Apsrtc, Nizamabad Region & ANR.  INSC 65 (13 January 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 99 OF 2009 (Arising out
of SLP (C) No. 5166 of 2008) V.V.G. REDDY ... APPELLANT Versus
S.B. Sinha, J.
is before us questioning the judgment and order dated 21.9.2007 passed by a
Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad
in Writ Appeal No.658 of 2007 and others whereby and whereunder the said writ
appeal preferred from a judgment and order dated 29.10.2002 passed in W.P. No.
21410 of 2002 filed by appellant and others was allowed.
- Corporation is constituted and incorporated under the Road Transport Corporation
Act, 1950 (64 of 1950). Appellant joined its services as a conductor in the
year 1981. A disciplinary proceeding was initiated against him. He was placed
under suspension in the year 1982. In the said disciplinary proceeding, he,
having been found guilty was dismissed from services.
An industrial dispute
was raised by him, which was eventually referred to the Labour Court by the
State of Andhra Pradesh in exercise of its powers conferred upon it under
Section 10(1)(c) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (for short, "the
reason of an Award dated 1.8.1988, the Labour Court directed his reinstatement
in service with continuity therein but without attendant benefits and back
to or in furtherance of the said Award, appellant was reinstated in service.
However, he was not paid his salary at par with his colleagues whose services
had been regularized with effect from 1.10.1983.
filed an Execution Petition being E.P. No. 18 of 1989 in I.D. No. 581 of 1987
before Labour Court, Hyderabad praying that his services be directed to be
regularized at par with his colleagues with effect from 1.10.1983. The said
Execution Petition was allowed.
despite the same, his pay was not fixed at par with his colleagues and no notional
increments had been granted, a legal notice was issued on his behalf by an
Advocate on 2.3.1992.
He thereafter filed a
writ petition before the High Court which was marked as Writ Petition No. 21410
of 2002 praying for grant of notional increments for the period between
1.10.1983 and 15.2.1989.
4 By reason of a
judgment and order dated 29.10.2002, the said writ petition was allowed by a
learned single judge of the High Court, directing:
in this writ petition is no more res integra, in view of the decision of a
Division Bench of this Court in APSRTC, Khammam Division Bench while dealing an
analogous question has held that when an award was passed by the labour court
directing the respondents to reinstate the petitioner into service, the action
of the respondent - Corporation in fixing the pay without taking into
consideration the notional increments is illegal. It is further held that the
Corporation cannot rely on any circular or regulation that takes away the plain
meaning of the award in the judgment."
writ appeal was preferred there against by the respondent herein.
However, the said
writ appeal was barred by limitation and an application for condonation of
delay having not been allowed, the same was dismissed.
A Special Leave
Petition filed there against being Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 1114 of
2004 was allowed by a judgment and order dated 13.2.2007 in terms whereof the
matter was remitted to the High Court for disposal of the case on merit. By
reason of the impugned judgment, the writ appeal preferred by the respondent
herein has been allowed.
T. Anamika, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant would urge
that in view of the fact that the appellant was denied back wages only by the
Labour Court and having been reinstated in service with continuity, the High
Court committed a serious error in declining to grant notional increments in
his favour from the date of his dismissal till the date of passing of the
Award. Strong reliance in this behalf has been placed on the decision of this
Court in Devendra Pratap Narain Rai Sharma vs. State of Uttar Pradesh &
ors. [AIR 1962 SC 1334].
D. Mahesh Babu, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents, on the
other hand, supported the impugned judgment.
award appeared to have been passed by the labour court on consent of the
parties. Appellant himself stated so in his affidavit in support of the writ
terms of the consent order have not been produced before us by the appellant.
We will, however, proceed on the premise that the parties thereto agreed that
the appellant would be reinstated within a month from the said date. Appellant
was, therefore, not only denied back wages but also the attendant benefits.
of terms of consent will depend upon the nature of the lis and the background
as noticed hereinbefore, had not only foregone back wages but also attendant
benefits. The word "attendant benefits" should be given its natural
meaning. The "attendant benefits" was in regard to a period for which
he had been denied back wages. A person may be denied back wages which
otherwise can be interpreted to mean that he would be entitled to claim the
benefit of increments notionally.
may, however, notice that in A.P. State Road Transport Corporation & ors.
vs. Abdul Kareem [(2005) 6 SCC 36], this Court held:
Court specifically directed that the reinstatement would be without back wages.
There is no specific direction that the employee would be entitled to all the
Therefore, in the
absence of specific direction in that regard, merely because an employee has
been directed to be reinstated without back wages, he cannot claim a benefit of
increments notionally earned during the period when he was not on duty during
the period when he was out of service. It would be incongruous to suggest that
an employee, having been held guilty and remained absent from duty for a long
time, continues to earn increments though there is no payment of wages for the
period of absence."
A.P. SRTC & Anr. vs. S. Narsagoud [(2003) 2 SCC 212], this Court held:
"9. We find
merit in the submission so made.
There is a difference
between an order of reinstatement accompanied by a simple direction for
continuity of service and a direction where reinstatement is accompanied by a
specific direction that the employee shall be entitled to all the consequential
benefits, which necessarily flow from reinstatement or accompanied by a
specific direction that the employee shall be entitled to the benefit of the
increments earned during the period of absence. In our opinion, the employee
after having been held guilty of unauthorised absence from duty cannot claim
the benefit of increments notionally earned during the period of unauthorised
absence in the absence of a specific direction in that regard and merely
because he has been directed to be reinstated with the benefit of continuity in
Devendra Pratap Narain Rai Sharma (supra), this Court upon referring to Rule 54
of the Fundamental Rules framed by the State of Uttar Pradesh, held as under:
"11. In our
view, this contention is wholly misconceived. Rule 54, as amended in 1953,
stands as follows :
"54.(1) When a
Government servant who has been dismissed, removed or suspended is reinstated,
the authority competent to order the reinstatement shall consider and make a
specific order-- (a) regarding the pay and allowances to be paid to the
Government servant for the period of his absence from duty and (b) whether or
not the said period shall be treated as a period spent on duty.
8 (2) Where such
competent authority holds that the Government servant has been fully exonerated
or, in the case of suspension, that it was wholly unjustified, the Government
servant shall be given the full pay to which he would have been entitled, had
he not been dismissed, removed or suspended, as the case may be together with
any allowances of which he was in receipt prior to his dismissal, removal or
(3) In other cases,
the Government servant shall be given such proportion of such pay and
allowances as such competent authority may prescribe.
Provided that the
payment of allowances under clauses (2) and (3) shall be subject to all other
conditions under which such allowances are admissible.
(4) In a case falling
under clause (2) the period of absence from duty shall be treated as the period
spent on duty for all purposes.
(5) In a case falling
under clause (3) the period of absence from duty shall not be treated as period
spent on duty unless such competent authority specifically directs that it
shall be so treated for any specified purposes."
This rule has no
application to cases like the present in which the dismissal of a public
servant is declared invalid by a civil court and he is reinstated. This rule,
undoubtedly enables the State Government to fix the pay of a public servant
whose dismissal is set aside in a departmental appeal. But in this case the
order of dismissal was declared invalid in a civil suit. The effect of the
decree of the civil suit was that the appellant was never to be deemed to have
been lawfully dismissed from service and the order of reinstatement was
superfluous, the effect of the adjudication of the civil court is to declare
that the appellant had been wrongfully prevented from attending to his duties
as a public servant. It would not in such a contingency be open to the
authority to deprive the public servant of the remuneration which he would have
earned had he been permitted to work."
9 The said decision,
in our opinion, has no application to the fact situation obtaining in the
has not been directed to be reinstated in service by reason of an Award holding
that the order of termination was wholly illegal and, thus, void initio. On
what premise, parties entered into a compromise is not known. It is possible to
hold that findings of the Enquiry Officer which might have been accepted by the
disciplinary authority holding him guilty of misconduct had not been set aside;
the Management might have thought that denial of back wages and attendant
benefits would be sufficient punishment. If that be so, appellant being not in
service during the period in question, namely, 1.10.1983 to 15.2.1989, in our
opinion, would not be entitled to increment.
the reasons aforementioned, the appeal is dismissed. No costs.
[Dr. Mukundakam Sharma]
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