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Amar Nath Chowdhury vs Braithwaite And Company Ltd.

& Ors
Amar Nath Chowdhury .Appellant
Braithwaite and Company Ltd. & Ors. .Respondents

Facts of the Case:

The appellant, Amar Nath was the employee of Braithwaite & Co, a Government of
India undertaking. He was dismissed from service, through an order of dismissal
passed by the Chairman-cum-Managing Director (MD) of the Company, who was the
Disciplinary Authority. Under the regulations of Company, an appeal against an
order of Disciplinary Authority, lies with the Board of Directors (BOD) of company.
Amar Nath Chowdhury preferred an appeal before Board. The MD participated in
deliberation of Board and appeal was dismissed by non-speaking order.
Amar Nath (Appellant) filed a writ petition, before Calcutta High Court, under Article
226 of Constitution of India.
Legal Issues:
1) Whether the proceedings of the Board was vitiated on account of
participation of Disciplinary Authority while deciding the appeal preferred by
the appellant?
2) Whether an authority can sit in appeal against its own order passed in
capacity of Disciplinary Authority?
Contentions by Appellant (Amar Nath Chowdhury)
1. The Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Braithwaite and Company, was
disqualified to have presided over and participated in the deliberation of the
meeting of Board, which heard and dismissed appeal.
2. The order of Appellant authority was vitiated on account of legal bias.
3. When an authority has earlier decided and prejudged the matter, he is
disqualified to sit in appeal against his own decision, as such as appeal would
be an appeal from Caesar to Caesar and filling of an appeal would be an
exercise in futility.
Contentions by Respondent (Braithwaite & Co)
1. The Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Braithwaite and Company, had
presided over and participated due to Doctrine of necessity.
2. The Rule against Biasness is not available, when under the regulations
framed by the Company, the Disciplinary Authority, who happens to be
Chairman-cum-Managing Director was required to preside over the meeting
of Board.
Decision of High Court (Single Judge)
The Court set aside the order of removal passed against the appellant.

Decision of High Court (Division Bench)

1. The order and judgment of learned single judge was erroneous.
2. The order passed by single judge was set aside and the writ petition was
Decision of Supreme Court
1. Held that the order of Board was liable to be set aside on ground of biasness.
2. Held further that the Doctrine of necessity did not save the order passed by
the Board, as Board can include any officer of Company by excluding
Chairman and delegating any of its power.
3. The contention that rule against biasness is not available in present case in
view of Doctrine of necessity is incorrect and reliance on Doctrine of
necessity is totally misplaced.
4. Held that the matter is sent back to Appellate Authority to decide by a
speaking order in accordance with law.
5. The Company shall not take any step to realise the amount paid to Appellant,
Amar Nath, on his superannuation till the matter is decided.