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Citedby 2 docs
Shanti Devi vs General Manager, Punjab Roadways ... on 25 February, 1970
Jagmal Singh vs Presiding Officer, Labour Court ... on 18 March, 1997

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Punjab-Haryana High Court
Dharamjit Singh vs Pepsu Road Transport ... on 3 February, 2010

REGULAR SECOND APPEAL NO.2257 OF 1984 :{ 1 }: IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH DATE OF DECISION: FEBRUARY 03, 2010

Dharamjit Singh

.....Appellant

VERSUS

Pepsu Road Transport Corporation, Patiala and others ....Respondents

CORAM:- HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE RANJIT SINGH

1. Whether Reporters of local papers may be allowed to see the judgement?

2. To be referred to the Reporters or not?

3. Whether the judgment should be reported in the Digest? PRESENT: Ms. Deepinder Kaur, Advocate, for the appellant.

Ms. Kamal Marwaha, Advocate for

Mr. Jagdish Marwaha, Advocate,

for PRTC.

****

RANJIT SINGH, J.

Appellant, Dharamjit Singh, was directly appointed as Storekeeper in the Pepsu Roadways Corporation, Bhatinda on 30.8.1973. He was charge sheeted on 24.2.1977. After considering his reply, the Enquiry Officer was detailed to hold the enquiry. After completion of the enquiry, the appellant was served a show cause notice on 25.1.1979, to which he submitted his reply. Ultimately, order directing his reversion as a Store Boy was passed. It was further directed that he would not be paid anything over and above REGULAR SECOND APPEAL NO.2257 OF 1984 :{ 2 }: his subsistence allowance. The appellant accordingly challenged this order on the ground that it is discriminatory and confiscatory besides having been passed in violation of principle of natural justice. In the written statement filed, the respondents raised an objection to the jurisdiction of the Court. Plea was that the dispute being an industrial dispute, could be agitated before the Labour Court only. It was also pleaded that the suit was barred by limitation. The Trial Court came to conclude that the order is perfectly legal and has been passed after holding proper enquiry. The plea of jurisdiction, however, was decided in favour of the appellant-plaintiff. Suit was dismissed. The appellant filed an appeal before the District Judge, Patiala, which was also dismissed on 30.4.1984, whereafter he filed the present Regular Second Appeal. Two questions of law, out of five as formulated, during the pendency of the case on 19.1.2005, are as under:- "1. Whether a person who is directly appointed as a Assistant Store Keeper can be demoted to the post of Store Boy?

2. Whether the impugned order of punishment dated 9.5.1979 is contrary to the law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Air 1988 S.C. 1979?"

The present appeal can be disposed of on the basis of these two substantive questions of law.

Learned counsel for the appellant would first refer to the case of Nyadar Singh Vs. Union of India and others, AIR 1988 Supreme Court 1979. While commenting upon the punishment of reduction in rank and the power of the punishing authority to reduce REGULAR SECOND APPEAL NO.2257 OF 1984 :{ 3 }: an employee initially recruited to higher time scale, grade or service or post to post in lower time scale, grade, service or post, it has been held that such reversion to a post, which was never held by the employee would not be permissible. While so holding, the view expressed by the Madras High Court in Gopal Rao Vs. CIT, (1976) 2 Mad LJ 508 and C.S.Balakumar Vs. The Inspecting Asst. Commissioner of Income-tax, (1987) Serv LJ 18 has been over- ruled. It is held by the Supreme Court as under:- "10. As to whether a person initially recruited to a higher time-scale, grade or service or post can be reduced by way of punishment, to a Post in a lower time-scale, grade, service or post which he never held before, the statutory language authorizing the imposition of penalty does not, it is true, by itself impose any limitations. The question is whether the interpretative factors, relevant to the provision, import any such limitation. On a consideration of the relevant factors to which we will presently refer we must hold that they do.

Though the idea of reduction may not be fully equivalent with `reversion', there are certain assumptions basic to service law which bring in the limitations of the latter on the former. The penalty of reduction in rank of a Government servant initially recruited to a higher time- scale, grade, service or post to a lower time-scale, grade, service or post virtually amounts to his removal from the higher post and the substitution of his recruitment to lower post, affecting the policy of recruitment itself. REGULAR SECOND APPEAL NO.2257 OF 1984 :{ 4 }: Xx xx xx xx xx xx The argument that the rule enables a reduction in rank to a post lower than the one to which the civil servant was initially recruited for a specified period and also enables restoration of the Government servant to the original post, with the restoration of seniority as well, and that, therefore, there is nothing anomalous about the matter, does not, in our opinion, wholly answer the problem. It is at best one of the criteria supporting a plausible view of the matter. The rule also enables an order without the stipulation of such restoration. The other implications of the effect of the reduction as a fresh induction into a lower grade, service or post not at any time earlier held by the Government servant remain unanswered. Then again, there is an inherent anomaly of a person recruited to the higher grade or class of post being asked to work in a lower grade which in certain conceivable cases might require different qualifications. It might be contended that these anomalies could well be avoided by a judicious choice of the penalty in a given fact situation and that these considerations are more matters to be taken into account in tailoring out the penalty than those limiting the scope of the punitive power itself. But, an overall view of the balance of the relevant criteria indicates that it is reasonable to assume that the rule making authority did not intend to clothe the disciplinary authority with the power which would produce such anomalous and REGULAR SECOND APPEAL NO.2257 OF 1984 :{ 5 }: unreasonable situations. The contrary view taken by the High Courts in the several decisions referred to earlier cannot be taken to have laid down the principle correctly." Learned counsel for the appellant has also invited my attention to the case of Sukhwinder Singh Vs. The State of Haryana and others, 1999 (4) RSJ 141. In this case while relying upon the ratio of law laid down in Nyadar Singh's case (supra), it is held by this court that a person having been directly recruited to a post of Office Superintendent could not be recruited to any lower post. It is further viewed that if he was not eligible for the post, his services could be terminated in accordance with law. The impugned order was accordingly set-aside. In the instant case also, the appellant was directly recruited as Storekeeper. He was ordered to be reverted by way of punishment to the post of Store Boy. The ratio of law laid down in the cases of Nyadar Singh (supra) and Sukhwinder Singh (supra) would clearly be attracted to the present c case. The punishment, thus, can not be sustained. The present Regular Second Appeal, thus, raises a substantial question of law, which can be decided in terms of the settled proposition of law laid down by the Hon'ble supreme Court and this Court in the cases noted above. No contrary view has been brought to my notice or the view whether something different than what is held in Nyadar Singh's case (supra) is stated. Necessary consequence is that the present Regular Second Appeal is allowed. The judgments and decree passed by the Trial Court as well as first Appellate Court are set-aside. The appellant would be entitled to consequential relief as if he was never REGULAR SECOND APPEAL NO.2257 OF 1984 :{ 6 }: reverted as a way of punishment. He shall also be entitled to receive full pay and allowances for the period he had remained under suspension. Fresh decree sheet accordingly be prepared. February 03, 2010 ( RANJIT SINGH ) khurmi JUDGE