Decided on February 17,1999

S Manmohan Singh Appellant
STATE Respondents


ARUN KUMAR GOEL, J. - (1.) WHO has to decide about location of an office and can such order directing the particular office will have its head quarter at a particular place be questioned being discriminatory are the questions which need to be determined in the present writ petition. At the time when this writ petition was filed claim of all the petitioners was identical, however from the objections filed by the respondents it is clear that petitioners 9, 15, 27 and 32 have been detailed to work at some other places, whereas petitioners 21, 22 & 23 were casual labourers and petitioner no.26 was attached in the Office of Conservator of Forest at Jammu. Regarding other petitioners stand of the respondents is that they are divisional cadre employees and as such their grievance that they are district cadre employees is untenable.
(2.) BRIEF facts giving rise to this case are that the State Government vide Government Order No: 34 -FST of 1981 dated 20.2.1981 ordered the re -constitution of Forest Circles and their location at different places. Copy of this order is placed by the petitioner as Annexure PA with the writ petition and by the respondents as Annexure R2 with their objections. This order was issued on the basis of Cabinet Decision No: 565 dated 29th December, 1980. For the present writ petition, petitioners are concerned with the location of office of Conservator of Forest, West Circle at Rajouri.
(3.) IT is very strange that Cabinet had decided almost two decades ago to reconstitute the circles as well as places where the head quarters of such circles were to be located, for reasons best known to the authorities concerned though the cabinet decision was holding the field, still the head quarters were not being shifted. During the course of hearing of this case main thrust of the submissions of learned counsel appearing for petitioners was that since the petitioners were working on the district cadre posts, as such their transfer is contrary to Rule 10 of Decentralization Rule of 1969, and that the order is discriminatory because the East Circle has been retained at Jammu. Reason for such discrimination was that respondents have accommodated persons working in East Circle over similarly situate like petitioners. Further case of the petitioners is that though East Circle was ordered to retain its head quarter at Jammu, but identical prayer made by the petitioners for retaining the head quarter of the Circle, in which they were working, at Jammu, has been declined without any reasonable basis. Claim of the petitioners had been contested on behalf of the respondents. According to them barring the above referred petitioners, others were born on divisional cadre, as such they cannot make any grievance regarding shifting of the head quarter and plea of estoppel as well as constructive res -judicate was also pressed into service to defeat the claim of petitioners. Action of respondents was also supported by saying that the location of head quarters is an executive decision taken by the Government in public interest and this court may not interfere therewith. It was also pointed out in the reply that earlier OWP No: 391/97 was filed by the Forest Ministerial Staff Association, Jammu through its Secretary, Shri Som Dutt Verma, wherein the order of shifting of head quarters was questioned. Said Shri Som Dutt Verma is petitioner no.30 in the present writ petition.;

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