State of Punjab & ANR Vs. V.P.
Duggal & Ors  INSC 162 (30 July 1976)
KHANNA, HANS RAJ KHANNA, HANS RAJ SARKARIA,
RANJIT SINGH UNTWALIA, N.L.
CITATION: 1977 AIR 196 1977 SCR (1) 96 1976
SCC (3) 715
Practice and procedure--Whether High Court can
direct a Minister to be impleaded as a party and file his personal affidavit.
The respondent challenged the validity of a
Government Notification, and also the Minister's order upholding the same. At
the hearing, the High Court directed that the concerned Minister be impleaded
as a party, and file his personal affidavit. Challenging the directions, the
appellant contended before this Court, that the allegations against the
Minister did not disclose any personal ammus on his part, and he was not liable
to be added as a party or to file his affidavit.
Partly allowing the appeal, the Court,
HELD: The direction for the impleading of the
Minister as a party was given by the High Court with a view to appraise the
Minister of the allegations made in the petition and thus to afford him an
opportunity of controverting those .allegations, if .he so deemed proper. We
decline to interfere.It is essentially for the Minister concerned to decide in
the light of the allegations made in the petition as to whether he should or
should not file an affidavit.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 1207 of 1975.
(Appeal by special leave from the judgment
and order dated 5-8-1975 of the Punjab & Haryana High Court in Letters
Patent Appeal No. 459/75).
J.S. Wasu, Adv. General, Punjab and O.P.
Sharma, for the appellants.
V.C. Mahajan and S.S. Khanduja, for
respondent No. 1. P.K. Pillai, for respondent No. 1.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
KHANNA, J.--This is an appeal by special leave by the State of Punjab against
the order of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, whereby at was directed that
the Minister in charge of Irrigation Department be impleaded as a party in the
writ petition filed by V.P. Duggal respondent. The Minister was also directed
to file his affidavit.
In the writ petition filed by him, Duggal
respondent challenged notification dated January 29, 1974 fixing the seniority
of the engineers n the Irrigation Department of the Punjab Government. During
the course of the heating of the writ petition, an order was made by the High
Court on November 18, 1974 that the Minister concerned might give a personal
hearing to the parties and thereafter pass the necessary order in the matter.
The Minister concerned thereafter heard the parties and made a speaking order
on February 18, 1975 affirming the earlier seniority list. The writ petition
was thereafter amended, and 97 in the amended petition, Duggal respondent also
challenged the validity of .the later order of February 18, 1975.
At the resumed hearing of the writ petition,
the learned Judge hearing the petition directed that the Minister concerned be
impleaded as a party in the petition, as in the view of the learned Judge,
allegation had been made against the Minister that he had deviated from the
normal procedure while passing the impugned order dated February 18, 1975
inasmuch as he had dealt with the matter directly and bypassed the Secretary of
the Department. Direction was also issued that the Minister should file an affidavit
in regard to the allegations made in the petition.
At the hearing of the appeal before us, the
learned Advocate General for the State of Punjab has contended that the
allegations made in the amended petition do not disclose any personal animus on
the part of the Minister concerned and as such the High Court was in error in
directing that the Minister be impleaded as a party. The learned Advocate General
has also assailed the direction of the High Court in so far as the Minister has
been called upon to file his personal affidavit as against that, Mr. Mahajan on
behalf of Duggal respondent has urged that looking to the facts of the case if
the High Court came to the conclusion that the Minister was a necessary or
proper party, this Court should not interfere in the matter.
We have given the matter our consideration,
and it seems to us that the direction for the impleading of the Minister as a
party was given by the High Court with a view to apprise the Minister of the
allegations made in the petition and thus to afford him an opportunity of
controverting those allegations, if he so deemed proper. Taking the totality of
the facts and circumstances of the case, we do not feel persuaded to interfere
with the order of the High Court adding the Minister as a party to the writ
petition. The High Court was, however, in our opinion in error in directing
that the Minister concerned should file his affidavit.
It is essentially for the Minister concerned
to decide in the light of the allegations made in the petition as to whether he
should or should not file an affidavit. We, therefore, decline to interfere
with the order made by the High Court insofar as it has directed that the
Minister be impleaded as a party. The other part of the order whereby the Minister
concerned was directed to file his personal affidavit is set aside. The appeal
shall stand disposed of accordingly. The parties in the circumstances shall
bear their own costs.
M.R. Appeal partly allowed.