of U.P. & Ors Vs. Netra Pal Singh &
Ors  Insc 308 (21
S.B. Sinha & S.H. Kapadia.
WITH C.A. No... ... ...of 2004 (@ S.L.P. (C) No. 3129 of 2000)
C.A. No... ... ... of 2004 (@ S.L.P.(C)
No. 3130 of 2000) and C.A. Nos... ... ... of 2004 (@ S.L.P.
(C) Nos. 14753-14754 of 2002) S.B. SINHA, J :
granted in S.L.Ps.
State of U.P. is in appeal before us being aggrieved by and dissatisfied with
the judgment and order of a Division Bench of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad
High Court dated 8.2.1999 whereby and whereunder the order of the State
Government refusing to renew the term of the District Government Counsel has
been set aside.
respondents in these ten appeals as also 24 other persons similarly situated
filed writ petitions before the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court
questioning the validity of the orders passed by the appellant herein refusing
to renew their term as District Government Counsel(Criminal).
writ petitioners who were appointed as District Government Counsel on different
dates inter alia contended in their respective writ petitions that the State of
U.P. acted arbitrarily in not renewing their term as their performance had been
found to be satisfactory both by the District Officer as well as the District
Judge concerned in relation whereto they had also made recommendations in terms
of the provisions of the Legal Rememberancer Manual and in that view of the
matter the impugned orders refusing to renew their term being contrary to the
provisions thereof were not sustainable.
reason of the impugned judgment dated 8.2.1999, a Division Bench of the High
Court although accepted the plea of the Appellant to the effect that the
appointment of the District Government Counsel and Additional District
Government Counsel in the District Court would not amount to appointment in a
civil post by the State Government and is merely a professional engagement but
proceeded to consider the individual cases on merits. While dismissing 24 writ
petitions, the High Court allowed 10 writ petitions upon entering into the
merit of the matter. The High Court held that the performance of the
respondents having been found to be satisfactory by the District Officer as
well as the District Judge and, furthermore, keeping in view of the fact that
their names were recommended, the State Government could not have declined to
renew their term. The High Court observed that it would be fallacious to equate
the professional engagement by private persons or a party with the appointment
of DGC by the State as it is not so free as an individual or a private person
in that behalf having regard to the fact that it is answerable and accountable
to the public.
High Court further opined that the impugned action on the part of the State
being arbitrary and not bona fide the same cannot be sustained. The High Court
was further of the view that although primarily it is for the State to see the
overall performance of the District Government Counsel and make its own
assessment on the question as to whether the term of an incumbent is to be
renewed or not but it is also essential that the parameters which are set by
the State to judge the suitability of the persons for the purposes of his
retention should be reasonable and not arbitrary.
Prakash Mehrotra, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant would
inter alia submit that having regard to the decision of this Court in Harpal
Singh Chauhan and Others etc. vs. State of U.P. [(1993) 3 SCC 552] and SCC
527], the High Court committed an error insofar as it sought to substitute its
own views over that of the State.
learned counsel would contend that as the District Government Counsel do not
hold a civil post, they cannot be said to have been any legal right in the
matter of renewal of their term.
Kumar Sharma, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents, on the
other hand, would support the judgment of the High Court contending that the
action on the part of the appellant was arbitrary and, thus, violative of
Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
Court while granting leave stayed the operation of the judgment by an order
dated 26.04.1999. The said interim order of stay passed by this Court was
confirmed by an order dated 31.01.2000. The respondents, therefore, have not
been holding the office of the District Government Counsel for a long time. We,
therefore, at this stage would not be justified in going into the merit of the
matter as for all intent and purport, the writ petitions filed by the
respondents herein have become infructuous and, thus, are liable to be
dismissed as such. They, however, may, as and when vacancies arise, file
applications in terms of the Legal Rememberancer Manual for their appointment
as Public Prosecutors or Additional Public Prosecutors.
learned counsel appearing on behalf of the parties, however, have made
submissions as regard the scope of judicial review in such matter. Scope of
judicial review in such matters had been considered by a 3-Judge Bench of this
Nos. 963-64 of 2000) disposed of today.
in view of the fact that the legal principles as regard the power of judicial
review of the High Court have been laid down by this Court in the case of Johri
Mal (supra), we are of the opinion that nothing further is required to be said
in these appeals. These appeals are, therefore, disposed of accordingly.
However, there shall be no order as to costs.