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Divisional Superintendent N. Railway and anr. Vs. Madan Lal Sarad - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberPetition for Supreme Court Appeal No. 43 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1964All125
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 132(1), 133(1), 133, 226, 313 and 366; Railway Establishment Code - Rule 157; Government of India Act, 1935 - Sections 241(2)
AppellantDivisional Superintendent N. Railway and anr.
RespondentMadan Lal Sarad
Appellant AdvocateB.N. Mulla, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateBishun Singh and ;B.C. Agarwal, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
constitution - plea - articles133(1) and 133(c) of the constitution of india - any railway circular which affect a large number of persons involves interpretation unless some common principle law governing such cases is involved - any new plea cannot be allowed at the stage of argument. - - sri madan lal sarad had filed the aforesaid writ petition in this court challenging the validity of this order on the ground that it contravened the provisions of a circular issued by the railway board dated the 29th july, 1957. this writ petition was allowed by a judgment of this court dated the 29th of march, 1963, and the impugned order dated the 6th of october, 1960, downgrading madan lal sarad was held to be bad in law and struck down on that ground. they did not purport to lay down the..........large number of persons, as the circular in question was issued to general managers of all the indian railways. the learned counsel was, however, unable to refer to any paragraph either in the body of his application or in its grounds in which this plea was taken. under the circumstances we are of the opinion that he should not be allowed to argue this point for the first time at this stage. we may, however, mention that there is no material on record also which would enable us to come to the conclusion that the circular in question affected a very large number of persons. so far as the impugned order is concerned, it is contained in annexure 6 filed with the writ petition. a perusal of this order shows that so far as the lucknow division is concerned only two persons were affected.....
Judgment:

N.U. Beg, J.

1. This is a petition under Articles 132(1) and 133(1)(c) of the Constitution of India filed by the Divisional Superintendent, Northern Railway, Lucknow, and the Divisional Personnel Officer, Northern Railway, Lucknow. The opposite party in this petition is Madan Lal Sarad. Madan Lal Sarad had filed Writ Petition No. 18 of 1961 impugning the validity of an order passed by the Divisional Personnel Officer, Northern Railway Lucknow, dated the 6th October, 1960. By this order the Divisional Personnel Officer, Lucknow had reverted two persons who were acting as draftsmen in the scale of Rs. 150-225 to the scale of Rs. 100-185 from the 1st of October, 1960. One of those persons was Sri Madan Lal Sarad who is the opposite party in this petition. The other was Sri Bishun Bali. Sri Madan Lal Sarad had filed the aforesaid writ petition in this Court challenging the validity of this order on the ground that it contravened the provisions of a circular issued by the Railway Board dated the 29th July, 1957. This writ petition was allowed by a judgment of this Court dated the 29th of March, 1963, and the impugned order dated the 6th of October, 1960, downgrading Madan Lal Sarad was held to be bad in law and struck down on that ground. Thereafter the Divisional Superintendent, Northern Railway Lucknow and the Divisional Personnel Officer, Lucknow filed the present petition under Article 132(1) and Article 133(1)(c) of the Constitution of India.

2. The first argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner was that the certificate should be granted under Article 132(1) of the Constitution as the present case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution. In this connection he argued that the question whether the circular dated the 29th July, 1957, issued by the Railway Board was a part of the existing law or not was such a question. We are unable to accept this argument. Reference in this connection may be made to Section 241 of the Government of India Act, 1935. Clause (1) of Sub-section (2) of this section lays down that the conditions of service of persons serving His Majesty in a civil capacity in India may be prescribed in the case of persons serving in connection with the affairs of the Fedaration, by rules made by the Governor-General or by some person or persons, authorised by the Governor-General to make rules for the purpose. The rules made under the above provision of law are incorporated in the Railway Establishment Code.

3. The relevant rule in the present case is Rule 157. The said rule runs as follows:-

'The Railway Board have full powers to make rules of general application to non-gazetted railway servants under their control.'

It is admitted on behalf of the petitioners that the Board's circular dated the 29th July, 1957, was issued under this provision of law. These rules were kept alive after coming into force of the Constitution under Article 313 of the Constitution of India. It would be relevant in this connection also to refer to the provisions of Article 366(10) of the Constitution of India in which the expression 'existing law' is defined as follows:--

'Existing law' means any law, Ordinance,order, bye-law, rule or regulation passed or madebefore the commencement of this Constitution byany Legislature, authority or person having powerto make such a law, Ordinance, Order, by-law, ruleor regulation.'

On behalf of the opposite party our attention was also invited to a judgment of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case of State of Uttar Pradesh v. Babu Ram Upadhya : 1961CriLJ773 . In this case it was held that rules made under a statute must be treated for all purposes of construction or obligation exactly as if they were in the Act, and are to be of the same effect as if contained in the Act, and are to be judicially noticed for all purposes of construction or obligation. The above mentioned provisions of law and the ruling of their Lordships of the Supreme Court have fully clarified the position in this regard. No substantial question as to the interpretation of the Constitution, therefore, appears to be involved in the case, and the present petition does not deserve to be granted on this ground.

4. The alternative argument of the learned counsel for petitioners is that ,in the present case the petitioners are, in any case, entitled to a certificate under Article 133(1)(c) of the Constitution of India on the ground that the interpretation of the circular of the Board dated the 29th July, 1957, affected a considerably large number of persons, as the circular in question was issued to General Managers of all the Indian railways. The learned counsel was, however, unable to refer to any paragraph either in the body of his application or in its grounds in which this plea was taken. Under the circumstances we are of the opinion that he should not be allowed to argue this point for the first time at this stage. We may, however, mention that there is no material on record also which would enable us to come to the conclusion that the circular in question affected a very large number of persons. So far as the impugned order is concerned, it is contained in Annexure 6 filed with the writ petition. A perusal of this order shows that so far as the Lucknow Division is concerned only two persons were affected by it, viz., Madan Lal Sarad and Bishun Bali.Under the circumstances we are of the opinion that sufficient material has not been provided inthe present case by the petitioner to enable us to come to the conclusion that a considerably large number of persons are affected by the said circular. We may mention that we are further of the opinion that the mere fact that a large number of persons are affected by a circular would not entitle a party to obtain a certificate under Article 133(1)(c) of the Constitution of India unless that party is further able to show that some common principle of law governing such cases is involved in the matter. Reference in this connection may be made to a case of the Allahabad High Court reported in : AIR1928All220 , Ruchcha Saithwar v. Hansrani. Certificate of fitness should not, therefore, be granted on this ground.

5. The second ground urged by the learned counsel for the petitioners for the grant of the certificate of fitness was that the Divisional Personnel Officer was acting merely as the mouth-piece of the General Manager whose office, was situate at Delhi, and, as the principal party that issued the order was outside the jurisdiction of the High Court, this Court had no jurisdiction to set aside the order of the Divisional Personnel Officer who, in passing the said order, was merely obeying the orders of his superior authority. We are not impressed by this argument. Learned counsel has in support of his contention strongly relied on a judgment of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case of Thangal Kunju Musaliar v. Venkatachalam Potti : [1956]29ITR349(SC) . Learned counsel read out the; following observation in the above case in support of his contention :-

'It is clear from the above provisions that the authorised official has considerable powers conferred upon him in the conduct of the investigation and even though he could be called a mere arm of the Commission or an authorised agent of the Commission he has important functions to discharge and is not merely a mouth piece of the commissioner or a conduit-pipe transmitting the orders or the directions of the Commission.'

In the above passage their Lordships of the Supreme Court were obviously discussing the position of the official concerned. They did not purport to lay down the principles of law which would govern a situation like that. The principles of law are in fact laid down in the subsequent portion of the same judgment the relevant passages of which run as follows:

'The jurisdiction under Article 226 is exercised by the High, Court in order to protect and safeguard the rights of the citizens and wherever the High Court finds that any person within its territories is guilty of doing an act which is not authorised by law or is violative of the fundamental rights of the citizens, it exercises that jurisdiction in order to vindicate his rights and redress his grievances and the only conditions of its exercise of that jurisdiction are those laid down In the passage from Patanjali Sastri, C. J.'s, judgment cited above.

'The argument that by issuing a writ against the agent under those circumstances the High Court would be putting him in a position whereby be would be compelled to disobey the directions of his principal is also of no avail for the simple reason that an agent is bound to obey all lawful, directions of his principal and not directions which the High Court holds to be unlawful or not justified in law.

'The agent could certainly be prohibited from obeying the unlawful directions of his principal and even if the principal cannot be reached by reason of his being outside the territories, the arm of the law could certainly reach the agent who is guilty of having committed the wrong and the High Court could certainly issue a writ against him under Article 226.'

6. Learned counsel for the opposite party has also invited our attention to a number of cases of the Allahabad High Court including Ch. Moinuddin v. Deputy Director Military Lands and Cantonments, Eastern Command : AIR1956All684 and Punjab Sugar Mills Co., Ltd. v. State of U. P : (1960)ILLJ756All in which the same principle of law has been applied.

7. Bearing in mind the above cases, we have no doubt in our mind that it is open to the High Court to issue a writ under Article 226 of the Constitution of India against a person who is within the jurisdiction of the High Court if the said person is acting against the provisions of law even though the said person while doing the impugned act purports to act under the orders of a superior authority which is outside the jurisdiction of the High Court. In the present case both the Divisional Personnel Officer who issued the order that directly resulted in downgrading the petitioner as well as the aggrieved party viz. Madan Lal Sarad against whom the order was issued were within the jurisdiction of this Court. Under the circumstances this point also appears to have no force and does not justify the grant of certificate on the ground of fitness.

8. The learned counsel for the petitioner placed strong reliance on the case of Collector of Customs, Calcutta v. East India Commercial Co., Ltd., Calcutta : [1963]2SCR563 . This was a case in which the order of the original authority which was within the jurisdiction of the High Court had merged in the order of the appellate authority which was outside the jurisdiction of the-High Court. In such a case it was held that the-High Court could not interfere, as the appellate-authority was beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court. The present case, however, is a reverse one. Here the illegal order had originally emanated from the higher authority which was-outside the jurisdiction of the High Court, but was-actually executed by the inferior authority which was within the territorial jurisdiction of the High-Court. No question of merger arises in such a case. The case cited is, therefore, obviously distinguishable.

9. The third and the last point argued by the learned counsel under this head was that the order of reversion was not in the nature of a penal order nor was it passed by way of punishment hence it could not be challenged in a Court of Law. This point was not raised before the Division Bench at the time when the writ petition came up for hearing. We are, therefore, not inclined to entertain it at this stage. We may, however, addthat on merits also this point does not appear to have much force. The downgrading order certainly amounted to an order of reduction in rank of the petitioner and, if against law, it could be challenged by a writ application. The petitioner, therefore, cannot claim a certificate of fitness on his ground.

10. No other point was argued before us.

11. The net result of the above discussion is that the petitioner in the present case is neither entitled to a certificate under Article 132(1) nor under Article 133(1)(c) of the Constitution of India.

12. The petition, therefore, fails and is hereby dismissed with costs.


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