1. This writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India has been filed by Sayid Wilayat Husain Kazmi, Accountant of the Municipal Board (now Corporation) LUCKnow. Opposite party No. 1 is the State of Uttar Pradesh,while opposite party No. 2 is Nagar Mahapalika, Lucknow. Both the opposite parties have filed counter affidavits con-testing the writ petition. This petition came up for hearing before a learned single Judge of this Court who referred it to a Bench on the ground that the points raised in this petition were of general importance. It is how this writ petition has come up for hearing before us.
2. By this writ petition the petitioner prays for (1) the issue of a writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari or otherwise quashing the orders of the State Government dated 2-6-1960, 20-1-1961 as well as the orders passed by or on behalf of Nagar Mahapalika on 23-1-1961 end the earlier orders passed by the Administrator on 25-9-1959 and 1-10-1959. It has also been prayed that the order passed by Mukhya Nagar Adhikari dated 5-3-1961 as well as the G. O. dated 29-1-1960 should also be quashed in so far as they reopen the question of the fixation of the initial salary of the petitioner. (2) the issue of a writ of mandamus or an order or direction directing opposite party No. 2 not to give effect to the order of the State Government fixing the petitioner's salary at Rs. 150/- per mensem and a writ or order restraining opposite party No. 2 from making any recovery in respect of the salary already paid to the petitioner.
3. The facts' of the case are not disputed and are as follows:--
The petitioner was employed as an Accountant in the Municipal Board of Farrukhabad-cum-Fatehgarh and was drawing a salary of Rs. 138/- plus the usual dearness allowance in the scale of Rs. 90-180. He applied for the post of an Additional Accountant in the Municipal Board, Lucknow and was temporarily appointed as such by an order dated 19-11-1957. He took over charge here on 3-12-1957. But in the order of appointment of the petitioner there is no mention of the salary. It is however, admitted on behalf of both the parties that the petitioner was selected in the grade of Rs. 150-300. The petitioner drew the minimum salary of Rs. 150/- from the date of his appointment.
4. On 27-2-1958 the petitioner made a representation to the Municipal Board, Lucknow praying :
(i) that his starting pay be fixed at Rs. 250/- p.m. with effect from the date of his appointment and his case be referred to the Government for sanction of a higher pay as was done in the case of the earlier incumbent Sri Sharma.
(ii) that his services be transferred from Municipal Board, Farrukhabad to Municipal Board, Lucknow, so that he may get the benefit of his past services such as bonus etc.
5. The Executive Officer HI, Municipal Board, Lucknow, submitted a note to the Administrator recommending that the petitioner may be allowed the starting salary of Rs. 250/-but the Administrator did not accept the recommendation and passed an order fixing his salary at Rs. 220/- p.m. in the scale of Rs. 150-300. This order was passed cm 26-4-1958 and was communicated to the petitioner the same day. He himself made a note addressed to the Establishment Clerk in the following words:--
'Please note and do the needful.'
This will be clear from the bottom of annexure 4. Obviously the petitioner submitted to this order and drew the salary at the rate of Rs. 220/- p.m. as fixed by the Administrator, in the manner stated above.
The petitioner even after acceptance made another representation on 7-8-1958 to the Administrator, MunicipalBoard, Lucknow in which he renewed his request forbeing allowed the starting salary of Rs. 250/-. The Administrator asked for a report from the Executive Officer 1 on this representation who suggested that the petitioner be relieved to go back to Municipal Board Farrukhabad. This suggestion was accepted and orders were communicated to the petitioner to join his service in Municipal Board, Farrukha-bad as will be clear from annexure 7. The reason was that the post of Additional Accountant on which the petitioner had been temporarily appointed had become superfluous and his services were no longer required. The above order of the Administrator cannot but mean that the representation of the petitioner for giving him a still higher starting salary was rejected.
6. After the above order was served on 2-9-1958 on the petitioner, he submitted another representation to the Administrator requesting him to allow him to continue, here till the arrival of Sri Joshi who was on leave. The Administrator passed an order allowing the petitioner to work for three months. The Administrator further made it clear that it Sri Joshi resigned the Board will then consider whether the post is at all to be tilled up or was to be kept in abeyance.
In further appears that on a representation made by Shri Joshi to Government an inquiry was made from the Administrator whether the petitioner who was working in the leave vacancy of Sri Joshi was getting starting salary of Rs. 220/- and under what circumstances this salary had been fixed. A reply was sent to the Government justifying giving of a higher starting salary to the petitioner. This will be clear from annexure 10 dated 20-11-1958. After the representation of Sri Joshi was rejected by the Government, the petitioner was confirmed by the Administrator on his post of Additional Accountant while! he was drawing a salary of Rs. 230/- i.e. after his initial salary had been fixed at Rs. 220/- and he had also drawn one annual increment of Rs. 10/-. This was done by an order dated 20-4-1959.
7. The facts stated above will go to show that when the petitioner was appointed as an Additional Accountant under order dated 19-11-1957 in; the scale of Rs. 150-300 his initial salary at any higher stage had not been fixed. It was on his representation, overruling the recommendation of the Executive Officer that the Administrator fixed the initial salary of the petitioner at Rs. 220/- under his order dated 26-4-1958. The petitioner accepted the salary and lodged no protest and it was some 31/2 months later that he made another representation, the result of which was that he was required to hand over charge and go back to Farrukhabad Municipal Board of which he was a permanent employee. It was on his own request that he was allowed to continue and was then confirmed by means of an order dated 20-4-1959 while he was drawing Rs. 230/-after fixation of his initial salary at Rs. 220/-.
8. The petitioner made another representation after his confirmation on 16-5-1959 for giving him a starting salary of Rs. 250/-. He also prayed for transfer of his services from Municipal Board, Farrukhabad to Municipal Board, Lucknow. Sri Chakbast, Executive Officer, made a recommendation for accepting both the prayers for obtaining the formal consent of Farrukhabad Board for transfer of the petitioner's services to Lucknow Board while the other recommendation relating to sanction of raising his salary to Rs. 250/- was rejected by the Administrator who observed; 'It is too early to raise his salary.' This was done on 9-7-1959. Thereafter something happened which is not clear from the annexures, and the Administrator now accepted the proposal of raising the salary by another Rs. 30/-by his order dated 28-7-1959. This would be clear fromannexure 11, A request was made to the Government for sanctioning a higher salary and steps were also taken for obtaining the consent of the Farrukhabad Board for transfer of the petitioner's services to Lucknow Board.
9. After the above orders the petitioner wanted to draw a salary of Rs. 250/- per mensem with retrospective effect i.e. from 3-12-1957 and so Sri B. C. Pal, Executive Officer 1, drew the attention of the Administrator of the Board that this should not have been done without the sanction of the Government and if the Administrator agreed the increment of the petitioner be stopped and the excess amount paid to him recovered. It was further suggested that in case the Government agreed to pay a starting salary of Rs. 250/- per mensem the petitioner could be reimbursed. By the time this report was made a new Administrator had taken over charge and he accepting the report of the Executive Officer passed an order on 2b-9-1959 that the increments given to the petitioner be stopped and that the question of recovery was to be decided when the case was put up before him. The Executive Officer made another report on 1-10-1959 to the Administrator seeking directions as to whether the petitioner be paid Rs. 250/-per mensem or Rs. 157/8/- per mensem to which he was actually entitled. On this report the Administrator passed an order that the petitioner should be paid at the rate of Rs. 157/8/- per mensem only. This order was passed on 1-10-1959 and this is one of the orders impugned in In this writ petition. Against this order the petitioner submitted a representalion dated 6-10-1959.
10. A. D. O. letter dated 5-10-1959 was received from the Government drawing the attention of ail heads of the Departments towards cases of employees who were granted special pay, allowance or higher initial salary and the Govern-ment desired a report from the Board whether there was any case of such an employee. The question of the transtei of the services of the petitioner from Farrukhahad Board to Lucknow Board also came up before the Government during this time and the Government directed that the petitioner should go bach to Farrukhabad. The Farrukhabad Board was not prepared to take back the petitioner because it had made a permanent arrangement. It was after some correspondence that the petitioner again rejoined and was allowed to continue here. The services of the petitioner were also ultimately transferred from Farrukhabad to Lucknow Municipal Board.
11. On the representation made by the petitioner on 6-10-1959 the Administrator passed an order on 30-1-1960 stating that the petitioner would be paid his salary in the prescribed scale of Rs. 150-300 without mentioning what would be the starting salary. With effect from 1-2-1960 the Municipal Board was replaced by the Corporation, and on 10-24960 the petitioner made another representation to the former Administrator (now Mukhya Nagar Adhikari) against his order dated 30-1-1960, praying that the order be reconsidered and the petitioner be allowed to draw his salary of Rs. 157/8/- per mensem under protest. The last request was acceded to.
In reply to the information sought for by the Government about the petitioner's salary and the circumstances under which a higher starting salary was given to him, a reply was sent to the Government on which the Government wrote back to the Mukhya Nagar Adhikari that the petitioner's salary was liable to be fixed at Rs. 150/- and that special reason for allowing the petitioner a starting salary of Rs. 250/- be sent to tbe Government. A justification for the same was forwarded to the Government by means of a letter dated 22-4-1960. In reply to it the Government informed the Mukhya Nagar Adhikari that the petitioner's salary had been fixed at Rs. 150/- the minimum scale, from the date of his appointment. The order of the Government passed in this behalf is dated 2-6-1960 and this is the second order which has been impugned in this writ petition. Against this order an appeal dated 30-8-1960 was preferred by the petitioner. This was, in the ordinary course, forwarded to the Government by the Mukhya Nagar Adhikari but it was rejected by an order of the Governor dated 20-1-1961. The Mukhya Nagar Adhikari endorsed this order to the Accounts Officer on 23-1-1961. The Accounts Officer conveyed it to the petitioner on 14-3-1961. All these orders have also been impugned in this writ petition.
12. The Mukhya Nagar Adhikari passed another order dated 5-3-1961 directing that the sum of Rs. 2182-09 Np. plus Rs. 142.53nP. be deducted from the petitioner's salary in instalments as both these amounts had been overpaid towards salary and Provident Fund. This order of the Mukhya Nagar Adhikari was also communicated to the petitioner on 14-3-1961. This order has also been, impugned in this writ petition.
13. The petitioner's case is that in the first order of appointment dated 19-11-1957 no salary having been fixed in the scale of Rs. 150-300 and the petitioner having prayed later for the starting salary of Rs. 250/- and the same prayer having been accepted by the Administrator, it was not open to the Government to reduce the salary and the orders passed by the Government are without jurisdiction. It has also been contended that under Section 71 of the U. P. Municipalities Act the Board can determine the salary to be paid to its employees and there is no provision requiring the sanction or approval of the Government for fixation of salary. The only limitation is that the fixation of the salary is subject to any general or special direction of the State Government and there being no such direction on the date of appointment the Government could not interfere or reduce the petitioner's salary.
14. It was also contended that the G. O. relied upon by the Government in annexure A has no application because that only relates to the sanction of premature increments to the employees of local bodies in the revised scale or pay. The petitioner's case is said to be quite different inasmuch as he was not given any premature increment but he was appointed only at a higher salary. It has further been submitted that the Government having approved the appointment of the petitioner in the G. O. dated 9-12-1959 without questioning the fixation of the petitioner's salary, the Government had no jurisdiction to interfere at any later stage.
15. Whatever contest has been offered in this case has been made on behalf of the State Government. Even though a counter affidavit has been filed on behalf of the Corporation yet no real contest has been offered by that respondent. The contention of the learned Standing Counsel is three-fold. His contention is that when in the first order of appointment of the petitioner no mention of any higher salary was made it had to be presumed that the petitioner was appointed at the minimum of the scale i.e. at Rs. 150/-per mensem. This having been done the Administrator could not refix the petitioner's salary at any higher stage. He has contended in the alternative that even if it be taken that there was no initial fixation of the petitioner's salary in the order of appointment, only the minimum salary was admissible to any person so appointed, and if the head of a department sanctions a higher starting salary it only means sanctioning premature or advanced increments over the minimum of the scale. This, according to him, could notbe done without the sanction of the Government as per directions contained in the G.O. of 1949 annexure A.
16. He has also submitted that the petitioner can in no case be entitled to get a salary of Rs. 250/- per mensem because the then Administrator in spite of the recommendations of the Executive Officer fixed the petitioner's salary at Rs. 220/- by his order dated 264-1958 and this order was also accepted without any protest by the petitioner. This fixation was further final because at the time of confirmation the petitioner was also made permanent when he was drawing the salary of Rs. 230/- having drawn one increment of Rs. 10/- besides the initial salary of Rs. 220/-According to him the subsequent request made by the petitioner for a starting salary of Rs. 250/- was again turned down by an order of the Administrator dated 9-7-1959 because that order shows that what was demanded was an early increment. His submission is that the Administrator had no jurisdiction or power to change this order and then refix the salary at Rs. 250/- by means of another order passed on 28-7-1959.
17. The case has to be looked at from two points of view. The first is as to on what initial salary the petitioner was appointed i.e. whether it was Rs. 150/- or Rs. 220/- or Rs. 250/- per mensem and if the petitioner was appointed on a higher starting salary, this needed the sanction of the State Government.
18. The other point of importance is whether the directions issued by the Government in 1949 as per annexure A are applicable to the present case and whether the Government had any jurisdiction to interfere in the matter and reduce the salary of the petitioner to the minimum of the scale.
19. Taking the last question first, it has been conceded before us that the Government would have no right to interfere unless there are general or special directions requiring sanction or approval of the Government determining the salary of the servants under Section 71 of the U.P. Municipalities Act. That section empowers a Municipal Board to determine by resolution what servants are required for the discharge of the duties of the Board and the salaries to be paid to them respectively. That power has been made subject to any special or general direction as the State Government may from time to time issue. In this case the only directions which are said to have been issued are embodied in annexure A, but the very subject of that letter and the contents of it go to show that the directions contained in that letter only applied to cases where premature increments in the revised scale of pay prescribed by the Government in its resolution No. 2261/11/718-48 dated March 29, 1949 were given. If a person is appointed at a higher stage in a particular scale it may be a case of appointment by giving advance or premature increments, or it may be a case or initially giving a higher start. This will depend upon the facts of each case and can only be found out from the intention in making the appointment. Even though the consequence of the two kinds of appointments may he the same, i.e. the giving of a higher salary than the minimum of the scale, yet it is the nature and manner of appointment which will make it clear whether the appointment was made by granting a premature or advance increment or by otherwise fixing the salary at a higher scale. In the instant case right from the first order of appointment it has nowhere been mentioned that the petitioner was being appointed at a higher stage by giving him premature or advance increments. The demand of the petitioner was that he should be appointed at an initial salary of Rs. 250/- like his predecessor. His case was also considered in that light. Thefirst fixation of salary (which we will presently show, was finally made at Rs. 220/-) was also made on the assumption that a higher initial salary was payable to the petitioner. The question of fixing the salary at a higher stage was not considered, in the light of giving him premature increments.
20. In view of the facts and circumstances of the case and the actual appointment as well as the manner in which the petitioner was appointed, it cannot at all be said to be a case of appointment after giving the petitioner any premature or advance increment. The directions given in the G.O. of 1949, annexure A, cannot therefore be made applicable to the case of the petitioner and it has to be taken that there were no directions either promoting the giving of a higher initial salary or limiting the powers of the Administrator in determining the initial salary of the Additional Accountant at the time of appointment. In this view of the matter, neither the sanction nor approval of the Government was necessary. The Government could not object to the fixation of a higher salary nor had it the jurisdiction to interfere in the appointment at a higher salary in the manner in which it was fixed in this case. The order passed by the Government reducing the salary of the petitioner was thus clearly without jurisdiction.
21. Regarding the first point, we are unable to agree with the arguments advanced in the case either on behalf of the petitioner or on behalf of the State. While it may be true as a general proposition of law that whenever a new appointment is made in a time scale, it is generally done at the minimum of the scale but this general proposition is subject to any intention or agreement to the contrary the various orders passed in this case go to show that even though the appointment of the petitioner was made with-out mentioning any specific salary in the order of appointment, yet when the appointing authority i.e. the Administrator expressed his intention in unambiguous and clear terms by fixation of his initial salary at Rs. 220/- per mensem, it is difficult for us to accept the argument for the State that the initial intention must be taken to have been to appoint the petitioner at Rs. 150/-. Soon after his appointment the petitioner made representations on which the Executive Officer made recommendation for fixation of the petitioner's salary at Rs. 250/- but the Administrator passed an order fixing the salary at Rs. 220/-. It has to be deemed that this case is not governed by the general proposition of law enunciated above but by a contrary intention expressed by the Administrator in his order dated 26-4-1958 showing that the petitioner was appointed at a higher stage of the scale of pay at a salary of Rs. 220/- per mensem. This order of the Administrator was later on confirmed by refusing the request of the petitioner for raising the salary again by an order dated 9-7-1959. Thereafter the petitioner was also confirmed while drawing a salary of Rs. 230/- per mensem i.e. there was further confirmation of the fixation of the salary of the petitioner at Rs. 220/- per mensem.
22. We do not agree with the learned counsel for the State that it should be presumed that the petitioner was appointed at the minimum salary of Rs. 150/- per mensem of that the Administrator when he fixed the salary at Rs. 22/-by his order dated 26-4-1958 had refixed the salary at a higher stage.
23. It has already been stated that the Administrator by his order dated 28-7-1959 refixed the salary of the petitioner at Rs. 250/- and the question is whether he had any authority or any jurisdiction to do so. We are of opinion that under the circumstances of the case he had no such authority.
24. It has already been pointed out earlier that when the first fixation of the petitioner's salary was made by the Administrator by his order dated 26-4-1958 that order was communicated to the petitioner who accepted the fixation of salary without any objection. This will be clear by his own endorsement made by the petitioner under the Administrator's order or the same date. Such an acceptance of the offer of the fixation of salary would amount to final fixation of the petitioner's salary at Rs. 220/- with his consent or by his acceptance. He was therefore estopped from claiming any higher salary through a representation which was made a few months later. It was also not open to the Administrator to award the petitioner any higher salary under such circumstances.
25. Learned counsel for the petitioner has contended that the Administrator had a right to review his earlier order regarding fixation of salary by reconsideration of the whole matter. The question of power of review of the earlier order hardly arises in the present case. Even if we were to accept that the Administrator could reconsider his earlier order, that stage had already passed by the acceptance of the petitioner, his confirmation on the post at a salary of Rs. 230/- and his acquiescence in the fixation of salary by drawing the salary at the rate of Rs. 220/- per mensem for some months before filing his further representation.
26. The learned counsel cited the authority of Durga Prasad v. State of U.P., AIR 1952 All 959 and Bapurao Dhondiba Jagtap v. State, (S) AIR 1956 Bom 300 but the principle on which those cases were decided has no application to the instant case. Those cases also related to the exercise of power under statutory rules and the Division Bench while referring to Section 21 of the General Clauses Act observed that the authority which had the power to requisition property may be presumed to have by implication the power to cancel the requisition and release the property.
27. The cases of Abdul Hamid v. Smt. Fatima Begum, 1955 All LJ 132: (AIR 1955 All 36 (FB)) and Sri R. L. Benipuri v. Rent Control Eviction Officer, Lucknow, 1957 All LJ 145 relate to U.P. Control of Rent and Eviction Act, wherein the question of cancellation either of the permission to file a suit or of the allotment order was in question. It was held that the permission could be withdrawn or the order of allotment could be cancelled if the rights of any third person have not come into existence. These authorities will again have ho application.
28. Somewhat contrary view was expressed in the case of Kirpashanker Shastri v. L. Banwari Lal, AIR 1952 All 414. That was also a case under the Rent Control and Eviction Act. In that case certain observations have been made in para 8 by way of obiter dicta by one of the Judges and ne thought that once an application has been disposed of by the Rent Controller he ceased to have any concern with the matter, and if the aggrieved party tried to revive the matter before him in a manner involving reconsideration of an order already passed he would be invoking jurisdiction which never existed in law. We do not at all mean to say that we agree with the learned Judge, but we just want to point out the contrary view taken by one of the Judges of this Court. The general proposition of law, however, is that an authority which has the power to pass an order has also the power to reconsider, amend, modify or cancel it. This is equally correct in respect of an administrative officer who while exercising his administrative powers can reconsider and modify or cancel his earlier order. Thisgeneral proposition will, however, be subject to a number of exceptions and some of them will be that such a power cannot be exercised when the rights of third person have come Into existence or when the earlier order has been accepted or has also been acted upon.
29. As we have pointed out earlier the order of fixation of salary at Rs. 220/- per mensem had become final. It has also been accepted and acted upon and so it could not be reconsidered. If we were to accept the argument of the learned counsel and lay down that every administrative order is subject to reconsideration and is liable to modification at any stage it would create an unsettled state of affairs inasmuch as one order may be passed at one occasion and then it may be revised and re-revised irrespective of the injury caused to a third person.
30. In the instant case the modification of the order dated 26-4-1958 by a subsequent order dated 28-1-1959 may be beneficial to the petitioner, yet there may be greater number of cases in which revised orders may be passed to the detriment of the person concerned. Even though it may be ordinarily correct as a general proposition of law that an administrative officer who has the power to pass an order has also the power to amend, cancel or modify it, yet this cannot be done when that order has been acted upon or accepted or when as a result of such an order some new rights have come into existence. That was so in the present case. While agreeing with the learned counsel for the petitioner so far as the general proposition of law goes we disagree with the argument that in this case the Administrator could modify his earlier order of fixation of salary by a subsequent order because of the events which had happened in between this period. The result is that the initial salary of the petitioner must be taken to have been fixed at Rs. 220/- per mensem. If he has drawn a higher salary he has to refund it and if he has been paid less he shall have to be paid to that extent by the Corporation after calculating the annual increments, if any, admissible to the petitioner having regard to his efficiency and other connected matters. All adjustments on the debit and credit side will be made out of the petitioner's salary,
31. In the circumstances the writ petition can only be partly allowed inasmuch as we quash the order of the State Government dated 2-6-1960 fixing the salary of the petitioner at Rs. 150/- per mensem i.e. the minimum of the scale with effect from the date of his appointment in the Municipal Board, Lucknow, The subsequent order of the State Government dated 20-1-1961 and the order of Mukhya Nagar Adhikari dated 5-3-1961 are only consequential to the above order. Earlier too, the Administrator had passed adverse orders to the petitioner on 25-9-1959 and 1-10-1959. Since these orders also adversely affect the salary of the petitioner, they are also quashed. All the other prayers for the issue of a writ, order or direction to the Municipal Board or State Government cannot be granted and are dismissed.
32. Having regard to the circumstances of the case,we make the parties to bear their own costs of this writpetition.