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UNION OF INDIA & ORS versus N.S. SEKHAWAT & ORS

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1989 AIR 1454 1989 SCR (2) 14 1989 SCC Supl. (1) 270 JT 1989 (1) 577 1989 SCALE (1)645

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UNION OF INDIA & ORS V. N.S. SEKHAWAT & ORS [1989] RD-SC 89 (14 March 1989)

DUTT, M.M. (J) DUTT, M.M. (J) THOMMEN, T.K. (J)

CITATION: 1989 AIR 1454 1989 SCR (2) 14 1989 SCC Supl. (1) 270 JT 1989 (1) 577 1989 SCALE (1)645

ACT:

Central Reserve Police Force--Sensitive Poli ce Service--Duty of the Government to resolve dispute amo ng members in public interest-Direct recruits and Emergen cy Commissioned officers--Inter-se seniority--Fixation of.

HEADNOTE:

Central Reserve Police Force comprises of officers dra wn from two channels, direct recruits and Emergency Commi s- sioned Officers (ECOs). There was dispute regarding fixati on of inter se seniority of these officers which was ultimate ly resolved by the Delhi High Court by the judgment und er appeal. The High Court by the impugned judgment held in favour of ECOs and directed implementation of its decisi on regarding seniority as also grant of benefits to ECOs. As a result of the High Court's judgment 37 direct recruits, w ho are at present holding the posts of Commandants, that is to say, 22 as Commandants (Selection Grade) and 15 as Comma n- dants (Non-Selection Grade) by virtue of upgradation of 88 posts of Commandants (Non-Selection Grade) will have to be reverted. Being aggrieved by the High Court's judgment, th ey have appealed to this Court, after obtaining Special Leave .

The main contention advanced by the appellants is th at as they were not parties in the Contempt Proceedings where in the High Court has rendered the judgment in question, th at order is not binding upon them and as such the matter be remitted back to the High Court. To avoid delay that will be caused in the matter if the case is sent back, the Court as also the parties desired that the dispute be amicably se t- tled. Accordingly both the direct recruits and ECOs he ld negotiations amongst themselves with a view to arrive at an acceptable settlement and after a great deal of endeavou r, they put up the terms of agreement before the Court. T he Court thereupon gave time to the Union of India to consid er the acceptability of the agreement reached between t he contesting parties. The Union of India conveyed to the Cou rt that the agreement was not acceptable to it though it was in favour of amicable settlement. It suggested two other alte r- natives, which were not found to be favourable to ECOs.

15 This Court considered the respective terms of the se t- tlement and disposing of the appeals in terms thereof,

HELD:. Central Reserve Police Force is a sensitive for ce and there should not be any dispute and differences amo ng the members of such force. It is the duty of the Governme nt to maintain peace and harmony in the force by trying to resolve any dispute among the members of the force in publ ic interest. [17B] While it may be desirable that the present position of the direct recruits should be protected, the giving of su ch protection should not be to the prejudice of the ECOs. [17 E] In order to establish peace and amity between the co n- tending parties and for ends of justice, the Court direct ed that in modification of the judgment of the High Court, t he appeals be disposed of in accordance with the terms of settlement, as agreed to by the direct recruits and t he ECOs, set out in this Court's judgment hereinbelow. [17E-F ]

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal Nos. 1909- 10 of 1989.

From the Judgment and Order dated 2.4.1987 of the Del hi High Court in C.C.P. Nos. 82 and 176 of 1986.

WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 19 11 OF 1989.

From the Judgment and Order dated 2.4.1987 of the Del hi High Court in C.C.P. No. 82 of 1986 in C.W. No. 44 of 1975 .

K. Parasaran, Attorney General, K.K. Venugopal, F.

S.

Nariman, Gopal Subramaniam, C.V.S. Rao, P. Parmeshwara n, C.S. Vaidyanathan, S.R. Bhat, S.R. Setia, G.D. Gupta, Ash ok K. Mahajan and S. Ravinder Bhat for the appearing parties.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by DUTT, J. Special leave granted in all these matter s.

Heard learned Counsel for the parties.

The dispute between the direct recruits and the Emergency 16 Commissioned Officers (ECOs) in the Central Reserve Poli ce Force (CRPF) over the question of seniority has been goi ng on for a long time. The Delhi High Court has, ultimatel y, held in favour of the ECOs and by the impugned judgment, t he High Court has directed the implementation of its decisi on regarding seniority and grant of consequential benefits to the ECOs.

As per the judgment of the High Court, the 37 dire ct recruits, who are now holding the posts of Commandants, th at is to say, 22 as Commandants (Selection Grade) and 15 as Commandants (NonSelection Grade), by virtue of the upgrad a- tion of 88 posts of Commandants (Non-Selection Grade), wi ll have to be reverted. The direct recruits feel aggrieved by the impugned judgment of the High Court and it is contend ed on their behalf that as they were not parties in the co n- tempt proceedings in which the impugned judgment of the Hi gh Court has been passed, it is not binding on them, and th at the matter should be remanded to the High Court so as to give them an opportunity of being heard. If these conte n- tions of the direct recruits are accepted, there will be further delay.

It may be mentioned that this is the second time th at the matter has come to this Court. It is the desire of t he parties that the dispute should be amicably settled an d, pursuant to that desire, the parties including the Union of India had, from time to time, given their respective sugge s- tions regarding the terms of settlement. Unfortunately, t he suggestions or the proposed terms of settlement were n ot accepted by one party or the other. The terms that we re suggested by the Union of India were not acceptable to t he ECOs and those of the ECOs were not acceptable to the dire ct recruits.

It is gratifying to state that at the last heating, bo th the direct recruits and the ECOs came with an agreed ter ms of settlement. The hearing was adjourned so as to enable t he Union of India to consider the terms of settlement as agre ed to by the direct recruits and the ECOs.

Mr. Gopal Subramaniam, the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Union of India, states that although the Uni on of India is also of the view that the dispute between t he parties should be resolved amicably, yet the said agre ed terms of settlement were not acceptable to it and it has, in lieu of the same made two alternative suggestions for se t- tlement. Copies of the alternative suggestions have be en produced before us by Mr. Subramaniam. Neither of the alte r- na- 17 tive suggestions is, however, acceptable to the ECOs.

We have considered the respective terms of settlement as put forward by the parties including the said two altern a- tive suggestions. CRPF is a sensitive police force and the re should not be any dispute and differences among the membe rs of such force. It is the duty of the Government to mainta in peace and harmony in the force by trying to resolve a ny dispute among the members of the force in public interest.

After considering the facts and circumstances of t he case including the impugned judgment of the High Court a nd the terms of settlement, as agreed to by the direct recrui ts and the ECOs, and also the alternative suggestions of t he Union of India, we are of the view that the terms of settl e- ment, as agreed to by the direct recruits and the ECO s, appear to be fair and reasonable and do not involve a ny additional financial liability of the Union of India f or placing the 35 ECOs in the posts of Commandants (Selecti on Grade) with effect from the date they were promoted as Commandants (Non-Selection Grade), as provided in the agre ed terms of settlement. On an examination of the two altern a- tive suggestions made on behalf of the Union of India, we are of the view that they do not redress the grievances of the ECOs. In our opinion, while it may be desirable that t he present position of the direct recruits should be protecte d, the giving of such protection should not be to the prejudi ce of the ECOs.

In the circumstances, in order to establish peace a nd amity between the contending parties and for ends of ju s- tice, we direct that, in modification of the impugned jud g- ment of the High Court, the appeals be disposed of in a c- cordance with the terms of settlement, as agreed to by t he direct recruits and the ECOs, as follows:

1. The Union of India shall withdraw the order viz. ord er No. F.2/1O/86-Estt (CRPF) PP IV dated 18.6.1986 with immed i- ate effect. The order providing for upgradation of 88 pos ts of Assistant Commandant (2nd in-command) to the post of Commandants (Non-Selection Grade) shall thus stand rescin d- ed. The D.P.C. 1986 and all consequential orders regardi ng promotion against upgraded posts shall also stand revoked.

2. To protect the 37 direct recruits who were holdi ng posts of Commandants, the Union of India shall create 37 supernumerary posts of Commandants (22 as Commandant Selec - 18 tion Grade and 15 as Commandant Non-Selection Grade), whi ch shall be held by the 37 direct recruits who were holding t he said posts on the date of judgment dated 2.9.1985 passed by the High Court of Delhi.

3. The vacancies of 13 posts occurring in the year 19 86 of Commandant (Non-Selection Grade) shall be filled afre sh by means of a D.P.C. The D.P.C. shall make promotions in accordance with rules and shall operate upon the revis ed seniority list prepared by the Department pursuant to t he judgment of the High Court dated 2.9.1985 affirmed by th is Court on 21.1.1986.

4. The subsequent vacancies in the years 1987 and 19 88 for the posts of Commandants (Non-Selection Grade) shall be filled in accordance with rules and the promotions shall be made through D.P.C. in accordance with law/Rules.

5. The Union of India shall review the D.P.C. of 1985 f or the posts of Commandants and such review shall be complet ed as early as possible.

6. Further, 35 ECOs who have already been promoted as Commandant (Non-Selection Grade) till today will hold t he posts of Commandant (Selection Grade), from the date th ey were promoted as Commandant (Non-Selection Grade) with t he condition that they will not be paid any salary for the po st of Commandant (Selection Grade) till their turn comes f or promotion to Commandant (Selection Grade) against regul ar vacancies, as per the seniority list.

Each party to bear his/its own costs.

Y.L. Appeals di s- posed of.


Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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