NITMOCHINDER SINGH GURDIAL SINGH Vs. STATE OF PATIALA AND EAST PUNJAB STATES UNION
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
Nitmochinder Singh Gurdial Singh
State Of Patiala And East Punjab States Union
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G.L. Chopra, J. -
(1.) THIS is a petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution praying for a writ or other appropriate direction quashing the respondent's order prematurely retiring the petitioner from service. The petitioner was appointed an A.D.C. to His Highness the Maharajadhiraj of the erstwhile Patiala State on 1 -7 -1991 BK. By Farama -i -Shahi No. 1, dated 29 -4 -1946. His Highness decided to constitute and define the Ruler's Civil List and demarcate it from the administrative budget. In addition to several other items the expenditure on personal Staff the Military Secretary & the A.D.Cs. - was, subject to certain reservations, included in the Civil List. Another order dated 8 -6 -1948, commanded that all employees who were or were to be included in the 'civil list' shall be treated as State servants for all intents and purposes and that their service in the Civil List shall be counted as State service for all provisions of the Patiala State Regulations. As agreed in a Covenant entered into by Rulers of the Various States, including Patiala, the Patiala & East Punjab States Union was formed on 20 -8 -1948. Clause (1) of article XVI of this Covenant provides:
The Union hereby guarantees either the continuance in service of the permanent members of the public services of each of the Covenanting States on conditions which will be not less advantageous than those on which they were serving on the 1st of February. 1948 or the payment of reasonable compensation or retirement on proportionate pension.
The petitioner continued in service and remained posted as A.D.C. to the Rajpramukh even after the formation of the Union. On 28 -4 -1951, vide Home Department Notification No. 167, the petitioner was posted as Military Secretary to His Highness the Rajpramukh. On 8 -9 -1953, the petitioner along with five other officers, who like him were on deputation to the 'Civil List' of His Highness the Rajpramukh, was made to retire by an order issued by the Home Department. The operative part of the order preceding the names of the six officers to whom it related, says:
The following officers who are on deputation to the civil list of His Highness the Rajpramukh are retired from service in terms of clause 1 of article 16 of the Covenant, as there is no suitable post in which they can be absorbed.
(2.) IT is this order that is questioned in the petition. The grounds urged are -
(1) that the petitioner was in permanent service of the respondent and was holding a civil post,
(2) that as such he was entitled to continue In service till he attained the age of 55 or completed the qualifying service of 25 years,
(3) that his premature compulsory retirement amounted to 'removal' & was, therefore, hit by Art. 311(2) of the Constitution, and
(4) that the petitioner was afforded no opportunity whatsoever of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken in regard to him. It is, therefore contended that the order is illegal and hence liable to be quashed.
On the first point; the parties are not an issue. It is conceded by learned Advocate General that the petitioner was an employee of the erstwhile Patiala State and also that he continued in service of the Union on its formation. It is also not disputed that the petitioner was holding a civil post. Position of the respondent on the rest of the points is -
(1) that the petitioner had no legally enforceable right to continue in State service for any particular period or till the age of superannuation.
(2) that not only under article XVI of the Covenant but also under the Service Regulations of the erstwhile Patiala State, in force at the time the petitioner was appointed, and those of the Union, the Government had the right to make the order in question, and
(3) that in no case the retirement amounted to 'removal' under Art. 311(2) of the Constitution.
Article XVI of the Covenant has already been reproduced. The Rules on which reliance is placed are Nos. 3(2) and 5(10) (Vol. III) of Pepsu Service Regulations, 1952.
(3.) IT may be mentioned that on the day me Union came into existence viz. 20 -8 -1948, the Rajpramukh, promulgated an Ordinance (No. 1 of 2005), S. 3 of which provides that all laws, rules, regulations etc. in force in Patiala State shall henceforth apply, mutatis mutandis, to the territories of the Union. The section with slight variations, immaterial for the purpose of this case, was repeated in the later Ordinance No. XVI of 2005 which repealed the Ordinance No. 1. The Patiala State Regulations (1931) relating to services (as partly revised and reprinted in 1915 and 1947) thus remained in force in the Union till they were revised and republished (in three volumes instead of one) in the years 1951 and 1952. These are entitled as Pepsu Service Regulations. The petitioner was retired after the Rules were so revised and published. It is not disputed that these rules, framed or adapted under Art. 309 of the Constitution apply equally to the persons who were appointed before or after their enforcement.
Moreover, it is of no consequence as to which of the two Regulations, the old or the new ones, apply to this case. The simple reason for this is that the petitioner was an employee of the erstwhile Patiala State and the Rules (1931) of that State, so far as they are relevant for the purposes of this case, were identically the same as they appear in the amended Regulations of 1952. Rule 336 of (1931) Regulations which was re -numerated and repeated as 3(2) (Vol. III) of the Pepsu Regulations 1952, reads:
Compensation pension is to be granted to a Government servant made to retire from service before he has completed 30 year's service or before he has attained 55 years of age, on account of abolition of appointment or any other administrative reason.
The second rule No. 278 appearing as 5(10) (Vol. III) of the Pepsu Regulations is to the effect:
For all classes of pensions the person who desires to obtain the pension is required to submit his application before any pension be granted to him.
The Government reserves to itself the right to retire any of its employees on pension on political or any other reasons.;
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