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Ram Lakhan Pal And Ors. v. Project Officer And Anr. - WRIT - A No. 2546 of 1987  RD-AH 12420 (27 July 2006)
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 2546 of 1987
Ram Lakhan Pal & Ors.
Project Officer, Intensive Sheep & Wool Development Project, Mirzapur & Ors.
Hon. Dilip Gupta, J.
This petition has been filed for quashing the order dated 13th January, 1987 passed by the District Magistrate, Allahabad by which the appointments of the petitioners made by the Project Officer, Intensive Sheep & Wool Development Project, Mirzapur as class IV employees have been cancelled.
The State Government introduced a scheme for development of sheep wool under the direct supervision and control of the Project Officer. The Headquarter is situated in district Mirzapur and there are three branches at Allahabad, Varanasi and Mirzapur. The Project Officer issued an advertisement for appointment of Class IV employees and in order to fill up the vacancies, the names were also called from the Employment Exchange. The petitioners along with other candidates submitted their applications and were interviewed on 3rd January, 1987. The Selection Committee recommended their names for appointment and ultimately the appointment order dated 3rd January, 1987 was issued. A perusal of the aforesaid order indicates that the petitioners were appointed in district Allahabad and their appointments were purely temporary in nature but liable to termination at any time after giving one month's notice or wages in lieu of notice. The impugned order dated 13th January, 1987 was passed by the District Magistrate, Allahabad cancelling the selection and appointment order.
Sri Prakash Padia, learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that the impugned order cannot be sustained as it is not only a non-speaking order but has been issued in complete violation of the principles of natural justice. He further submitted that a perusal of the impugned order clearly indicates that the District Magistrate, Allahabad had proceeded to pass the order without ascertaining the correct facts as is apparent from the note made by him to the Block Development Officer, Allahabad that he must examine the records relating to the appointment and then submit his report. This petition was admitted by this Court on 5th February, 1987 and an interim order was passed to the effect that until further orders the operation of the order dated 13th January, 1987 shall remain stayed. Learned counsel for the petitioners has submitted that ever since then the petitioners have been working.
Learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondents has placed the report submitted by the Deputy Director of the Project to the District Magistrate, Allahabad in which it mentioned that a letter had been sent to the Director of the Project to ascertain whether the Project Officer was the appointing authority or not and, therefore, in such circumstances when the Project Officer was not the appointing authority, the District Magistrate, Allahabad was justified in cancelling the appointment orders.
I have considered the submissions advanced by the learned counsel for the parties.
It is clear from the documents on record that the District Magistrate, Allahabad had cancelled the appointment orders of the petitioners in hot haste without even verifying as to whether the Project Officer was the appointing authority or not. A perusal of the order dated 13th January, 1987 clearly indicates that after cancelling appointment orders, he had asked the Block Development Officer, Allahabad to examine the entire records and submit his report. Such action on the part of the District Magistrate, Allahabad cannot be justified. He should have first verified whether the Project Officer was the appointing authority or not and unless he had done so, orders could not have been passed for cancellation of the appointment orders. The report which has been annexed as Annexure ''CA-8' to the counter affidavit, on which reliance was placed by the learned Standing Counsel, further goes to show that without holding any inquiry the appointment orders had been cancelled as the Deputy Director of the Project had also written a letter to the Director to ascertain whether the Project Officer was the appointing authority or not. The order of the District Magistrate is clearly arbitrary as held by the Supreme Court in Basudeo Tiwary Vs. Sido Kanhu University & Ors., (1998) 8 SCC 194.
The termination order dated 13th January, 1987 was stayed by this Court on 5th February, 1987 when the petition had been admitted. The petitioners have continued to work ever since then. Sri Prakash Padia, learned counsel for the petitioners had placed reliance upon the decision of this Court in Rajindra Prasad Srivastava Vs. District Inspector of Schools, Gorakhpur, Now Maharajganj & Ors., 1994 (3) E.S.C. 117 (All) in support of his submission that this Court should not disturb the position after such a long period of almost 19 years particularly when in the instant case, there was no infirmity in the appointment orders.
In Rajindra Prasad Srivastava (supra) the Division Bench of this Court has held as under :-
"It is true that the appointment of the appellant was in violation of Regulation 4 of Chapter III and was as such, illegal, but he has worked in the institution from 1971 to 1978, when his service was terminated. But this order of termination was stayed by this Court, on account of which he continued to work upon the time when his writ petition was dismissed in August, 1991. It will be highly unfair to remove a person from service after about 20 years, on the ground that his initial appointment was illegal. Division Bench of this Court in Committee of Management Vs. District Inspector of Schools, 1990(1) UPLBEC 189 (Supra) has held that it will be unfair and unjust to un-settle the career of an employee who has worked for about eight years. In Smt. Rani Srivastava vs. State of U.P. (Supra) another Division Bench did not permit the appointment of Headmistress to be put to an end after five years, even though there was infirmity in making her appointment. Supreme Court in Dr. M.S. Muddhol vs. S.D. Halegkar (Supra) has observed that it would be undesirable to disturb a Principal after 12 years on the ground that he was not eligible at the time of his appointment, because it would be inequitous to make him suffer after such a long time." (emphasis supplied)
In the present case I have already held that the termination order was wholly arbitrary and, therefore, in such circumstances, it may not be necessary to consider the impact of the interim order passed by this Court. It may, however, be pointed out that the Division Bench judgment in the case of Rajindra Prasad Srivastava (supra) helps the petitioners in the present case with greater force inasmuch as in that case though the appointment order was found to be illegal, relief was granted since the petitioner had enjoyed the benefit of the interim order for 20 years but in the present case the termination order has been found to be illegal.
In view of the discussion made above, the order dated 13th January, 1987 passed by the District Magistrate, Allahabad cannot be sustained. The Writ Petition, therefore, succeeds and is allowed. The order dated 13th January, 1987 passed by the District Magistrate, Allahabad is quashed.
There shall be no orders as to costs.
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