Singh & Anr Vs. Ram Bux Singh & Ors  Insc 68 (11 February 2003)
V. Patil & Arijit Pasayat Arijit Pasayat,J.
this appeal challenge is to judgment of the Division Bench of the Allahabad
High Court. The dispute relates to entitlement of service and retiral benefits
of respondent No.1 (hereinafter referred to as 'the employee').
background in a nutshell is as follows:
No.1-employee was employed as Lab.
a class IV post, on 1.2.1973. On 8.11.1977 a show-cause notice was served on
him detailing eight charges.
order dated 11.2.1978, his services were terminated by the then Principal
holding that the charges were fully proved. Against the order of termination an
appeal was preferred which was dismissed by the Committee of Management. After
about 6 years the employee filed a representation before the prescribed
authority under Regulation 21 of Chapter III framed under the U.P. Intermediate
Education Act, 1921. The same was dismissed by the District Inspector of
Schools. A writ petition was filed by the employee which was registered as
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 13159 of 1984. By order dated 18.9.1991, the writ
petition was disposed of directing payment of lump- sum amount of Rs.30,000/-.
While making order the High Court, inter alia, noted that the employee had no
aptitude for service, and if reinstated after such a long time, the peaceful
atmosphere of the institution may be spoiled. The amount was directed to be
paid within three months.
filed a review petition in the High Court with a prayer to review the aforesaid
order, on several grounds and also pointing out that the amount was not paid.
Against the judgment of the High Court, an appeal was filed before the Division
Bench by the employee. The High Court dismissed the review petition filed by
the employee holding that the case for review was not made out. While
dismissing the application for review it was noted that since the payment had
not been made as directed, the employee was entitled to receive interest @12%
per month till payment was made. It appears that there was a difference in
perception of the authorities as to who was required to make the payment. The
employee filed an application bringing it to the notice of the High Court that
its orders have not been complied with.
was filed by the Management of the present appellant No.1-Principal of the
Institution, for a direction to the State and the District Inspector of Schools
to make the payment. The High Court disposed of both the applications directing
District Inspector of Schools and the State to make the payment within a period
of three months in the light of order dated 18.9.1991 modified by the order in
the review application dated 3.2.1993. A contempt petition was filed by the
employee alleging non-compliance of the order. The employee superannuated on
26.1.1995. On 20.9.1995 a sum of Rs.30,000/- along with Rs.2450/- towards
interest, was paid. It is to be noted in the order dated 3.2.1993 the rate of
interest was indicated to be Rs.12% per month, which was later on corrected by
order dated 15.5.1996 to read as "per annum". Direction was also
given to pay the correct amount within a month. On 3.6.1996 a further sum of
Rs.9870/- was paid as the balance amount of interest.
the order passed by the High Court, the employee filed special leave petition
before this Court [S.L.P. (C) No. 24287 of 1996]. On 6.12.1996 a notice was
issued in the Special leave petition on the limited question as to why the
amount of compensation should not be enhanced. However, the Special leave
petition was dismissed as the special appeal before the High Court was pending.
The Division Bench allowed the special appeal filed by the employee by
directing reinstatement by the impugned judgment. It was noted that after five
years also payment of the sum of Rs.30,000/- was not made even though that was
passed on consent. The said judgment of the Division Bench is under challenge.
this juncture it would be appropriate to note that by order dated 26.9.2000,
the Special Leave Petition was admitted only on the question of back wages. As
an interim measure direction was given to pay a sum of Rs.35,000/- in addition
to the amount of Rs.30,000/- as fixed originally by the High Court. Direction was
also given to grant arrears of pension and retiral benefits.
not in dispute that said benefits have been worked out and necessary payments
are being made. The only question, therefore, which survives consideration,
relates to claim of back wages in view of the limited notice issued.
to the appellant the back wages from 4.1.1978 to 31.1.1995 would be Rs.1,79,484/-
and interest @ 12% would be Rs.24,993/-. Out of the said amount Rs.65,000/-
(Rs.30,000/- + Rs.35,000/-) along with interest of Rs.12,320/- has been paid.
fixing the back wages several factors need to be noted. It is a well-settled
position in law that on reinstatement there is no automatic entitlement to full
back wages. In Hindustan Tin Works Pvt. Ltd. v. The Employees of M/s. Hindustan
Tin Works Pvt. Ltd. and Ors. (1979  SCC 80), a three three-judge Bench of
this Court laid down:
the very nature of things there cannot be a straight-jacket formula for
awarding relief of back wages. All relevant considerations will enter the
verdict. More or less, it would be a motion addressed to the discretion of the
Tribunal. Full back wages would be the normal rule and the party objecting to
it must establish the circumstances necessitating departure. At that stage the
Tribunal will exercise its discretion keeping in view all the relevant
circumstances. But the discretion must be exercised in a judicial and judicious
reason for exercising discretion must be cogent and convincing and must appear
on the face of the record. When it is said that something is to be done within
the discretion of the authority, that something is to be done according to the
rules of reason and justice, according to law and not humour. It is not to be
arbitrary, vague and fanciful but legal and regular (See Susannah Sharp v. Wakefield  AC 173, 179)".
P.G.I. of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh v. Raj Kumar (2001  SCC
54), this Court found fault with the High Court in setting aside the award of
the Labour Court which restricted the back wages to 60% and directing payment
of full back wages. It was observed thus:
Labour Court being the final Court of facts came
to a conclusion that payment of 60% wages would comply with the requirement of
law. The finding of perversity or being erroneous or not in accordance with law
shall have to be recorded with reasons in order to assail the finding of the
Tribunal or the Labour
Court. It is not for
the High Court to go into the factual aspects of the matter and there is an
existing limitation on the High Court to that affect." Again at paragraph
12, this Court observed:
of back wages having a discretionary element involved in it has to be dealt
with in the facts and circumstances of each case and no straight-jacket formula
can be evolved, though, however, there is statutory sanction to direct payment
of back wages in its entirety."[See: Hindustan Motors Ltd. v. Tapan Kumar
Bhattacharya and Anr. (2002 AIR SCW 3008)].
case at hand, there was no challenge to the order of termination for six years,
as indicated above.
time was lost because the State and its functionaries on the one hand and the
appellant on the other differed on the issue as to who was liable to make the
payment in terms of the first direction of the High Court. It cannot also be
lost sight of that the High Court while fixing a sum of Rs.30,000/- to be paid
in terms of its order dated 18.9.1991 recorded a finding about lack of aptitude
of the employee and the likelihood of absence in sincerity of work. Taking all
these aspects into consideration, ends of justice would be best served if the
appellants are directed to pay a sum of Rs.35,000/- in addition to what has
already paid, within a period of four weeks from today. In case the payment is
not made within the stipulated time, it shall carry interest @ 18% per annum
from today till the amount is actually paid which shall, in any event, be not
later than four months from today.
appeal is allowed to the extent indicated.