S.A. Shah, J.
1. The petitioner who was admittedly an employee of the Western Railway, working as Deputy Train Controller in Baroda Division, appears to have joined the services of the Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited, Jawahar Nagar, Baroda, admittedly a Government of India Undertaking and therefore, a public sector undertaking within the meaning of Railway Board's Circular No. 200 of 1972 dated 25-8-1972, Annexure-A to the petition. The question arises as to whether the petitioner who has put in about 24 years' service with the respondent Railway and permanently absorbed in I.P.C.L. is entitled to the benefits conferred by Railway Board's circular dated 25-8-1972.
2. In order to decide this issue it is necessary to reproduce some relevant facts. It is not disputed that the petitioner joined his services in the Western Railway in June 1948 and was posted at Baroda Division of the Western Railway in October, 1959 and he continued in that Division till he tendered his resignation on 9-10-1972. According to the petitioner, in response to an advertisement from the Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited, hereinafter referred to as 'I.P.C.L.', the petitioner had applied for the post of Administrative Officer through the Divisional Superintendent who forwarded the application under his letter No. ET/S/233 dated 18th May, 1972. It is also averred in the petition that the petitioner was given 'no objection certificate' vide letter No. ET/S/233 dated 28th June, 1972. He was selected by the I.P.C.L. for the post of Administrative Officer vide appointment letter dated 8th August, 1972.
3. The petitioner was a permanent servant having 24 years' service at his credit. Being a responsible officer he made an application to the Railway Administration to relieve him from service so as to enable him to join I.P.C.L., Baroda, latest by 15-9-1972. Unfortunately that application was not granted in time to enable the petitioner to join his new post of Administrative Officer at I.P.C.L. However, the petitioner was required to join the services in time and, therefore, he had no other alternative except to offer his resignation by a letter dated 9th October, 1972 and the Railway Administration by its letter dated 21st October, 1972 accepted the resignation of the petitioner with effect from 9th November, 1972.
4. It appears that the Railway Board has taken a policy decision and issued circular dated 25-8-1972, Annexure-A to the petition, which gives, same benefits to the permanent employees who have put in three years service in the Railways which are available to the persons, who are deputed by the Railways to public sector undertakings. I will revert to this circular later on because the whole case depends upon the interpretation of this circular.
5. This circular being a very recent circular may not be available to the petitioner and, therefore, the petitioner made an application to give him the benefits which are available to him at an early date by his application dated 9-10-1972 along with his resignation letter dated 9-10-1972. His resignation was accepted with effect from 9-11-1972 and he was not granted all the benefits which were available under the Circular dated 25-8-1972. Hence this petition.
6. Mr. H.M. Mehta, learned advocate appearing on behalf of the petitioner contends that the question of retention of lien and extending all the benefits which are available to the employees deputed by the Railway Administration to public sector undertakings have been differently treated in this circular. The Railway Administration may be right so far as the denial of the lien of the petitioner is concerned in view of his own resignation. But so far as the benefits which are available to the petitioner under para 2 of the Circular have nothing to do with the resignation of the petitioner, because the same are available to all the employees who are absorbed in public sector undertakings to the same extent as if they are deputed by the Railway Administration. It is, therefore, necessary to reproduce the material portion of the said circular which reads as under:
The question of retirement benefits which may be provided to the permanent railway servants on their permanent absorption in the public sector undertakings alone has been under consideration of the Government for some time. It has been decided that a permanent railway servant who has been appointed in a public sector undertaking on the basis of his application shall, on his permanent absorption in such public sector undertakings would be entitled to the same retirement benefits in respect of his past service under the railways as are admissible to a permanent railway servant on deputation to public sector undertakings on his permanent absorption therein.
This paragraph leaves no scope for any other interpretation except that any permanent railway servant who has been permanently absorbed in a public sector undertaking will be entitled to the retirement benefits in the same way and to the same extent as admissible to a permanent railway servant on deputation to a public sector undertaking, on his permanent absorption thereon. In other words there is no distinction kept between a person who has been absorbed in a public sector undertaking directly by his own application, or a person who has been sent by the railway administration on deputation. The benefits which were extended to an officer on deputation to a public sector undertaking have been made available to an officer of the Railway who had applied directly and has been absorbed permanently in a public sector undertaking. It has not been disputed before me by the counsel appearing on behalf of the Railway that I.P.C.L. is not a public sector undertaking. The policy decision taken by the Railway Board is, very reasonable and binds the railways. The later part of paragraph 2 of the circular suggests the same meaning which is reproduced below:
Thus permanent pensionable railway servants who have been or are appointed in public sector undertakings on the basis of their applications in response to press advertisements, circulation of vacancies, etc., and who are absorbed hereafter on permanent basis in the undertaking(s) in which they have been so appointed, will also be governed by the orders, in respect of payment of retirement benefits, issued by the Board in their Lrd. No. F(P)67/PNT/18 dt. 18-2-70 and dt. 13-9-71
7. It is not disputed that the petitioner had made an application in response to a press advertisement and that too through the Railway authority. The circular Annexure-A makes it abundantly clear that those officers who are absorbed in permanent posts in the public sector undertakings to which they have made application will also be governed by the orders in respect of payment of retirement benefits issued under circular referred to above.
7.1 In view of the aforesaid clear position the petitioner is entitled to all the retirement benefits which are available to a railway servant who has been sent on deputation by the railway administration to a public sector undertaking and who has been permanently absorbed in that undertaking.
8. 1n the result the order dated 6-8-1975 Annexure-B issued by the Divisional Superintendent, W.R., Baroda and order dated 9-9-1975 issued by the General Manager, W.R., Bombay Annexure-C are quashed and set aside to the extent they deny the petitioner retirement benefits as provided in para 2 of the Circular Annexure-A. The respondents are directed to extend all the retirement benefits to the petitioner which are available under the provisions of para 2 of the Circular dated 25-8-1972. The petition is allowed. Rule is made absolute with costs.