Decided on March 30,1970

Union Of India (Uoi) Owning The Southern Railway Respondents


A. Rama Murthi, J. - (1.) The Plaintiff who was an employee under the Southern Railway the Appellant in the Second appeal he filed the suit to recover a sum of Rs. 4,818.97 as representing the arrears of salary due to him after adjusting and giving credit for all the payments made. The trial Court decreed the suit, but on appeal, the Lower Appellate Court dismissed the suit on the ground that it was barred by limitation. Hence the second appeal by the Plaintiff. There is no dispute in any of the Courts that the amount claimed in the suit is payable except with regard to a sum of Rs. 80 towards income -tax paid by the Defendant on behalf of the Plaintiff and an adjustment of Rs. 579.8 in relation to the contribution to the Provident Fund Account of the Plaintiff and the only point argued before me is the question of limitation.
(2.) The brief facts of the case are as follows: The Plaintiff who was a ticket collector in the Egmore Railway station was placed under suspension on 23rd February 1951, pending an enquiry into a charge of certain misconduct against him. On 3rd October 1954, he was dismissed from service. The Plaintiff took up the matter further by an appeal to the Chief Commercial Superintendent and a petition of mercy to the General Manager, but all without success. Then he filed a writ petition in the High Court which was allowed by order, dated 23rd March 1959, quashing the order of dismissed. In Writ Appeal No. 114 of 1959, this order setting aside the dismissal was confirmed on 6th November 1959. On 22nd March 1960, the Plaintiff reported to duty; on 1st April 1960 he was reinstated and on 3rd April 1960, this Ticket Collector was posted to Bangarupet. The present suit was instituted on 8th November 1962.
(3.) It is settled law that the word wages in Article 102 of the Limitation Act of 1908, includes salary. Till recently there was divergence of Judicial opinion as to when time would commence to run under column 3 of Article 102, when an order of dismissal of a Government servant is declared void or set aside and he is reinstated in service. One view was that time would commence to run only when the order of dismissal is finally set aside or declared void on the reasoning that during that period when the matter was pending the Government servant could not file a suit for recovery of arrears of salary. The other view was that the salary accrued due at the end of every month and the suit should he filed within three years. In a recent decision of the Supreme Court reported in Jail Chand Sawhney v/s. Union of India, (1969) 2 S.C.W.R. 957 it has been held that time would commence to run at the end of every month and that when the order of dismissal is set aside, the effect of the declaration is to hold the order of dismissal invalid ab initio as if it never existed and the public servant concerned was unlawfully prevented from rendering service. The Supreme Court held that the Government servant concerned will be entitled to arrears of salary only for a period of three years prior to suit. The view of this Court reported in State of Madras v/s. A.V. Anantharaman, I.L.R. (1963) Mad. 1314 was not accepted. In view of this decision of the Supreme Court, it is no longer open to argument that limitation would commence to run only when the final order setting aside the dismissal order is declared void or set aside.;

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