UNION OF INDIA Vs. HARI PAL SINGH
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
UNION OF INDIA
HARI PAL SINGH
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(1.) The Union of India challenges the order dated 2.12.2004 passed by the Central
Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi (the Tribunal) in O.A. No.
984/2003 whereby the aforesaid OA filed by the Respondent has been allowed by
the Tribunal. Between the year 1990-95, the Respondents were engaged as Daily
Wage Labourers in the 10th Finance Commission, which was temporary body
constituted under Article 280 of the Constitution of India for a specific
purpose and limited period. When the commission ceased to exist the services of
the Respondents were dispensed with. In April 2003, the Respondents filed an
application under Section 19 of the Administrative Tribunal Act wherein they
claimed that they were entitled for the benefit of temporary status and
regularization etc in terms of the Government instructions dated 10.9.1993. They
also placed reliance on another decision of the Tribunal in O.A. No. 2242/2001,
titled as Bharose Ram vs. Union of India decided by the Tribunal on 17.9.1992.
The Tribunal without even issuing notice to the Petitioner allowed the said
Original application vide its judgment dated 17.4.2003 with a direction to the
Petitioner to consider the case of the Respondents in the light of the decision
dated 17.4.2003. The Petitioner challenged the aforesaid decision of the
Tribunal by filing W.P. (C) No. 6192/2003 titled as Union of India and another
vs. Hari Pal Singh and another, which was allowed by the Court on the ground
that the said order was vitiated by breach of principles of natural justice. The
said order was set aside and the matter remanded back to the Tribunal to re-hear
the original application after due notice to the parties.
Thereafter, the Tribunal re-heard the parties and has allowed the OA by its
order 2.12.2004 which is now impugned before us. Despite notice none has
appeared on behalf of the Respondent and consequently, we have proceeded to hear
the arguments of the Petitioner. We have also gone through the record of the
(2.) The primary submission of the learned counsel for the Petitioner is that the OA
filed by the Respondent was barred by time and that the Tribunal has wrongly
proceeded to condone the delay and allow the claim of the Respondents on merit.
The admitted position on record is that the Respondents were appointed as Daily
Wagers in the year 1990 in the 10th Finance Commission. The services of the
Respondents were dis-engaged on the expiry of the tenure of the said commission.
The Government of India had issued a scheme called "Casual Labourers (grant of
Temporary Status and Regularization) Scheme of Government of India 1993", which
provided for grant of temporary status and regularization to casual labourers in
the employment of Ministries/Department of Government of India and other
attached subordinate offices. In Bharose Ram vs. Union of India, the issue arise
whether the said scheme contained in DoPT OM dated 10.9.1993 was applicable to
the Casual Daily Wages engaged in the 10th Finance Commission. The Tribunal held
that the said scheme was applicable to such Daily Wagers. On the basis of the
judgment in Bharose Ram vs. Union of India the Respondents after a period of
nearly 8 years from the time of their dis-engagement preferred the aforesaid OA
before the Tribunal. The Tribunal relied on K. C. Sharma and others vs. Union of
India and others, 1998 (1) SC SLJ 54 to hold that in case of extension of
benefit of a judgment if one is similarly circumstanced, limitation would not
come in the way since, according to the Tribunal, the case of the Respondent was
covered by Bharoseram (supra) the Tribunal rejected the objection of limitation
raised by the Petitioner and proceeded to allow the original application by
directing the grant of the same benefits to the Respondent as in the case of
Bharose Ram (supra).
In our view, the judgment of the Tribunal is laconic not only, inasmuch as, the
emmence delay of 8 years in filing the OA was condoned by the Tribunal without
there being even an application therefor, but also on account of the fact that
the substantive relief prayed for by the Respondents is in the teeth of the
decision of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the State of
Karnataka vs. Uma Devi, 2006 (4) SCC 1.
(3.) While it is true that in case where an applicant is seeking benefit of a
judgment which covers case, limitation would normally not come in the way, it is
equally true that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to condone the delay where no
prayer for condonation of delay is made before the Tribunal. In the present
case, we find that no application for seeking condonation of delay had been
moved by the Respondents. In paragraph 3 of the OA, the Respondents had stated
that "the present application is within the limitation period as prescribed
under Section 21 of the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985". This is obviously not
correct inasmuch as the service of the Respondents were dis-engaged in 1995,
whereas the OA filed only in the year 2003. Consequently, the Tribunal could
not have condoned the delay of nearly eight years in the filing of the OA and
the same should have been dismissed on that ground alone.;
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