Anantanarayana Ayyar, J.
1. The petitioner is G. Krishna Reddy. The 1st respondent is the State of Andhra Pradesh represented by the Secretary, Home Department, Hyderabad. The second respondent is the Andhra Pradesh State Bond Transport Corporation (hereinafter referred to for the sake of convenience as A.P.S.R.T.C.), represented by its Chairman. The petitioner has filed this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, praying
'that this court may be pleased to call for the records relating to the discharge notice No. 02/3320/II, dated the 12th June, 1957 issued by the General Manager, Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Department (Now Chairman, State Road Transport Corporation) by issue of a writ of certiorari or any other appropriate writ or order or direction and quash the same, and pass such other or further orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit.'
2. The relevant facts which are necessary and sufficient for disposal of this writ petition in the view we take of the matter arise as follows :
3. The petitioner was working as a conductor in the Road Transport Department having been entertained in the said department in the year 1952 (on 14-11-1952). A report was made against him by one Radhakrishna, a travelling ticket Inspector on 5-3-1957 in connection with commission of certain irregularities relating to tickets and cash. The General Manager put the petitioner under suspension on 8-3-1957 and served a memo of charges on him. The General Manager finally passed orders on 12-6-1957 discharging the petitioner from service, that is, removing the petitioner from service.
Thereupon, the petitioner filed an appeal to the Government on 8-8-1957 against the order. It is beyond dispute that what was called an order of discharge was in effect an order of removal from service. The Government did not dispose of his appeal themselves. They simply directed the petitioner to have correspondence in the matter with the State Road Transport Corporation which was newly formed on 11-1-1958.
4. The contention of the petitioner is as follows :
5. He was not afforded any opportunity to prove his innocence. The enquiry was not conducted in accordance with the Rules. The Government have not disposed of the appeal which he filed as early as 8-8-1957. The State Road Transport Corporation has absolutely no jurisdiction or power to hear or dispose of the appeal which the petitioner had preferred properly to the Government.
6. In the counter -affidavit filed by the second respondent, it has been urged as follows :
7. The enquiry was held properly and in accordance with law and the Rules. The petitioner's appeal was really dated the 15th Tune, 1957 and not the 8th August, 1957 as alleged by him (petitioner). That appeal was examined by the competent appellate authority (viz., the Vice-Chairman of the A.P.S.R.T.C.) and was rejected. The petitioner was also informed of this, through a letter dated 9-7-1958.
8. It is common case of both parties that the appeal was properly filed before the Government and that as things stood at the time of filing, the Government would have had to dispose of the appeal. It is urged on behalf of the respondents that the action of the Government, in sending the appeal to the A.P.R.T.C. was proper and in conformity with the law. It is further urged that, after the formation of the A.P.R.T.C. only the Corporation had the jurisdiction and the Government did not have any jurisdiction to dispose of the appeal. On behalf of the petitioner, it is contended that he never became a servant of the A.P.R.T.C. and that the latter had no right or authority over him so as to invest it with the jurisdiction to dispose of the appeal.
9. On behalf of the second respondent, reliance is placed on certain rules by which the assets and liabilities of the Road Transport Department (including buses) were transferred to the Corporation. Learned Counsel for the second respondent represents that the Rules are framed under Section 34 of the Road Transport Corporation Act, 1950 '(No. LXIV of 1950): That section runs as follows :
'34 Directions by the State Government: --(1). The State Government may, after consultation with a Corporation established by such Government, give to the Corporation general instructions to be followed by the Corporation, and such instructions may include directions relating to the recruitment, conditions of service and training of ITS employees, wages to be paid to the employees, reserves to be maintained by it and disposal of its profits or stocks .....'
It is clear that the Rules framed under Section 34 can relate only to ITS employees' that is, employees of the A.P.R.T.C. The petitioner was a servant of the Government in the Road Transport Department. His contention, that he never became a servant of the A.P.R.T.C. is prima facie correct. The mere fact, that the assets and liabilities of the Road Transport Department were transferred to, the A.P.R.T.C., does not mean that, in law, the petitioner became a servant of the latter (A.P.R.T.G.) or that the latter got any other jurisdiction to dispose of the appeal dated the 15th June, 1957 which had been filed by the petitioner and was pending before the Government.
In his writ petition, the petitioner has referred to the General Manager, Road Transport Department who passed the order of discharge as (Now Chairman, Road Transport Corporation.) But this does not affect the question whether the petitioner became a servant of the A.P.R.T.C. The learned advocate for the second respondent is not able to show that the petitioner, at any time, became an employee of the A.P.R.T.C.
10. The learned counsel has shown us a copy of the notice dated 21-12-1957 which was issued by the General Manager under which the General Manager gave notice to all the employees of the Road Transport Department that their services would not be required by the Government with effect from the date of the establishment of the Corporation and called upon, them to intimate in writing whether they were willing to serve under the Corporation or whether they were willing to retire from Government service.
It is not urged on behalf of the second respondent that this notice was issued to the petitioner or served on him or that he gave any intimation in writing as required in the notice. In fact on the date of the notice dated 21-12-1957, the name of the petitioner had apparently ceased to be on the rolls of the Road Transport Department because of the order of discharge dated 12-6-1957. A perusal of the notice suggests that even from the point of view of the Government, its employees in the Road Transport Department did not automatically became the employees of the A.P.R.T.C. on the formation of the latter on 114-1958.
So, we agree with the contention of the petitioner that the only authority competent to dispose of the appeal was the Government who had entertained the appeal and had not ceased to have jurisdiction and that the A.P.R.T.C. had no jurisdiction to dispose of the appeal and that, therefore, the disposal of and order on the appeal by the A.P. R.T.C. were not proper or valid disposal and order of appeal, by proper competent authority. Consequently, we direct that the appeal should be heard and disposed of by the Government according to law.
A writ of mandamus will issue accordingly. In view of the fact that an appeal had been properly filed before the competent authority (the Government) and had to be disposed of by it, we do not go into the question as to whether the enquiry had been properly conducted in accordance with law--a matter which can be decided by the appellate authority.
11. The writ petition is accordingly allowedwith costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/-.