Like courts, administrative auth. can review its decisions: SC

Like courts, administrative auth. can review its decisions: SC

Administrative authorities, like judiciary which has the power to review its decisions, can also have a re-look and undo earlier "wrong and illegal" orders, the Supreme Court has ruled.

"If wrong and illegal acts, applying the ...parameters of judicial review can be set aside by the courts, obviously the same mischief can be undone by the administrative authorities themselves by reviewing such an order if found to be ultra vires.

"Of course, it is to be done after following the principles of natural justice," a bench comprising justices S J Mukhopadhaya and A K Sikri said, adding such reviews are permissible to rectify "irrational and unreasonable" decisions.

The court's observation came in the judgement by which it disposed of a batch of appeals of policemen filed against the common verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The High Court had upheld the decision of the DGP, Haryana, who reviewed the decisions of his predecessor to expunge adverse remarks from the Annual Confidential Reports of some policemen during the period of 1999-2002 that too after substantial lapse of time and without any "valid reasons".

The DGP had, on June 21, 2006, ordered "restoration or reconstruction" of earlier adverse remarks, which were expunged by his predecessor, by holding that the expunction was "wrongful".

Upholding the High Court decision, the bench, in its 37 page verdict, said "we are of the considered opinion that it was open to the respondents (state government officials) to take corrective measures by annulling the palpably illegal order of the earlier DGP, Haryana."

Dealing with the sequence of events in one of the appeals, it said the Superintendent of Police, Hissar, raised question on the integrity of a constable in his ACR for his conduct during 1989-1990. His plea for expunction was rejected by the superior authority in 1993.

The constable maintained "stoic silence" for almost nine years and then made another representation to the DGP who, in 2002, ordered expunction.

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