Hon'ble Supreme Court Judgment dated 17.10.2014

In Civil Appeal No. 9849 of 2014

Curtsey - Ravindra Malik (not Ravi)  is a Superintendent his vigilant eye may benefits you 

In the matter of State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors Vs. Arvind Kumar Srivastava & Ors has held that:

 Mumbai Dated 17.11.2014

“(1) Normal rule is that when a particular set of employees is given relief by the Court, all other identically situated persons need to be treated alike by extending that benefit. Not doing so would amount to discrimination and would be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. This principle needs to be applied in service matters more emphatically as the service jurisprudence evolved by this Court from time to time postulates that all similarly situated persons should be treated similarly. Therefore, the normal rule would be that merely because other similarly situated persons did not approach the Court earlier, they are not to be treated differently.

 

(2) However, this principle is subject to well recognized exceptions in the form of laches and delays as well as acquiescence. Those persons who did not challenge the wrongful action in their cases and acquiesced into the same and woke up after long delay only because of the reason that their counterparts who had approached the Court earlier in time succeeded in their efforts, then such employees cannot claim that the benefit of the judgment rendered in the case of similarly situated persons be extended to them. They would be treated as fence-sitters and laches and delays, and/or the acquiescence, would be a valid ground to dismiss their claim.

 

(3) However, this exception may not apply in those cases where the judgment pronounced by the Court was judgment in rem with intention to give benefit to all similarly situated persons, whether they approached the Court or not. With such a pronouncement the obligation is cast upon the authorities to itself extend the benefit thereof to all similarly situated person. Such a situation can occur when the subject matter of the decision touches upon the policy matters, like scheme of regularisation and the like (see K.C. Sharma & Ors. v. Union of India (supra). On the other hand, if the judgment of the Court was in personam holding that benefit of the said judgment shall accrue to the parties before the Court and such an intention is stated expressly in the judgment or it can be impliedly found out from the tenor and language of the judgment, those who want to get the benefit of the said judgment extended to them shall have to satisfy that their petition does not suffer from either laches and delays or acquiescence.”

 

However, in spite of various such decisions delivered by Apex Court, the benefit of a judgment pronouncement by none other than Apex Court is not being extended to all other identically situated persons / employees by the Government Departments and Ministries. If any matter on service issue / policy attains finality from the High Courts or Supreme Court, the DOPT and Department of Expenditure have made an uniform policy to implement the said decision to specific case only and not to all identically situated employees. It has become a decided matter by both of these departments to instruct the administrative departments / Ministries to implement the decision of High Court or Supreme Court in specific case only. Consequently, it may lead to wasting of time, resources, money, etc. of identically situated employees and of course for Courts also. It may also be termed as contempt of Court's decision. In a recent matter, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has sentenced 7 days imprisonment to a Secretary of U.P. Government in a matter where the Court's order was not followed by said Secretary on the direction of State Government. But it appears that by not following / implementing the decisions / judgments / orders of the Courts, bureaucrats of Government departments / Ministries are considering themselves above the level of Courts and are in fact doing contempt of Courts of Law. The recent example is an explanation given by DOPT in the matter of MACP in promotional hierarchy to the Railway Board. The DOPT has clarified to the Railway Board as under:

 

       "It may also be stated that generally the judgments passed by Hon'ble Tribunals/Courts are applicable/implemented to the specific case, unless there is any direction for similar dispensation to be extended to similarly placed persons."

 

Thus, the decision of the Supreme Court that when a particular set of employees is given relief by the Court, all other identically situated persons need to be treated alike by extending that benefit and that not doing so would amount to discrimination and would be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India is being overruled by DOPT in the case of Railway Board and other matters also, in particular, when the Apex Court has also held that this principle needs to be applied in service matters more emphatically as the service jurisprudence evolved by this Court from time to time postulates that all similarly situated persons should be treated similarly and, therefore, the normal rule would be that merely because other similarly situated persons did not approach the Court earlier, they are not to be treated differently. Clearly this matter needs to be reported to Hon'ble Minister of State for DOPT and the Prime Minister. If they also do not extend the required relief to employees, the matter should be reported to Apex Court for initiating contempt proceedings against the Secretary of the said department/Ministry and other officers involved therein.