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S. Rajendran Vs. the Sub-collector, Ramanathapuram Taluk at Ramanathapuram and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1981)1MLJ49
AppellantS. Rajendran
RespondentThe Sub-collector, Ramanathapuram Taluk at Ramanathapuram and ors.
Cases ReferredR. Nanjundeswaran v. The Sub
Excerpt:
.....we are unable to hold that the appellant satisfied this requirement. all that the learned counsel pointed out was that the appellant was appointed on 12th october, 1970, by the competent authority and that he continued to hold the post notwithstanding that he did not actually hold the post between 18th october, 1970, and 17th february, 1971, and the original temporary appointment came to an end on 30th june, 1971. we are clearly of the opinion that rule 18(b) protects persons who have been temporarily appointed and whose temporary appointment was continuing till 19th march, 1975. but here is a case where the appellant was appointed temporarily upto a specific date, and if that period had come to an end before 19th march, 1975, the rule will have no application to such a case......by g.o. ms. no. 268 revenue, dated 18th february, 1972, by the substitution of the following rule:rules not to apply to certain cases:(a) nothing contained in the rules shall apply to persons who, on the date of coming into force of these rules, are holding the posts of village headman or additional village headman, village karnam or additional village karnam permanently.(b) nothing contained in these rules shall apply to persons, who on the date of coming into force of these rules, are holding the posts of village headman or additional village headman, village karnam or additional village karnam temporarily provided that at the time of their temporary appointment they were fully qualified under the standing orders applicable to the areas not governed by the statute and their.....
Judgment:

M.M. Ismail, C.J.

1. This is an appeal against the order of V. Ramaswami, J., dated 15th February, 1980, allowing a writ petition filed by the fourth respondent herein.

2. The facts are not in controversy. A permanent vacancy for the office of headman of Mandapam group village occurred by the resignation of the then office-holder on 16th July, 1970. Applications were called for to fill up the vacancy temporarily by the Tahsildar, Ramanathapuram. The appellant and the fourth respondent among others also applied. The applications were considered by the Revenue Divisional Officer, Ramanathapuram and on the basis of the reports submitted by the Tahsildar who interviewed the appellant and the fourth respondent, the appellant was appointed as village headman on the 12th October, 1979, temporarily upto 30th June, 1971. The fourth respondent herein preferred an appeal to the District Revenue Officer and pending the appeal prayed for stay of operation of the order appointing the appellant temporarily. A stay was granted on 18th October, 1970, and the appellant handed over charge to the headman of Mandapam Village. But the appeal was ultimately dismissed on 7th February, 1971, and the appellant took charge of the office on 17th February, 1971, again. The fourth respondent herein preferred a revision to the Board of Revenue. That revision was dismissed on 17th August, 1971, on the ground that the appellant was appointed temporarily as village headman only upto 30th June, 1971, and the period had already expired and that therefore the revision had become infructuous The fourth respondent preferred Writ Petition No. 3006 of 1971 against this order of the Board of Revenue. The appellant also filed Writ Petition No. 3652 of 1971 against the same Board's order. Writ Petition No. 3006 of 1971 was dismissed on 8th October, 1974, and the writ petition filed by the appellant herein was dismissed on 9th October, 1974, confirming the view of the Board that the revision before the Board had become infructuous as the original order of appointment of the appellant was temporary and upto 30th June, 1971. However, though the original temporary appointment was only upto 30th June, 1971. The appellant continued to hold the post from 17th February, 1971 onwards under some temporary orders made from time to time till the date of the filing of the writ petition After he disposal of the writ petition, in view of the earlier directions by the Board while rejecting the revision petition directing the Revenue Divisional Officer to take steps to fill up the vacancy permanently after calling for applications, the Revenue Divisional Officer published a notice inviting applications for permanent appointment on long term basis. Against the notice calling for applications, the appellant preferred an appeal to the District Revenue Officer contending that in view of the amended Rule 18(b) of the Tamil Nadu Village Officers Service Rules, 1970(hereinafter referred to as the Rules' he shall be deemed to have been holding the office on a permanent capacity and the office cannot be treated as vacant and the notice calling for applications is not in order. The District Revenue Officer accepted this contention and by an order dated 9th February, 1976, held that the appellant must be allowed to continue as if he was appointed on a permanent basis in view of Rule 18(b) of the Rules and directed the Revenue Divisional Officer to cancel the notification. Pursuant to this order, the Revenue Divisional Officer on 20th February, 1976 cancelled the notification. The fourth respondent herein filed an appeal against this cancellation of the notice by the Revenue Divisional Officer. The District Revenue Officer dismissed the appeal and the fourth respondent was unsuccessful even in the revision filed by him before the Board of Revenue. It is as against this order, the fourth respondent filed the present writ petition.

3. The only question that came to be considered by the learned Judge was whether Rule 18(b) of the Rules applied to the appellant herein or not, Rule 18(b) as amended on 19th March, 1975, reads as follows:

Nothing contained in these rules shall apply to persons who, on the 16th December, 1970, were fully qualified under the Board's Standing Orders applicable to the areas not governed by the statute and their appointment had been made by the authority competent under the said Board's Standing Orders and are holding the posts of the Village Headman or Additional Village Headman, Village Karnam or Additional Village Karnam, Thalayari, Vetti or Nirganti temporarily against permanent vacancies and continue as such on the 19th March, 1975, and they shall be deemed to have been appointed on a permanent basis' (16th December, 1970, being the date on which the rules themselves came into force originally.)

4. The contention on behalf of the appellant was that the appellant was appointed on 12th October, 1970, against a permanent vacancy and therefore he satisfied the requirement that the appointment should have been prior to 16th December, 1970. His further contention was that as the appellant's appointment was a temporary one against a permanent vacancy, the second condition was also satisfied. Then there was the third condition that he must be holding the post referred to above and continue as such on the 19th March, 1975. The case of the applicant was that even though he had to vacate the post pursuant to the stay order granted on 18th October, 1970, subsequently he took charge of the office on 17th February, 1971, and continued to be in office till 19th March, 1975 and therefore he satisfied the requirement of the third condition of Rule 18(b) also and consequently he must be deemed to have been permanently appointed and if so there was no question of calling for applications for filling up the vacancy. The learned Judge declined to accept this contention of the appellant that he satisfied the third requirement and therefore held that Rule 18(b) had no application to the present case and allowed the writ petition. It is the correctness of this conclusion of the learned Judge that is challenged in the present writ appeal.

5. The facts to which we have already drawn attention are not in dispute, it is clear that the appellant was temporally appointed on 12th October, 1970, against a permanent vacancy by the competent authority under the Board's Standing Orders The only other question is whether he was holding the post and continued to hold the post on 19th March, 1975. For more than one reason, we are unable to hold that the appellant satisfied this requirement. As we pointed out already as a result of the order of stay granted on 18th October, 1970, the appellant handed over charge to the headman of Mandapam village and he took charge of the office only on 17th February, 1971. Therefore, there is a gap between 18th October, 1970 and 17th February, 1971 during which period the appellant was not holding the post. The second reason relates to the position of the appellant subsequent to 30th June, 1971. There can be no dispute about the fact that the appointment of the appellant, was temporary and was only upto 30th June, 1971, That has become final, having regard to the fact that even the writ petition filed by the appellant was dismissed by this Court, and therefore it is not open to the appellant to put forward the contention that his appointment did not come to an end on 30th June, 1971. As we pointed out already, subsequently also, the appellant continued to hold the post in pursuance of some interim orders passed by the Court in the first instance and some temporary orders passed by the authorities below. The result of this will be that the appellant having been appointed temporarily on 12th October, 1970 cannot be said to have been continuing in the post as on 19th March, 1973. It is worthwhile pointing out that the rule uses the expression 'continue as such'. The significance of this expression 'continue as such' will be that he must continue as a temporary village officer pursuant to the appointment made by the competent authority under the Board's Standing Orders and must be fully qualified on 16th December, 1970. We repeatedly asked the learned Counsel for the appellant to tell us by what authority the appellant continued to hold the post after 30th June, 1971, when the original appointment itself was only upto that date. The learned Counsel for the appellant could not give us any specific answer to this question. All that the learned Counsel pointed out was that the appellant was appointed on 12th October, 1970, by the competent authority and that he continued to hold the post notwithstanding that he did not actually hold the post between 18th October, 1970, and 17th February, 1971, and the original temporary appointment came to an end on 30th June, 1971. We are clearly of the opinion that Rule 18(b) protects persons who have been temporarily appointed and whose temporary appointment was continuing till 19th March, 1975. But here is a case where the appellant was appointed temporarily upto a specific date, and if that period had come to an end before 19th March, 1975, the rule will have no application to such a case. Having regard to the undisputed fact that the original appointment of the appellant was only upto 30th June, 1971, and subsequently, he was holding the post only by virtue of some temporary orders passed by the authorities concerned from time to time, the appellant could not be said to have been continuing as a village headman on 19th March, 1975, pursuant to the temporary appointment made on 12th October, 1970. If so, we agree with the conclusion of the learned Judge that Rule 18(b) of the Rules has no application to the appellant's case.

6. Even the history of the rule in question will confirm our conclusion. The rule originally enacted in 1970 read as follows:

Nothing contained in these rules shall apply to persons, who on the date of coming into force of these rules, are holding the posts of village headman or additional village headman, village karnam or additional village karnam either temporarily or permanently.

This rule was amended by G.O. Ms. No. 268 Revenue, dated 18th February, 1972, by the substitution of the following rule:

Rules not to apply to certain cases:

(a) Nothing contained in the rules shall apply to persons who, on the date of coming into force of these rules, are holding the posts of village headman or additional village headman, village karnam or additional village karnam permanently.

(b) Nothing contained in these rules shall apply to persons, who on the date of coming into force of these rules, are holding the posts of village headman or additional village headman, village karnam or additional village karnam temporarily provided that at the time of their temporary appointment they were fully qualified under the standing orders applicable to the areas not governed by the statute and their appointments had been made by the authority competent under the said Board's Standing Orders after calling for applications.

7. The scope of this Rule 18(b) came to be considered by a Bench of this Court to which one of us was a party in R. Nanjundeswaran v. The Sub-Collector, Mettur, Salem District and Ors. (1973) 1 MLJ I. In that case the Beach has observer as follows:

The intention of Rule 18 or Rule 18(b) is that once a person has been temporarily appointed as contemplated by the said Rules, even though he may not be qualified under the Rules in question, his temporary appointment should not be disturbed and must be continued for the period for which he was temporarily appointed. Once the temporary appointment comes to an end and the post is to be filled on a permanent basis, undoubtedly every applicant for that post will have to comply with the requirements of the Rules in question. The extreme argument advanced by the learned Counsel for the appellant that the effect of the rule is that once a person is appointed temporarily, he is exempt from all the rules for ever so long as he chooses to remain in the post or reaches the age of superannuation, cannot be accepted.

It is thereafter that the Rule was amended and the amended form of the Rule has been extracted in the commencement of this judgment. As already stated, the history of these amendments will also confirm the conclusion we have reached on the construction of the amended Rule 18(b) Hence, the authorities below were wrong in holding that the said Rule applied and therefore there was no need to call for fresh applications to fill up the vacancy on a permanent basis. Consequently, the writ appeal is dismissed.


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