STATE OF HARYANA Vs. PIAR SINGH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: HIMACHAL PRADESH)
STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
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(1.)This bunch of appeals by the state of himachal Pradesh is directed against the impugned judgment of the state tribunal granting relief of certain service benefits to these respondents who had joined defence service prior to 1.11.1962 and after being demobilized, joined the civil service of the state. The state of Himachal Pradesh in exercise of power conferred under provision to Article. 309 of the Constitution framed a set of rules called the Demobilized Armed forces Personnel (Reservation of Vacancies in Himachal State Non-technical Services) rules 1972 (hereinafter referred to as the Rules', These rules have been amended in the year 1983. Rule 3 thereof provides about reservation of vacancies and rule 5 thereof deals with the question of seniority and pay. Rule 3 which clearly indicates that the vacancies in the non-technical posts be filled up through direct recruitment shall be reserved for being filled up by the released Indian armed forces personnel who joined service or were commissioned on or after 1/11/1962 and who were released any time thereafter. The contention of the present respondent before the tribunal was that fixing the cut off date on 1/11/1962, is a date from the hatch and must be arbitrary and irrational as there is no nexus between the fixing a date from which the rules can be said to have conferred the benefit to those who have joined army and, on being demobilized have joined the civil service. It appears that once eight such employees, namely, Shri Kali das and seven others had approached the tribunal even though they were pre 1/11/ 1962 recruits and the tribunal conferred them the benefit of the provision of the aforesaid rules. The government at that point of time did not pursue the matter further as it was thought that the benefit is being conferred only to eight persons. Subsequent to the judgment of the tribunal in kali Das case these employees most of whom had already superannuated from services approached the tribunal seeking reliefs and the tribunal by the impugned judgment having come to a conclusion that the fixation of the date of 1/11/1962 to be arbitrary and irrational and having conferred the benefit to all these respondents, the state has come up in appeal. It is stated by the learned additional solicitor general that giving benefit to this group of employees would result in giving benefit to 1500 employees who had joined the army on their own much prior to 1.11.1962 and not that they had joined on or after 1.11.1962, when the country was in turmoil, and as an incentive for them, the present rules have been promulgated. According to the learned additional solicitor general, the tribunal committed serious error in holding that the fixation of the cut off date on 1.11.1962 is arbitrary and irrational, inasmuch as on that date the country faced aggression from the neighbouring country of china and the country needed many personnel to join army and as a matter of incentive to them, the relevant rules have been framed, which has conferred to benefit, both of reservation as well as in the matter of fixation of their pay and seniority in the civil services once they get demobilized and joined the civil services. In support of this contention, learned additional solicitor general relied upon two decisions of this Court in the case of Ram Janam singh v. State of U. P. and Another as well as decision of this Court in the case of d. K. Jain and Others v. State of Haryana and Others. In both these cases this Court in some what similar circumstances had considered the question as to whether there can be a classification between those who joined armed forces in normal period and those who joined the armed forces on or after 1.11.1962. In Ram Janam Singh's case which was a case arising out of U. P. state civil service rules the persons concerned who have been granted the benefit have joined the armed forces after 1.11.1962 or 3.12.1971 when the country again faced certain disturbances on account of Bangladesh war. In Jain's case which arose out of a service case in haryana, the relevant rules conferred the benefit to those who joined when the nation faced with external aggression. In both these cases this Court has come to a conclusion that there cannot be a case of discrimination when people joining the army in normal time and people joining the army when the country is faced with war and aggression are treated differently and there cannot be a case of violation of Articles 14 and 16. In fact, in Ram Janam's case it was categorically held that if such persons have been treated as a separate class for extending any benefit in the matter of seniority none can make any grievance and their classification can be upheld even in the light of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.
(2.)In the teeth of the aforesaid two decisions of this Court, it is difficult for us to sustain the conclusion of the tribunal that fixation of 1.11.1962 as the date for conferring all the benefits of the rules for those who joined on or after that date is arbitrary.
(3.)In our considered opinion the date 1.11.1962 has a direct bearing with the date on which the country faced the disturbances on account of war with China and by no stretch of imagination the said date can be said to be a date of hatch and therefore is arbitrary and irrational. We are also of the opinion that these employees who have already served in civil services, many of them must have retired from service could not be permitted to raise this plea only after the judgment in Kali Das's case which was implemented not being assailed by the state. Even from equitable consideration they are not entitled to invoke the jurisdiction of the tribunal. In the aforesaid circumstances we set aside the impugned judgment of the tribunal and allow these appeals.
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