Power of review could be exercised by the learned Tribunal on principles akin to Order 47 Rule 1 of C.P.C not just based on the revelation of fresh and relevant facts: Jharkhand High Court

The learned Tribunal might exercise its review power based on concepts similar to Order 47 Rule 1 of the C.P.C., not just based on the revelation of fresh and relevant facts that, despite exercising due diligence, was not beyond the applicant’s understanding or could not be provided by him at the time the decree was passed. The judgement was passed by the High Court of Jharkhand in the case of The Union of India vs Omprakash [W.P (S) No. 2574 of 2018] by Single Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh & Anubha Rawat Choudhary.

The facts of the case are the Applicant, an Assistant Loco Pilot was proceeded departmentally for major penalty under Rule 9 of Railway Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rule 1968, for the charge of delayed reporting of an accident that took place on an unmanned railway crossing between Kotshila and Jhalida station. . After a proper regular inquiry and second show-cause notice upon the applicant imposed a minor penalty of withholding of annual increment for three years with non-cumulative effect.

Learned counsel for the petitioner Railways contends that the penalty order was overturned solely because only the claimant was picked out for prosecution, even though liability was shared and cumulative with the Loco Pilot and the Guard. The learned CAT noted that the Disciplinary Authority, Appellate Authority, and Revisional Authority have not given any clear explanation why Assistant Loco Pilot was found guilty, while Guard and Loco Pilot, who were both on service, have been excluded.

Learned counsel for the respondent submits that the learned Tribunal not only found the plea of parity of care but also considered the materials recorded during the investigation proceedings. It also noted that “in the presence of the Guard and Station Master at 2.10 hours, the claimant promptly notified the Loco Pilot of the incident.” There was no hesitation on his side.

The Respondent Railways refused to uphold the petition of investigation as these details were beyond the Railways’ understanding and, as such, had not been found until passing the order in O.A. Review application was thus correctly rejected.

Relying on the Hon’ble supreme court judgment Gopabandhu Biswal Versus Krishna Chandra Mohanty and others, it was held that, “Power of review could be exercised by the learned Tribunal on principles akin to Order 47 Rule 1 of C.P.C not only on the ground of discovery of new and important matter of evidence which, after exercise of due diligence, was not within the knowledge of the applicant or could not be produced by him at the time when the decree was passed, or on account of some mistake or error apparent on the face of the record, but also for any other sufficient reason.”

While allowing the application the finds that “the order of learned Tribunal passed in the O.A. suffers from an error of finding of fact, on account of erroneous inference drawn by the learned Tribunal on its own, dehors any pleadings on record. If the Railways in the Review Petition duly brought it to the notice of the learned Tribunal that there was no disparity in treatment vis-àvis the applicant and Loco Pilot and Guard, learned Tribunal ought to have corrected such an error which formed the very basis of setting aside the order of penalty.”

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