Decided on October 29,2007

HARI PAL SINGH Respondents


- (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 case.
(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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