An instant writ petition under was filed in the High Court of Delhi under Article 226 of the Constitution. The petitioner was seeking the reliefs of calling for relevant records, quash orders which allowed the payment of lesser amount of gratuity, direct the respondents to pay the balance amount of gratuity of Rs.5,30,533 , direct the respondents to pay interest @ 18% p.a. on the payment of Rs. 1,19,467/- and to award cost in favour of the petitioner. The HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE CHANDRA DHARI SINGH presided this case and it being G.C.Srivastava vs Union Of India And Ors (W.P.(C) 108/2013). Judgement pronounced on 16th December, 2022.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The petitioner joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) as a Civil Servant in the year 1967 and retired on 30th June, 2003 on superannuation.
Later, the petitioner was re-employed by Government of India as Member Secretary of the Twelfth Finance Commission from 1st July, 2003 to 31st December, 2004.
Later, was employed by the Government of Uttaranchal (currently Uttarakhand) as Chairman of the Second State Finance Commission from 2nd May, 2005.
Subsequently, the petitioner joined the Central Administrative Tribunal as Vice-Chairman of the Jabalpur Bench on 23rd March, 2006, where he retired on 30th June, 2008 on attaining the age of 65 years. Through order no. 19/2009 (30th April, 2009), the respondents paid amount of leave encashment to the petitioner as admissible under the rules.
In May, 2009, the petitioner was informed by the respondent no. 2 through letter dated 26th May, 2009 addressed to the respondent no. 3 that “in view of the Sub-Section 3 of Section 17A of the High Court Judges Act, 1954, the gratuity to the petitioner is not admissible“.
The petitioner made several representations as stated below and were all rejected. First, through representations of circular/letter bearing no. L-11016/2/2009-June of the Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Justice). Another on 2nd October, 2009 clarifying the statutory and legal position qua the valid claim of the petitioner through letter dated 2nd March, 2010. A final representation in October, 2009 which was also rejected by the respondent no. 2 through letter dated 19th January, 2012.
The Court did not find any force in the arguments advanced by learned counsel of the petitioner to interfere in the impugned order dated 19th January, 2012 which was passed by the competent authority.
The Court also observed that the two services rendered by the petitioner cannot be seen as services in continuation. A gap of 2.5 years exists in the services rendered in two different capacity.
The Court also observed that there exists an absence in defining the expression “re-employment” and therefore using the common parlance theory the conclusion arrived is that the appointment of the petitioner as Vice-Chairman, Central Administrative Tribunal would not be equivalent as re-employment. The two services rendered as Civil Servant and Vice-Chairman, Central Administrative Tribunal cannot be clubbed as the benefits arising out of the same cannot be given. (Similar observation of absence of definition “re-employment” can also be seen in the Hon’ble Supreme Court case of V.S. Mallimath vs. Union of India & Anr., (2001) 4 SCC, 31).
The Court could not find any reason to interfere in the impugned order of the Competent Authority. The Court held that the contention of the petitioner was devoid of any merit and has dismissed it and any other pending applications if any also stand dismissed.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ADITYA G S.