Friday, 14 April 2023

Supreme Court Directs all Courts and Tribunals to have uniform format, number paragraphs in Judgements and Orders


53. The Impugned Judgment annexed in the paperbook is

a certified copy obtained from the High Court.

However, it is not numbered paragraph-wise.

54. In Shakuntala Shukla v State of Uttar Pradesh,

2021 SCC OnLine SC 672, this Court had the occasion

to observe:

“35. … A judgement should be coherent, systematic and

logically organised …”.

55. Likewise, in State Bank of India v Ajay Kumar

Sood, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1067, this Court opined:

“21. It is also useful for all judgments to carry

paragraph numbers as it allows for ease of referenc e

and enhances the structure, improving the readability

and accessibility of the judgments . A Table of Contents

in a longer version assists access to the reader.”

(emphasis supplied)

56. It is desirable that all Courts and Tribunals, as

a matter of practice, number paragraphs in all Orders

and Judgments in seriatim, factoring in the judgments





CRIMINAL APPEAL No(s). 1890 OF 201 4



Dated: APRIL 13, 2023.

Heard learned counsel for the parties.

2. The present criminal appeal is directed against

the Final Judgment and Order dated 19.02.2010

(hereinafter referred to as the “Impugned Judgment”)

[2010 SCC OnLine P&H 2558] rendered by the High Court

of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh dismissing

Criminal Writ Petition No. 03 of 1997 (hereinafter

referred to as the “High Court”) preferred by the

appellant (original writ petitioner). Leave was

granted vide Order dated 29.08.2014.


3. The appellant joined the Indian Army on

09.02.1964. He was absorbed as an Assistant

Commandant in the Border Security Force (hereinafter

referred to as the “Force”) on 04.06.1969.

Thereafter, he was promoted to the post of Commandant

in the Force as well as granted selection grade in

the rank of Commandant. He was also awarded various

medals, including the Police Medal in 1994 by Hon’ble

the President of India for rendering about 30 years

of unblemished service. Later, he was transferred to

Punjab as Commandant of the 1956 Battalion (BN) (BSF)

with Headquarters at Mamdot, Punjab.

4. On 05.04.1995, the local police conducted a

search and a few Jerrycans of Acetic Anhydride, a

controlled substance under Section 9A of the Narcotic

Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

(hereinafter referred to as the “NDPS Act”), were

stated to be located in Pakistani territory and in

the fields owned by Indian civilians adjoining the


border, for which First Information Report No. 92

dated 05.04.1995 i.e., on the same day, was lodged in

Police Station Ferozepur, Punjab by the local police

naming two persons viz. Lakhwinder Singh and Surjit

Singh @ pahalwan as the accused showing them to be


5. On 07.04.1995, the appellant was directed to hand

over charge and move to the STC, the Force, Kharkan,

where he was placed under arrest. However, search of

the appellant’s house did not lead to any recovery of

any incriminating material(s).

6. On 09.04.1995, a one-man Staff Court of Inquiry

was ordered into the incident headed by one Mr. V.K.

Sharma. In the said Inquiry, Inspector Didar Singh,

who was in actual and physical command and control of

the area in the vicinity of which the alleged

Jerrycans were recovered, is said to have made a

statement that he was involved in the incident at the

behest of the appellant.

7. On the basis of the Inquiry Report, the appellant

was issued charge sheet dated 04.07.1995 under

Sections 40 & 46 of the Border Security Force Act,

1968 (hereinafter referred to as the “BSF Act”).

However, the charges, as laid aforesaid, were



8. Thereafter, the appellant superannuated on

31.08.1995 after rendering service in the Force for

31 years, 6 months and 22 days.

9. On 20.10.1995, a fresh charge sheet containing

three charges was served on the appellant. Two

charges were under Section 46 of the BSF Act for

Civil offence committed in contravention of Section

25 of the NDPS Act and one charge under Section 40 of

the BSF Act. Trial against the appellant commenced on

30.10.1995 by convening a General Security Force

Court (hereinafter referred to as the “GSFC”).

10. The appellant, invoking Article 226 of the

Constitution of India (hereinafter referred to as the

“Constitution”), filed Writ Petition No. 16008 of

1995 before the High Court, against the rejection of

his application questioning jurisdiction of the GSFC,

which was dismissed on 18.01.1996.

11. Meanwhile, one accused alleged smuggler in FIR

No. 92 dated 05.04.1995 (described supra), namely

Surjit Singh @ Pahalwan, moved the High Court, by way

of Criminal Miscellaneous No. 10562-M of 1996,

seeking quashing of the FIR against him. The ground

urged was that, on the date of alleged incident,

Surjit Singh @ Pahalwan was lodged in the Central

Jail, Amritsar and could not have been involved in


the crime. The said petition was allowed vide order

dated 01.11.1996.

12. On 10.04.1996, the GSFC gave its verdict, finding

the appellant not guilty of the first charge but

guilty of the second and third charges. It sentenced

him to 10 years’ Rigorous Imprisonment; imposed fine

of Rs. 1,00,000/-, and; dismissed him from service.

This was confirmed by the Confirming Officers.

13. Statutory petition against his conviction and

sentence was then filed by the appellant on

15.05.1996. As the same was not being decided by the

concerned authority, the appellant moved the High

Court vide Civil Writ Petition No. 13020 of 1996,

which was disposed of by order dated 28.08.1996,

directing the respondent-Authority to dispose of the

statutory petition within a period of two months.

14. Pursuant thereto, the respondent-Authority

rejected the appellant’s statutory petition on

02.11.1996. In this light, the appellant filed

Criminal Writ Petition No. 3 of 1997 before the High

Court for quashing his trial and the impugned order

therein, as also seeking directions to quash all

consequential orders and to release the pensionary

and other benefits to the appellant.


15. On 19.09.1997 [1997 SCC OnLine P&H 1176], the

appellant was granted bail by the High Court and he

remained on bail w.e.f., 19.09.1997 till 19.02.2010.

16. In the meantime, the other co-accused viz.

Lakhwinder Singh was discharged by the learned Trial

Court in the absence of any evidence.

17. The High Court dismissed Criminal Writ Petition

No. 3 of 1997 on 19.02.2010, which is the Impugned



18. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that

as far as Charge No.1 was concerned, i.e., of

knowingly having permitted Lakhwinder Singh, on the

intervening night of 9/10th March, 1995, to take out

30 Jerrycans of 40 litres each of Acetic Anhydride

from India to Pakistan through border fencing gate

No. 205 of BOP Barrake under his control, the same

was not proved against the appellant.

19. However, the learned counsel for the appellant

submitted that Charge No. 2, which was identical

though the date(s) were 4/5th April, 1995, of having

knowingly permitted the two smugglers to take out 44

Jerrycans of 40 litres each of Acetic Anhydride from

India to Pakistan from Border fencing gate No. 205 of

BOP Barake, under his control has been held to be


proved by the GSFC, is clearly unsustainable as one

accused Surjit Singh @ Pahalwan was given relief by

the High Court by quashing the FIR against him on the

ground that he was lodged in Central Jail, Amritsar

on the said date(s), and the other co-accused

Lakhwinder Singh was also discharged by the trial

court itself in the absence of any evidence. Thus,

according to learned counsel, two persons, stated to

have taken away the Jerrycans having themselves been

let off, the case against the appellant automatically

fails. As far as Charge No. 3, of knowingly acting

prejudicial to good order and discipline of the Force

during his tenure as Commandant at Mamdot between

November, 1994 and April, 1995 of the 67 Battalion of

the Force and having improperly influenced Subedar

Didar Singh of his unit to facilitate the alleged

smuggling of contraband goods from India, is clearly

not established for the reason that it was on the

statement of the said Didar Singh (who was his

subordinate and the actual in-charge of the area

where the said activity is alleged to have occurred)

has, clearly, made a statement to save himself from

the obvious and severe consequences, which would have

entailed. Learned counsel submitted that this may

even have been at the behest of the superior officers

of the appellant, inasmuch as there was genuine

apprehension of the same, for the appellant had

stoutly refused to oblige his Controlling Officer, on


an earlier occasion. It was contended that the trial

itself was a nullity as the BSF Act does not envisage

the GSFC trying offence(s) under the NDPS Act and it

also did not obtain the requisite sanction from the

Central Government for initiating trial against the

appellant as required under and in terms of Section

59(3) of the NDPS Act. It was further contended that

Rule 102 of the BSF Rules, 1969 (hereinafter referred

to as “the Rules”) provides that only one sentence

shall be awarded in respect of all the offences of

which the accused is found guilty. However, in the

present case three punishments were given, which

contravenes Rule 102 of the Rules read with Section

48 of the BSF Act.

20. It was the submission of learned counsel that the

sentence of dismissal from service is also illegal as

the appellant retired on 31.08.1995, even before the

issuance of the charge sheet in question and thus

there cannot be any sentence of dismissal from

service, which is made clear from Rule 166 of the

Rules, which stipulate that the sentence of

dismissal shall take effect from the date of

promulgation of such sentence or from any subsequent

date as may be specified at the time of promulgation,

which in the present case is much after the

superannuation of the appellant from service.

Likewise, it was contended that once the first charge

sheet dated 04.07.1995 was dropped, apparently for


insufficient evidence, the appellant was required to

be discharged under Rule 59(1)(i) of the Rules and

thus, the second charge sheet dated 20.10.1995 is

illegal more so since Chapter VIII of the Rules do

not contemplate the issuance of any second charge

sheet under the BSF Act and the Rules. It was

submitted that the Rules specifically provide for

amendment of the charge sheet i.e., addition,

omission or alteration in the charge by the GSFC;

whereas in the instant case, an entirely new charge

sheet had been issued by the Additional DIG which

tantamounted to, in effect, a second trial which is

prohibited under Section 75 of the BSF Act.

21. On the point of withholding the appellant's

pension, gratuity and other benefits, it was

submitted that having already superannuated on

31.08.1995, there was no authority vested in the

Force to withhold the same and due to such arrogant

and arbitrary action, the appellant, now aged about

82 years and having superannuated about almost 28

years back, is in a very poor financial condition and

is unable to sustain himself, having no means for his

daily needs and medical expenses.

22. Learned counsel submitted that neither the BSF

Act nor the Rules envision withholding pension,

gratuity, leave encashment and other dues/benefits of

any retiree, after retirement without there being a


specific order under Section 48(1)(k) & 48(1)(l) of

the BSF Act, which in the present case has

admittedly, not been passed. Even otherwise it was

contended that withholding pension is violative of

Rule 9 of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules,

1972 (hereinafter referred to as “the Pension Rules”)

which provide that only Hon’ble the President of

India can withhold pension of an employee.

23. In support of such contention, reliance was

placed on the decisions of this Court in State of

Jharkhand v Jitendra Kumar Srivastava, (2013) 12 SCC

210, the relevant being at Paragraph No. 16 holding

that a person cannot be deprived of his pension

without the authority of law, which is the

constitutional mandate enshrined in Article 300A of

the Constitution of India, and further, in Veena

Pandey v Union of India, (2022) 2 SCC 379, the

relevant being at Paragraph No. 10 where it was held

that pension is the deferred portion of compensation

for rendering long years of service and is a hardearned

benefit accruing to an employee and has been

held to be in the nature of property. We note that

the appellant had addressed representations to

different authorities seeking release of his dues or

a copy of the order by which the same have been

withheld, filed alongwith the application seeking


early hearing i.e. Crl. M.P. No. 74756/2021 at Pages


24. It was also submitted that as far as Acetic

Anhydride is concerned, it is neither a narcotic drug

nor a psychotropic substance, but only a controlled

substance under Section 9A of the NDPS Act,

punishable under Section 25A of the NDPS Act.

25. Summing up, it was submitted by learned counsel

for the appellant that there have also been

violations of other statutory provisions of the BSF

Act and the Rules and the principles of natural

justice were not conformed to during trial.


26. Per contra, learned senior counsel for the

respondents supported the Judgment under challenge.

It was submitted that there was no infirmity in the

appellant being tried separately as he was charged

under the NDPS Act and under Sections 40 & 46 of the

BSF Act read with Section 25 of the NDPS Act.

27. It was urged that Subedar Didar Singh was tried

and convicted by GSFC and sentence of forfeiture of

ten years of service for the purpose of pension and

severe reprimand were handed out; Sub. N. K. Satpal

was tried by GSFC and inflicted with reduction to the

rank of Lance Naik (L/NK), and Constable Keshav Singh


was tried by the GSFC and awarded sentence of

rigorous imprisonment for 45 days in force custody.

It was contended that the appellant cannot derive

benefit from the discharge of the two purported

smugglers as they were charged with the offence of

placing the contraband substance on the spot from

where it was recovered, while the appellant was

charged under Section 25 of the NDPS Act. It was

submitted that the contraband items could not have

been taken outside the area controlled by the Force,

which was under the overall control of the appellant,

to the Pakistani side without it having passed

through the gates which were manned by the personnel

of the Force. Further, it was submitted that Surjit

Singh @ Pahalwan was given relief by quashing the FIR

concerned, as he was able to establish his

incarceration in jail on the date of the incident.

28. Learned counsel submitted that as per the secret

information received by the appellant, the Jerrycans

of Acetic Anhydride were placed near the

international borders by the two smugglers with the

help of the officials of the Force and even if the

said two persons were the lead perpetrators, the role

of the appellant and other officers/personnel of the

Force, in aiding such movement was clearly

established. It was submitted that the appellant was

in overall command of the area and is, hence,

responsible for the incidents narrated hereinbefore.


29. On the question of pension, gratuity and other

retiral benefits being withheld, learned counsel for

the respondents submitted that the appellant had been

paid GPF and CGEIS. Further, it was stated at the Bar

that he had also been paid provisional pension under

Rule 69 of the Pension Rules, and only later on, the

same was stopped, taking recourse to Rule 24 of the

Pension Rules, as dismissal from service entails

forfeiture of past service.


30. Having perused the materials on record and

surveyed the relevant judicial pronouncements, upon

an overall examination, this Court is unable to

uphold the view taken by the learned Single Bench of

the High Court.

31. Procedural deficiencies in the process and/or

trial, canvassed by learned counsel for the

appellant, have purposely not been dealt with.

Expressing no opinion thereon, we leave those

question(s) of law open for adjudication in a more

appropriate case, as we are interfering on merits.

32. In Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for

the Civil Service, [1984] 3 WLR 1174 (HL), the House

of Lords, speaking through Lord Diplock, stated:


“… Judicial review has I think developed to a stage

today when, without reiterating any analysis of the

steps by which the development has come about, one can

conveniently classify under three heads the grounds on

which administrative action is subject to control by

judicial review. The first ground I would call

‘illegality’, the second ‘irrationality’ and the third

‘procedural impropriety’. That is not to say that

further development on a case by case basis may not in

course of time add further grounds. I have in mind

particularly the possible adoption in the future of the

principle of ‘proportionality’ which is recognised in

the administrative law of several of our fellow members

of the European Economic Community; …”

(emphasis supplied)

33. In Bhagat Ram v State of Himachal Pradesh, (1983)

2 SCC 442, it was opined:

“15. … It is equally true that the penalty imposed must

be commensurate with the gravity of the misconduct, and

that any penalty disproportionate to the gravity of the

misconduct would be violative of Article 14 of the

Constitution. … ”

(emphasis supplied)

34. In Ranjit Thakur v Union of India, (1987) 4 SCC

611, this Court, in the circumstances therein,

commented, at paragraph no. 27, that:

“… the punishment is so strikingly disproportionate as

to call for and justify interference. It cannot be

allowed to remain uncorrected in judicial review.”.

35. In Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure

Corporation Limited v S N Raj Kumar, (2018) 6 SCC

410, this Court exposited:


“20.… In the realm of Administrative Law

“proportionality” is a principle where the court is

concerned with the process, method or manner in which

the decision-maker has ordered his priorities and

reached a conclusion or arrived at a decision. The very

essence of decision-making consists in the attribution

of relative importance to the factors and

considerations in the case. The doctrine of

proportionality thus steps in focus true nature of

exercise — the elaboration of a rule of permissible

priorities [Union of India v. G. Ganayutham, (1997) 7

SCC 463: 1997 SCC (L&S) 1806]. De Smith [Judicial

Review of Administrative Action (1995), para 13.085,

pp. 601-605; see also, Wade: Administrative Law (2009),

pp. 157-158, 306-308.] also states that

“proportionality” involves “balancing test” and

“necessity test”. The “balancing test” permits scrutiny

of excessive onerous penalties or infringement of

rights or interests and a manifest imbalance of

relevant considerations.”

(emphasis supplied)

36. We are quite conscious that in the armed forces

of the Union, including the paramilitary forces,

utmost discipline, unity of command et al are the

sine qua non. That said, the doctrine of

proportionality still holds the field.

37. In the absence of direct and cogent evidence

against the appellant, even if the GSFC was convinced

of the appellant’s guilt, the punishment handed out

was too harsh, paying heed that the appellant would,

even then, be a first-time delinquent, and not a

habitual offender. Arguendo, that there be some

semblance of truth in the allegations, the punishment

meted out, in our considered view, was



38. Another factor which has nudged this Court to

introspect vis-à-vis proportionality herein, is that

the appellant has served the country for over 31 ½

years without blame or blemish, and has received

various awards, inter alia, including medal from

Hon’ble the President of India. The appellant’s track

record is otherwise unquestionable.

39. There is no quarrel with the propositions

enunciated in Jitendra Kumar Srivastava (supra) and

Veena Pandey (supra). The need to restate the settled

position of law in, inter alia, D S Nakara v Union of

India, (1983) 1 SCC 305; State of West Bengal v

Haresh C Banerjee, (2006) 7 SCC 651, and; Dr Hira Lal

v State of Bihar, (2020) 4 SCC 346, is obviated –

this Court has taken the consistent view that a

person cannot be deprived of pension dehors the

authority of law.

40. If things stood only thus, we may have considered

remanding the matter back to the GSFC. But, given the

long period of time elapsed, the age of the

appellant, and our finding below on the evidentiary

aspect, we refrain from adopting that course of


41. On the alleged criminality, the undisputed and

uncontroverted fact remains that the appellant was

commanding the Force operating over a large area,


including from where the Jerrycans allegedly moved

from the Indian side to the Pakistani side. However,

it is equally not in dispute that the actual manning

of the area is by the subordinate personnel of the

Force. In the present instance, the subordinate

personnel have been adjudged guilty, indicating their

active involvement. Being the persons on the spot, it

was their primary responsibility to ensure that no

crimes/offences/questionable incidents took place on

their watch. Moreover, there is no direct evidence

against the appellant.

42. Illustratively, it would not be out of place to

draw an analogy from a situation where a crime occurs

under the jurisdiction of the Superintendent of

Police and in the criminal proceedings emanating

therefrom, some police personnel are held guilty, and

thereafter, a criminal case as also departmental

proceedings, based on such acts of commissions or

omissions, is opened against the said Superintendent

of Police, on the premise that such incident

transpired under his overall watch and control. This

would be an extreme and absurd extension of the

principle of dereliction of duty and/or active

connivance, in the absence of overwhelming material

establishing guilt, or at the very least, negating

the probability of his innocence.


43. This Court would hasten to add that it should not

be construed that the appellant, being the

Commandant, had no responsibility/duty to prevent

such incident, but to stretch it to the extent to

label him an active partner and/or facilitator of

such crime is wholly unjustified, having regard to

the present factual matrix. Notably, solely on the

strength of the statement of Subedar Didar Singh –

who is said to have confessed to his involvement in

the incident but goes on to add that it was at the

behest of and upon the direction of the appellant –

the appellant was subjected to punishment.

44. In Mohd. Jamiludin Nasir v State of West Bengal,

(2014) 7 SCC 443, examining Sections 10 and 30 of the

Evidence Act, 1872, it was held:

“144. Going by the above provisions, the relevance,

efficacy and reliability of the confessional statement

of appellant Nasir when examined on the touchstone of

Sections 10 and 30 of the Evidence Act, it will have to

be stated that the confession of a co-accused cannot be

treated as substantive evidence to convict other than

the person who made the confession on the evidentiary

value of it. It is, however, well established and

reiterated in several decisions of this Court that

based on the consideration of other evidence on record

and if such evidence sufficiently supports the case of

the prosecution and if it requires further support, the

confession of a co-accused can be pressed into service

and reliance can be placed upon it. In other words if

there are sufficient materials to reasonably believe

that there was concert and connection between the

persons charged with the commission of an offence based

on a conspiracy, it is immaterial even if they were

strangers to each other and were ignorant of the actual

role played by them of such acts which they committed

by joint effort. Going by Section 30 of the Evidence


Act, when more than one person are being tried jointly

for the same offence and a confession made by one of

such persons is found to affect the maker as well as

the co-accused and it stands sufficiently proved, the

Court can take into consideration such confession as

against other persons and also against the person who

made such confession from the above proposition, we can

make reference to the decisions of this Court in

Natwarlal Sakarlal Mody v. State of Bombay [(1963) 65

Bom LR 660 (SC)] and Govt. (NCT of Delhi) v. Jaspal

Singh [(2003) 10 SCC 586 : 2004 SCC (Cri) 933].”

(emphasis supplied)

45. As emphasised hereinbefore, save and except

Subedar Didar Singh’s statement, roping in the

appellant, there is no material against him. Hence,

ceteris paribus, without other material(s)

incriminating the appellant or pointing to his guilt,

the statement of a single person alone, ought not to

have, in this instance, resulted in his conviction.

46. This Court is mindful that at the proximate time,

the search of the appellant’s house, did not result

in recovery of any incriminating documents/articles.

Such non-recovery would obviously enure to the

appellant’s benefit.

47. While declining to consider the plea raised of

insufficiency of evidence, the learned Single Bench,

at page 13 (of 19) of the Impugned Judgment, has



“The finding by a Security Force Court on the basis of

appreciation of evidence would be beyond the purview of

a writ Court as has been consistently held by various

Courts including the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”

48. The High Court ought to have been cognizant that,

considering the seriousness of the issue(s) raised,

it was not denuded of the power to sift through the

evidence, even in a criminal writ petition. This

Court in Nawab Shaqafath Ali Khan v Nawab Imdad Jah

Bahadur, (2009) 5 SCC 162, held:

“48. If the High Court had the jurisdiction to

entertain either an appeal or a revision application or

a writ petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the

Constitution of India, in a given case it, subject to

fulfilment of other conditions, could even convert a

revision application or a writ petition into an appeal

or vice versa in exercise of its inherent power.

Indisputably, however, for the said purpose, an

appropriate case for exercise of such jurisdiction must

be made out.”

(emphasis supplied)

49. In respectful agreement with the above statement

of law, we reiterate that High Courts, under Articles

226 and/or 227, are to exercise their discretion “…

solely by the dictates of judicial conscience

enriched by judicial experience and practical wisdom

of the judge.”, as highlighted in Surya Dev Rai v Ram

Chander Rai, (2003) 6 SCC 675. This guiding principle

still governs the field, and the 3-Judge Bench in

Radhey Shyam v Chhabi Nath, (2015) 5 SCC 423 had only


partly overruled Surya Dev Rai (supra) in terms


“29.1. Judicial orders of the civil court are not

amenable to writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the


29.2. Jurisdiction under Article 227 is distinct from

jurisdiction under Article 226.

29.3. Contrary view in Surya Dev Rai [Surya Dev Rai v.

Ram Chander Rai, (2003) 6 SCC 675] is overruled.”

50. Article 226 of the Constitution is a succour to

remedy injustice, and any limit on exercise of such

power, is only self-imposed. Gainful reference can be

made to, amongst others, A V Venkateswaran v Ramchand

Sobhraj Wadhwani, (1962) 1 SCR 573 and U P State

Sugar Corporation Ltd. v Kamal Swaroop Tandon, (2008)

2 SCC 41. The High Courts, under the Constitutional

scheme, are endowed with the ability to issue

prerogative writs to safeguard rights of citizens.

For exactly this reason, this Court has never laid

down any strait-jacket principles that can be said to

have “cribbed, cabined and confined” [to borrow the

term employed by the Hon. Bhagwati, J. (as he then

was) in E P Royappa v State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1974

SC 555] the extraordinary powers vested under

Articles 226 or 227 of the Constitution. Adjudged on

the anvil of Nawab Shaqafath Ali Khan (supra), this

was a fit case for the High Court to have examined


the matter threadbare, more so, when it did not

involve navigating a factual minefield.

51. For reasons aforenoted, this criminal appeal

succeeds and stands allowed. Consequently, (a) the

Impugned Judgement is quashed and set aside, and; (b)

the conviction and sentence awarded by the GSFC dated

10.04.1996 is also set aside. The appellant is held

entitled to full retiral benefits from the date of

his superannuation till date. All payments due to him

be processed and made within twelve weeks from today,

albeit after adjusting amount(s), if any, already


52. Costs made easy.


53. The Impugned Judgment annexed in the paperbook is

a certified copy obtained from the High Court.

However, it is not numbered paragraph-wise.

54. In Shakuntala Shukla v State of Uttar Pradesh,

2021 SCC OnLine SC 672, this Court had the occasion

to observe:

“35. … A judgement should be coherent, systematic and

logically organised …”.

55. Likewise, in State Bank of India v Ajay Kumar

Sood, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1067, this Court opined:


“21. It is also useful for all judgments to carry

paragraph numbers as it allows for ease of referenc e

and enhances the structure, improving the readability

and accessibility of the judgments . A Table of Contents

in a longer version assists access to the reader.”

(emphasis supplied)

56. It is desirable that all Courts and Tribunals, as

a matter of practice, number paragraphs in all Orders

and Judgments in seriatim, factoring in the judgments


57. The learned Secretary-General shall circulate

this judgement to the learned Registrars General of

all High Courts, to place the same before Hon’ble the

Chief Justices, to consider adoption of a uniform

format for Judgments and Orders, including

paragraphing. The learned Chief Justices may direct

the Courts and Tribunals subordinate to their High

Courts accordingly as well.






APRIL 13, 2023

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