MANIPUR POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD Vs. KHWAIRAKPAM SUCHITRA CHANU
HIGH COURT OF MANIPUR
Manipur Pollution Control Board
Khwairakpam Suchitra Chanu
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KH.NOBIN SINGH,J. -
(1.) Heard Shri N. Ibotombi, learned Senior Advocate appearing for the review petitioners and Shri Ng. Kumar, learned Advocate appearing for the respondent No.1.
(2.) The instant review petition has been filed by the review petitioners praying for reviewing the judgment and order dated 20/06/2017 passed by this Court in WP(C) No.161 of 2017. The relevant paragraphs of the said judgment and order dated 20/6/2019 read as under:-
"5. It is on record that the petitioner was initially appointed as the Senior Scientific Assistant on contract basis vide order dated 09-3-1999 followed by an order dated 01-04-2003 appointing her as the Senior Scientific Assistant, against one of the posts created for it, on the basis of the recommendation of a Screening Committee. When the petitioner was not paid her salary in the scale of pay mentioned in her appointment order, she submitted a representation dated 20-10-2006 to the Chairman of the Board requesting for payment of due salaries and without considering her representation, it so happened that the Member Secretary of the Board issued an Office Memorandum dated 13-11-2006 informing all the casual/ contract employees including the petitioner to submit a prescribed format titled "Standard Agreement Format for Engagement on Contract Basis"?. The petitioner raised an objection thereto vide her representation dated 16-11-2006 on the ground that she had already been appointed on regular basis, to which the Chairman of the Board issued a show cause notice dated 06-12-2006 directing the petitioner to submit the said duly signed prescribed format, failing which necessary disciplinary actions be taken against her. Despite a representation dated 11-12-2006 being submitted by her, she approached the Hon'ble High Court by way of a writ petition being WP (C) No.1138 of 2006 wherein the Hon'ble High Court directed the respondents not to take any disciplinary action and not to subject her to execute the contract agreement until further orders. Instead of complying with the court's order, the Chairman of the Board issued a backdated order dated 13-12-2006 terminating the service of the petitioner with immediate effect, which came to be challenged by her in WP (C) No.1186 of 2006. Both the writ petitions being WP (C) No.1138 of 2006 and 1186 of 2006 were dismissed vide a common judgment and order dated 23-05-2007 passed by the Hon'ble High Court with the direction that the petitioner be allowed to serve as the Senior Scientific Assistant until the post was filled up on regular basis. Being aggrieved by the said common judgment and order of the learned Single Judge, two writ appeals being WA No.43 and 44 of 2007 came to be preferred which were disposed on 27-08-2008 as infructuous, when the Hon'ble Court was informed that the petitioner had been allowed to resume duty on 07-06-2008, with the direction that the petitioner be paid her back wages for the period from 13-12-2006 to 24-03-2008 within two weeks therefrom. When the petitioner was not paid her back wages as directed, she was compelled to file a contempt petition wherein the Hon'ble High Court was pleased to issue notice but instead of complying with the court's order, the Member Secretary of the Board issued an order dated 29-01-2009 to the effect that her service should stand discontinued with effect from the next day. This order dated 29-01-2009 was challenged in a writ petition being WP (C) No.121 of 2009 wherein an interim order was passed on 27-02-2009 which was continued from time to time till 26-10-2016 when the said order dated 27-02-2009 was directed to be continued until further order. While the said WP(C) No.121 of 2009 was pending for adjudication by the Hon'ble High Court, the Member Secretary of the Board issued an order dated 11-06-2016 regularising the services of as many as 35 contract employees excluding the petitioner.
6. From the facts and circumstances as aforesaid, the animosity or the tussle between the petitioner and the Board began to emerge from the day when she claimed that she had been appointed on regular basis vide order dated 01-04-2003 issued by the Chairman of the Board. The question as to whether the petitioner had been appointed on regular basis vide order dated 01-04-2003 or not is not the subject-matter in issue in the present case and therefore, it may not be appropriate for this court to make any observation in respect thereof. But on perusal of the said order dated 01-04-2003, it is seen that it does not seem to be a mere order extending the contract service of the petitioner but it does seem to be something more than that for the reason that the same was issued on the basis of the recommendation of a Screening Committee against one of the posts created as Senior Scientific Assistants and that too, without specifying any period of time therein, i.e., until further order. The said animosity went on and on two occasions ie., on 13-12-2006 and 29-01-2009, attempts were made by the Board for terminating the contract service of the petitioner but in vain on account of the timely interference by the Hon'ble High Court. It may be noted that the Hon'ble High Court while disposing of the said writ appeals, found vide its judgment and order dated 27-08-2008 that the said order dated 13-12-2006 was issued by the Board backdated to flout deliberately the court's order. But the Hon'ble High Court did not take any action against the two officers - one, the Member Secretary and two, the Superintending Engineer of the Board on their unconditional apology being tendered by them. As regards the issue involved herein, it has been submitted by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner that as many as 35 contract employees have been regularized by the Board but the petitioner has been denied of such a benefit although she is similarly situated with them. The reason as to why the petitioner has been discriminated by the Board, is not available on record, as the Board has chosen not to contest the writ petition by filing an affidavit nor does it appear in court. But the fact that 35 contract employees have been regularized by the Board, is evident from the order dated 17-11-2016 issued by the Member Secretary of the Board. The non-regularisation of the petitioner's contract service by the Board is highly unreasonable and arbitrary being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. It is a blatant victimization to the petitioner. The Board being an institution, is expected to act fairly and reasonably and the said animosity cannot be a ground for denial of such similar benefit to the petitioner. One of the reasons for leaving the petitioner behind from being considered for regularization, appears to be that her approaches to the Hon'ble High Court quite often has annoyed the Board, as a result thereof the petitioner has been singled out without any valid and cogent reason and for other reasons best known to them. But it must be understood by the Board that every person has a right to approach the Hon'ble High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India by way of a writ petition for redressal of his grievances and in particular, for the enforcement of his legal right or fundamental rights and it is only for the Hon'ble High Court either to allow or dismiss the same depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case. The petitioner cannot be panelized, for no fault of her, by the erroneous thinking of the Board that it can do anything, at its whims and fancies, without following the rule of law. It is a part of the system prevailing in the country which has to work in accordance with law."
(3.) Being aggrieved by the said judgment and order dated 20/06/2017, the instant review petition has been filed on the inter-alia ground that the notices issued by this Court in the writ petition were received by Shri Nabachandra (Naba), Stenographer Grade-II of Manipur Pollution Control Board on 24/03/2017 but the same were not entered in the receipt book nor were they placed before the review petitioners. Since the said notices were not placed before the review petitioners, they could not contest the writ petition by filing their counter affidavits. In addition to that, it has been contended that a favourable order has been obtained by the respondent No.1 by concealing the fact of her non-attendance to the office w.e.f. 01-03-2009 till the date of filing the review petition.;
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