497 of Criminal Rules and Orders

West Bengal Service Rule Part -1 Chapter 15

Bengal Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 1975

The West Bengal Services (Duties, Rights and Obligations of the Government Employees) Rules, 1980

The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947

  •  Casual Leave- 15 days in a Calendar Year
  • Maximum permissible period for absence- 5 years 

Supervision and Control by High Court

Control of the High Court over the members of the subordinate judiciary in the State, is a complete and exclusive control and it is the High Court and no other authority which can exercise such control over the members of the subordinate judiciary of the State. The Supreme Court in the case of the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh and Anr. v. L.V.A. Dikshitulu and Ors. (A.I.R. 1979 S.C. 198) has clearly indicated that the control over the subordinate judiciary vested in the High Court under Article 235 is exclusive in nature, comprehensive in extent and effective in operation and it comprehends wide variety of matters. In our view, the contention of the appellant that although under the first limb of Article 235 of the Constitution, exclusive control over the members of the Judicial Service of the State has been vested in the High Court, such control cannot be exercised unless statutory rules governing the conditions of service or in the absence of such statutory rules, executive instructions are issued by the State Government, cannot be accepted. It will be an incorrect reading of Article 235 of the Constitution, if it is contended that the exercise of control can only be made by the High Court on the basis of service regulation framed by the appropriate authority and or the executive instructions issued by the State Government. It appears to us that the second limb of Article 235 of the Constitution only limits the exercise of control by the High Court under the first limb of Article 235 and the said second limb only envisages that if there is any service regulation, the exercise of control by the High Court will be made in accordance with such service conditions. The exercise of control under Article 235 of the Constitution does not become inoperative or inchoate in the absence of framing of any service regulation and/or issuing any exclusive instructions by the State Government. The Supreme in the case of State of West Bengal v. N. N. Bagchi has considered the scope of Article 235 of the. Constitution of India and has held that the expression ‘control’ as used under Article 235 includes disciplinary control. Similar view has been expressed by the Supreme Court in the case of Baroda Kanta Mishra v. Registrar, Orissa High Court and Anr. and in the case of or State of Haryana v. Indar Prakash Anand and Ors. . It is quite apparent that the High Court in discharging its duties and function as a Controlling Authority of the members of the Judicial Service of the State has power to initiate disciplinary proceeding and make enquiries against the Judicial Officers in furtherence of the administration of justice. The decision made in the case of Glaxo Laboratories (I) Ltd. and the decision made in Rasiklal Bhagagi’s case since relied on by the appellant have no manner of application in the facts and circumstances of the instant case. In the said decisions, the Supreme Court has held that when ‘misconduct’ has been defined in the relevant standing order, a charge of misconduct must be confined to such defined or enumerated misconduct. It may be noted in this connection that no service regulation has been framed by the appropriate authority regarding the conditions of service of the members of the Judicial Service of the State of West Bengal but the members of the Judicial Service of the State are being controlled all along by the High Court and disciplinary proceedings had been and are being initiated from time to time. Although the West Bengal Government Servant’s Conduct Rules, 1959 do not apply in terms to the members of the Judicial Service, but the broad principles of such Conduct Rules applicable to Government employees in general may be followed. In our view, it is not necessary to go into the question as to whether or not the West Bengal Duties and Rights Rules and the (provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act apply to the members of the Judicial Service for the purpose of disposing of the contentions raised in the instant appeal. It appears to us that charges are not at all vague and the said charges also do not depict that the charging authority has finally framed its mind and is proceeding with bias and or closed mind against the delinquent Officer. It will appear from charge No. 2 that the delinquent Officer held out threats and hurled abuses to the Officer-in-charge and other Police Officers of the Bhowanipur Police Station in inducing, coercing and/or intimidating them to release the seized movables in favour of one Sm. Bimala Ghosh. It does not appear to us that no such allegations, a disciplinary proceeding cannot be initiated against the delinquent Officer simply because ‘misconduct’ on the part of the Judicial Officer has not been defined. It also does not appear to us that the charges have been framed against the appellant on grounds inconsistent with accepted notion of good or proper conduct of a public servant and as such it can be reasonably contended that an arbitrary action has been taken against the delinquent Officer by initiating a disciplinary proceeding merely on subjective evaluation of a standard relating to the conduct of the appellant although such standard is not commonly accepted. Accordingly, in the facts of the case, the allegation of an arbitrary action on the part of the disciplinary authority in initiating the disciplinary proceeding is not tenable. In our view, the learned Trial Judge has rightly noted that the delinquent Officer has been served with the charge-sheet containing the charges and imputations made in support of such charges. The documents intended to be relied upon in the disciplinary proceeding have also been indicated and inspection of such documents have also been given to the delinquent Officer. Hence, all reasonable opportunities to defend the charges levelled against the delinquent Officer have been given. In the circumstances, there is no occasion at this stage to quash the disciplinary proceeding either on the ground of inherent lack of jurisdiction of the High Court to initiate such proceeding or on the ground of arbitrary or untenable charges levelled against the appellant. If the contention of the appellant that in the absence of any service regulation or executive instructions issued by the State Government, the High Court cannot exercise any control over the members of the Judicial Service of the State is accepted, it will only mean that the members of the Judicial Service of the State of West Bengal are at present fully immuned against any administrative control because under Article 235 of the Constitution the High Court and no other authority can exercise control and the High Court for want of service regulations are also incompetent to exercise such control. Such contention is not only untenable and opposed to the provisions of Article 235 of the Constitution but will lead to an absurdity.[Amar Nath Saha And A.N. Saha vs High Court And 4 Ors.  (1987)1 Cal HN 193. 91 CWN 912]

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Study material relating to court management and disciplinary procedings by Honble Justice R.K. Bag

West Bengal Service Rule, Note, Vol-I


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