MUNICIPAL BOARD PRATABGARH Vs. MAHENDRA SINGH CHAWLA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: RAJASTHAN)
MAHENDRA SINGH CHAWLA
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R. B. Misra, J. -
(1.) Respondent Mahendra Singh Chawla was appointed as an Overseer by the appellant Municipal Board, Pratabgarh (Board for short) as per its resolution dated October 15, 1956. Respondent was prosecuted and convicted for an offence under Section 161 of the Penal Code on the charge that he attempted to accept illegal gratification. During the pendency of trial respondent was suspended from service. It is not clear as to whether service of the respondent was terminated consequent upon his conviction for an offence involving moral turpitude. By Resolution of the appellant Board, Ext. 6 dated August 28, 1963, respondent was given fresh appointment from that day as an overseer on a pay of Rs. 145/- p. m. as basic pay plus D. A. @ Rs. 40/- p. m. and cycle allowance of Rs. 10/- p.m. This Resolution appears to have been passed pursuant to an application made by the respondent and the last para of the Resolution makes it clear that a fresh appointment was given. By another Resolution Ext. 7 of the same date the request of the respondent for salary and wages for the suspension period was rejected and it was made abundanly clear that a fresh appointment was given to the appellant with effect from August 28, 1963. This fresh appointment came to the notice of the Local Self Government Department of Rajasthan Government. The Department concerned made an Order No. 18 (a) (13 1) DLB/65/23473 dated July 21, 1965, by which the Municipal Board was directed to terminate the service of the respondent being in violation of the Rajasthan Civil Services (Classification. Control and Appeal) Rules. 1958. Accordingly the service of the respondent was terminated with effect from August 31, 1965.
(2.) The respondent filed a suit in the Court of Civil Judge Pratabgarh, for a declaration that the order terminating his service was void ab initio and that no fresh appointment was given but after setting aside the suspension order he was reinstated. It was contended on his behalf that he being a permanent employee his service could not be terminated in the manner in which it was done. The trial Court held that the appointment given to the respondent on August 28, 1963, as per Resolution Ext. 6 dated August 28, 1963, was a fresh appointment and that under the Rajasthan Municipal (Subordinate and Ministerial Services) Rules, 1963, fresh appointment given to the respondent would clothe him with the status of a temporary servant and the termination of big service is legal and valid. Respondent appealed to the District Judge without success. Respondent then carried the matter in second appeal to the High Court of Rajasthan.
(3.) A learned single Judge of the Rajasthan High Court held that the appointment given as per order and Resolution Ext. 6 dated August 28, 1963, was in substance reinstatement of the respondent after revoking the order of suspension and that as the respondent was a permanent servant, this reinstatement would not alter the character of his status in service irrespective of the fact that the Resolutions Exts. 6 and 7 indubitably show that the appointment given to the respondent was a fresh appointment and he was not paid his salary and wages for the period of suspension. Nor is there anything to show that the order of suspension was revoked. The learned Judge accordingly allowed the appeal and decreed the suit of the plaintiff declaring that the order dated July 21, 1965 made by the Local Self Government Department was illegal and void and that the respondent is entitled to arrears of salary with all consequent benefits till his reinstatement. Hence this appeal by special leave by the Municipal Board.;
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