AdvocateKhoj
Login : Advocate | Client
Home Post Your Case My Account Law College Law Library
    

Supreme Court Judgments


Latest Supreme Court of India Judgments 2020

Subscribe

RSS Feed img


P. B. Roy Vs. Union of India [1972] INSC 48 (11 February 1972)

BEG, M. HAMEEDULLAH BEG, M. HAMEEDULLAH SIKRI, S.M. (CJ) GROVER, A.N.

RAY, A.N.

PALEKAR, D.G.

CITATION: 1972 AIR 908 1972 SCR (3) 449 1972 SCC (3) 432

ACT:

Civil Servant--Holding temporary post--Constitution of New service -'Departmental candidate' holding temporary post appointed to permanent post but of a lower grade--If violative of Art. 311.

HEADNOTE:

The appellant was holding a temporary post of Editor in the Publications Division of the Department of Information and Broadcasting. The temporary post was sanctioned upto 28-21957. On 16-2-1959, the President of India, in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to Art. 309 of the Constitution, promulgated the Central Information Service Rules, 1959. These Rules were meant for the creation of a Central Information Service with prescribed grades and strengths, and entry into the service was open to departmental candidates according to r. 5 for the initial constitution of the service. The appellant was chosen by the Selection Committee and was posted as an Assistant Editor. He challenged the order.

A single Judge of the High Court allowed the petition. On appeal, in the course of arguments, the question arose whether the post of Editor was abolished or had ceased to exist and the respondent was allowed to file an affidavit stating that the post of Editor had ceased to exist. The Division Bench then held that there was no question of demotion or reduction in rank and hence that Art. 31 1 was not applicable.

In appeal to this Court, it was held (1) The additional affidavit filed by the respondent did not introduce anything new but only clarified the position.

[455 E] (a) There was nothing to show that the temporary post of Editor in which the appellant was initially appointed had been continued beyond 28-2-1957 for any period. [455 C] (b) The question whether the constitution of the Central Information Service involved fresh appointments to new posts or its effect was merely to transfer existing employees to corresponding posts with new designations was already before the court. [455 D-E] (c) The appellant himself never asked for any opportunity to meet any allegation in the additional affidavit. [454 FG] (2) There is nothing to indicate that on the face of the impugned order, that the appellant had been demoted as a measure of punishment. [455 F-G] (3) it could not be held that the order, which had the effect of terminating an officiating appointment in which the appellant had no right to continue-and which gave him a fresh appointment with a different designation, 'out permanent tenure and prospects, constituted a 450 violation of either Art. 14 or 16, simply because the process which resulted in such an order did not have a similar effect upon the position or rights of any other person in the Department; especially when, after taking into account the appellant's individual case, the Selection Committee recommended the maximum pay in the class and grade of the post given to him. [456 A-C] (4) (a) The new rules had the effect of constituting a new service with a fair and reasonable procedure for entry into it., Such a procedure could not be characterized as a device to defeat the provisions of Art. 311 or a fraud upon the Constitution simply because the result of subjection to the process of appraisement of the merits of each candidate may not meet the expectations of some candidates. [457 F-G] (b) Article 311 afford-, a reasonable opportunity to defend against threatened punishment to those already in Government service. Rule 5 of the Central Information Service Rules provides a method of recruitment or entry into a new service of persons who, even though they may have been serving the Government had no right to enter the newly constituted service before going through the procedure prescribed by the rule. The fields of operation of Art. 311 and r. 5 are quite different and distinct. [457 G-H; 458 A-B] (c) The definition of 'departmental candidates' in r. 2(b) was meant only as an aid in interpreting r. 5 and was not intended to operate as a fetter on the functions and powers of the Selection Committee. It does not require that all persons falling within the definition of 'departmental candidate' should be placed in a single class, Under r. 5 the Selection Committee could assign different grades to the departmental candidates. The post actually held by the appellant before his selection for appointment to the newly constituted service did not automatically or wholly determine the position of a departmental candidate who offered himself to the process of appraisement of his merits by the Selection Committee to be made on the totality of relevant facts. That Committee was presided over by the Chairman or a Member of the Union Public Service Cornmission and had officials of the Department on it who were in a position to correctly evaluate the appellant's merit's and the weight to be attached to his confidential records. [459 B-H] (5) The appellant's allegations of mala fides and that he was the victim of the prejudice and machinations of an (unnamed) officer in the Transport Ministry, could not properly be tried in writ proceedings and without impleading that official. [460 F-G]

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 2172 of 1968.

Appeal from the judgment and order dated August 10, 1967 of the Delhi High Court in Letters Patent Appeal No. 97-D of 1965.

Frank Anthony, K. B. Rohatgi and P. Parameswara Rao, for the appellant.

Jagadish Swarup, Solicitor-General of India and S. P. Nayar.

for the respondent.

451 The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Beg, J. This is an appeal by grant of a Certificate of the Delhi High Court under Article 132 read with Article 133(1)(b) and (c) of the Constitution.

The Appellant had filed a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing an order dated 10-3-1960 and had prayed for a consequential order also in the nature of a mandamus. Information of the impugned order (Annexure 'C' to the petition), given to the petitioner, reads as follows "The Union Public Service Commission have in pursuance of Rule 5 of the Central Information Service Rules, 1959, recommended Shri P. B. Roy, at present officiating as Editor in the Publications Division, for appointment, in a substantive capacity, to Grade III of the service at its initial constitution. Shri Roy is informed that the President has been pleased to post him as an Assistant Editor in the Publications Division with immediate effect".

Those relevant facts, preceding and following the impugned order, which are admitted by both sides may now be mentioned.

In 1955, the post of Editor, Publications Division, in the Department of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India (hereinafter referred to as ',the Department'), was advertised. The appellant, who had applied for the post, was selected by the Union Public Service Commission, and, on its recommendation, was offered a temporary post of Editor in the Publications Division of the Department on an initial salary of Rs. 720 per month in the scale of Rs. 720-40-1000 together with the usual allowances. The material terms and conditions of this employment were:

(i) The post is to be gazetted Class I;

(ii) The temporary post was sanctioned upto 28-2-1957 but was likely to continue;

(iii) Shri Roy (the Appellant) will be governed by the Central Civil Services (Temporary Service Rules) and other Rules applicable to temporary Govt. servants of his category;

(iv) He was to be on probation for 6 months which may be extended at the discretion of the appointing authority.

The Appellant had reported for duty on 1st August, 1956, as directed. 'On 27-3-1957, the Appellants probation was extended 452 by three months. Immediately thereafter, on 28-3-57, the Appellant's services were terminated under Rule 5 of the Central Civil Services (Temporary Service) Rules 1949, (Annexure 'D' to the Rejoinder Affidavit of 20th February, 1964). On 5-3-1957, the Appellant made a representation against this termination of his service (Annexure 'B' to the Rejoinder Affidavit). On 27-4-1957 in response to this representation, the above-mentioned termination to the Appellants service was rescinded(Annexure 'F' to the Rejoinder Affidavit). On 28-4-1958, the President was pleased to terminate the probationary period of the. Appellant and permitted him to continue in his, post in a temporary capacity (Annexure 'B' to the Affidavit supporting the Petition), On 16-2-1959, the President of India, in exercise of powers conferred by the Proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India, promulgated the Central Information Service Rules, 1959 (hereinafter referred to as the Rules), which came into force on 21-2-1959. These rules were meant for the creation of a Central Information Service with prescribed grades and their strengths. Entry into this service was open to "departmental candidates" by a procedure laid down in Rule5 for the initial constitution of the service. In accordance with this procedure, the Appellant was required to appear before a Selection Committee on a given date, and, after selection, he was posted by the impugned order as indicated above. On 11-31960, the Appellant assumed charge of the post thus assigned to him on the recommendation of the Union Public Service Commission. The Appellant then made a representation, dated 11-3-1960 (Annexure 'E' to the Rejoinder Affidavit), against his appointment in Class II grade III post. He made other similar representations after that. His last representation was made on 25-8-1962. the Appellant received a communication dated 10-12-1962 forwarding extract of an order dated 26-11-1962 which said :

"The representation from Shri P. B. Roy has been carefully considered in the Ministry.

All relevant facts were fully taken into account, by the Departmental Promotion Committee, before drawing up the recent panel of Grade III officers considered suitable for promotion to Grade II. Shri Roy may be informed accordingly".

The Appellant, treating this as the rejection of his last representation, filed his petition on 11-1-1963 which was allowed by a learned Judge of the Punjab High Court, sitting on the Circuit Bench at Delhi. A Letters' Patent Appeal against this decision had been allowed by a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court which then granted a certificate on 12-8-1968 for leave to Appeal primarily because it held that the required test relating to valuation of the subject matter had been satisfied.

453 The learned Judge who had initially heard the petition had pointed out that the representation of the Appellant was first rejected on 29-7-1960 and that it did not matter that the petitioner had continued making subsequent representations. The learned Judge had noticed the explanation that the petitioner could not approach the Court as he was admitted to a Tuberculosis Clinic in June,. 1961.

The learned Judge, having found that this was not sufficient to explain the delay between 29-7-1960 and June 1961 was disposed to reject the petition on the ground of laches.

But, in view of the decision of the majority of the Full Bench of the Punjab High Court in S. Gurmej Singh v.Election Tribunal, Gurdaspur(1), the delay in filing the petition was overlooked on the ground that, after the admission of a Writ Petition and hearing of arguments, the rule that delay may defeat the rights of a party is relaxed and need not be applied if his case is "positively good".

The learned Single Judge had come to the conclusion, on the facts stated above, that the petitioner's case would be governed by the decision of this Court in Moti Ram Deka & Ors. v. General Manager, North East Frontier Railway (2 ) , as the petitioner's prospects and emoluments were adversely affected by the impugned order The learned Judge thought that the mere fact that the Department was reorganized and that the petitioner was to be fitted into an appropriate category by the procedure laid down in Rule 5 did not take away the effect, that is to say, the loss of his emoluments, of the procedure to which the petitioner had been subjected.

This view implied that Art. 311 of the Constitution was attracted by the case despite the above mentioned creation of the Central Information Service by the rules.

The Division Bench which heard the Appeal of the Union of India was not inclined to interfere with the discretion of the learned Single Judge in rejecting the objection to the petition on the ground of delay. We too will not enter into this question which was not argued before us.

The Division Bench, after reviewing facts' leading to the absorption of the Appellant into a newly constituted Central Information Service, in accordance with the procedure laid down in Rule 5 mentioned above, held that the "News and Information Cadre" of the Department, in which the Appellant was initially appointed, had been superseded by the cadres and grades constituted by the rules of the new service. It overruled the contention of the Petitioner that the effect of the rules was merely to transfer employees in existing posts to corresponding posts with new designations. It held that the Rules did create an altogether new service. It pointed out that the process of entry into the new service was of (1) [1964] P.L.R. p. 589.

(2) A.T.R. 1964 S.C. P. 600.

454 selection of each individual candidate after an examination of his individual record and qualifications by a Selection Committee before which he appeared so that there could be no automatic fitting into some corresponding appropriate post of a predetermined class and grade. The rules and process for the constitution of the new service did not guarantee the class or grade or emoluments enjoyed by any candidate in a cadre in which he served prior to the setting up of the new service. It, therefore, held that no question of demotion or reduction in rank, without observing the procedure laid down in Art. 3 1 1 of the Constitution, arose at all in the instant case.

Mr Anthony, appearing on behalf of the Appellant, has assailed the correctness of the decision of the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court on five grounds. We will take up and consider each of these seriatim.

Firstly, it is contended that the Division Bench had erred in allowing an affidavit to be filed on 26-6-1967 before it, without affording an opportunity to the Appellant to repel its contents by filing a counter-affidavit. It was urged that the result was that an altogether new case, neither argued before nor referred to by the learned Single Judge, had been allowed to be raised. This ground is no doubt mentioned among the grounds on which a certificate of the fitness for an appeal to this Court was sought. The Judgment of the Division Bench mentions that, in the course of arguments, the question arose whether the post of Editor in the Publications Division was abolished or had ceased to exist. It appears that an affidavit was then allowed to be filed before the Division. Bench on behalf of the Union. of India in which it was stated that two posts of Editors in the scale of Rs. 720-40-1000 in the Publications Division had ceased to exist as a consequence of the inclusion of two posts in the revised grade of Rs. 700-40-1100-50/2-1250 with effect from 1-7-1959 in the Central Information Service constituted from 1-3-1960. There is nothing in the Judgment or anywhere else to show that the petitioner had asked for any opportunity to controvert any statement made in the affidavit dated 26-7-1967 and had been denied that.

The case and the contention on behalf of the Appellant have been that the new posts in the services are really old posts in a new garb. This raised what was primarily a question of law, depending for decision upon an interpretation of the relevant rules of which the Court takes judicial notice.

The rules certainly did not provide for the continuance of any ex.-cadre posts outside the new service introduced by the rules. Facts stated in the Affidavit of 267-1967 could have some bearing on the question whether there were two posts in the revised scale which could be considered as corresponding posts. They could, if they had 455 any effect on the respective stands, perhaps help the Appellant's case that there was nothing more than a re-designation of posts with same duties and corresponding scales. And, this seems to explain why there is nothing to show that the Petitioner-Appellant asked for an opportunity to meet any allegation made in the affidavit of 26-7-1967 filed on behalf of the Union.

Moreover, what the fresh affidavit contained about the disappearance of the temporary post given to the Petitioner in 1956 before the Rules came into force flowed logically from the order of Petitioner's initial appointment in a temporary post which was to continue only upto 28-2-1957, unless its life was shown to have been extended for some definite or indefinite period. The Petitioner had not averred anywhere that the post was continued beyond 28-2-1957 for any period by any order or rule. Indeed, the very argument advanced on behalf of the Appellant, that his initial post merged in another corresponding post, implied that the post to which he was initially appointed at least lost its identity or could not be deemed to continue without a transmutation.

The question whether the constitution of the Central Information Service did or did not involve fresh appointments to new posts but was simply an automatic process of transmutation by the pooling together of existing incumbents of certain posts to form a new service, as the appellants alleged, was already the subject matter of assertion made in the Rejoinder Affidavit of the Petitioner and counter-assertions in a reply filed to the Rejoinder on 2-4-1964. The affidavit of 24-6-1967 did not introduce anything new but only clarified the position still more. We find no force in the first objection.

Secondly , it is contended that the impugned order constitutes. on the face of it, a reduction in rank of the petitioner Looking at the communication dated 10-3-1960, set out above, we find nothing ,there to indicate that the petitioner had been demoted as a measure of punishment. To hold, as it was suggested that we should, that the procedure laid down by Rule 5 was adopted as a cloak to cover up an intended reduction in rank and emoluments of an officiating Editor, by appointing him in a permanent substantive capacity of a grade, carrying lesser emoluments in the new service, would necessitate going behind the order 'of 10-31960. At any rate, on the face of it, the order discloses no such devious action against the Appellant.

Thirdly, it was contended that the impugned order violates Art. 14 and 16 of the Constitution inasmuch as it places an employee who was serving as an Editor in a post of lower grade with less emoluments whereas no such result had followed in the case of any other employee in the Information and Broadcasting 456 Department. We are unable to see how an order which has the effect of terminating an officiating appointment, in which the petitioner had no right to continue, and which gives him a fresh appointment, with a different designation but permanent tenure and prospects, constitutes a violation of either Art. 14 or 16 of the Constitution simply because the process which resulted in such an order did not have a similar effect upon the position or rights of any other servant in the Department. Indeed, the Selection Committee had, apparently after taking into account the special features of the petitioners individual case, recommended the maximum pay, in the class and grade of the post given to him, and the petitioner got this exceptional pay. Even his prospects improved to the extent that from the precarious position of a temporary servant he had moved into a permanent service. It could not be definitely stated that his position had worsened on the whole. He was at least no longer subject to the hazards of temporary employment which could be terminated by a month's notice at any time. The results of applying Rule 5 to the facts of individual cases could not be expected to be identically similar in all cases.

All candidates were subjected to the same process or procedure contemplated by Rule 5. It is not the Appellant's case that the Selection Committee did not function honestly or that its proceedings. were vitiated by any defect in its constitution or of any bias on its part or any unifairness or inequality of the test applied in judging the merits of the Appellant as against other candidates. The alleged defect with the material said to have been used by the Committee is another matter which we will consider last.

Fourthly, it was urged that Rule 5 mentioned above is itself void for conflict with the provisions of Article 311 and 14 and 16 of the Constitution.

It was urged that Rule 5 permits violation of Art. 311 of the Constitution inasmuch as it enables that to be done indirectly which could not be, done directly. The Rule reads as follows :

5. INITIAL CONSTITUTION OF THE SERVICE:(1) The Commission shall constitute a Selection Committee with the Chairman or a Member of the Commission as President and not more than three representatives of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as members, to determine the suitability of departmental candidates for appointment to the different grades and to prepare an order of preference for the initial constitution of the service:

457 (2) On receipt of the Committee's report the Commission shall forward its recommendations to the Government and such recommendations may include a recommendation that a person considered suitable for appointment to a grade may, if a sufficient number of vacancies are not available in that grade, be appointed to a lower grade;

(3) Vacancies in any grade which remain unfilled after the appointment of departmental candidates selected under sub-rules (1) and (2) above shall be filled by direct recruitment through the Commission.

Rule 3 indicates that appointments to the newly created' service could take place either by selection under Rule 5 or by direct recruitment with which we are not concerned here.

The grades and the fixation of an authorized strength of each grade are provided for by Rule 4. Only posts in the first 3 grades are classified as Class I (Gazetted) posts.

 Back


 




Client Area | Advocate Area | Blogs | About Us | User Agreement | Privacy Policy | Advertise | Media Coverage | Contact Us | Site Map
powered and driven by neosys