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Hari Singh Vs. Hindustan Steelworks Con Ltd - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtJharkhand High Court
Decided On
AppellantHari Singh
RespondentHindustan Steelworks Con Ltd
..... sureshchandra singh & ors. vs.   fertilizer   corporation   of   india  limited   &   ors.  reported   in  4 (2004) 1 scc 592. the hon'ble apex court, in paragraph no. 7 of  the said judgment, has held as under:  7.  “the appellants assail the decision of the board   on the ground of violation of principles of equality. it   is   alleged   that   the   board­level   employees   were   allowed  to  continue  in  service   till  the  age  of sixty   and employees like the appellants who were below   the board level were forced to retire at the age of   fifty­eight. in reply the respondents submitted that   the board­level employees could not be equated and.....

1 IN THE HIGH COURT OF JHARKHAND AT RANCHI W.P.(S) No. 633 of 2008 Hari Singh, son of Late Ram Kishun Singh, resident of Quarter No.  314, Sector­I/B, P.O. & P.S: Bokaro Steel City, District: Bokaro ...  … Petitioner Versus  1. Hindustan Steelworks Construction Limited, a Government of  India   undertaking   having   its   registered   office   at   5/11,  Commissariat Road, Hastings, Kolkata­700022 2.   Chairman­cum­Managing   Director,   Hindustan   Steelworks  Construction Limited, 5/1, Commissariat Road, Hastings, Kolkata­ 700022.

3.   General   Manager   (Personnel   &   Administration),   Hindustan  Steelworks   Construction   Limited,   5/1,   Commissariat   Road  Hastings, Kolkata­700022.

4.   Group   General   Manager,   Hindustan   Steelworks   Construction  Limited, Bokaro Unit, Bokaro Steel City, PO & PS: Bokaro Steel  City, District: Bokaro 5.   Chief   Manager   (Personnel   and   Administration),   Hindustan  Steelworks Construction Limited, Bokaro Unit, Bokaro Steel City,  PO & PS: Bokaro Steel City, District: Bokaro.   ... …   respondents CORAM: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE RAJESH SHANKAR ­­­­­ For the Petitioner : Mr. A.K. Sahani, Advocate For the Respondents : Mr. Rohitashya Roy, Advocate : Mr. Kumar Vaibhav, Advocate ­­­­­ 24/21.10.2016 Heard learned counsel for the parties.  2. The present writ petition has been filed for issuance of  appropriate   writ   directing   the   respondents   to   pay   forthwith   all  retiral benefits taking into consideration the date of retirement to  be   30.06.2006   on   the   pay   scale   of   Rs.12,000­18,000/­   with  interest @ 18% per annum from the date of superannuation till  payment and also to consider the case of the petitioner for the  post   of   Manager,   with   all   consequential   monetary   and   service  benefits,   including   the   allowances   arbitrarily   withheld   by   the  respondents.

3. The   factual   matrix   of   the   case   in   brief   is   that   the  2 petitioner   was   appointed   on   the   post   of   Junior   Assistant   on  24.07.1973 and he was promoted to the post of Senior Assistant  on   08.10.1977.   Subsequently,   he   was   promoted   to   the   post   of  Office   Superintendent   (G)   on   06.02.1985   and   thereafter,   in  February, 1992, he was promoted to the post of Section Officer.  The   respondent­Hindustan   Steelworks   Construction   Limited (a   Government   of   India   undertaking)   had   earlier   accepted   the  offer   of   the   petitioner   for   voluntary   retirement   under   the  Voluntary Retirement Scheme w.e.f. 31.05.2003, against which the  petitioner   filed   a   writ   petition   before   this   Court   being   W.P(S) No. 2583 of 2003, which was disposed of on 05.12.2003 holding,  inter alia, that the petitioner should be reinstated on the post and  should be allowed to continue in the service till he attains the age  of superannuation. It was also held, inter alia, that the petitioner  should   be   entitled   for   the   consequential   benefits   including   the  salary of the intervening period. Thereafter, the respondents filed  Letters Patent Appeal being LPA No. 37 of 2004. Subsequently, in  compliance   of   order   dated   29.04.2004   passed   in   Contempt Case (C) No. 33 of 2004, the respondents paid the arrear of salary  to the petitioner from the period w.e.f. 25.04.2003 to July 2003.  Thereafter,   the   respondents   vide   letter   dated   07/11.06.2005  (Annexure­2   to  the  writ  petition),  communicated the  petitioner  that since he had already attained the age of superannuation i.e.,  58 years as on 19.06.2004, therefore, he should be treated to be  retired w.e.f. 30.06.2004.  4. On   perusal   of   the   writ   petition   as   well   as   the counter­affidavit   filed   by   the   respondents   and   various   other  pleadings exchanged between the parties during the pendency of  the writ petition, it appears that though, the prayer of the writ  petitioner was only with regard to the payment of retiral benefits  to him considering the age of superannuation to be 60 years i.e.,  upto 30.06.2006, many other factual aspects have come up in the  3 pleadings of both the sides.

5. The   respondent­Hindustan   Steelworks   Construction  Limited   in   paragraph   no.   4   of   its   counter­affidavit   dated  11.02.2009   has   stated   that   the   petitioner   has   already  superannuated from service on 30.06.2004 on attaining the age of  58 years and all his admitted dues have been paid except P.F. and  Gratuity   for   which   he   did   not   make   any   application   in   the  prescribed format. The petitioner is in unauthorised occupation of  the company quarter since 01.09.2004 and as such, he is liable to  pay penal rent.  6. The   petitioner   has   denied   the   allegations   of   the  respondents made in the counter­affidavit dated 11.02.2009. In  paragraph no. 6 of his affidavit dated 26.08.2015, the petitioner  has   also   disputed   certain   factual   statements   made   by   the  respondents in the counter­affidavit dated 03.07.2015 claiming,  inter alia, that the interest for the delayed payment of Gratuity  and Provident Fund should be made to the petitioner.

7. So far as the main issue i.e., payment of retiral dues to  the petitioner on attaining the age of 60 years is concerned, the  respondent­Hindustan Steelworks Construction Limited has stated  in paragraph no. 19 of the counter­affidavit dated 11.02.2009 that  the   Steel   Authority   of   India   Limited   (example   cited   by   the  petitioner) is a separate organisation having its own rules and it is  the sole discretion of the Government of India to enhance the age  of   superannuation   from   58   years   to   60   years     so   far   as   the  respondent­Company is concerned.

8. The   issue   regarding   the   enhancement   of  superannuation from the age of 58 years to 60 years is no more res­integra, as the same has already been settled by the Hon'ble  Supreme Court in the case of  Sureshchandra Singh & Ors. Vs.   Fertilizer   Corporation   of   India  Limited   &   Ors.  reported   in  4 (2004) 1 SCC 592. The Hon'ble Apex Court, in paragraph no. 7 of  the said judgment, has held as under:  7.  “The appellants assail the decision of the Board   on the ground of violation of principles of equality. It   is   alleged   that   the   Board­level   employees   were   allowed  to  continue  in  service   till  the  age  of sixty   and employees like the appellants who were below   the Board level were forced to retire at the age of   fifty­eight. In reply the respondents submitted that   the Board­level employees could not be equated and   compared   with   the   other   employees.   Wholetime   directors,   who   are   two   in   numbers,   are   directly   appointed by the President of India for a fixed term   of five years that could be reviewed even earlier; and   that   other   members   of   the   Board   are   government   servants and are nominees or representatives from   various   Ministries   and   are   appointed   by   the   President of India for a term of three years. In these   circumstances   we   find   that   the   Board   of   Directors   themselves   form   a   different   class   and   cannot   be   compared   with   other   employees   in   regard   to   conditions of service applicable to them. Allegation   of   discrimination   is   also   raised   by   the   appellants vis­a­vis   employees   of   other   corporations.   Each   public   sector   undertaking   is   an   independent   body/entity   and   is   free   to   have   its   own   service   conditions   as   per   law.   However,   all   employees   in   FCIL   who   are   working   in   its   various   units   and   divisions   retire  at  the age  of  fifty­eight  as  per  the   relevant rules; and that even the future employees   will retire at the age of fifty­eight. We also find that   the employees of different corporations could not be   treated   alike   since   every   corporation   will   have   to   take into account its separate circumstances so as to   formulate its policy and consequently, the argument   that   there   is   discrimination   of   appellants   vis­a­vis   employees   of   other   corporations   also   cannot   be   accepted.   Thus,   the   appellants   have   failed   on   all   grounds. The appeals stand dismissed.”

9. This   Court   has   also   decided   the   similar   issue   in   the  case of  The State of Bihar Vs. Srilal Yadav & Ors.  reported in  2005 (3) JLJR 648. Paragraph no. 15 of the said judgment reads  as under:  15. “In the instant case, as noticed above, petitioners   joined the service in the erstwhile H.S. Ltd. where   the   age   of   superannuation   was   58   years   and   the   5 same   was   specifically   mentioned   in   the   letter   of   appointment. After the petitioners joined the services   of   the   respondents   their   service   conditions   with   regard  to   age   was  not   altered.   It  is  only   in   1998   respondents   MECON   took   decision   raising   age   of   superannuation of the employees form 58 years to   60 years but that decision was not given effect to as   the   decision   was   taken   pursuant   to   Office   memorandum   issued   by   the   Government   of   India.   But subsequently taking into consideration financial   condition of the Company, Government of India case   with a proposal to roll back the age of retirement   from 60 years to 58 years. After the decision of the   Government, the matter was reviewed by the Board   of Directors and it was decided to take up the matter   with   the   Government   to   roll   back   the   age   of   retirement   from   60   years   to   58   years.   The   Government after considering the situation approved   the   decision   and   communicated   it   to   the   respondents. In such situation decisions relied upon   by the petitioner are not applicable in the present   case.”

10. The law laid down in this regard is that the power of  the employer, may be Government or Government Undertaking, to  reduce   or   increase   the   age   of   superannuation   is   always   there,  unless this power is taken away by legislation. The employer has  every right to alter the service conditions of the employee.

11. In view of the aforesaid settled proposition of law, the  prayer of the  petitioner for payment of retiral dues taking into  consideration his date of retirement as 30.06.2006 (the date on  which the petitioner attained 60 years) cannot be accepted and  thus, the same is rejected.

12. Moreover, on perusal of various affidavits filed by the  parties, it appears that there has been serious factual contest on  the quantum and the mode of payment by the respondents to the  petitioner. Thus, in my opinion, it would not be proper for this  Court  to  adjudicate upon the said factual aspect in the present  writ   proceeding   under  Article  226  of  the   Constitution   of  India,  particularly in view of the fact that the prayer of the petitioner in  the present writ petition, is only with regard to the payment of  6 retiral dues after enhancing the age of superannuation from 58  years to 60 years.

13. However, it is open to the petitioner to file appropriate  representation   before   the   respondent   no.4   giving   the   complete  details   of   the   existing   claims   of   the   petitioner   on   which   the  respondent no. 4 shall take decision and pass appropriate order  within   a   period   of   six   weeks   from   the   date   of   filing   of   such  representation by the petitioner.

14. The writ petition stands disposed of.      (Rajesh Shankar, J.) Manish/Shahid/A.F.R.

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