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Ratanlal Malviya Vs. State of M.P [1993] INSC 25 (14 January 1993)

Sharma, L.M. (Cj) Sharma, L.M. (Cj) Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J) Anand, A.S. (J)

CITATION: 1994 SCC Supl. (1) 73




1. Heard learned counsel for the parties. The special leave is granted.

2. The appellant was appointed as a social worker on ad hoc basis in 1981. In the year 1987, he was declared to have acquired quasi-permanent status. His services were terminated by an order passed simpliciter on December 3, 1991. He filed a departmental appeal which was ultimately dismissed. He thereafter challenged the order of his termination by filing a suit which was later transferred to the Administrative Tribunal. The Administrative Tribunal dismissed the suit on several grounds including that of limitation. The judgment of the Tribunal is under challenge before us in the present appeal.

+ Arising out of SLP No. 1417 of 1992 74

3. It is the admitted position before us that the appeal, which had been filed before the department and was ultimately dismissed, was a statutory one. But the Tribunal has not correctly appreciated the position and has assumed that there was no right of appeal under the statute and that the so-called appeal of the appellant was merely a representation. It therefore held that the transferred suit was barred by rule of limitation. If the limitation is calculated from the date when the appeal was dismissed, the suit was admittedly within time. We, therefore, reverse the finding of the Tribunal recorded against the appellant on the plea of limitation.

4. On merits the Tribunal has dismissed the suit holding that the Civil Surgeon who had initially appointed the appellant did not have any power to do so. The learned counsel for the respondent has placed before us certain administrative instructions indicating that the Civil Surgeon was subsequently vested with the power in this regard. Subsequent to this date the Civil Surgeon made an order granting quasi-permanent status to the appellant.

Since, this order was passed when the Civil Surgeon was fully empowered to do so, it is futile to suggest that the appellant cannot be treated to be a quasi-permanent servant under the State. Consequently, the order terminating his services without holding an inquiry cannot be sustained. We are, therefore, of the view that the appellant is entitled to succeed in the suit.

5. The question now arises as to the relief which should be granted to the appellant at this stage. We have examined the service record of the appellant produced before us, and referred to in the order of Tribunal, which indicates that he was negligent and repeatedly remained absent for long periods without leave. His services were otherwise also not satisfactory. These were the reasons which compelled the authorities concerned to take steps for terminating his services. Although, the manner in which his services were terminated was not in accordance with law, it is clear that the authorities which took decision to terminate his services were acting bona fide and there was justification for them to have taken up the question as to whether the appellant should be permitted to continue in the service or not. As, we are interfering in the present matter purely on a technical ground, we are of the view that the appellant is not entitled to the salary for the past period. However, since he has been involved in this litigation, we direct that a sum of Rs 5000 (rupees five thousand only) shall be paid to the appellant as consolidated amount against his dues for the back period. Subject to this, he will not be entitled to claim anything for the past period.

6. For the reasons stated above, we allow the appeal, set aside the impugned judgment and direct the respondent-State to reinstate the appellant with effect from February 1, 1993 and pay the aforesaid amount of Rs 5000 within two months from today. If the appellant is not reinstated, as indicated, he will still be entitled to his pay and allowances with effect from February 1, 1993.


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