Decided on April 09,2003

The Calcutta Dock Labour Board Workers Committee Appellant
UNION OF INDIA Respondents


K.J. Sengupta, J. - (1.)By this petition the petitioners have prayed for a writ of quo-warranto asking the respondents to dislodge the private respondent, namely, Sri Pankaj Roy alias P. Roy, the respondent No. 6, from the office of the Deputy Chairman of the Calcutta Port Trust. The fact of the case, in short, is that on refusal of grant of extension of the service of the previous Deputy Chairman the respondent No. 6 has been appointed as a Deputy Chairman not on regular basis but by way of temporary measure by the Chairman himself. He has been appointed undisputedly on 29th May, 2002. Since then undisputedly again, he has been continuing in this office. According to the writ petitioners, he cannot continue for a period of more than one month. So on expiry of 29th of June, 2002 continuation of respondent No. 6 in the office of the Deputy Chairman amounts to usurption of the public office without any authority of law as he has not been appointed by the Central Government by way of regular process in exercise of the provisions of Rule 3 of sub- rule (iii) of the Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Rules, 1962, hereinafter referred to as "the said Rule" which has been framed under the provisions in sub-sections (1) and (2) of Sec. 8 of the Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1948 by the Central Government. The writ petitioners have not challenged the power of the Chairman to appoint on ad-hoc basis but their objection is the continuation of the office of the respondent No. 6. Aforesaid facts are more or less admitted excepting it is stated in the affidavit-of- opposition that the appointment has not been made by the Chairman rather under the directives of the Director of Ministry concerned and also the Secretary and such appointment cannot be termed to be an irregular one.
(2.)Moreover, a point has been taken as to maintainability of the writ petition on two grounds (i) delay in making this application, and (ii) the locus standi of the petitioners in relation to the subject matter of the writ petition in which the petitioners themselves are not affected by this order of appointment in favour of the respondent No. 6.
(3.)Learned lawyer Mr. Bag appearing for the petitioners contends that as far as delay is concerned there is none by reason of the fact that the respondent No. 6 is wrongfully continuing with the office so each and every day gives rise fresh and new cause of action. Delay will arise in a case when the cause of action has its terminus and further there is no continuation. Particularly in case of a writ of quo-warranto there cannot be any question of delay as the wrong is perpetrated in continuity. So each and every moment gives rise to a separate cause of action. As far as locus standi is concerned he submits that usurption of public office is such a wrong which effects the public at large and not any individual particularly. Even the person who is a lawful claimant is also one of the effected person. A public wrong cannot be allowed to be perpetrated and such a wrong can be remedied at the instance of the member of the public who is a citizen of a democratic polity where the rule of law is the foundation for governing the country. In support of his submission he has relied on the decisions of the Supreme Court reported in AIR 1965 SC 491 (para 7), AIR 1966 SC 828 (para 8), AIR 1970 Rajasthan 184 (para 22), AIR 1952 Nagpur 330 (para 7) and AIR 1961 Andhra Pradesh 250 (pars 10). Therefore, he contends that the appropriate writ of quo-warmato should be issued directing the respondent No.6 to discontinue and at the same time the writ of mandamus should be issued asking the respondent-Government to appoint in accordance with law on regular basis as provided under the Rules.

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