GENERAL MANAGER SOUTH CENTRAL RAILWAY SECUNDERABAD Vs. A V R SIDDHANTI
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
GENERAL MANAGER, SOUTH CENTRAL RAILWAY, SECUNDERABAD
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Obul Reddi, J. -
(1.) This appeal preferred by the South Central Railway is directed against the judgment of Mr. Justice Krishna Rao in W. P. No. 1145/69 allowing the petition filed by Respondents 1 to 9 herein (petitioners in the writ petition), under Article 226 of the Constitution for the issue of a writ in the nature of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ or direction to the appellants to fix the seniority of respondents 1 to 9 as per the original proceedings of the Railway Board dated 16/10/1952 and also to further direct the appellants not to give effect to the subsequent proceedings of the Railway Board dated 2/11/1957 and 13/01/1961.
(2.) The Writ Petitions came to be filed by Respondents 1 to 9 under the following circumstances: During the Second Word War, with the object to supplying foodgrains at fair prices to the Railway employees, a new Department known as "Grain Shop Department" was created and recruitment of the personnel was made on an emergency basis from three sources; the sources being (1) temporary staff who were appointed in the permanent departments initially and subsequently transferred to the Grain Shop Department. (2) temporary staff recruited for the permanent Department through the Staff Section Board but posted in the Grain Shop Department, and (3) temporary staff directly appointed by the Grain Shop Department. After the war this Department was would up and then the question of absorbing the staff of the Department in other permanent Departments of the Railways was taken up. Respondents 1 to 9 who belong to the category of temporary staff directly appointed by the Grain Shop Department were absorbed in the various permanent Departments of the Railways as also those who were selected by the Sections Boards. Then the question of fixing the inter se seniority among those drawn from the three sources to the erstwhile Grain Shop the Railway Board by its proceedings dated 16/10/1952 directed that the inter se seniority of all the three categories of the wound up Grain Shop Department absorbed in the permanent Departments be fixed taking into consideration their service right from the beginning of their recruitment in the Grain Shop Department. Subsequently, representations were made to the Railway Board by the Railway employees, and as a result of the representations, the Railway Board issued proceedings on 2/11/1957 in partial modification of the earlier proceedings dated 16/10/1952 directing that while inter se seniority of the first and second categories of the Grain Shop Department should be maintained as directed in its proceedings dated 16/10/1952, the seniority of those who belong to the third category which included respondents 1 to 9 should be fixed only with reference to the respective dates of their actual absorption into the various Departments. Certain difficulties arose in giving effect to the modified proceedings and the Railway Board issued clarification by the further proceedings dated 13/01/1961. This clarification in the proceedings dated 13/01/1961 fixed the seniority of the staff of the Grain Shop Department including respondents 1 to 9 only from the date of their absorption in the permanent Department "irrespective of the date of their physical absorption in those Departments". Respondents 1 to 9 assailed the proceedings of the Railway Board dated 2/11/1957 and 1 3/01/1961 on the ground that they are discriminatory and offending Articles 14 and 16 (1) of the Constitution.
(3.) Respondents 1 and 2, the appellants herein resisted the application on the main ground that the Board is competent to revise the seniority as the recruitment of the personal to the Grain Shop Department was on a temporary basis and that, therefore, a policy decision had to be taken after the Department was abolished, and the members of the disbanded shop were shown places in the regular Departments having regard to their educational qualifications, age and service rendered in other departments and that being a policy decision, it is not liable to be questioned nor is there anything to suggest that respondent 1 to 9 have been singled out for any discriminatory treatment. It is their case that to equate the writ petitioners (respondents herein) with regular employees would be doing injustice to the regular employees and as such there is no violation of the guarantees either under Article 14 or 16 (1) of the Constitution.;
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