CHAIRMAN CANTEEN Vs. RAJ SINGH
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
CHAIRMAN CANTEEN, HQ DELHI AREA
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P.K.BHASIN, J. -
(1.) By way of this writ petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the
Constitution of India the petitioners are seeking setting aside of the order
dated 9th September, 2005 passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal,
Principal Bench, New Delhi(hereinafter referred to as "the Tribunal") in O.A.
No. 1819/2005 whereby the tribunal allowed the petition of respondent no. 1 Lt.
Col. Raj Singh(retd.) who had challenged the termination of his services as
Manager, Non-CSD Canteen by the petitioners herein with effect from 18th August
2005. The tribunal while setting aside the termination order dated 30th July,
2005 directed reinstatement of the respondent no. 1. Feeling dissatisfied with
the decision of the tribunal the petitioners have approached this Court for its
(2.) The relevant facts leading to the filing of the petition under Section
19 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 before the tribunal by the
respondent no. 1 are as under:
(a) After his retirement from Indian Army, the respondent No. 1 applied
for the post of Manager in (Non-CSD) Station Canteen. He was interviewed by the
Selection Board and on being found suitable was appointed as Manager in the
Station Canteen(Non-CSD) at Delhi Cantt. with effect from 1st August 2003 by an
appointment letter dated 28th July 2003.
(b) By a letter dated 21st August 2003, terms and conditions of his
appointment were communicated to the respondent No.1 by the petitioners wherein
it was stated that he was to be on probation for a period of one year which
could be extended to two years, if considered appropriate. The Chairman of the
Station Canteen's Management Committee had the right to terminate his services
without assigning any reason after giving one month's notice or pay and
allowances in lieu thereof. It was also stated in the said letter that the
respondent No. 1 was liable to serve in any of the Unit Run Canteens within the
Command if the circumstances so warranted. The respondent no. 1 was to be bound
by the rules and instructions contained in the HQ Delhi Area Standing Orders
dated 1st April 1987.
(c) After the expiry of first year, the tenure of the respondent no. 1 was
extended upto 31st January 2005 by the petitioners by a communication dated
15th July 2004 which was given in response to his application dated 28th June
2004 and then it was further extended upto 31st July 2005 in response to his
application dated 11th January 2005 by the petitioners-communication dated 8th
February 2005. Every time the tenure of the respondent no. 1 was extended, he
was required to sign a fresh contract document.
(d) When his services were no longer required no further extension was
granted to the respondent no. 1 and the petitioners vide their communication
dated 30th July 2005 terminated his services with effect from 1st August 2005 by
tendering one month's salary as per the terms and conditions contained in his
initial appointment letter.
(e) The respondent no. 1 made a representation dated 31st July 2005 to the
petitioners requesting for continuation of his services for a further period of
six month's or one year.
(f) On getting no response the respondent no. 1 made another
representation dated 03-08-2005 requesting for the same relief of extension of
his services but the petitioners did not accede to his request and, in fact, did
not even give any reply to his representations.
(g) The respondent No. 1 filed a petition under Section 19 of the
Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 before the tribunal on 23rd August 2005 with
a prayer for quashing the termination order dated 30th July, 2005 and for his
reinstatement in service.
(h) The respondent no. 1 had claimed in his petition before the tribunal
that the termination of his services without assigning any reasons and without
affording any opportunity to him to show cause was resorted to by the
petitioners with a view to appoint other persons of their own choice who did not
even fulfil the eligibility criteria for the said post. It was also pleaded by
the respondent no. 1 that as per para 3(c) of the Rules and Regulations
applicable to the Civilian Employees of Unit Run Canteens paid out of non public
fund, the superannuation age was 60 years . He had also claimed that his
performance was excellent and that is why instead of extending the probation
period from one to two years he was allowed to continue in the service on
(i) The petitioners herein had opposed the claim of the respondent no. 1
before the tribunal, inter-alia, on the grounds that Non-CSD Canteen, for which
the respondent no. 1 was appointed as Manager as per the laid down rules,
regulations and directions from the Head Quarters, was a private shop run by
Civilian Contractors on contract basis and the same had nothing to do with the
Canteens run by Canteen Stores Department(CSD) and, therefore, the Rules
applicable to the Unit Run Canteens were not applicable to the employees of Non-
CSD Canteens. It was also claimed by the petitioners in their counter affidavit
before the tribunal that on the completion of one year of probation the tenure
of the respondent no. 1 was extended for a period of six month's and then it was
further extended for another six month's whereafter the contract was not
extended. It was also pleaded that in an identical case, the Delhi High Court
had refused extension of service upto the age of 60 years even to those ex-Army
Officers who were appointed in the Unit Run Canteens on the ground that their
appointments were contractual in nature. It was further claimed that the action
of the Management in not extending the tenure of respondent no. 1 herein and
terminating the same by paying one month's salary to him was in accordance with
the existing Rules and the respondent no. 1 had accepted the payment without any
(j) In his rejoinder the respondent no. 1 herein had refuted the stand
taken by the petitioners herein in their counter affidavit and it was claimed by
him that there was no difference between the CSD and Non-CSD Canteens and the
Management of the Non-CSD Canteens was also under the control of the present
petitioners and salaries of the employees of Non-CSD Canteens also were paid out
of non-public fund and, therefore, the employees of Non-CSD Canteens were
governed by the Rules regulating the terms and conditions of service of civilian
employees in the Unit Run Canteens as per the order dated 7th April 2004 of the
petitioners herein. The respondent no. 1 had also claimed that he had been, in
any case, working for month's together as Manager of CSD Canteen also. He also
claimed that he had protested the termination of his services on payment of one
month's pay vide his representation dated 31st July 2005.
(k) The Tribunal by its judgment dated 9th November, 2005 allowed the
petition of respondent no. 1 herein and while holding that he was not a
contractual employee and was, in fact, to be treated as an employee of a Unit
Run Canteen ordered his reinstatement with all consequential benefits.
It is against this order of the Tribunal dated 9th November, 2005 that
the present writ petition has been filed.
(3.) The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted as follows:
(a) The petitioners are running two different kinds of Canteens, namely,
CSD Canteens the employees of which on completing one year of probation are
considered as regular employees if their service is continued and Non-CSD
Canteens for which there has never been any provision of regularization of
service of the employees after a period of one year of service, whether on
probation or otherwise.
(b) In respect of CSD Canteen employees, Rules and Regulations governing
the conditions of service of the employees were framed on 28th April 2003
pursuant to the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in a case of Union of
India and Ors. Vs. M. Aslam 2001(1) SCC 720, in which the employees of CSD
Canteens(Unit Run Canteens) had claimed their status as Government servants and
various service benefits which were available to the Civilian Employees in the
Ministry of Defence which was controlling the CSD Canteens and whose employees
were being paid out of non-public funds. As far as Non-CSD Canteens are
concerned no Rules were prepared since there was never any intention of treating
Non-CSD Canteen employees as regular employees of the Government and they were
always treated as contractual employees.
(c) The appointment of respondent no. 1 was, in fact, a contractual
appointment pursuant to the Government's decision to rehabilitate ex-Army
Personnel whose age of retirement is less than that of civilian employees and,
therefore, respondent no. 1 could not be considered as a regular employee or a
(d) Even though there were rules governing the conditions of service of
Civilian Employees of Unit Run Canteens(CSD Canteens) which were paid out of the
non-public funds but no rules have been prepared for the Non-CSD Canteens since
there was never any intention of treating Non-CSD employees as regular employees
and consequently they have always been treated purely contractual employees.
Therefore, the services of respondent no. 1 being purely contractual in nature
his contractual appointment could be brought to an end at any time by the
petitioners as per the terms of the appointment although his services were, in
fact, terminated on the expiry of full contractual period.
(e) Every time the contractual service period of the respondent no. 1 was
extended a fresh contract was signed by him without any objection or a claim of
regular status and when his services were no more required the same were
terminated with effect from 1st August 2005 by paying him one month's salary as
per the terms and conditions of his contractual appointment.
(f) The non-CSD Canteens were being run by civilian contractors on
contract basis and were like private shops and had nothing to do with the Unit
Run Canteens and the rules applicable to their employees are not applicable to
non-CSD Canteen employees.;
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