Landmark Judgment: Setting Precedent for Contractual Compliance

In a groundbreaking ruling by the Supreme Court of India, a case centered on contractual compliance has set a precedent for future legal proceedings. The judgment sheds light on the necessity of abiding by agreements and fulfilling obligations within the stipulated timelines. This decision holds significant implications for parties involved in contractual disputes, resonating with the essence of justice and legal integrity.


  • Respondent filed a writ petition against the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal.
  • The High Court allowed the writ petition and set aside the Tribunal’s order in favor of the Respondent.
  • The Tribunal had earlier set aside the Memorandum and granted benefits to the Respondent.
  • The Tribunal held that the original application was filed within the period of limitation.
  • The Respondent provided reasons for the delay in filing the application, including a quashed FIR and continuing cause of action due to withheld benefits.
  • The appellant was convicted under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code for committing theft at a public place.
  • The appellant was removed from service with retrospective effect from 16.9.1993, the date of his conviction, pursuant to the second FIR.
  • The appellant was given an opportunity of hearing before the removal from service.
  • The concerned authority found the retention of the appellant in service to be undesirable.
  • The respondent claimed to have discovered the second FIR and the conviction of the appellant after about 7 years.
  • The removal from service was done through a memorandum dated 6.1.2000 issued under Rule 19(i) of the CCS (CCA) Rules.

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  • Learned counsel for the applicant argued that there is no provision in the law or rules to retrospectively remove the applicant from service based on his conviction in a criminal case in 1993.
  • The argument emphasized that the applicant cannot be removed from service with effect from 16.09.1993, the date of his conviction, by the competent authority’s order dated 06.01.2000.
  • The learned Tribunal set aside the order of removal
  • The order could not have been passed with retrospective effect from 16.9.1993

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  • The appellant filed an Original Application in 2013 challenging the Memorandum dated 6.1.2000, which removed him from service with retrospective effect from the date of his conviction.
  • Section 21 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, sets the period of limitation for filing an application in an Administrative Tribunal.
  • The appellant’s removal from service entailed the forfeiture of retiral benefits like pension, necessitating a challenge within the limitation period.
  • Successive representations do not save limitation, and delay in approaching the Tribunal may affect consequential claims for arrears.
  • The High Court emphasized that the law of limitation is based on public policy and should restrict relief to a period prior to the filing of the writ petition.
  • The order of termination triggers the cause of action, and any delay in challenging it may bar the claim.
  • An order of termination leading to forfeiture of pensionary benefits is not a continuing cause of action.
  • A delay in approaching the Tribunal for about thirteen years indicates the bar of limitation, affecting claims for arrears and other benefits.
  • Challenges related to seniority or promotion issues may be affected by delay, applying the doctrine of laches/limitation.
  • Public policy dictates that a person should not be allowed to agitate a claim after a long delay, especially if it affects settled rights of third parties.
  • Claims involving a continuing wrong may be entertained despite delay, as long as they do not unsettle matters settled or affect third parties.
  • An order under Rule 19(i) of CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965, based on a conviction in a criminal case, may not be justified if it does not fulfill the criteria of the Disciplinary Authority.
  • Delay in filing the Original Application beyond the limitation period requires sufficient cause to be shown, and multiple representations do not justify the delay.
  • The order of dismissal under Rule 19(i) was challenged after almost 13 years, indicating the issue of limitation.
  • The period of limitation under Section 21 of the Administrative Tribunals Act is crucial in determining the validity of the filing of applications.
  • An order of dismissal made in breach of mandatory rules is considered invalid and can be challenged at any time.
  • Challenges related to service claims due to a continuing wrong may be entertained despite delay, provided they do not disturb settled matters or third-party rights.
  • Applications can be entertained by the Tribunal if the grievance arose within three years preceding its jurisdiction date and no proceedings had been initiated in the High Court before that date.
  • Applications can also be admitted after one year if the applicant provides sufficient cause for the delay.
  • The Tribunal cannot admit an application if a final order has been made regarding the grievance unless it is filed within one year from the date of the final order.
  • In cases where an appeal or representation has been made and six months have passed without a final order, the application must be filed within one year from the expiry of the six months.
  • An order, even if not made in good faith, is still capable of legal consequences and remains effective until quashed through legal proceedings.
  • An order may be void for one purpose but valid for another, or void against one person but valid against another.
  • Relief for a service-related claim based on a continuing wrong can be granted even with a long delay in seeking remedy.
  • Orders such as removals that are void ab initio can be challenged at any time without the need for a court order to set them aside.
  • The limitation for challenging such orders is six years under Article 120 of the Limitation Act, 1908.
  • The court will invalidate an order only when the right remedy is sought by the right person in the right proceedings.
  • Discretionary relief in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India has no prescribed limitation period.
  • Delay in monetary claims is often refused by High Courts, especially in cases of arrears.
  • Belated service-related claims are typically rejected due to delay and laches or limitation.
  • Reopening issues that would affect settled rights of third parties will not be entertained, unless it doesn’t impact the rights of others.
  • The first FIR was quashed due to a settlement between the appellant and the Cooperative Society.
  • The quashing was based on a pecuniary compensation offered by the appellant for the losses caused.
  • The quashing was not due to the FIR being frivolous or lacking in substance.
  • The appellant committed theft while under suspension for misconduct related to the first FIR.
  • The appellant was convicted for theft of a bag containing money at a public place.
  • The argument of absolute penury leading to the offence was dismissed as the appellant received a subsistence allowance during suspension.
  • No sympathy for the appellant was deemed necessary by the court.
  • The High Court’s judgment and order were upheld, and the appeal was dismissed.

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  • RPC argued that the respondent’s actions were in violation of the agreement.
  • RPC emphasized that the respondent had failed to meet the deadline outlined in the contract.
  • RPC provided evidence to support their claim of the respondent’s breach of contract.
  • The court considered RPC’s arguments and evidence in reaching a decision.
  • Ultimately, the court ruled in favor of RPC and ordered the respondent to compensate for the damages incurred.


Case Number: C.A. No.-006640-006640 / 2019

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