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Dewa Ram vs The State Of Rajasthan And Ors. on 8 November, 1990
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JUDGMENT B.R. Arora, J.

1. This writ petition along with other similar writ petition, mentioned in the Schedule, reises a common question of law and, therefore, we propose to decide all these writ petition by a common judgment. For the convenient disposal of these writ petitions, the facts of S,B. Civil Writ petitioner No. 3324 of 1984 (Dewa Ram v. The State of Rajasthan and Ors.) are taken into consideration.

2. The petitioner Dewa Ram was appointed as a Junior Accountant by the order Annexure. I dated 27-10-87. The appointment of the petitioner was temporary in character and he was appointed for a fixed period upto February 28, 1988, the appointment was made on daily work-charge basis on the wages of Rs. 30/- per day. This period was extended upto September 30,1988, when the services of the petitioner were brought to an end vide Annexure. 2. The case of the petitioner is that he is a 'workman' within the meaning of Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act, 1947') and the Rehabilitation Section of the Collect orate, Pali, is an 'industry' within the meaning of Section 2(i) of the Act, 1947, and, therefore, the termination of the services of the petitioner amount to 'retrenchment' within the meaning of Section 2(oo) of the Act, 1947, and as the compliance of Section 25F(a) and (b) of the Act, 1947 has hot been made before terminating the services of the petitioner, therefore, the petitioner is entitled for reinstatement with full back wages. The respondents contested this position and took a stand in the reply the the petitioner was appointed by the Collector, Pali, in the Famine Relief Department. His appointment was made temporarily by the Collector, Pali, during the famine operations on daily wages basis in pursuance to the order of the Famine Relief Department, Government of Rajasthan, Jaipur, dated October 8,1987 (Annexure. R/l). The case of the respondents is that during famine operations, the Famine Relief Department of the Government of Rajasthan, in order to provide relief to the persons Jiving in drought-affected and scarcity condition was, certain vacancies like one Naib Tehsildar (Famine), one Junior Accountant and one Lower Division Clerk were sanctioned in the tehsils having more than 50% villages declared as famine-affected areas. Against these vacancies, the petitioner was initially temporarily appointed as Junior Accountant for a fixed term, i.e. till February 29,1988. The period of famine operations was extended time to time but ultimately it came to an end on September, 30,1988, when the famine relief work and the famine operations were closed. The case of the respondents, further, is that in view of Section 3 of the Rajasthan Famine Relief Work Employees (Exemption from Labour Laws) Act, 1964 (Act No. XXI of 1964) the applicability of labour laws to the famine relief works is exempted, therefore, the Act of 1947 is not applicable in the case of the petitioner.

3. We have heard the learned Counsel for the petitioner as well as the learned Additional Advocate General Shri J.P. Joshi.

4. It is contended on behalf of the petitioner that the petitioner was appointed in the Rehabilitation Department of the Pali Collectorate and therefore, the termination of the services of the petitioner amounts to retrenchment and as such before the petitioner's services could be terminated, a notice, as required Under Section 25F(a) of the Act, 1947 should have been given to the petitioner and secondly, the compensation, as required Under Section 25F(b) of the Act, 1947, as provided under this Section , should have, also, been given. As neither the notice was given nor was the compensation paid, therefore, the termination of the services of the petitioner is illegal and the petitioner is entitled for re-instatement in service with full back wages. It has, further, been contended by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the Rajasthan Famine Relief works Employees (Exemption from Labour Laws) Act, 1964 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act, 1964') is violative of Articles 14,16 and 21 of the Constitution of India, as it discriminates between the similarly situated persons, the same is liable to be struck-down. The contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that the petitioner is doing the same work which the other like persons are doing and when the work-charge employees are entitled for the benefit of the Act of 1947, why the petitioner and other like persons, who are working in the Famine Relief Work are denied the same benefits. As a discrimination has been made between the persons similarly situated by the Act No. 21 of 1964, therefore, this Act deserves to be declared as violative of Articles 14, 16 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The learned Counsel for the petitioner, in support of his case, has placed reliance on the decision rendered by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Sanjeet Rai v. The State of Rajasthan and Ors. .

5. The learned Additional Advocate General, on the other hand, has submitted that the appointment of the petitioner was in the famine relief department and was for a fixed period and as soon as the famine work/famine operation ended, his services came to an end. As regards the validity of the Act No. 21 of 1964 is concerned, the Additional Advocate General has submitted that the Act No. 21 of 1964 is not discriminatory and is a valid piece of the legislation and has been enacted with an object to provide an exemption to the employees of the famine relief work in the State from the applicability of the Labour Law because the famine relief work is a temporary work, which has to be under taken by the State Government under special circumstances to give relief to the famine-stricken persons living in the areas which are affected by drought and scarcity conditions, and, therefore, if the exemption is granted to the famine relief work, then it cannot be said to be, in any way, discriminatory.

8. Now, we have to see: whether the Act No. XXI of 1964 is violative of Articles 14, 16 and 21 of the Constitution of India? The Rajasthan Famine Relief Work Employees (Exemption from Labour Laws) Act, 1964 was enacted with a view to provide exemption to the employees of the famine relief work in the State from the applicability of the labour laws. Section 2(b) of the Act defines 'famine relief work' as the work already started or which may hereafter to be started by the State Government to provide relief to the persons affected by the drought and scarcity conditions. Clause 2(c) provides the definition of 'labour laws' which means any of the enactment as article force in the State of Rajasthan relating to the one specified in the Schedule and in the Schedule, the Industry disputes Act, 1947, has been included at serial number 3. Section 3 provides that notwithstanding anything contained in any labour law, no such law shall be deemed to be applied to the famine relief work or to the employees working there under, in respect of any matter covered by any Section . Section 4 of the Act bars the jurisdiction of the Courts and provides that no Court shall take cognizance of any matter in respect of an employee of the famine relief works under any labour law. Section 3 of the Act, thus, specifically exempts the applicability of any labour laws including the Industrial Disputes Act, to the famine relief Work. Whether the Act is violative of Articles 14,16 and 21 of the Constitution of India or not is the question which remains for our consideration. We have, first to look into the policy and the object of the legislature. Famine Relief Work is to be started in an area where there is scarcity condition and the area is affected by drought. When the the famine operations are to be started in a particular area or not, that decision has to be taken by the State Government. The object for starting the famine operations in a particular area is to provide work to the persons in that area and to the persons affected' by the brought and scarcity conditions. While giving appointments to them, the necessary requirements or the service conditions applicable in the case of other persons are not to be taken-into consideration and a special appointment for a particular period till the famine operations are to be concluded, is to be given to the persons affected by the drought and scarcity conditions and living in that area. If in providing employment to the persons affected by the drought and scarcity conditions area, the relaxation shall be given in the service conations; rather no condition for service has been laid down and if, therefore, the exemption has been given for the applicability of the labour laws in the famine relief work employees, then, in our view, it cannot be said to be an arbitrary or irrational. While deciding: whether the provisions of the Act No. XXI of 1964' arc violative of the Article 14 or not what has to be looked-into is that the classification is based on some valid principle which itself is not irrational, unreasonable or discriminatory. Arbitrariness of the State Action is attracted only where equals are treated as 'not equals' without any valid principle, but if the classification is based on intelligible differentia, which distinguished the things from those which are left-out of the picture and if the differentia has a rationale nexus to the object sought to be achieved by the statutory persons/body, then it cannot he said to be discriminatory. In our view, in order to give relief to the areas affected by the drought and scanity conditions, famine separations are conducted and if exemption from the labour laws has been given by this Act to the applicability of the labour laws in the famine relief work, then the text of the reasonableness and rationale principle, co-related with the object sought to be achieved, arc satisfied.