Doddakale Gowda, J.
1. Validity of memorandum dated 19-1-1974 of P & T Board New Delhi, by which petitioner has been denied deputation allowance for the period he worked in that department in Karnataka is questioned in this Writ Petition.
2. Admittedly, petitioner is a personnel borne on Central Public Works Department (hereinafter referred to as 'CPWD'). P & T Department had no Engineering Wing to carry on its work. Personnel from C.P.W.D. were being drafted on deputation to P & T Department for executing Engineering works.
As per Letter No. l(2)/60-EWI dated 22-6-1963 Officers including work charged staff belonging to C.P.W.D. working in P & T Wing were transferred to P & T Department on the same scales of pay and allowances as those applicable to them while working in C.P.W.D. as it started its own Civil Engineering Wing of the Department with effect from 1-7-1963. On 5-7-1972 it was decided to repatriate personnels of C.P.W.D, in phased programme and to recruit staff of its own. While, process of absorption after giving notice of option or repatriation was still under consideration, Sri S.L. Ahuja, Engineer Officer (Civil), Office of the D. G. P & T., New Delhi, in his letter dated 19-2-1970 addressed to Sri V. R. Sourirajan, Executive Engineer, Civil Division (P & T), Madras, conveyed revised policy of Government of India regarding payment of Deputation (Duty) allowance, enclosing a copy of Government of India letter dated 27 l-70 wherein varied rates of Deputation (Duty) allowances is specified.
Four years later, P & T Department has restricted payment of deputation (duty) allowance to only such of those who are deputed subsequent to 1-7-1963 denying sameprivilege or benefit to personnel deputed earlier, vide Memorandum dated 19-1-1974, Annexure-B. Relevant portion of this memorandum reads thus:
'2. Some time past the question of grant of deputation (duty) allowance to the CPWD Officers who are or were on deputation to the P&T; Civil Wing has been under consideration of the Government (P&T; Board). This question assumed importance all the more when it was finally decided by the Government (P&T; Board) that all CPWD Officers on deputation to the P&T; Civil Wing will be repatriated back to their parent department in a phased programme as and when P&T; Officers are in a position to replace them. This question was discussed in an inter-departmental meeting held on 24-8-73 of the Officers belonging to the Ministry of Works & Housing. Finance, Department of Personal and Administrative Reforms and P&T; Department.
3. After taking into account the decisions taken in the above meeting, the President is pleased to decide insuper session of all previous orders and instructions on the subject that :
(i) The CPWD Officers who came to the P&T; Department along with the integration of the Civil Engineering works will not be entitled to any deputation (duty) allowance for the period they worked or will work in the P&T; Civil Wing. If these Officers do not desire to continue in the P&T; Civil Wing, without deputation (duty) allowance, they may seek repatriation to their, parent department.
(ii) The Central Public Works Department Officers other than those mentioned in (i) above and who joined the P&T; Department subsequently will be eligible for drawal of deputation (duty) allowance in accordance with terms and conditions laid down under Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure OM.No. 10(24) E III (B) 60 dated 27-1-70.'
3. Contention of Sri K.R.D. Karanth, Learned Counsel for petitioner is sub-clause (i) which has denied deputation allowance and portion of sub clause (ii) restricting payment of allowance to such of those who have joined P&T; Department subsequent to 1-7-1963 are arbitrary and discriminatory. It is submitted that there is no justification to pay deputation (duty) allowance to such of those whose services are deputed to the Department subsequent to 1-7-1963 and to deny the same privilege or benefit to officials deputed earlier. The selection of date for making distinction between Officers deputed earlier and later has no relevance or nexus with the object with which allowance is granted, as both serve P&T; Department on deputation. Admittedly, persons deputed either anterior to 1-7-1963 or subsequent to 1-7-1963 have not lost their lien in CPWD and while working in P & T Department they must necessarily be treated as onDeputation or Foreign service. If that is so, it is not possible to discern why Department has fixed 1-7-1963 as a date to make such distinction amongst Officers of the same category. P & T Department might have, decided to have CivilEngineering Wing of the Department with effect from 1-7-1963, but repatriation is in phased programme till recruitment of staff of its own. Option given to such of those officers to repatriate themselves is no ground to deny deputationallowance so long as they work in P & T Department, though their deputation is voluntary. So long as the Department intends to avail of the services of officials of C.P.W.D. it is not permissible for the department to make suchdiscrimination.
4. Denial of revised rates of Dearness allowance to pensioners retired prior to a particular date and grant to persons retired subsequent to a particular date has been held to be discriminatory in D.S. Nakara & Others - v. - Union of India. The relevant portion reads thus :
'53. The Court held that the Central Government cannot pick out a date from a hat and that is what it seems to have done in saying that a period prior to that date would not be deemed to be approved by the Central Government within the second proviso. In case before us, the eligibility criteria for being eligible, for liberalised pension scheme has been picked out from where it is difficult to gather and no rationale is discernible nor one was attempted at the hearing.'
Ultimately, applying theory of severance held that a portion of the memorandum specifying the date to discriminate persons retired anterior and subsequent to that particular date violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India and quashed only offending portion and revised rates of Dearness* : (1983)ILLJ104SC allowance is directed to be paid irrespective of dates of retirement. Grant of largess cannot be arbitrary. It must have nexus with the object intended to be achieved- Grant bf deputation (duty) allowance is a sort of an incentive to personnel of CPWD, to work in P & T Department. Having regard to that object there is no justification to make a distinction amongst officers of the same department granting deputation allowance to one set of officers, viz., deputed sub-sequent to 1-7-1963 and to deny the same to officers deputed anterior to that date. Sub-clause (i) and words in Sub-clause (ii) 'other than those mentioned in (i) above, who joined sub-sequently' of clause-3 of Memorandum dated 19-1-1974 being unreasonable, bearing no nexus with payment of deputation allowance, which could beserved from that portion conferring benefit have to be struck down and are accordingly struck down.
5. Sri Padmarajaiah, Learned Counsel appearing for Respondents, vehemently urged that Writ Petition is liable to be dismissed on the ground of laches as well as want of jurisdiction. In para-7 of the Writ Petition, petitioner has offered explanation for the delay in approaching this Court for necessary redress and there is no reason to disbelieve this statement. The claim relates to the period when the petitioner was working in Karnataka, hence this Court has got jurisdiction to decide the validity or otherwise of the impugned Official Memorandum.
6. In the result, Writ Petition succeeds. Sub-Clause (i) and words 'other than those mentioned in (i) above & who joined subsequently' in Sub-clause (ii) of para-3 ofMemorandum dated 19-1-1974, Annexure-B, issued by 2nd Respondent are hereby quashed. Respondents are directed to pay deputation (duty) allowance to petitioner for the period he worked on deputation in the State of Karnataka in the same way, in which it is being given to other personnel of P & T Department, whose services have been deputed subsequent to 1-7-1963. Rule made absolute.