Banerjee, J. -
(1.)PARITY of benefits of pay scales and other emoluments between the members of the ministerial staff in the Police Department of Orissa working as Lower Division Clerks in the offices of the Superintendent of Police and other District Offices with that of the ministerial staff working in the offices of DIG, IG or DGP at the headquarters, has been the core issue for which litigation persists for more than three decades. The matter in issue had a chequered career and has had to travel more than once before this Court, but the finality is yet to be reached and parties are yet to get justice in accordance with law in our justice delivery system. Judicial process is slow and delay in disposal of matters in this sub-continent is not unknown but that, however, does not warrant protracted litigation to be continued more than three decades - unfortunately, the facts presently under consideration depict such a protraction and the delayed process of our justice delivery system. Before we proceed further, we are emboldened to put on record our displeasure as to the method and manner in which this particular litigation proceeded even before this Court. Blames we do not want to attribute but the fact remains judicial process has seen probably at its saddest and poorest exposure in this matter as regards the time period. Faith, belief and confidence of the people cannot but be termed to be the hallmark of our justice delivery system and if matters like this proceed, there would neither be faith or belief nor confidence in the judiciary - a state of affairs which cannot but imply a total failure and breakdown of the entire constitutional system of the country since judiciary, the third pillar of the Constitution, stands out to be the guardian-angel of the society. It is not that this Court has not been able to deal with the matters like the present one but it so happened that the judicial process has taken its own time and thus the toll. In a progressive society judiciary must be active and should be able to dispense with the justice delivery system in quickest possible period of time - this is not the requirement presently, but has been the well-recognised principle since the advent of judicial process in the society. On this score, in fine we wish to mention that both the Bench and the Bar alike owe a duty to the people of the country to make available the justice delivery system with utmost promptitude and our conjoint efforts only would be able to bring forth a change.
(2.)ADVERTING to the matter under consideration be it noticed that as against the order dated 11/07/1988 passed by the Orissa Administrative Tribunal, Bhubaneswar in T.A. No. 819 of 1987 (OJC 1215/84) this Court upon a detailed hearing disposed of the appeal being Civil Appeal No. 2091 of 1990 in the manner following:
"A reading of the resolution dated 7/09/1984 would clearly show and also indicate the intention that the ministerial staff is different from the executive staff of the Police Department. There is no further sub-division amongst the ministerial staff working in the district headquarters and those working in the head offices, viz., DIG, IG and DGP offices. Under these circumstances, the appellants are entitled to the parity of the treatment with the ministerial staff working in the office of DIG, IG and DGP. Since the Rules have come into force prospectively, viz., from 24/02/1995, whatever conditions prevailing preceding that date would continue to operate and be applicable to them and the conditions in respect of anyone recruited, under the Rules will be governed by the Rules separately. Thus considered, we hold that the appellants are entitled to the benefits of the resolution dated 7/09/1974. The appeal is accordingly allowed to the above extent."
The resolution dated 7/09/1974 spoken of in the order pertained to formation of all police ministerial officers in the State into one separate cadre and directed the recruitment to be under Section 7 of the Police Act of 1861 and all police ministerial officers in the State were to be designated as Police Officers (Ministerial). Be it further noted that pursuant to the said resolution, the ministerial officers whether posted in the IG or DIG's office or in the District Officers' office exercised their option to be recruited under the Police Act, 1861, whereupon they were issued necessary certificates under Section 8 of the Police Act.
It is significant to note that above noted Civil Appeal No. 2091 of 1990 came up for consideration before this Court once before on 7/09/1994, wherein this court directed as under:
"Shri Santosh Hegde, learned senior counsel for the appellant, relying upon the resolution of the Govt. of Orissa, dated 7/09/1974, in particular paras 2 and 4 thereof, contended that all the police ministerial officers were treated as a whole unit, though they had earlier formed part of separate cadres and were given the benefits of special pay, rent free accommodation, house rent allowance although as a common cadre, incidentally all the benefits of the common cadre also stood extended. In support thereof, he sought to place reliance on the orders of transfer and postings effected in the office order No. 617 - Administration, dated 4/05/1981 in which certain staff were inter-transferred from DPO office to DIG SR etc. It is contended for the State that though the said method was adopted only for the purpose of disciplinary control, for the purpose of recruitment, appointment and control the police ministerial staff are controlled by Section 7 of the Police Act, 1862 and the Orissa Ministerial Service (Method of Recruitment and Conditions of Service of Clerks and Assistants in the District Offices and Offices of the Heads of Departments) Rules, 1963 would continue to operate. In consequence, the ministerial staff appointed in the district offices are different from the ministerial staff working in the heads of the department and that, therefore, the same benefits or the scale of pay etc. were not extended to the staff working in the district offices. Section 7 of the Act speaks of the appointment etc. are (sic.) subject to Art. 311 of the Constitution and the Rules made under the Act or any other rules made in that behalf from time to time. When we asked the counsel for the State to point out to us whether any separate rules under Section 7 were made or any resolution in exercise of the powers under Section 7 was passed by the State adopting 1963 Rules as a part, for the purpose of appointment and administrative control of the ministerial staff working in the district offices as well as in the offices of the heads of the departments in the police department, it was said that since this question was not canvassed nor argued in the tribunal, they did not have an occasion to look into the matter and place the necessary material before this Court. Since this is the crucial question that arises for decision in this case, the material is necessary. Counsel seeks for and is granted four weeks' time to place the necessary material on record."
(3.)IT is in the context as above that this Court finally in its order dated 28/11/1995 recorded the following:
"Thereafter, the Government has placed before us the statutory rules issued under proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution, viz., the Orissa District Police Ministerial Officers [Method of Recruitment and Conditions of Service] Rules, 1995 [for short, "the Rules"] which came into force w.e.f. 24/02/1995. These Rules made a demarcation between the ministerial staff working in the district offices and those working in the offices of DIG, IG and DGP. The method of recruitment and the nature of the conditions of service have been enumerated thereunder. From these circumstances, it is contended for the appellant by Shri Das, learned counsel that preceding 24/02/1995 there were no statutory rules or administrative instructions regulating the recruitment, transfer and posting of the ministerial staff separately in the district offices and the offices of DIG, IG and DGP respectively. On the other hand, the evidence placed on record would clearly indicate that the recruitment, posting etc. are interchangeable from the district offices to the State level offices referred to earlier. Therefore, they are entitled to the parity of benefits of pay-scales and other emoluments. We find force in the contention."
Incidentally, by reason of the order as aforesaid, a Writ Petition filed by one Bhikari Charan Parida became thus infructuous and was dismissed as such.