11 Sep 2023 4:08 PM GMT
If an employee who is continuing in service on the strength of an interim order gets a promotion, such promotion will get nullified once the interim order is dismissed, held the Supreme Court recently.The Court was considering a challenge to a judgment passed by the Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court, as a result of which the services of the petitioner, a temporary Collection Peon,...
If an employee who is continuing in service on the strength of an interim order gets a promotion, such promotion will get nullified once the interim order is dismissed, held the Supreme Court recently.
The Court was considering a challenge to a judgment passed by the Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court, as a result of which the services of the petitioner, a temporary Collection Peon, stood terminated, notwithstanding the subsequent promotion earned by him on the post of Collection Amin on the strength of his continued working under the interim order passed by the High Court.
The Bench, comprising Justices Abhay S. Oka and Pankaj Mithal, held that the view expressed by the Division Bench of the High Court in allowing the appeal is well within the four corners of law and does not suffer from any material illegality or irregularity.
First Round of Litigation
In the instant case, the petitioner was appointed as a temporary Collection Peon on 01.02.1996. The appointment letter clearly stated that the services of the petitioner were purely temporary and that he could be removed without any notice. The services of the petitioner as a temporary Collection Peon were terminated. Aggrieved by the termination of his services, the petitioner challenged the same before a Single Judge of the High Court. However, the same was dismissed. Thus, the petitioner preferred an appeal (Special Appeal) before the Division Bench wherein the Court stayed the termination of his services via an interim order. It is worth mentioning that on the basis of this interim order only, the petitioner continued to function as temporary Collection Peon and was even promoted on the post of Collection Amin by the District Selection committee. However, the said appeal was subsequently dismissed.
Second Round of Litigation
Consequent to the aforesaid dismissal, a detailed order was passed by the SubDivisional Magistrate, Bharthana, notifying that as the services of the petitioner had been terminated, the promotion of the petitioner was meaningless. Thereafter, the petitioner filed a Writ Petition challenging the same. The said Writ Petition was allowed by the Single Judge observing that the promotion granted to the petitioner was not hedged by any condition; therefore, once the petitioner had been promoted from the temporary post of Collection Peon to the post of Collection Amin, his services were not liable to be treated as determined. The said order of the Single Judge was assailed by the State of UP and others (respondents) before the Division Bench, and the same was allowed by the order impugned dated 04.09.2017. Therein, the Court observed that once the services of the petitioner stood terminated on 30.11.1998, and the Writ Petitions were dismissed, the petitioner went out of service, and the very continuance of service of the petitioner on the strength of interim order, which merged in the final order of dismissal of Special Appeal, lost all significance.
Contentions of the Parties
Senior advocate Shri Parthiv K. Goswami, appearing for the petitioner, argued that the person who has continued for so long may be in view of the interim order operating in his favour, cannot be thrown out in a cursory manner when a conscious decision had been taken to promote him as Collection Amin.
On the other hand, Tanmaya Agarwal, counsel appearing for the respondents, contended that once the very foundation on which the petitioner was working had gone, the petitioner’s continuance in service and consequential promotion was of no effect.
The Court noted that the facts clearly establish that the petitioner was appointed simply as a temporary Collection Peon. The said order, terminating the services of the petitioner, was final and conclusive. It has not been disturbed by any court of law. However, the petitioner continued to function as a temporary Collection Peon on the strength of an interim order passed in a Special Appeal, which was ultimately dismissed. Based on these facts and circumstances, the Court dismissed the appeal and held:
"Therefore, any promotion given to the petitioner consequent to his continuance in service on the strength of the interim order would automatically fall to the ground once the Special Leave Petition is dismissed and the termination order attains finality"
“The Division Bench has rightly set aside the judgment and order of the learned Single Judge dated 31.10.2012 by which the writ petition was allowed in complete ignorance of the fact that the services of the petitioner stood determined long back and that the petitioner is not entitled to any benefit on the basis of his subsequent promotion which automatically falls with the termination attaining finality.”
Case Title: JAGPAL SINGH v. THE STATE OF U.P. & ORS., SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) No.31526 OF 2017
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 771
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment