K.N. Wanchoo, C.J.
1. These are two connected writs by the Divisional Personnel Officer of the Western Railway at Aimer under Article 226 of the Constitution praying for a writ of certiorari in connection with a matter under the Payment of Wages Act. The applications were originally filed in the High Court of Bombay and have come to this Court under Section 64(2) of the States Reorganization Act, 1956.
2. It is not necessary for present purposes to set out in detail the case of the parties. Suffice it to say that an application was made by Bal Krishna Maheshwari, Opposite Party No. 3, who was in the service of the Western Railway at Abu Road, on 7-7-1952 under the Payment of Wages Act before the Authority having jurisdiction in the matter viz. the Civil Judge, Junior Division, Abu Road, Balkrishna Maheshwari claimed that his wages had been illegally deducted and prayed for relief under section 15 of the Payment of Wages Act.
The matter was enquired into by the Authority concerned and an order in favour of Balkrishna Maheshwari was passed on 30-4-1954. Thereupon there was an appeal to the District Court at Mehsana under Section 17 of the Payment of Wages Act which was disposed of by the Assistant Judge of Mehsana on 31-7-1956. 'Another application was made on 18-2-1953 and this was decided by the Civil Judge, Junior Division on :30-9-1954. The appeal in this case also was disposed of by the same judgment dated 31-7-1956.
The Assistant Judge held that the appeals were incompetent in view of an amendment of Section 17 of the Payment of Wages Act by the Bombay Legislature. He, therefore, dismissed the appeals without going into the merits of the case-
3. Consequently, these two applications were filed in the Bombay High Court challenging the correctness of the order of the Assistant Judge, Mehsana as to the competency of the appeals, and also challenging other matter with which, however, we are not concerned at this stage.
4. A preliminary objection has been raised on behalf of Balkrishna Maheshwari as to the jurisdiction of this Court to hear these writs and also as to the competency of Jaswant Singh, Divisional Personnel Officer, Ajmer, to file these writs.
5. We shall first consider this preliminary objection. It is urged that the Divisional Personnel Officer, Ajmer is not competent to file these writs because he is not the person who was responsible for paying wages to Balkrishna, Maheshwari in October 1956 when the writ applications were filed.
It appears that between the decision of 31-7-1956 and the date on which the writ applications were filed, there was re-organization on the Western Railway and the District system was replaced by the Divisional System. In consequence, the Abu Road area, in which Balkrishna Maheshwari was serving at the relevant time, came under the jurisdiction of the Divisional Personnel Officer at Ajmer. An order was passed by the General Manager, Western Railway on 6-10-1956 in which it was provided that theDivisional Personnel Officer would be the Pay-Master for purposes of the Payment of Wages Act for workers in the divisional units working under them with effect from 1-8-1956.
The argument is that Balkrishna Maheshwari was not working under1 the Divisional Personnel Officer, Ajmer, in October 1956 when these writ applications were filed and that he was working in another Division and, therefore, the Divisional Personnel Officer of that Division whore Balkrishna Muheshwari was working would be the proper pay Master for him under the Payment of Wages Act and would thus be the proper person to file these writ applications.
We are of opinion that there is no force in this argument. The order of 6-10-1956 applies, in 'bur opinion, prcspectively to wages to be paid from 1-8-1956 and onwards. This case relates to a period long before 1-8-1956 when Balkrishna Maheshwari was serving in Abu Road. That area has admittedly now come under the charge of the Divisional Personnel Officer, Ajmer, and we have no doubt that any payment relating to the period before 1-8-1956 relating to that area will now be dealt with by the Divisional Personnel Officer, Ajmer.
In these circumstances, as these payments relate to a period long before 1956, the Divisional Personnel Officer, Ajmer, must be held to be the Fay-Master for that period and would be the proper person to file the writ aplications on behalf of the Railway.
6. The next preliminary objection is that Court has no jurisdiction inasmuch as the Assistant Judge, Mehsana, who passed the order dated 31-7-1956 is not within the jurisdiction of this Court. It is submitted that Article 226 of the Constitution lays down that the High Court shall have power throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction, to issue writs to any person or authority within those limits.
Reliance in this connection is placed on Election Commission, India v. Venkata Rao, AIR 1953 SC 210 (A), prima facie it would seem that there is some substance in this argument; but if it is analysed with care in the context of Section 64 the States Reorganization Act, it will be found that this is the only court which can now deal with these writ applications. The area out of which these applications have arisen has been transferred under the States Regorganization Act to Rajasthan and this Court has now territorial jurisdiction over the area.
Further under Sec. 64(1) of the States Reorganization Act the High Court of Bombay has no jurisdiction in respect of this territory as from 1-11-1956. It is obvious, therefore, that the High Court of Bombay having lost jurisdiction over this area, cannot issue any writ with respect to any matter arising in it. That is the reason why the Chief Justice of Bombay transferred these two writs to this Court under Section 64(2) of the Act.
This Court thus has jurisdiction over the territory in which this case has arisen. The objection is that it has no jurisdiction over the Assistant Judge, Mehsana, who happens to bein the territory under the jurisdiction of theBombay High Court. It is enough to say that these anomalies are bound to arise in view of the change of jurisdiction under the States Reorganization Act, where the appellate court is at a different place from the first court and the jurisdiction of the High Court over the place where the appellate court sits remains what it was before the States Reorganization Act, while the jurisdiction of the High Court over the first court is changed.
In such circumstances, we are of opinion that in order to give relief to parties whose cases are transferred from one High Court to the! other, it is necessary to assume that the relief, by the appellate court was given by the corres ponding court in Rajasthan. In the present context o things, if the cases under the Payment of Wages Act were to come up relating to Abu Road area, the first court would be the District Magistrate of Sirohi and the appeal would lie to the District Judge of Pali. The Bombay High Court having lost jurisdiction under Section 64(1) over this territory can never hear these cases. This High Court has jurisdiction over the territory and should give relief to persons in the position of the applicant in these two writ cases, because though the court which actually passed the appellate order before the States Reorganization Act came into force may not be now within its territories, the court which would replace that Court if the matter arose now is within its territory.
In these circumstances, we are of opinion that in order to get over the situation arising out of the States Reorganization Act and in order to give relief to persons whose applications were pending in the Bombay High Court, it is incumbent on us to assume that though the order is passed by the Assistant Judge, Mehsana, it is in effect the order of the corresponding Authority in Rajasthan, namely the District Judge of Pali. That is the only way in which any relief can be given to applicants like these. If we were to refuse relief to these applicants, the Bombay High Court could not give them relief in the face of Section 64(1) of the States Reorganization Act. It stands to reason that when the States Reorganization Act has provided for transfer of such cases, relief should be given to parties by some court and in the circumstances, this is the only Court which can give relief.
We are, therefore, of opinion that though the order of 1-7-1956 was passed in fact by the Assistant Judge, Mehsana, who is not within the territories under our jurisdiction, we must assume for purposes of giving relief to applicants in the position of the Divisional Personnel Officer, Ajmer that the order was passed by the corresponding Authority in Rajasthan, namely the District Judge, Pali. We therefore hold that we have jurisdiction to decide these two writ applications.
7. The last point that is urged is that we should decline to give relief to the applicant because he was guilty of laches. We have not been able to see how the applicant can be said to be guilty of laches, for the applications werefiled within three months of the order of 31-7-1956. Learned counsel for Balkrishna Maheshwari, however, urges that the applicant challenges the order passed in 1951. It is enough to say that this is not so. Though in writ case No. 7 of 1957 there is mention of the earlier order of 7-4-1951 in the heading of the application, the relief however is concerned only with the orders passed by the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act on 30-4-1954 and 30-9-1954. In these circumstances, there were no laches on the part of the applicant and these applications cannot be said to impugn the order passed in April 1951.
8. Having disposed of the three preliminary points let us turn to the main point raised on behalf of the applicant in these two cases, namely that the Assistant Judge, Mehsana was wrong in holding that the appeals were not maintainable in view of the amendment of 3. 17 by the Bombay Legislature. That amendment came into on 10-5-1954 and added a proviso to Section 17 in these terms:
'Provided that no appeal by an employer or other person responsible for the payment of wages under Section 3, under Clause (1) shall lie unless the memorandum of appeal is accompanied by a certificate by the Authority to the effect that the appellant has deposited with it the amount payable under the order appealed against.'
9. It is not in dispute that when the appeals were filed in these two cases, no such certificate as is required by this proviso was appended to them and consequently the Assistant Judge held that these appeals were not maintainable. We are of opinion that there is an error of law apparent on the face of the record in the decision given by the Assistant Judge, Mehsana.
10. So far as the appeal relating to the case which was decided on 30-4-1954 is concerned, it is enough to say that in that case no question could arise of requiring a certificate as provided in the proviso added by the Bombay Legislature because the order appealed from was passed before the amendment came into effect and if the applicant had made the appeal, say within two or three days, the amendment would not have affected it. We may in this connection refer to what we have said in Doongarmal v. Roopsingh, 1957 Raj LW 468 : (AIR 1957 Raj 336) (B).
The first appeal was exactly similar to the circumstances of Doongarmal's case and there is no doubt that the amendment could not apply to it.
11. As to the other appeal which was filed against the order of 30-9-1954 after the coming into force of the Bombay amendment, it is enough to say that the case is covered entirely by a decision of the Supreme Court in Hoosein Kasam Dada (India) Ltd. v. State of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 1953 SC 221 (C). The circumstances of the second appeal are exactly similar to Hoosein Kasam Dada's case and therefore, it was open to the Railway to file the appeal without the certificate required by the provisoadded by the Bombay Legislature, for that proviso would not apply in this case.
We are, therefore, of opinion that the Assistant Judge, Mehsana committed an error of law apparent on the face of the record in holding that the appeals were not competent before him. The orders dismissing the appeals Should be set aside and the District Judge, Pali should now hear them on the merits.
12. Under the circumstances it is not necessary to decide whether the amendment made by the Bombay Legislature is valid or not.
13. We, therefore, allow the applications and set aside the orders of the Assistant Judge, Mehsana dated 31-7-1956 in both the cases and send the appeals back to the District Judge Pali, who is now the Appellate Authority under Section 17 to hear them on the merits. In the circumstances of the case, we pass no order as to costs of these applications.