Kallat Vs. The Union of India & Ors  INSC 236
(26 April 1995)
R.M. (J) Sahai, R.M. (J) Manohar Sujata V. (J)
1996 AIR 640 1995 SCC (4) 207 JT 1995 (6) 215 1995 SCALE (3)672
O R D
appeal directed against the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal does
not raise any intricate question of law but it exposes very disturbing feature
as the Tribunal not only commented upon the judgements rendered by the Kerala
High Court in favour of the appellant which had been affirmed by this Court,
but went on to hold that they had no binding effect as they appeared to be
inconsistent with the Rules. This was against judicial comity and propriety. We
do not approve of it.
appellant who was appointed as a Ticket Collector in 1950 was promoted as Travelling
Ticket Examiner in 1951.
went on deputation as Railway Sectional Officer (RSO) in 1960. There he
continued for nearly 12 years. He was reverted to the parent department on
2.2.73. It was challenged by way of two writ petitions. The petitions were
allowed by the learned Single Judge. It was held that the appointment of
appellant as Railway Sectional Officer was based on selection. The Court
further held that the post was permanent and the claim of the Railways that it
was a tenure post was not correct. This order was affirmed in appeal by the
Division Bench and even the SLP filed in this Court was dismissed. Since the
order was not implemented, the appellant approached the High Court, once again,
and the Railways were directed to dispose of the representation within two
months. But the order was not complied. The appellant approached the High Court
for third time. He was called for selection to Class II post. The High Court
allowed the writ petition and held that in Class II post his seniority was to
be reckoned from 1963. This order was challenged by the Railways before the
Division Bench. The appeal was dismissed. The SLP filed by the Railways was
also dismissed. In 1983 the Railways fixed the seniority of the appellant in
Class II from 1963.
came to an end the first phase of liltigation. Now started the second phase.
One S.Ramakrishnan (Respondent No.6) who was direct recruit and was not
affected by fixation of appellant's seniority filed writ petition in the High
Court. It was subsequently transferred to Central Administrative Tribunal.
During hearing it transpired that he was not aggrieved person and then another
direct appointee S. Chakradhara Rao (Respondent No.5) filed claim petition
which was heard along with earlier petition and the decision in it is subject
matter of this appeal.
is surprising is that apart from respondents even the Railways which was
unsuccessful twice again raked up the same controversy and supported the
respondents. The plea of the Railways is described thus by the Tribunal,
"Thus the stand taken by the railways in their counter in all these
applications is that Shreedharan will not be entitled either for retention as
RSO or for promotion or for protection of the emoluments which he had received
while on deputation, but for the judgements of the Kerala High Court." The
Tribunal framed following issues:- "(i) whether the order of the fourth
appointing Shreedharan as CTTI with effect from 1.1.1979, is valid;
the order of the fourth respondent dt. 16.6.1979 confirming Shreedharan as CTTI
with effect from 20.10.1975 is correct;
the order of the third respondent dt. 21.6.1979 informing Shreedharan that he
can be considered only for the post of Asst. Commercial Officer, is valid;
the fourth respondent's order dt. 24.5.1980 appointing Shreedharan as Public
Relations Officer is valid;
the fourth respondent's order dt. 27.1.1983 fixing the seniority of Shreedharan
in Class II as on 1964 is valid in law." The first four issues having been
settled by the judgment of the High Court, the Tribunal committed act of grave
impropriety in attempting to reopen it. Such practice of the Tribunal cannot be
commended. It has interfered at the instance of the respondents who were not
judgment was binding on Railways. It could not once again take up those very
pleas which were rejected by the High Court. Such unwarranted stand by public authorities
results in protracted litigation invovling wastage of money and time.
that the respondents could challenge fixation of seniority of the appellant as
the order which furnished foundation for the determination of seniority, was
passed without impleading the respondents, the scope of such petition could be
limited. In service matters where validity or interpretation of rule is
concerned any order passed by the courts which achieves finality is binding on
the Department. If the court is satisfied that any employee has been prejudiced
or his right under Article 14 has been violated it may interfere in his favour.
But the Department is precluded from challenging the interpretation given by
the court. Since the earlier order has been upheld by this Court the order
could be set aside by this Court. The Tribunal could not have passed an order
which resulted in disturbing the finality about interpretation of rule specially
when the S.L.P. had been dismissed by this Court.
appeal is consequently allowed and the order of the Tribunal is set aside. The
claim petition filed by the respondents shall stand dismissed. The appellant
was entitled to exemplary costs against Railways, but since no one appeared for
the Railways, and the learned counsel for the appellant did not press for it we
refrain from imposing costs.