Parmeshwar Nanda vs The State Of Jharkhand Chief … on 7 February, 2020


Supreme Court of India

Parmeshwar Nanda vs The State Of Jharkhand Chief … on 7 February, 2020

Author: Hemant Gupta

Bench: L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta

                                                      REPORTABLE

                 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                   CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


              CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 505-531 OF 2020
    (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CIVIL) NOS. 27922-27948 OF 2017)


PARMESHWAR NANDA ETC.                               .....APPELLANT(S)

                                    VERSUS

THE STATE OF JHARKHAND THROUGH CHIEF
SECRETARY & ORS. ETC.                             .....RESPONDENT(S)

                                WITH

              CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 532-542 OF 2020
    (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CIVIL) NOS. 32135-32145 OF 2017)


                 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 543 OF 2020
          (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CIVIL) NO. 852 OF 2018)

                 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 544 OF 2020
         (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CIVIL) NO. 4380 OF 2019)

                                AND

             CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 545-546 OF 2020
     (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CIVIL) NOS. 4698-4699 OF 2019)




                         JUDGMENT

HEMANT GUPTA, J.

Civil Appeal Nos. 505-531 of 2020

Civil Appeal Nos. 532-542 of 2020

Civil Appeal Nos. 543 of 2020

1
AND

Civil Appeal Nos. 545-546 of 2020

1. The present appeals are directed against an order passed by the

Full Bench of High Court of Jharkhand on 16 th June, 2017 wherein it

has been held that the services rendered by the appellants under

the Adult Education and Non-Formal Education Project 1 cannot be

counted under a Government scheme for the purpose of

pensionary benefits after the appellants were appointed by the

State.

2. Briefly, the facts are that the appellants were appointed under the

Project, co-sponsored by the Central Government and the State

Government, in the erstwhile undivided State of Bihar between the

period 1978 to 1990. Some of the appellants were appointed as

Adult Education Supervisors whereas other appellants were

appointed in the ministerial cadre such as Stenographer, Clerk cum

Accountant, Clerk cum Typist, Peon as well as Drivers. The

appellants were working under the Project during the bifurcation of

the State and their services fell in the successor State of Jharkhand

which was formed on 15th November, 2000. The Government of

India vide policy decision dated 1st April, 2001 closed the Project.

The Government of Jharkhand, consequent to the bifurcation of

State of Bihar, declared the employees to be surplus w.e.f. 16 th

May, 2001.

1 for short, ‘Project’

2

3. The Government of Jharkhand issued a notification dated 30 th May,

2007 for absorption of the employees engaged in the Project in the

Departments of Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs,

Finance, Social Welfare, Women and Child Development, Urban

Development etc. on different posts, in their respective prescribed

scales of pay. A perusal of the said notification shows that there

were 756 employees who were declared as surplus and were to be

absorbed by the State. It appears that most of the surplus

employees were absorbed in different scales of pay vide letter of

appointments starting from 24th July, 2007 except those who had

attained the age of superannuation or had died prior to such

absorption.

4. As per Clauses 11 and 12 of the notification dated 30 th May, 2007,

the surplus employees absorbed were to be treated as new

appointments and the services rendered by them prior to their

declaration as surplus i.e. prior to 15th May, 2001, would not be

counted for the purpose of their seniority and pay protection.

Clauses 11 and 12 of the notification read as under:

“11. The adjustment of surplus personnels will be
considered new appointment and being surplus on the
basis of prior service, they will not be benefitted of
seniority.

12. These surplus personnels will not be benefitted by
pay protection.”

5. 59 writ petitions came to be filed claiming pensionary benefits and

seniority before the High Court. The matter was placed before the

3
Full Bench in view of the divergence of opinions of the two Division

Benches of the Jharkhand High Court in State of Jharkhand &

Ors. v. Bhubneshwar Mahto2 and State of Jharkhand & Ors. v.

Bimal Kumar Sinha3.

6. LPA No. 515 of 2004 was preferred by the State against the order of

the learned Single Bench passed on 21st November, 2003. The writ

petitioner was directed to be paid salary for the period 16 th May,

2001 to 31st July, 2001 i.e. the date of his retirement. The writ

petitioner was ordered to be treated as a regular employee of the

State, having been appointed on 10th December, 1968, much

before the Project started in the year 1978. LPA No. 188 of 2004

was preferred by the State against the order of the learned Single

Bench. In the appeal, it was held that the writ petitioner therein

was appointed under the Project which was abolished on the

specific condition that past service rendered by him will not be

taken into account. Such writ petitions were categorized into three

groups by the Full Bench. The first group of petitions were from

those employees who had retired after being declared surplus w.e.f.

16th May, 2001 but before they were absorbed pursuant to the

notification dated 30th May, 2007. In this category, some of the

writ petitioners were legal heirs of those employees who had died

during this period before being absorbed. The second group of

petitions were from those employees who were declared surplus

but were absorbed by the Government of Jharkhand vide

2 LPA No. 515 of 2004
3 LPA No. 188 of 2004

4
notification dated 30th May, 2007 and had retired thereafter. The

third group of petitions were from those employees who were

working on the date of filing of the writ petitions, after being

absorbed by the Government of Jharkhand vide the aforementioned

notification. The employees in writ petitions comprising of

Categories I and II claim pensionary benefits whereas the writ

petitions filed in Category III claim seniority by taking into

consideration their past services rendered under the Project

resulting into payment of pension after attaining the age of

superannuation.

7. The common challenge in all the writ petitions were to clauses 11

and 12, as reproduced above. It was the stand of the writ

petitioners that they are being treated as fresh appointees and

their past service has not been counted for the purposes of

seniority or fixation of their initial salary.

8. The High Court in the impugned order referred to Jharkhand

Pension Rules to hold that the following three conditions are

required to be satisfied before the service can be treated to be

pensionable service-

     (i)       Service must be under Government.
     (ii)      Employment must be substantive and permanent.
     (iii)     Service must be paid by Government.


9. Rule 59 provides that the State Government can declare any

specific kind of service rendered in a non-gazetted capacity to

qualify for pension even though either or both of conditions (1) and

5
(2) are not fulfilled. The High Court held that no declaration of the

State Government in general terms has been made nor any

direction in individual cases issued in favour of any such

petitioners.

10. Before this Court, learned counsel for the appellants referred to

Circular issued by the State Government under Rule 59 of Bihar

Pension Rules, 1950 which would be applicable in the State of

Jharkhand after its bifurcation in terms of State Reorganization Act.

The Circular dated 12th August 1969 reads thus:

“Regarding: – Declaration of a temporary service
of a Government Servant who is not confirmed as
pensionable.

Under the existing pension rules, a temporary
Government servant if not confirmed in any point, is not
entitled to pension unless his services are declared
pensionable under Rule 59 of the Bihar Pension Rules.

2. There are a large number of temporary Government
servants employed under different Schemes which are
in existence for the last 15-20 years and it will cause
hardship to them if they are not allowed pension after
their retirement.

3. The State Government after careful consideration
have, therefore, been pleased to decide that if the
service of the temporary or officiating government
servant who is not confirmed in any post is continuous
and is more than 15 years, it will be considered as
pensionable under rule 59 of the Bihar Pension Rules.

4. These orders will be applicable to government
servants retiring on or after 12 August, 1969.”

11. The argument is that the issue relating to arrears of salary for the

period 16th May, 2001 till the date of the absorption of the

6
employees under notification dated 30th May, 2007 stands

concluded by an order passed by this Court in State of Jharkhand

& Ors. v. Asgar Ali & Ors.4, therefore, the appellants are entitled

to consequential benefits of pension.

12. On the other hand, the argument of learned counsel for the

respondents is that the said Circular was not referred to by the

appellants before the High Court and rightly so, as such Circular is

not applicable to the employees engaged under Central

Government sponsored project. Still further, it is the temporary or

officiating service of a Government servant which is to be

considered as pensionable under Rule 59 of the Rules. Since the

employees engaged under the Project were not discharging duties

as temporary or officiating Government servants, therefore, such

Circular will not be applicable to them. It is, thus, argued that the

view of the Full Bench of the Jharkhand High Court does not

warrant any interference in the present appeals.

13. Before we consider the respective arguments of the learned

counsel for the parties, some of the statutory provisions of

Jharkhand Pension Rules are required to be reproduced:

“Rule 31:- Permanent post means a post carrying a
definite rate of pay and sanctioned without limit of
time.

Rule 38:- Substantive pay means the pay other than
special pay, personal pay or emoluments classed as pay
by the Provincial government under rule 26(a)(iii) to
which a government servant is entitled on account of a
4 Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) CC Nos. 10361-10364 of 2014 decided on 18 th July,
2014.

7
post to which he has been appointed substantively or
by reasons of his substantive position in a cadre.

Rule 40:- Temporary post means a post carrying a
definite rate of pay and sanctioned for a limited time.

CHAPTER III
GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO GRANT OF PENSION
SECTION-1-GENERAL

Rule 58:- The service of Government servant does not
qualify for pension unless it conforms to the following
three conditions:-

First-The service must be under Government.
Second-The employment must be substantive and
permanent.

Third-The service must be paid by Government.

Rule 59:- The Provincial Government may, however, in
the case of service paid from general revenues, even
though either or both of conditions (1) and (2) are not
fulfilled-

(1) declare that any specified kind of service rendered
in a non-gazetted capacity shall qualify for pension.

(2) in individual cases, and subject to such conditions as
it may think fit to impose in each case, direct that
service rendered by a Government servant shall count
for pension.

Rule 60:- The service of a Government servant does not
qualify unless he is appointed and his duties and pay
are regulated by the Government, or under conditions
determined by the Government. The following are
examples of Government servants exclude from
pension by this rule;

(1) Employees of a municipality,
(2) Employees of grant-in-aid schools and institutions.
(3) Service on an establishment paid from the house
hold allowance of the Governor or from his contract
establishment allowance.

Rule 61:- Service does not qualify unless the
Government servant holds substantively a post on a
permanent establishment.

Rule 74:- Services which satisfied the conditions

8
prescribed in sub-sections (2) and (3) qualifies, or does
not qualify, according to the source from which it is
paid; with reference to this rule, service is classified as
follows:-

(a) Paid from the general revenues.

(b) Paid from local funds.

(c) Paid from funds in respect to which the Government
hold the position of trustee.

(d) Paid by fees levied by law, or under the authority of
the Govt. or by commission.

(e) Paid by the grant, in accordance with law and
custom, of a tenure in land, or of a source of income, or
right to collect money.

Rule 103:- An interruption in the service of a
Government servant entails forfeiture of his past
service, except in the following case:-

(a) Authorised leave of absence.

(b) Unauthorized absence in continuation of authorized
leave of absence so long as the post of the absentee is
not substantively filled; if his post is substantively filled,
the past service of the absentee is forfeited.

(c) Suspension, where it is immediately followed by
reinstatement whether to the same or to a different
post, or where the Government servant dies or is
permitted to retire or is retired while under suspension.

(d) Abolition of the post or loss of appointment owing to
reduction of establishment.

(e) Transfer or non-qualifying service in an
establishment under Government Control. The transfer
must be made by a competent authority; a Government
servant who voluntarily resigns qualifying service
cannot claim the benefit of this exception. Transfer to a
grant-in-aid school entails forfeiture.

(f) Time occupied in transit from one appointment to
another provided that the Government servant is
transferred under the orders of competent authority, or,
if he is a non-gazetted Government servant with the
consent of the head of his old office.”

14. Before this Court, 3 writ petitioners are in appeal falling in category

I, 18 falling in category II and 6 falling in category III.

15. In the order under appeal, the claim of the employees for pension

9
was declined for the reason that no declaration within the meaning

of Rule 59(1) in general terms has been made nor any direction in

individual cases issued in their favour. The High Court relied upon

judgment of this Court reported as Dhyan Singh & Ors. v. State

of Haryana & Ors.5. The High Court also held that judgment of

Single Bench of Patna High Court in Baliram Singh & Ors. v.

State of Bihar & Ors.6 is per incuriam. The High Court concluded

as under:

“The foregoing discussion therefore makes it clear that
past services of these petitioners/employees were
under the centrally sponsored scheme known as Adult
Education/Non-formal Education/Mass Education Project
which was abolished w.e.f. 1.4.2001 by the Central
Government and consequently w.e.f. 15.5.2001 by the
Government of Jharkhand. Appointment of these
petitioners/employees under such a scheme/project
therefore, cannot be treated as under regular
establishment of the Government on a permanent and
substantive post. Moreover, their pay and allowances
were borne by the grant-in-aid released by the Central
Government from time to time. That is the reason why
their services were treated as surplus once the Central
Government closed the scheme w.e.f. 1.4.2001.
Petitioners have failed to controvert the aforesaid
position on facts.”

16. The judgment in Baliram Singh has attained finality with the

judgment of this Court reported as State of Bihar & Ors. v.

Baliram Singh & Ors.7. In the aforesaid case, the policy decision

of absorbing the writ petitioners appointed under the Project

contained a clause that the candidates will be treated as fresh

appointments and that the earlier services rendered by them shall

5 (2002) 10 SCC 656
6 2016 SCC OnLine Pat 9958
7 (2018) 18 SCC 46

10
be calculated for their pension. The writ petitioners before the

Patna High Court claimed back wages from the date of their

termination till the date they were absorbed. This Court declined

the claim of back wages. The Court held as under:

“18. In the present case, however, the respondents
have neither challenged the termination order after
closure of the Non-Formal Education Scheme with effect
from 1-4-2001 nor the policy dated 20-5-2005 under
which they have been appointed or the appointment
letter dated 16-3-2007. Even the appointment letter
dated 16-3-2007 unambiguously predicates that the
appointment was a fresh appointment and the past
services would be reckoned only for the purpose of
grant of pension and nothing more. Indisputably, the
respondents acted upon such terms and conditions of
appointment without any demurrer. They chose to file
the subject writ petition only in the year 2013, when the
cause of action first arose on 1-4-2001, then on 20-5-
2005 and once again, on 16-3-2007. Unless the
respondents are to be reinstated in their previous post
(held prior to 1-4-2001), the question of awarding back
wages would not arise at all. The relief of back wages is
and can be linked only to the order of reinstatement. It
cannot be awarded in isolation or, for that matter,
during the period when the respondents were not in
employment at all.”

17. The case of Dhyan Singh was in respect of appointments under

the Project in the State of Haryana. The services of the employees

were discharged upon abolishing of the aforementioned Project.

The employees invoked the writ jurisdiction of the court claiming

fixation of their salary by taking past service and for pension. This

Court declined such claim and held as under:

“…..The continuance/engagement of the appellants
under the specific scheme cannot be held to be an
employment under any establishment of the
Government. Such schemes are taken up for
certain contingencies when money for the same is

11
provided either by the Central Government or at
times by some foreign countries. But the
employment under such scheme not being a part
of the formal cadre of the State Government, it is
difficult to hold that the period for which an
employee rendered service under such scheme can
be counted either for the purposes of deciding their
pensionary benefits or even for fixing of their
salary in the scale of pay once they are regularly
absorbed.”

18. In the present case, Clause 11 of the notification dated 30 th May,

2007 issued by Government of Jharkhand is to the effect that

absorption of the surplus personnel will be considered as new

appointments and they will not be granted benefit of seniority on

the basis of their past service. Neither will such past service

entitle them to such pay protection. One of the appointment

letters appointing 65 candidates as Project Officers was issued on

20th December, 2007. Such appointment letter had following

clauses which read as under:

“4. Adjusted employees shall be covered under the old
Pension Scheme. Their service period prior to
retrenchment shall be counted for the purpose of
pension. Period of retrenchment shall not be counted
for the purpose of pension.

5. Adjustment of above surplus Project Officers shall be
considered as fresh appointment and benefit of
seniority on the basis their service rendered prior to
becoming surplus shall not be admissible to them.”

The appointment letters to the other employees is on similar lines.

19. The argument of the learned counsel for the appellants is that the

policy decision of the State, vide notification dated 30 th May, 2007

12
only denies them the benefit of seniority or pay protection but not

of their past service being counted towards pensionary benefits. It

is contended that in terms of Rule 59 of the Rules, the State

Government has declared that the services rendered by a

temporary Government servant employed under different schemes

would be entitled to pension after the completion of 15 years of

service.

20. The entire case is based upon Rule 59 of the Rules and the Circular

dated 12th August, 1969 of the erstwhile State of Bihar. We do not

find any merit in the arguments raised by the learned counsel for

the appellants. Rule 59 of the Rules empowers the State

Government to declare any specified kind of service rendered by

one in a non-gazetted service to qualify for pension, provided, that

the salary is paid from the general revenue. Rule 58 of the Rules

contemplates the conditions that are required to be satisfied for

services to be pensionable. Herein, as it has been reiterated before,

first condition is that the service must be under the Government;

second, that it must be substantive and permanent; and third, that

it must be paid by the Government.

21. The appellants were appointed under a specific Scheme i.e. the

Project. Such project was not a permanent establishment of the

Government as it was meant for a specific purpose funded by the

Central Government for a specified period. The appointment of the

appellants under the Project is not a part of any cadre of the State

13
Government. Therefore, the first condition of Rule 58 that the

service rendered must be under the State Government is not

satisfied by the appellants having been appointed under the

Project. The second condition that employment must be

substantive and permanent is again not satisfied by the appellants

as the employment of the appellants was under the Project. A

permanent post in terms of Rule 31 of the Rules means a post

carrying a definite rate of pay and that is sanctioned without a time

limit. The appointment of the appellants under the project was not

in a pay scale nor was it sanctioned without a time limit. Further,

substantive pay is defined in Rule 38 of the Rules as a person who

is appointed in a cadre. At best, the appellants satisfied only the

third condition i.e. that they were paid by the Government.

22. If the first and second conditions mentioned in Rule 58 of the Rules

are not satisfied, the State Government can declare any specified

kind of service rendered in a non-gazetted capacity to qualify for

pension. The Circular dated 12th August, 1969 deals with

pensionary benefits to a temporary Government servant. The

appellants were never appointed by the Government either on a

temporary or on permanent basis. The appellants were engaged

under the Project i.e. a scheme, therefore, the benefit of such a

Circular cannot be claimed by the appellants. Still further, sub-rule

(1) of Rule 59 of the Rules empowers the State to declare any

specific kind of service to qualify for pension. The notification for

absorption circulated on 30th May, 2007 and the subsequent letter

14
of appointments do not contain any condition that the services

rendered by the appellants under the Project shall qualify for

pension. The policy decision contemplates that it is a fresh

appointment and no benefit either of seniority or pay protection

shall be given. The appellants have not disputed such condition of

appointment having been appointed under such policy decision

vide the notification dated 30th May, 2007. The Circular has not

granted pensionary benefits. In the absence of any specific

condition in the Circular to grant pensionary benefits, it is not

possible to read that pensionary benefits are to be granted to the

erstwhile employees of the Project. The appellants cannot turn

around to say that the services rendered by them under the Project

shall be counted for pension. The Circular dated 12 th August, 1969

is not even remotely applicable to the employees appointed under

the Project as the very nature of the appointment was for a specific

purpose and not for an unlimited period of time.

23. The case of Baliram Singh arises out of the policy of the State of

Bihar wherein the past service has been specifically ordered to be

considered for pension. Since in the State of Jharkhand, the policy

decision is to treat them as fresh appointments without any benefit

of seniority and pay protection, therefore, to count the period when

the appellants were working under a Project as pensionable service

is beyond comprehension. The appellants have been appointed as

fresh candidates and, therefore, their period of service for pension

has to be calculated from the date of their regular appointment and

15
therefore they cannot get any benefit of past service rendered by

them.

24. Learned counsel for the appellants have referred to an order

passed by this Court in Asgar Ali & Ors. v. State of Jharkhand

& Ors.8 wherein the direction of the High Court for payment of

arrears was not interfered with. It is contended that since the

appellants have been paid salary for the period prior to their

regular appointment, the appellants would be entitled to pension

as well.

25. The Single Bench of the Jharkhand High Court in a judgment

reported as Asgar Ali dealt with a prayer for absorption and for

payment of arrears of salary from 16 th May, 2001, i.e. when the

employees were rendered as surplus, till January, 2008, i.e. the

date of their absorption, in Writ Petition No.729 of 2004. The

learned Single Bench vide order dated 4 th January, 2010, directed

the state for the payment of salary for the reason that the services

of the employees under the Project were not retrenched, therefore,

the employees were entitled to their salary. In such petition the

employees had made no claim for counting of past services for the

purposes of pensionary benefits. As against such order of the

learned Single Judge, the state sought LPA No.533 of 2012 which

was dismissed vide order dated 1st October, 2013. Thereafter the

State sought a Special Leave Petition which was also dismissed

with a direction to make phased payments of salary to the writ
8 2010 SCC OnLine Jhar 8

16
petitioners/employees. Again, no claim for counting of past

services for the purposes of pension was made or allowed by the

Court. It was merely a monetary benefit which was granted on

account of no formal order of retrenchment being passed against

the employees employed under the Project.

26. Since the appellants were absorbed as fresh appointees without

pay protection and seniority, as a consequence thereof, they will

not be entitled to count their past service rendered under the

Project for the purpose of pension. We, thus, do not find any error

in the order passed by the High Court which may warrant

interference in the present appeals. Accordingly, the appeals are

dismissed.

Civil Appeal No. 544 of 2020

27. The present appeal is directed against an order passed by Division

Bench of the High Court of Patna on 20 th June, 2018 whereby LPA

No.189 of 2018 filed by the State was dismissed relying upon an

order passed by the Single Bench in CWJC No. 20780 of 2010 and

CWJC No. 20801 of 2010 on 19th April, 2011 wherein referring to

Rule 103 of Bihar Pension Rules, 1950, it was held that an

interruption in service on account of the abolition of a post shall not

entail forfeiture of the past service of a Government servant, i.e.

the intervening period can be counted for pensionary benefits. In

view of the said fact, the State was directed to consider the writ

petitioners as continuing in service between 1992 and 1998 solely

17
for the purpose of granting personal monetary benefits. The

petitioners were not to be entitled to payment of salary for the

period in any manner and neither claim any seniority over other

Government servants.

28. After the aforesaid judgments, Baliram Singh along with others

filed CWJC No. 22208 of 2013 9 to claim back wages for the period

from 1st October, 2001 to 3rd July, 2007. The learned Single Bench

allowed the writ petition on 22nd August, 2016. Thereafter, LPA No.

2307 of 2016 was dismissed on 15 th January, 2018. The said orders

were set aside by this Court in Baliram Singh. Therefore, the

reliance of the High Court on an order passed at earlier stage on

Baliram Singh no longer holds good. It may be noticed that in the

State of Bihar, past services rendered by employees under the

Project were taken into consideration for pensionary benefits. In

view of the said fact, the present appeal is disposed of in the same

terms as in Baliram Singh.

………………………………………J.

L. NAGESWARA RAO

………………………………………J.

(HEMANT GUPTA)

NEW DELHI;

FEBRUARY 07, 2020.

9 2016 SCC OnLine Patna 9958 decided on 22 nd August, 2016.

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