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Irregularity and illegality cannot be perpetuated on the ground that illegal benefits have been extended to others: High Court of Delhi

Article 14 does not envisage negative equality but has only a positive aspect. Thus, if some other similarly situated persons have been granted some benefit inadvertently or by mistake, such an order does not confer any legal right on others to get the same relief as well. Article 14 is positive concept and cannot be enforced in a negative manner. Irregularity and illegality cannot be perpetuated on the ground that illegal benefits have been extended to others and the same was upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Manmohan in the case of SURENDER SINGH CHAUHAN vs. UNION OF INDIA & ORS. [W.P.(C) 2557/2022] on 10.02.2022.

The facts of the case are that the Petitioner stated that initially he joined Border Road Organisation and in 2019 he was promoted to the post of UDC. Pursuant to the advertisement published in the Employment News, the Petitioner, being an eligible candidate applied for the post of Senior Secretariat Assistant on deputation basis with the Anthropological Survey of India. The application of the Petitioner for deputation was forwarded by the Commanding Officer to the appropriate authority along with all connecting papers including recommendation, etc. However, the Respondents rejected the request of the Petitioner to forward his application.

The Petitioner’s application was rejected certain other similarly situated personnel have been issued No Objection Certificates by the Respondents. Through the present writ petition, the petitioner has challenged the letter whereby respondent rejected the request of the petitioner to forward his application for deputation.

The petitioner’s counsel stated that the impugned order is highly discriminatory, arbitrary and illegal, and the petitioner has been singled out, which led to the filing of the present writ petition.

The respondent’s counsel stated that the plea based on Article 14 is completely vague and without any merit as in the present petition it has not been asserted that any of the officers to whom permission to proceed on deputation has been granted is otherwise ineligible for the same. Consequently, the ground of discrimination is not attracted to the facts of the present case.

In the view of facts and circumstances, the consistent view of this Court was that Article 14 of the Constitution of India is a positive concept and does not promote negative equality.

The Court observed that “Article 14 does not envisage negative equality but has only a positive aspect. Thus, if some other similarly situated persons have been granted some relief/benefit inadvertently or by mistake, such an order does not confer any legal right on others to get the same relief as well. Article 14 is positive concept and cannot be enforced in a negative manner. Irregularity and illegality cannot be perpetuated on the ground that illegal benefits have been extended to others.”

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Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

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