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Bairagi Ram Vs. State of U.P. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Appeal No. 77 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1966All92
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 14, 16(2), 311 and 311(2); Police Act, 1861 - Sections 7
AppellantBairagi Ram
RespondentState of U.P. and ors.
Appellant AdvocateM.L. Trivedi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....article 14 and sub-article (2) of article 16 of constitution of india - state allowed to terminate services of temporary employee in accordance with the rules with or without disciplinary proceedings - on one month's notice or payment of one month's salary in lieu required - termination cannot be challenged under article 311. (ii) applicability of rules - section 7 of police act, 1861 - termination of service of government servant - particular rule not applicable to police force - consistent with provision of section 2 and section 7 of police act, 1861 - held, not contrary. - - it is thus alleged that the order of termination is bad in so faras it has not been passed in accordance with the requirements of article 311 of the constitution. it is well settled that it is open to the state..........relevant statutory rules governing temporary appointments or appointments or probationers. such a temporary servant can also be dismissed in a punitive way; that means that the appropriate authority possesses two powers to terminate the services of a temporary public servant; it can either discharge him purporting to exercise its power under the terms of contract or the relevant rule, and in that ease, it would be a straightforward and direct case of discharge and nothing more; in such a case, article 311 will not apply. the authority can also act under its power to dismiss a temporary servant and make an order of dismissal in a straightforward way; in such a case, article 311 will apply. 11. this simple position is sometimes complicated by the fact that even while exercising its power.....
Judgment:

L. Prasad, J.

1. This is a special appeal from the judgment, dated August 23, 1963, of a learned single Judge dismissing the appellants petition under Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing the notice, dated 20th May 1961, by which respondent No. 3 terminated the services of the appellant and for ordering the respondents to treat the appellant as continuing In service.

2. Sri Bairagi Ram, the appellant, was recruited as a temporary Sub-Inspector by the respondent No. 3 on 1st January, 1956. It appears that while he was posted at Police Station, Goshainganj, he was suspended on a charge of illegal detention of a person at thepolice station and tried departmentally under Section 7 of the Police Act but subsequently he was reinstated and the proceedings were dropped. In 1961 he was posted as Second Officer at Police Station, Pisawan. The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Lucknow Range, Lucknow, namely, respondent No. 3 on the occasion of his winter inspection in 1961 made an adverse entry against the appellant in the following words:--'S.-I. Bairagi Ram who was enlisted on 1-1-1956 is posted as 2nd officer, P. S. Pisawan, in spite of reprimand at my last inspection; the S. P. reports that this S.-I. has not yet settled down to hard and honest work. He is being finally warned for removal from service if In the next three months he does not get a clean chit from the S. P.'

This entry, according to the allegations of the appellant, was not communicated to him till the 2nd of June, 1961, whereas his services were terminated by a notice, dated the 20th of May, 1961 which was given to him by respondent No. 3 in the following words:--

'Sri Bairagi Ram,

Temporary Sub-Inspector of Police,

Sitapur.

In accordance with the terms of your appointment contained in appointment (B) Department Notification No. 230/II-B-1963, dated January 30, 1953, your services, which are temporary, are terminated with immediate effect and you are being paid one month's pay in lieu of one month's notice.'

The main contention of the appellant is that even though the order by which his services came to be terminated appears to be an order of termination simpliciter in accordance with the terms of his employment, in reality it Is an order of dismissal or removal because at the time he was given the notice no less than 700 Sub-Inspectors of Police junior to him were working and were retained. It is thus alleged that the order of termination is bad in so faras it has not been passed in accordance with the requirements of Article 311 of the Constitution. The other contention of the appellant is that even if the order in question be not taken as violative of Article 311 of the Constitution it is violative of Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution in so far as the appellant came to be picked up arbitrarily for termination of his services.

3. The learned single Judge came to the conclusion that the order of termination in the instant case was not a camouflaged order and was not accordingly violative of Article 313 of the Constitution. On the other question raised by the appellant the finding of the learned single Judge is that so long as the appellant continued to be a temporary government servant his services were liable to termination by one month's notice or on payment of one month's salary in lieu of notice without considering the question of juniority or seniority and hence there was no question of any discrimination or the order being violative of Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution. In view of the said findings the learned single Judge dismissed the petition. Hence, the petitioner has come up in appeal.

4. We have heard the appellant's counsel at some length. Besides raising the above mentioned two points the appellant's counsel raised one more point before us, namely, that the rule which lays down that the services of temporary Government servants are liable to termination by one month's notice or on payment of one month's salary in lieu of notice, cannot be applied to the members of the Police Force in view of the provisions of Sections 2 and 7 of the Police Act, 1861 and those of the Regulations framed under Section 7 of the Act.

5. The first contention of the appellant's counsel is that the order of termination passed in the instant case is in fact an order of dismissal or removal and as such it was incumbent on the authority competent to pass the order to observe the requirements of Article 311 of the Constitution in passing that order. There is no doubt that a temporary Government servant is as much entitled to the benefit of Article 311 of the Constitution as a permanent employee. Subject to the contention of the appellant's counsel that the rule governing the services of the temporary Government servants which provides that the same are liable to termination on one month's notice or on payment of one month's salary in lieu of notice is notapplicable to the members of the Police Force, it is not in dispute that the services of a temporary Government servant are, in accordance with the said rule, terminable on one month'snotice or on payment of one month's salary in lieu of notice. It is well settled that it is open to the State to terminate the services of a temporary employee in accordance with the aforesaid rule without taking resort to disciplinary proceedings which have to be initiated if it is intended to punish him and if the State in a particular case terminates the services of a temporary employee in accordance with the said rule, such a termination cannot be challenged on the ground that it has not been brought about by following the procedure envisaged by Article 311 of the Constitution. That such is thelegal position has been laid down by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in a number of cases. We may perhaps refer only to the case of Jagdish Mitter v. Union of India, AIR 1964 SC 449, wherein a number of earlier cases on the point have been reviewed. Paragraphs 10, 11 and 12 of the said report are material. These run as below:--

'10. It is true that the tenure held by a temporary public servant or a probationer is of a precarious character. His services can be terminated by one month's notice without assigning any reason either under the terms of contract which expressly provide for such termination or under the relevant statutory rules governing temporary appointments or appointments or probationers. Such a temporary servant can also be dismissed in a punitive way; that means that the appropriate authority possesses two powers to terminate the services of a temporary public servant; it can either discharge him purporting to exercise its power under the terms of contract or the relevant rule, and in that ease, it would be a straightforward and direct case of discharge and nothing more; in such a case, Article 311 will not apply. The authority can also act under its power to dismiss a temporary servant and make an order of dismissal in a straightforward way; in such a case, Article 311 will apply.

11. This simple position is sometimes complicated by the fact that even while exercising its power to terminate the services of a temporary servant under the contract or the relevant rule, the authority way in fairness enquire whether the temporary servant should he continued in service or not. It is obvious that temporary servants or probationers are generally discharged, because they are not found to be competent or suitable for the post they hold. In other words, if a temporary servant or a probationer is found to be satisfactory in his work, efficient, and otherwise eligible, it is unlikely that his services would be terminated, and so, before discharging a temporary servant, the authority may have to examine the question about the suitability of the said servant to be continued and acting bona fide in that behalf, the authority may also give a chance to the servant to explain, if any complaints are made against him, or his competence or suitability is disputed on some grounds arising from the discharge of his work but such an enquiry would be held only for the purpose of deciding whether the temporary servant should be continued or not. There is no element of punitive proceedings in such an enquiry; the idea in holding such an enquiry is not to punish the temporary servant but just to decide whether he deserves to be continued in service or not, If as a result of such an enquiry, the authority comes to the conclusion that the temporary servant is not suitable to be continued, it may pass a simple order of discharge by virtue of the powers conferred on it by the contract or the relevant rule; in such a case, it would not be open to the temporary servant to invoke the protection of Article 311 for the simple reason that the enquiry which ultimately led to his discharge was held only for the purpose ofdeciding whether the power under the contract or the relevant rule should be exercised and the temporary servant discharged.

12. On the other hand, in some cases, the authority may choose to exercise its power to dismiss a temporary servant and that would necessitate a formal departmental enquiry in that behalf. If such a formal enquiry is held, and an order terminating the services of a temporary servant is passed as a result of the finding recorded in the said enquiry, prima facie the termination would amount to the dismissal of the temporary servant. It is in this connection that it is necessary to remember cases in which the services of a temporary servant have been terminated directly as a result of the formal departmental enquiry, and cases in which such termination may not be the direct result of the enquiry; and this complication arises because it is now settled by decisions of this Court that the motive operating in the mind of the authority in terminating the services of a temporary servant does not alter the character of the termination and is not material in determining the said character, (vide Parshottam Lal Dhingra v. Union of India, 1958 SCR 828 at p. 862: ATR 1958 SC 36 at p. 49). Take a case where the authority initiates a formal departmental enquiry against a temporary servant, but whilst the enquiry is pending, it takes the view that it may not be necessary or expedient to terminate the services of the temporary servant by issuing an order of dismissal against him. In order to avoid imposing any stigma which 'an order of dismissal necessarily implies, the enquiry is stopped and an order of discharge simpliciter is served on the servant. On the authority of the decision of this Court in the case of Parshottam Lal Dhingra, 1958 SCR 828: AIR 1958 SC 36, it must be held that the termination of services of the temporary servant which in form and in substance is no more than his discharge effected under the terms of contract or the relevant rule, cannot, in law, be regarded as his dismissal, because the appointing authority was actuated by the motive that the said servant did not deserve to be continued for some alleged misconduct. That is why in dealing with temporary servants against whom formal departmental enquiries may have been commenced but were not pursued to the end, the principle that the motive operating in the mind of the authority is immaterial, has to be borne in mind.'

In view of the legal position as laid down by the Supreme Court the only material question to be determined in this case is whether the appellant has been able to substantiate his allegation that what purports to be an order of termination simpliciter is in fact an order of dismissal. In our view the appellant has entirely failed to substantiate that allegation. There is nothing on the record in support of that allegation except the fact that only a few months before the respondent No. 3 gave the notice of termination he had made an adverse entry against the appellant and further that on an earlier occasion the appellant had been suspended and departmentally tried under Section 7 of the Police Act though subsequently those proceedings were dropped. These facts by themselves are, in our opinion, wholly insufficient to justify a conclusion that what purports to be an order of termination simpliciter is in fact an order of dismissal or removal. As has been pointed by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case of Dalip Singh v. State of Punjab, AIR I960 SC 1305, while misconduct and inefficiency are factors that enter into the account where the order is one of dismissal or removal or of retirement, there is this difference that while in the case of retirement they merely furnish a background awl the enquiry, if held --and there is no duty to hold an enquiry--is only for the satisfaction of the authorities who have to take the action in the case of dismissal or removal they form the very basis on which the order is made and hence the enquiry in that case must be formal and must conform to the rules of natural justice and the requirements of Article 311(2) of the Constitution. We may here mention that in the case of Dalip Singh the Supreme Court' was concerned with the rule of compulsory retirement whereas in the instant case we are concerned with the rule providing for the termination of services of temporary employees on one month's notice or on payment of one month's salary in lieu of notice. That, however, makes no difference on principle. What is important to bear in mind in this connection is that the motive operating in the mind of the authority taking action in accordance with the aforesaid rule is of no consequence. In other words, merely because the competent authority took action in exercise of the power conferred by the said rule considering the un-suitability or inefficiency of the particular employee it is no ground to hold that the exercise of that power is tantamount to an order of dismissal or removal. After all an action for termination of a temporary employee has to be taken under the said rule for some reason. So what constituted as the background for the action is entirely immaterial for determining the nature of the action unless the facts and circumstances of a particular case necessarily lead one to the conclusion that what purports to be an order of termination simpliciter is for all intents and purposes an order of dismissal or removal as was the position, for example, in the ease of State of Bihar v. Gopi Kishore Prasad. AIR 1960 SC 689. In this case the order of discharge in terms referred to considerations which showed why the Government treated the probationer as corrupt awl unsuitable for the post he held on probation. In other words, on the face of the order a stigma was attached to the probationer who was discharged. That is why the Supreme Court upheld in that case the view taken by the Patna High Court that Article 311(2) of the Constitution was applicable. In the instant case we have no material whatsoever to enable us to reach the conclusion that what purports to be an order of termination simpliciter is in fact an order of dismissal or removal. We, accordingly, reject the contention of the appellant's counsel that the order of termination passed in the instant case is bad for itsfailure to comply with the requirements of Article 311 of the Constitution.

6. The next contention of the appellant's counsel is that the rule under consideration which lays down that the services of a temporary Government servant are liable to termination on one month's notice or on payment of one month's salary in lieu of notice being violative of Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution is bad. The argument is that the rule confers unbridled power without providing any check against an arbitrary use of that power. It is pointed out that in so far as the said rule vests arbitrary power in the hands of the Government to single out from the class a temporary Government servant for the termination of his services by giving him one month's notice, it is violative not only of the rule of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution but also of the rule of discrimination as enshrined in Article 16 which, according to the contention of the appellant's counsel, is confined not only to appointment to any office under the State but extends to all matters relating to employment which latter term certainly includes termination of one's services. In support of his contention that the expression 'matters relating to employment' occurring in Article 16 of the Constitution is wide enough to include the entire period during which an employee continues to be in the employment of the State; the learned counsel for the appellant relies on the case of Pandurang Kashinath More v. Union of India, AIR 1959 Bom 134, as also on the case of Rangachari v. General Manager, Southern Rly., Madras, AIR 1961 Mad 35. The said Bombay case is further relied upon in support of the contention that a rule like this is liable to b' struck down on the ground that it confers arbitrary power in the matter of termination of the services of a temporary Government employee. A similar question came up for consideration before a Bench of this Court in the case of Raj Kishore v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1954 All 343, in connection with the rule of compulsory retirement as contained in Rule 465 of the Civil Service Regulations. The Bench which decided that case came to the conclusion that Article 16 of the Constitution had no application and Article 14 could also not be applied since the tenure of an employee under the State is, according to the constitutional provision enshrined In Article 310 of the Constitution, at the pleasure of the Government sublect to only what is contained in Article 311 of the Constitution. The Bombay High Court in the case of AIR 1959 Bom 134 (supra) expressed its dissent from the decision of mis Court in Raj Kishore's case, AIR 1954 All 343. We are unable to find any good reason to take a view different from that taken by this Court in the case of Raj Kishore, AIR 1954 All 343. Moreover, we may mention that the presumption is that the discretion conferred on public authorities will be exercised fairly and honestly and the mere possibility of its being abused is hardly a ground to hold that rule conferring the discretion bad as discriminatory. Whenever such a discretion is exercised unfairly and dishonestly it is open to theindividual aggrieved thereby to challenge it successfully on the ground that it has been exercised male fide. A similar contention appears to have been raised in the case of Moti Ram Deka v. General Manager, North East Frontier Rly., AIR 1964 SC 600, for striking down Rules 148 (3) and 149 (3) of the Indian Railway Establishment Code. The majority judgment which was delivered by Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India did not countenance that argument though it struck down the rules on the ground that there was no rational connection between the making of such a rule and the object intended to be achieved by it in so far as the connection would clearly be in existence in several other sectors of public service and not only in the railway service to which alone among the central services the rules applied. In this connection paragraph 56 of the judgment at pp. 618-619 or the report may be perused. We are, thus, unable to agree with the contention of the appellant's counsel that the rule under consideration deserves to be struck down as violative of Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution and we accordingly reject the contention.

7. The last contention of the appellant's counsel is that the particular rule cannot apply to the members of the Police Force in so far as it runs counter to the provisions of Sections 2 and 7 of the Police Act, 1861, and those of the regulations framed under Section 7 of the Police Act. This contention is also without any substance. Section 7 concerns itself with the question of punishment. The rule under consideration has nothing to do with the question of punishment. So, there is no inconsistency whatsoever between the impugned rule and S, 7 of the Police Act. The two can very well co-exist and occasion for conforming to the requirements of Section 7 and those of the regulations framed thereunder arises only when it is intended to punish a member of the Police Force. If the intention is not to inflict any punishment but only to terminate the services of a temporary employee in exercise of the power conferred by the impugned rule, there arises no occasion for conformability to the requirements of Section 7 or of the regulation framed thereunder. We, accordingly, reject the contention of the appellant's counsel.

8. No other point has been urged before o the appeal has no merits and must fall. In the circumstances of the case we think it fust and proper to direct the parties to bear theircosts.

9. The appeal is dismissed. The parties shall bear their costs.


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