S. K. Das, J. -
(1.)This is an appeal by special leave from an order of the High Court of Punjab dated September 21, 1959, by which it summarily dismissed a petition made by the present appellant under Art. 226 of the Constitution for certain reliefs in respect of five persons, two of whom are now working as Additional Judges of the Punjab High Court, the third as Officiating Judge of the same Court, the fourth as District and Sessions Judge, Delhi, and the fifth as Registrar, Punjab High Court, Chandigarh. Shorn of details which are not material, the case of the appellant was and is that the aforesaid five persons, now respondents 2 to 6 before us, were not qualified to be appointed as District Judges under Art. 233 of the Constitution at the time when they were so appointed by the State Government, now respondent 1 before us, and, therefore, their appointment as such was constitutionally invalid; and the appellant claimed by way of his main relief that a writ in the nature of a writ of quo warranto should issue "ousting them from their office and restraining them from exercising the powers, duties and functions of the posts they are holding and from claiming any rights, privileges or emoluments attached to their office." Certain other subsidiary or ancillary reliefs were also claimed details whereof need not now be stated. We have stated that the petition was summarily dismissed by the High Court. An application for a certificate of fitness having failed in the High Court, the appellant asked for and obtained special leave from this Court on August 19, 1960.
(2.)The appeal has been contested by the State of Punjab, respondent 1, and the other respondents of whom Shamsher Bahadur, Harbans Singh and Gurdev Singh are Justices of the Punjab High Court, Hans Raj Khanna is District and Sessions Judge, Delhi, and P. R. Sawhney is registrar of the High Court. These respondents have filed separate affidavits in reply, and some of them have been separately represented and heard. The Advocate-General of Punjab has appeared and contested the appeal on behalf of respondent 1. The Union of India was originally a party-respondent to the petition inasmuch as the appellant had initially impugned the appointment of two of the respondents as High Court Judges; this relief was, however, given up during the pendency of the special leave petition and on application made by the appellant, the name of the Union of India was struck off by an order dated March 18, 1960, leaving the matter in dispute limited to the question of the validity of t he initial appointment of respondents 2 to 6 as District Judges only. Later, the Union of India made an application to intervene in the appeal and in view of the circumstance that a question of the interpretation of Art. 233 of Constitution arises in the appeal, we have allowed the application and heard the learned Additional Solicitor-General, even though the Union of India did not appear at an earlier stage to contest the application which the appellant had made, to expunge it from the category of respondents.
(3.)The other persons B. D. Pathak and Om Dutt Sharma had also filed a writ petition in the Punjab High Court challenging the legality of the appointment of P. R. Sawhney who, it appears, had acquitted certain persons in three criminal appeals decided by him on January 22, 1959, as Additional District and Sessions Judge, Delhi, from the decision of a magistrate of Delhi in a case in which B. D. Pathak and Om Dutt Sharma said that they had been assaulted by the persons accused in the case. They filed three revision petitions in respect of the orders passed, which are pending in the High Court. In view of these circumstances they have also been allowed to intervene in the present appeal in so far as it relates to the appointment of P. R. Sawhney, and we have heard learned counsel on their behalf.