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Kamal Varinder vs State Of Punjab And Ors on 26 October, 2018

CWP No.8250 of 2010 (OM) -1-

683-2
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT
CHANDIGARH

CWP No.8250 of 2010 (OM)
Date of decision: October 26, 2018
Kamal Varinder
……Petitioner
Versus
State of Punjab and others
….Respondents

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE A.B. CHAUDHARI
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE KULDIP SINGH

Present: Mr. Akshay Bhan, Senior Advocate with
Mr. Gurinder Singh, Advocate for the petitioner.

Mr. Gaurav Chopra, Advocate for respondent No.3.

Ms. Anju Arora, Additional AG Punjab.

****

A.B. CHAUDHARI, J

The present petitioner-Ms. Kamal Varinder has put to

challenge the order dated 17.12.2009 (Annexure P-4) whereby her

services as a member of PCS (Judicial Branch)/JM, Phagwara have been

dispensed with and has prayed for reinstatement with all consequential

benefits.

FACTS

2. The petitioner was appointed on 26.10.2006 (Annexure P-1)

and joined her services as a Civil Judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate, on

08.12.2006 pursuant to the said appointment order. After mandatory

training, she was granted B+ final grade and she started performing her

duties in various district courts, namely Ropar and Phagwara. There was

no complaint against her about her work and duties.

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3. On 03.12.2009, when the petitioner was working as a Civil

Judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate, an explanation was sought from her by

respondent No.3 that a complaint was made by Navpreet Sandhu, wife of

Anantdeep Singh against the petitioner that she was trying to interfere

with the matrimonial life of Navpreet Sandhu and Anantdeep Singh and

that she had illicit relationship with Anantdeep Singh. Suddenly, on

07.12.2009 (Annexure P-1B), the petitioner’s work was withdrawn. The

petitioner was shocked and as such made representation on 14.12.2009 to

the High Court in which she stated that false and frivolous allegations

were leveled against her by Navpreet Sandhu when she had nothing to do

with their matrimonial dispute. The petitioner was unnecessarily roped in

and made to suffer on account of alleged matrimonial dispute between

Navpreet Sandhu and Anantdeep Singh in the absence of any specific

allegations and on her bald statement. Not only that, it came to her notice

that Navpreet Sandhu and Anantdeep Singh had resolved their

matrimonial dispute by withdrawing all the proceedings and complaints

and so also the divorce petition. But the petitioner was made scapegoat for

no reasons. On 24.12.2009, the petitioner was served with the order dated

17.12.2009 dispensing with her services with immediate effect on the

ground that she had failed to clear her probation period satisfactorily. The

petitioner’s performance and work was very good and with utmost

integrity and honesty. That was clear from the fact that her ACR for the

year 2008-2009 was B+ good so also the quality of the judgments and the

work. The petitioner decided large number of cases and there was no

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reason for dispensing with her services on such a hoax. There is no male

member in her family since her father and younger brother had already

expired and she has ten years old daughter and has to look after her

mother suffering from cancer.

ARGUMENTS

4. In support of the petition, learned Senior counsel for the

petitioner vehemently argued that in fact, the petitioner-Kamal Varinder

was the victim of the dispute between the other male judicial officer

Anantdeep Singh and his wife, which was their matrimonial dispute which

eventually they had resolved also. But then fact remains that their dispute

affected the petitioner in that her services were dispensed with on

fabricated ground and false allegations that she had illicit relationship with

Anantdeep Singh. Apart from the fact that petitioner had denied the vague

allegations, there was no even remote evidence. Learned Senior counsel

for the petitioner then submitted that the material before the committee did

not at all show anything against the petitioner about her alleged illicit

relationship. The petitioner was working under the District Judge,

Kapurthala and admittedly, no report from the District Judge, Kapurthala

about her work and conduct or the said aspect was ever called or seen. No

explanation from the petitioner was sought in the matter regarding the

dispute between third party Anantdeep Singh and his wife. Learned Senior

counsel, therefore, submitted that there is miscarriage of justice caused to

the petitioner for no reasons. Anantdeep Singh might have been

discharged from service for whatever reasons seen by the High Court, but

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in so far as the present petitioner is concerned, there was no iota of even

the basic evidence or allegation anywhere. Hence, the petition deserves to

be allowed.

5. Per contra, learned counsel for the respondents submitted that

the review committee took a conscious decision having found that the

petitioner and Anantdeep Singh’s conduct was unbecoming of judicial

officer. Not only that, this Court has now dismissed the petition of

Anantdeep Singh having found his conduct to be unbecoming, vide CWP

No.9003 of 2010, decided on 25.10.2018. Hence, they prayed for

dismissal of the writ petition.

CONSIDERATION

6. We have heard learned counsel for the rival parties at length.

We have perused the original record of the High Court produced in a

sealed cover. At the outset, we find that the case of the present petitioner-

Kamal Varinder was dealt along with the case of Anantdeep Singh and

due to the same, there was obvious conundrum and the petitioner became

scapegoat for no fault of her. In order to buttress the above statement, we

proceed to give our reasons.

7. The proceedings started because Anantdeep Singh, the

petitioner in CWP No.9003 of 2010 working under the District and

Sessions Judge, Faridkot was found to have misconducted as stated in two

reports sent by the District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot, the one dated

20.05.2009 and the other dated 02.12.2009. The District and Sessions

Judge, Faridkot had stated that mother-in-law as well as the wife of

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Anantdeep Singh had made allegations that Anantdeep Singh had extra-

marital affair with a lady judicial officer of Punjab. But, the name of the

petitioner was never mentioned anywhere. Then the District and Sessions

Judge, Faridkot recorded the statement of Navpreet Sandhu, the wife of

Anantdeep Singh. The substance of her statement in the letter dated

02.12.2009 of the District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot, reads thus:-

“………Today I have recorded the statement of Smt. Navpreet
Sandhu wife of Mr. Anantdeep Singh (original statement is
enclosed) in which she has deposed these facts in detail. She
has stated that on 23rd November, 2008, she came from
Patiala from her in laws house to reside at Moga. On that day
Mr. Anantdeep Singh gave beating and asked her why she had
come here and told her to leave. On 24th November at 11 A.M.
she received a telephone from Kamal Varinder Judicial
Officer posted at Phagwara who also gave threats to her why
she was in her (Kamal Varinder) house and what she was
doing in her (Kamal Varinder) bed room. She also told that
servant Harish and other persons told her that Kamal
Varinder used to visit Moga and stay with Mr. Anantdeep
Singh………….”

8. The above statement of Navpreet Sandhu shows her

perception about the present petitioner-Kamal Varinder. We have seen her

statement (Annexure P-31 in CWP No.9003 of 2010). Qua, this petitioner,

she stated:-

“I received a telephonic call from Kamal Varinder as to what I
was doing at her house and bed room. Harish and my
neighbourers (none examined) told me that Kamal Varinder
used to come here and stay with the judge.

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Anantdeep and Kamal Varinder have illicit relations and
therefore he used to give beating and harass me.”

At the outset, we are at a loss to find even remote evidence

about any illicit relationship from the above except use of the word “illicit

relations”. That apart, her mere statement/perception like a gospel truth

could not be acted upon to throw the petitioner out of service. That was

totally unjust. The District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot also casually, in

last paragraph of said report, stated thus:-

“………The statement of Smt. Navpreet Sandhu clearly shows
that Mr. Anantdeep Singh has illicit relations with Ms. Kamal
Varinder Judicial Officer posted at Phagwara and due to
which he used to harass his wife Smt. Navpreet Sandhu. She
has also specifically stated that she used to receive phone
from Kamal Varinder asking her what she was doing in her
bed room which also shows their relations………….”

9. In other words, it was only the statement of Navpreet Sandhu,

the wife of Anantdeep Singh, who had made the said allegations. Perusal

of the statement of Navpreet Sandhu and the report of the District and

Sessions Judge, Faridkot nowhere shows a single specific instance or

evidence or even the remote evidence to support her allegation of illicit

relationship of the petitioner with Anantdeep Singh. The District and

Sessions Judge, Faridkot also, in concluding paragraph of the said report,

stated that because Navpreet Sandhu stated so, therefore, there was

indication of illicit relationships. We cannot countenance such a fanciful

and baseless conclusion by the District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot, on

the bald statement made by Navpreet Sandhu, all the more so as the

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petitioner was not working under him.

10. That apart, it is then significant to note that the present

petitioner-Kamal Varinder was never working under the District and

Sessions Judge, Faridkot nor he had any occasion to verify anything from

her. On what basis, he could draw such a damaging conclusion! To put in

other words, the District and Sessions Judge, Kapurthala under whom the

petitioner was working was never called upon to give any report about

her. The petitioner-Kamal Varinder was not working at the relevant time

under the District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot. We, therefore, do not

think that the District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot was competent to

make any adverse comment about the present petitioner, who was not

working under him. Even otherwise, before drawing any conclusion, it

was necessary for the High Court to have obtained report from the District

and Sessions Judge, Kapurthala under whom the present petitioner was

working. That was never done. However, reports from the District and

Sessions Judge, Faridkot were placed before the committee and thereafter,

further proceedings were undertaken. It is then significant to note that the

statement of the petitioner-Kamal Varinder was recorded by the District

and Sessions Judge, Kapurthala. We quote the said statement as under:-

(extracts from Annexure P-32 with CWP No.9033 of 2010)
“Statement of Miss Kamal Varinder, Civil Judge (Junior
Division) Phagwara, District Kapurthala age 35 years on S.A.

(The statement dated 2.12.2009 of Smt. Navpreet
Sandhu has been brought to the notice of Miss Kamal

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Varinder. She has been confronted with the entire statement.
After that her statement has been recorded).
On S.A.

The allegations levelled against me by Navpreet Sandhu
are totally wrong and false as I never called her up to
threaten her in any way or manner, nor, even I know her
telephone number. I also do not know the address of Sh.
Anantdeep Singh C.J. (J.D.), so, I have never visited him and
stayed in his residence.

I had never any such type of conversation with
Anantdeep that I shall involve him in a rape case.

The only reason of her filing false complaints against
me is to tarnish my reputation, as, four five months back she
had threatened me on the phone that she will not let me
remain in the job and shall throw me out of the job by
levelling one or the other charge.

No doubt myself and Sh. Anantdeep Singh are very good
friends but she has not the patient to tolerate our friendship.

R.O.A.C.

Sd/- Kamal Varinder Sd/- M.S. Virdi
Distt. Judge, Kapurthala
2.12.2009″

11. It is clear from the above statement of Kamal Varinder that she

had stoutly denied the vague allegations made by Navpreet Sandhu, the

wife of Anantdeep Singh. We do not find any reason to ignore her specific

denial as stated above. It was dangerous to rely on vague statement of

Navpreet Sandhu, which was in the nature of damaging the character of

the present petitioner so also her career in judiciary for no fault of her and

merely because somebody made vague and unsubstantiated allegations

about alleged illicit relationship.

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12. Apart from the above, we then find from the proceedings of

the committee about the work and conduct of the probationers. We quote

the same, which reads thus:-

(extracts from Annexure P-29 with CWP No.9033 of 2010)

“Re: Review of work and conduct of probationers of PCS (JB)
Officers and their clearance of probation period.

In continuation of proceedings dated 1.12.2009, the
Committee perused report of District Sessions Judge,
Faridkot dated 2.12.2009 and statement of Mrs. Kamal
Varinder, Civil Judge (Jr. Divin) Phagwara dated 2.12.2009
forwarded by District Sessions Judge, Kapurthala. Hon’ble
Mr. Justice Rajesh Bindal did not participate in proceedings
on the issue of Shri Anantdeep Singh and Ms. Kamal Varinder
as he had dealt with the matter on administrative side.

From the report of the District Sessions Judge,
Faridkot dated 2.12.2009, the lady Judicial Officer not named
but referred to in the earlier report of District Sessions
Judge, Faridkot dated 20.05.2009 has been identified to be
Ms. Kamal Varinder.

Having regard to the reports of District Sessions
Judge, Faridkot dated 20.5.2009 and 2.12.2009 and
observations of Hon’ble Mr. Justice T.P.S. Mann dated
1.12.2009, the Committee is of the view that Shri Anantdeep
Singh and Ms. Kamal Varinder are not fit to be retained in
service. Their services be terminated by order of termination
simpliciter in accordance with the rules.”

13. Perusal of the above report, in so far as the present petitioner-

Kamal Varinder is concerned, only stated that the petitioner’s statement

was recorded on 02.12.2009 forwarded by the District and Sessions Judge,

Kapurthala. But there is nothing whether the same was acceptable or not.

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In second paragraph of the minutes of the meeting, it is stated that the

District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot identified the petitioner as the lady

judicial officer. As already stated, the petitioner was never working under

the District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot. Similar is the case with the last

paragraph of the minutes of the committee, where it is abruptly decided

that the petitioner is not fit to be retained in service along with Anantdeep

Singh.

14. To sum up, the services of the petitioner were dispensed with

merely because committee decided to dispense with the services of

Anantdeep Singh for his conduct during his probation period. Similarly is

the case with Full Court, which decided to dispense with the services of

the petitioner-Kamal Varinder. The relevant portion reads as under:-

(extracts from Annexure P-30 with CWP No.9033 of 2010)
“Extract from the proceedings of the 17th Full Court meeting
of Hon’ble Judges of the year 200, held on Monday, the 7th day
of December, 2009 at 1.20 P.M.

xxx xxxx xxx xxxx
The matter regarding report dated 4.12.2009 of
Review of Work and Conduct of Probationer Judicial Officers
Committee comprising of Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.K. Goel and
Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.C. Puri in the matter regarding review
of work and conduct of probationer of PCS (JB) officers and
their clearance of probation period was considered along
with the note of Registrar general and it was resolved that the
report of the Hon’ble Committee be accepted to the extent that
the services of Shri Anantdeep Singh and Ms. Kamal
Varinder, members of PCS (JB) be terminated by order of
termination simpliciter while consideration of the report
regarding the confirmation of the remaining officers be

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deferred. It was further resolved that recommendation be
made to the Punjab Government to dispense with the services
of Shri Anantdeep Singh and Ms. Kamal Varinder members of
PCS (JB) with immediate effect as they have failed to
satisfactorily clear the period of probation.

It was also resolved that work of Shri Anantdeep Singh
and Ms. Kamal Varinder be withdrawn forthwith.

(Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rajesh Bindal did not participate
when this item was taken up) ………………”

15. In so far as Anantdeep Singh is concerned, we have dismissed

the writ petition filed by Anantdeep Singh by making independent

assessment of evidence against him.

16. In so far as the present petitioner-Kamal Varinder is

concerned, by making independent assessment about her, it is clear that

the review committee as well as Full Court went by the decision in respect

of Anantdeep Singh and roped in the petitioner Kamal Varinder without

any rhyme or reason and without considering that she had nothing to do

with Anantdeep Singh, whose petition we have already dismissed. It is

significant to note that Anantdeep Singh and his wife withdrew all their

disputes and divorce petition from the Court on 10.12.2009, but then the

petitioner remained a scapegoat. This Court cannot allow such a mistake

to perpetrate and therefore, her petition must be allowed. In the result, we

make the following order:-

ORDER

(i) CWP No.8250 of 2010 is allowed;

(ii) The impugned order dated 17.12.2009 (Annexure P-4)
dispensing with services of the petitioner-Kamal Varinder is

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quashed and set aside;

(iii) The petitioner shall be entitled to continuity in service for the
purpose of seniority, service benefits etc.;

(iv) The prayer for grant of backwages from the date of dispensing
with services is declined;

(v) Costs made easy.

(A.B. CHAUDHARI)
JUDGE

(KULDIP SINGH)
JUDGE
October 26, 2018
mahavir

Whether speaking/ reasoned: Yes

Whether Reportable: Yes

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