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Chhandra Bhan Varma Vs. Union of India - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.C.J. Suit No. 748 of 1951
Judge
Reported inAIR1956Bom601
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 32(1), 44, 310 and 311; Army Act, 1950 - Sections 18, 22, 23, 24 and 27; Army Act, 1911 - Sections 13, 14 and 16; Limitation Act, 1908 - Schedule - Article 14; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 80 - Order 23; Government of India Act, 1919 - Sections 93 and 96B; Government of India (Amendment) Act, 1935 - Sections 240; Civil Services Act, 1884; Government Premises (Eviction) Act, 1950
AppellantChhandra Bhan Varma
RespondentUnion of India
Appellant AdvocateR.S. Iyer, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateBhagwati and ;K.K. Desai, Advs.
Excerpt:
service - dismissal - articles 32 (1), 44, 310 and 311 of constitution of india and article 14 of schedule to limitation act, 1908 - suit for declaration that plaintiff's dismissal from service was wrongful and for damages - plaintiff has no cause of action against defendant because his service was during pleasure of crown - claim made by plaintiff not justifiable under article 310 - suit filed in 1951 and damages claimed with respect to previous three years - suit not maintainable and claim for damages barred by limitation - suit liable to be dismissed. - - that order stated that explanations given by him in the correspondence that had gone before had been found unsatisfactory and he was being removed with effect from the date of that letter from his post of civilian clerk on the.....1. this is a suit against the union of india instituted by an officer of the indian army for a declaration that his dismissal from service was wrongful. he seeks other reliefs also including damages and his claim for damages aggregates to rs. 1,07,012/-. the defendant has raised various contentions. one of the contentions is that the suit is barred by limitation.another contention is that apart from the merits of the case the plaintiff, as a member of the defence service, held office during the pleasure of the president by virtue of article 310 of the constitution and was, therefore, dismissible at will. two preliminary issues as to limitation and maintainability of the suit have been tried by me at the instance of learned counsel for the defendant. the question of limitation may.....
Judgment:

1. This is a suit against the Union of India instituted by an officer of the Indian Army for a declaration that his dismissal from service was wrongful. He seeks other reliefs also including damages and his claim for damages aggregates to Rs. 1,07,012/-. The defendant has raised various contentions. One of the contentions is that the suit is barred by limitation.

Another contention is that apart from the merits of the case the plaintiff, as a member of the defence service, held office during the pleasure of the President by virtue of Article 310 of the Constitution and was, therefore, dismissible at will. Two preliminary issues as to limitation and maintainability of the suit have been tried by me at the instance of learned counsel for the defendant. The question of limitation may conveniently be considered after the plea of maintainability is examined.

2. The suit in my judgment fails in limine and I shall only succinctly state the plaintiff's case. The plaintiff began serving the Government of India as a civilian clerk in the Indian Army Service Corps. He was enrolled as a non-combatant in July 1927. According to him he was promoted to the principal Division in April 1930 and was created a Viceroy's Commissioned Officer by virtue of that promotion.

In August 1942 he was appointed Acting Head, Assistant with the equivalent rank of a substantive Subedar Major. It is his grievance that he has suffered heavily since 1942 because of sheer prejudice against him and negligence of his superior officers. He refers in his plaint to promotions granted to other officers which according to him were mysterious. In June 1946 he was awarded Older of British India (II Class) and in June 1947 he was awarded the rank of Honorary Lieutenant in the army.

A discharge order against the plaintiff with effect from 18-5-1948 was passed by the authorities on 29-5-1948 and was served on him on 5-6-1948. Before this order of discharge the plaintiff had been served with an order dated 30-1-1948 by which he was ordered to proceed to his old post as civilian clerk on permanent duty & on arrival he was directed to report to the Commandant at Jabbalpore, and a requisite warrant for the purpose was issued.

It appears that the plaintiff was not willing to-go back and serve in his original post. He did not at any time report to the Commandant at Jabbalpore as it was his contention that he was not bound to do so. A notice under Section 80, Civil P. C. was served by him on the Union of India and a suit, being Suit No. 951 of 1949, for a declaration that his discharge from service was unlawful and for damages was filed by him in this Court in July 1949. That suit however was withdrawn by him with leave under Order 23.

On 4-4-1951 the plaintiff was served with an order of removal from service. That order stated that explanations given by him in the correspondence that had gone before had been found unsatisfactory and he was being removed with effect from the date of that letter from his post of civilian clerk on the ground of 'continued and wilful disobedience of orders'. The letter stated that the plaintiff had deliberately failed to resume his civilian appointment in the army on which he had a lien on discharge from combatant engagement. The orders challenged by the plaintiff in the suit principally are the two of discharge dated 29-5-1948 and of dismissal dated 4-4-1951.

3. Mr. K. K. Desai learned counsel for the defendant has argued that the plaintiff's claim so far as it is based on wrongful dismissal or discharge does not disclose any cause of action. It is argued that if the order of dismissal of 4-4-1951 is taken into consideration the plaintiff was a member of the defence service and his case is covered by Article 310 of the Constitution and if the order of discharge dated 29-5-1948 be taken into consideration the plaintiff would still have no cause of action against the defendant because his service was during the pleasure of the Crown.

In effect? the contention is that whatever be the order of dismissal that may be taken into consideration the claim on the looting of wrongful dismissal is not maintainable. The cause of action relating to the contention of the plaintiff about the order of dismissal dated 4-4-1951 complained of by the plaintiff may be first considered.

4. Article 310 of the Constitution is as follows:

'Except as expressly provided by this Constitution every person who is a member of a defence service or of a civil service of the Union or of an all-India service or holds any post connected with defence or any civil post under, the Union holds office during the pleasure of the President, and very person who is a member of a civil service of a State or holds any civil post under a State holds office during the pleasure of the Governor of, as the case may be, the Rajpramukh of the State.

2. Notwithstanding that a person holding a civil post under the Union or a State holds office during the pleasure of the President or, as the case may be, of the Governor or Rajpramukh of the State, any contract under which a person not being a member of a defence service or of an all India service or of a civil service of the Union or a State, is appointed under this Constitution to hold such a post may, if the President or the Governor or the Rajpramukh, as the case may be, deems it necessary in order to secure the services of a person having special qualifications provide for the payment to him of compensation, if before the expiration of an agreed period that post is abolished or he is for reasons not connected with any misconduct on his part required to vacate that post.'

Very briefly stated the argument is that noright of action against the Union of India can accrue to a member of the defence service even if his service is terminated arbitrarily and without assigning any cause since the Constitution in terms provides that the serviceman holds his post at the pleasure of the President. Learned counsel in support of hispresent contention has relied on a decision of the Punjab High Court, 'Union of India v. Ramchand' .

Now that case was not decided under Article 310 of the Constitution. It is true that in that case the view has been expressed by a Division Bench of that High Court that the question whether the dismissal or removal of a member of the defence service is arbitrary or not is not a justifiable issue. Mr. Iyer, however, is right when he says that the arguments urged before me do not appear to have been presented to the Court in that case on either of the aspects indicated above that arise for my consideration. It is necessary to examine those arguments. .

5. Now it is obvious that Article 310 so far as it relates to a member of the defence service lays down in terms both express and explicit that in the absence of any provision of the Constitution and subject to the exception to which I shall presently refer:

'every person who is a member of a defence service ..... or holds post connected with defence ..... holds office during the pleasure of the President'.

The limitation or exception contained in the initial part of the Article has no bearing to any such case. The special provision contemplated by that exception relates to the tenure of the Judges of the Supreme Court, Judges of the High Court, Comptroller and Auditor General, etc. and not to the tenure of one in defence service or holding post connected with defence. The other exception indicated by me is engrafted in Clause (2) of Article 310.

In reference to the defence service it relates to a person who is not a member of the regular defence service but is appointed to hold any special post on ground of special qualifications. In case of any such person the contract of service may provide for payment of compensation to him in case of premature termination of his service.

6. Neither of the exceptions can apply to the present case. They are the only exceptions to the general rule that a person holding any post in defence service is dismissible at will. The rule has its origin in the expression 'durante bene placito' (during pleasure) but analogy to the corresponding rule of English law requires that it be differentiated from that rule in the extent of its application.

A number of decisions relating to dismissal of persons holding civilian posts were cited at the Bar but for the purpose of the present point it is not necessary for me to examine any of those cases. It would conduce to simplicity and brevity it I refrain from considering the application of the rule relating to persons holding civilian posts and confine my observations solely to the tenure of the defence personnel.

So restricting myself I find that Article 310 inevitably leads to the conclusion that a member of the defence service is dismissible at will unless he is protected by any of the restrictions and limitations provided for by the Article itself. Restrictions and limitations on the exercise of the 'pleasure of the President' as I have already pointed out are not applicable to the case of the plaintiff and his case would therefore be clearly covered by the rules relating to service 'durante bene placito' and on that view of the matter the claim made by the plaintiff would not be justifiable under Article 310, if it fell under that Article because he could have no right of action against the Union of India for wrongful dismissal.

7. But it has been strongly urged before me by Mr. Iyer learned counsel for the defendant that Article 310 of the Constitution is no bar to the maintainability of such a suit where there is a statute which lays down rules relating to conditions of service applicable to a member of the defence service. It is said that the Army Act, 1950, and the Rules and Regulations made thereunder, in terms provide for dismissal, removal or reduction of any such person.

Learned counsel has strongly relied on certain observations of Mahajan C. J. in 'The state of Bihar v. Abdul Majid' : (1954)IILLJ678SC . At p. 250 of the report the learned Chief Justice observed as follows:

'The rule that a civil servant holds office at the pleasure of the Crown has its original in the Latin phrase 'durante bene placito' ('during pleasure') meaning that the tenure' of office of a civil servant, except where it is otherwise provided by statute, can be terminated at any time without cause assigned. The true scope and effect of this expression is that even if a special contract has been made with the civil servant the Crown is not bound thereby.

In other words civil servants are liable to dismissal without notice and there is no right of action for wrongful dismissal that is, that they cannot claim damages for premature termination of their services.

This rule of English law has not been fully adopted in Section 240. Section 240 itself places restrictions & limitations on the exercise of that pleasure and those restrictions must be given effect to. They are imperative and mandatory. It follows therefore that whenever there is a breach of restrictions imposed by the statute by the Government or the Crown the matter is justifiable and the party aggrieved is entitled to suitable relief at the hands of the Court.

As pointed out earlier in this judgment, there is no warrant for the proposition that the relief must be limited to the declaration and cannot go beyond it. To the extent that the rule that Government servants hold office during pleasure has been departed from by the statute, the Government servants are entitled to relief like any other person under the ordinary law, and that relief therefore must be regulated by the Code of Civil Procedure.

8. It was argued relying on the latter part of the passage cited above that the Supreme Court has expressed the view that the Army Act of 1950 lays down restrictions and limitations on the exercise of the pleasure of the President and these restrictions must, therefore, be given effect to. The Army Act, it was stated was one of the Statutes of similar nature which would come within the scope of these observations of the learned Chief Justice.

Now the words 'breach of restrictions imposed by the statute' in the latter part of the passage quoted above read in their context clearly refer to the Government of India Act and the restrictions and limitations imposed by Section 240 of that enactment. They do not refer to any statute passed by the Legislature. Therefore, in my opinion, learned counsel for the plaintiff cannot derive any support for his argument from these observations.

As to the first part of the passage quoted above from the judgment of the learned Chief Justice relied on by Mr. Iyer unquestionably the position under the English law is as summarised by the learned Chief Justice. The proposition is well established under that law that except where it is otherwise provided by statute all public officers & servants of Crown (including those in the Royal Army, Navy and Air Force) hold their appointment at the pleasure of the Crown and all in general are subject to dismissal at any time without cause assigned.

A comparison of this rule with the rule enunciated under Article 310 of the constitution will show that the latter does not make any reference to any exception which may be provided by any statute to the general rule relating to tenure of ser-rice at pleasure of the President contained in it. I hare already referred to the two exceptions permissible under Article 310. Restriction or limitation on the application of the general rule contained in the initial part of Article 310 is confined to the provisions contained in the Constitution itself.

Now under the English law Parliament is Supreme and by legislation can alter any law whether it docs or does not affect the Constitution. Therefore, the rule that servants of the Crown hold their office at the pleasure of the Crown must obviously under that law be subject to any exception created by any statute of the Parliament. The position, however, under our Constitution is quite different. Except in a limited number of cases where the Constitution itself permits the Parliament to legislate on matters dealt with by the Constitution itself no alteration or change in any provision of the Constitution can be made by the Parliament.

9. On the issue of the maintainability of the suit, the plea being in demurrer, I must assume that the dismissal of the plaintiff was not in accordance with the provisions of the Army Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder.

If the tenure of the service, however, was during the pleasure of the President can it be said that the plaintiff still has a right of action for dismissal? The argument here was that the effect of Sections 22 to 24, Army Act of 1950 and the rules and regulations made thereunder was that the service of the plaintiff could not be regarded as during the pleasure of the President.

10. This argument must be negatived. In the first place it goes contrary to the express and explicit language of Article 310. Moreover it ignores Section 18, Army Act which lays down that every person subject to that Act shall hold office during the pleasure of the President. It would seem that Section 18 is enacted ex majore eautella since Article 310 lays down that a member of the defence service holds office during the pleasure of the President.

The effect of the Chapter in the Army Act is that the question of dismissal, removal or reduction of a member of the Army should be dismissal in accordance with the provisions contained in the Chapter and the rules and regulations made under Section 27 of that Act. But all that is not independent of the General rules reiterated in Section 18 of the Act, and what is more important, as laid down la Article 310 of the Constitution, but subject to the same,

Then again the sections of the Army Act and the Rules and Regulations to which I have referred do not, in my judgment lay down any stipulations as to the tenure of service. Moreover as I shall have occasion-to point out later on in my judgment these sections do not in any way affect the rule relating to tenure of service being terminable at will. They must in any case be read with Section 18.

It would not be permissible to exclude the operation of that section even when it is read along with the other provisions of the Act. Therefore, even if I were to accept the. contention that Article 310 permits any statute of Parliament modifying the general rule contained in it so far as it affects the defence personnel the conclusion would still have to be that the tenure of service was during the pleasure of the President.

There is no room, however, for any such, restriction or modification being introduced in Article 310 because no provisions of the Army Act can in any way affect or modify the general rule laid down in that article. In this connection as I have already pointed out it is necessary to have regard to the difference that must obtain between any statute of the Parliament in England and any enactment of the Union Parliament.

The legislative powers of the Union Parliament though Supreme and sovereign in its own sphere are exercisable only within the framework of the Constitution and cannot transgress upon any rule laid down in the Constitution.

11. Different considerations must arise when I have to ascertain the legal position as to the tenure of service of a- member of the defence service prior to the coming into operation of the Constitution in 1950 and the Indian Army Act, 1950. The Indian Army Act, 1911 was in force prior to 1950. The contention of the plaintiff is that the Army Act of 1911 read with the rules and regulations framed thereunder save him as right en-forcible by action to hold his office in accordance with these provisions & the procedure prescribed by the same. The contention urged on behalf of the defendant is that there is no actionable right conferred on the plaintiff toy the provisions.

It is not disputable and indeed not disputed that prior to 1950 the true rule of the matter was that a member of the defence services held office at the pleasure of the Crown with the result that his tenure of office unless it was otherwise provided by statute could be terminated at any time without cause assigned. He was not entitled even to the limited guarantee that was assured to a member of the Civil service of the Crown by Section 93B, Government of India Act, 1919, nor to the wide safeguard and protection that was given to the Civil Servant of the Crown by Section 240, Government of India, 1935. He was liable to dismissal without notice and he had no right of action for wrongful dismissal, unless the Army Act, 1911 gave him any protection or guarantee for his tenure of service.

I have observed that the true rule of the matter stated above is undisputable. That rule has nowhere been stated with greater lucidity than in two decisions of English Courts to which reference may profitably be made. In Dunn v. The Queen (1896) 1 QB 116, (C), Lord Herschell at p. 119 of the report observed:

'I take it that persons employed as the petitioner was in the service of the Crown except in cases where there is some statutory provision for a higher tenure of office, are ordinarily engaged on the understanding that they hold their employment at the pleasure of the Crown. So I think that there must be imported into the contract for the employment of the petitioner the term which is applicable to civil servant in general viz., that the Crown may put an end to the employment at its pleasure.'

Then again in Shenton v. Smith 1895 A.C. 229 (D) Lord Hobhouse stated:

'They consider that, unless in special cases where it is otherwise provided servants of the Crown hold their office during the pleasure of the Crown; not by virtue of any special prerogative of the Crown but because such are the terms of their engagements as is well understood throughout the public service. If any public servant considers that he has been dismissed unjustly, his remedy is not by a law-suit, but by an appeal of an official or political kind'.

12. That being the inevitable legal position the controversy that has been raised before me is whether there is anything in any Rules or Regulations contained in the Army Act of 1911 which can be said to have the effect of regulating or modifying the rigour of the rule that a member of the defence personnel was dismissible at will.

Rules and Regulations on which the plaintiff relies are very similar in nature to the class of rules which their Lordships of the Privy Council in Venkata Rao v. Secy. of State (E) to which I shall presently refer regarded as manifold in principle, most minute in particularity and are all capable of change and do not give any express right to the plaintiff enforceable by action to hold his office in accordance with those rules and the question remains whether the plaintiff is dismissible notwithstanding the failure to observe the procedure prescribed by them.

It is therefore necessary to examine the provisions of the Army Act 1911, so much relied upon by the Plaintiff and see whether they are sufficient to displace the broad general rule that a Military man's tenure of service is held during the pleasure of the President or could be held during the pleasure of the Crown prior to the corning into force of the Constitution.

13. To turn to the Army Act, 1911, Chapter 3 of that Act lays down the regulations relating to 'dismissal and discharge'. The only provisions of that Act on which Mr. Iyer has sought to found his arguments may be fully stated. They are Sections. 13, 14 and 16 and are as follows:

13. (1) The Central Government may dismiss from the service any person subject to this Act.

(2) The Commander-in-Chief in India may dismiss from the service any person subject to this Act other than an Indian Commissioned Officer.

14. The Officer Commanding an Army, Army Corps division or Brigade or any prescribed office may dismiss from the service any person serving under his command other than an officer.

10. The prescribed authority may in conformity With any rules prescribed in this behalf discharge from the service any person subject to this Act.

Greatest reliance was placed on these provisions of the Army Act of 1911 and on a decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Gould v. Stuart 1896 AC 575 (F), (in appeal from the Supreme Court of Australia) to which I shall presently advert, and it was urged that these provisions were -- as similar provisions have been in the decision relied upon -- held to be manifestly intended for the protection and benefit of the officer and were inconsistent with what was described as the 'pleasure tenure' and clearly restricted the powers of the Crown in that respect.

It is not necessary to burden this judgment with a detailed examination of the provisions in the Civil Services Act 1834 the enactment applicable in Australia, which came to be considered in that appeal. The whole tenor of that Act shows that the previsions were manifestly intended to prevent the Government from terminating the employment of a Civil servant at any time it liked.

The clear effect of the provisions contained in that enactment was that a Civil servant held office till retirement or during good behaviour and could only be dismissed on special grounds and in a special manner provided by the Act itself. The construction that the provisions were inconsistent with the power of the Crown to dismiss at will was obviously warranted by those terms & the provisions were of such a nature that to disregard them or hold that they recognised the continuance of the General common law rule as the tenure would have rendered them superfluous, useless and delusive.

There is no analogy between the provisions of that enactment and the three sections of the Indian Army Act already quoted by me. There is nothing in these three sections which in my judgment, can be said to qualify much less abrogate the General rule about the tenure of a service man being durante bene placito.

14. There is another consideration of the matter. It seems to me that the principle underlying the rule should apply with greater force to a member of the defence service than to a civil servant. Article 311 of the Constitution and the provisions of Section 240, Government of India Act, 1935, in which there is no reference at all to a member of the defence service are to a degree illustrative of the principle. But I do not lay any great stress on this implications of the rule.

15. Considerable guidance may be derived from a later decision of the Privy Council (in an appeal from India) (E) and from which learned counsel for the defendant has sought greatest support. The decision in appeal from Australia was also referred to and considered by their Lordships in that case.

16. The line of demarcation may not be easy to draw but the two Privy Council cases referred to above are illustrative of the principle and that principle has been summed up and applied after weighty considerations by Lord Roche in Venkata Rao's case (E). I shall quote them in extenso:

'There are two decisions of this Board much discussed in the Courts below which state the principle to be applied to cases such as this. The first is Shenton v. Smith, (D), relied upon by the respondent, and the other is Gould v. Stuart (F) relied upon for the appellant. In the first case Dr. Smith held office in the Government Medical Service in Western Australia and relied upon certain rules and regulations of the service as an essential part of his contract of service. He was dismissed and brought an action for damages which failed.

Upon appeal to Her Majesty in Council, Lord Hobhouse, in giving their Lordships' judgment, said 'It appears to their Lordships that the proper grounds of decision on this case have been expressed by Stone J. in the Full Court. They considered that unless in special cases where it is otherwise provided, servants of the Crown hold their offices during the pleasure of the Crown; not by virtue of any special prerogative of the Crown but because such are the terms of their engagement as is well understood throughout the public service. If any public servant considers that he has been dismissed unjustly, his remedy is not by a law-suit, but by an appeal of an official or political kind. .... As for the regulations their Lordships again agree with Stone J. that they are merely directions given by the Crown to the Governments of Crown Colonies for general guidance and that they do not constitute a contract between the Crown and its servants'.

A special case such as was contemplated in the above cited passage occurred in Gould's case (F), where the Board consisting of three members, two of whom had sat in Shenton's case (D), held that the respondent Stuart held office in New South Wales under certain conditions expressly enacted in the body of the New South Wales Civil Service Act 18134, and that these express provisions of the statute were 'inconsistent with importing into the contract of service the term that the Crown may put an end to it at his pleasure'. The question is: Does the present case fall into the general category defined and illustrated by Shenton's case (D), or the more exceptional category defined and illustrated by Gould's case (F)?

On the facts it stands somewhere between the two cases inasmuch as here the rules are expressly and closely related to the employment by the statute itself. In these circumstances difference of judicial view in India has manifested itself. These are decisions favourable to the present appellant in Satishchandra Das v. Secy. of State : AIR1927Cal311 (G): in J. R. Baroni v. Secy. of State AIR 1929 Rang 207 (H); and to some extent also in Bimalcharan v. Trustees for the Indian Museum : AIR1930Cal404 (I).

On the other hand both Courts in the present case have adopted the contrary view. In their Lordships' opinion the judgments in the Courts below expressed the correct view. The reasons which have led their Lordships to this conclusion may be shortly stated: Section 96B In express terms states that office is held during pleasure. There is therefore no need for the implication of this term and no room for its exclusion. The argument for a limited and special kind of employment during pleasure but with an added contractual term that the rules are to be observed is at once too artificial and too far-reaching to commend itself for acceptance. The rules are manifold in number and most minute in particularity, and are all capable of change.

Counsel for the appellant nevertheless contended with most logical consistency that on the appellant's contention an action would lie for any breach of any of these rules as for example of the rules as to leave and pensions and very many other matters. Inconvenience is not a final consideration in a matter of construction but it is at least worthy of consideration, and it can hardly be doubted that the suggested procedure of control by the Courts over Government in the most detailed work of managing its services would cause not merely inconvenience but confusion.

There is another consideration which seems to their Lordships to be of the utmost weight. Section 93B and the rules make careful provisions for redress of grievances by administrative process, and it is to be observed that Sub-section (5) in conclusion reaffirms the supreme authority of the Secretary of State in Council over the Civil service. These considerations have irresistibly led their Lordships to the conclusion that no such right of action as is contended for by the appellant exists'.

Applying the principle enunciated in this case and bearing in mind the distinction to be drawn between cases which may fall on either side of the line indicated by their Lordships I have no hesitation in reaching the conclusion that the easel of a member of the defence service to whom the provisions of the Army Act, 1911, were or are applicable was not outside but within the ambit of the I general rule that he held his post during the pleasure of the Crown, and after the coming into force of the Constitution during the pleasure of the President.

The result is also justifiable as a matter of logic and accords with the principle underlying the rule. Argumentum ab inconvenienti is not always without force in law and the observations of Lord Roche set out above clearly show that in a matter of this nature it is at least worthy of consideration. In the result the preliminary issue as to the maintainability of the suit must be answered in the negative and against the plaintiff.

17. The defendant has also raised the plea of limitation. The plaintiff's case in so far as he seeks relief against the order of dismissal is obviously not barred by limitation. But limitation is a bar in respect of some of the reliefs sought by him in this suit. He seeks a declaration that the, distinction of the Order of British India which was a military honour conferred upon him has been unlawfully taken away from him and there should be a declaration given by the Court in that behalf. He also seeks a declaration that he is entitled to the award of monetary allowance attached to that distinction.

The article of the Limitation Act applicable to the case of the kind in respect of which the plaintiff seeks relief is Article 14, Limitation Act. That article provides that in case of a suit to set aside any act or order of an officer of the Government in his official capacity not expressly otherwise provided for the period of limitation is one year from the date of the act or order.

18. Another relief sought by the plaintiff is that a sum of Rs. 2,837-1-0 is due to him as arrears of salary and allowances. The particulars of these are given by him in the plaint. The suit was filed by him in August 1951 and the amounts claimed by him are in respect of periods of time more than three years prior to August 1951. His claim for these arrears is therefore obviously barred by lapse of time.

19. When the arguments on the two preliminary issues dealt with by me above were nearing conclusion learned counsel for the plaintiff informed me that the defendant had not raised any issue on the question of certain reliefs sought by the plaintiff in respect of certain premises which he was occupying by virtue of his office in the Army. The question was of law and it was not incumbent on the defendant to raise any specific issue in that connection.

An issue has now been raised by Mr. Desai in respect of that contention of the plaintiff. The plaintiff's case is that possession of these premises was intended to be taken away from him by the defendants under the provisions of the Government Premises (Eviction) Act, 1950, which Act according to him was ultra vires of the Constitution. Two articles of the Constitution, Article 44 and Article 32(1) were relied on by the plaintiff in his plaint in that behalf.

Learned Counsel for the plaintiff conceded that Article 32(1) of the Constitution cannot possibly have any bearing on this contention. It was urged, however, on behalf of the plaintiff that Article 44 of the Constitution was violated when this Act was put on the Statute Book. There was very little said in support of this contention and I wholly fail to see how Article 44 of the Constitution can be appealed to in support of the present contention. The contention must be negatived.

20. My findings on the issues are:

Issue No. 1 in the negative.

Issue No. 2 in the affirmative.

Issues Nos. 10, 11 and 12 in the negative.

21. In the result the suit will be dismissed. The plaintiff will pay the defendant's costs of the suit.

22. Suit dismissed.


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