Continuing in service on strength of interim order, employee’s promotion loses effect on dismissal of the petition: Supreme Court
The temporary collection peon working in Uttar Pradesh had earlier appealed before the Allahabad High Court
The Supreme Court has held that if an employee continuing in service on the strength of an interim order gets a promotion, it will be nullified once the interim order is dismissed.
The bench comprising Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal was considering a challenge to a judgment passed by the division bench of the Allahabad High Court.
The services of the petitioner, a temporary collection peon, were terminated, notwithstanding the subsequent promotion earned by him on the post of the collection amin on the strength of his continued work under the interim order passed by the high court.
The Apex Court stated that the view expressed by the division bench of the high court in allowing the appeal was within the law and was in no way illegal.
The matter pertains to the petitioner, who on 1 February 1996, was appointed as a temporary collection peon. The appointment letter stated that the services were purely temporary and that he could be removed without any notice.
When his services were terminated, aggrieved by it, the petitioner challenged it before a single judge bench of the high court. However, the appeal was dismissed. Thereafter, he filed a special appeal before the division bench, wherein his termination from service was stayed via an interim order.
Based on that, the petitioner continued to function as a temporary collection peon. Meanwhile, he was promoted as the collection amin by the district selection committee. However, after his dismissal, a detailed order was passed by the subdivisional magistrate, Bharthana, in Etawah district, notifying that as the services of the petitioner were terminated, his promotion was meaningless.
The petitioner then filed a writ petition challenging the order. The single judge allowed it while observing that the promotion granted to the petitioner was not hedged by any condition. Thus, once he was promoted, his services were not liable to be treated as determined.
However, the order was assailed by the State of Uttar Pradesh and others (respondents) before the division bench. It was allowed by the 4 September 2017 impugned order.
The court observed that once the services of the petitioner were terminated on 30 November 1998, the writ petitions were dismissed. The continuance of service of the petitioner on the strength of the interim order merged in the final order of dismissal of special appeal, lost its significance.
While appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Parthiv K. Goswami argued that the individual who worked for so long may have held the interim order operating in his favor. He could not be thrown out in a cursory manner when a conscious decision was taken to promote him.
On the other hand, Tanmaya Agarwal, the counsel appearing for the respondents, contended that once the foundation on which the petitioner was working had gone, his continuance in service and promotion was irrelevant.
The Top Court noted that the facts established that the petitioner was appointed simply as a temporary collection peon. It stated, “Therefore, any promotion given to the petitioner consequent to his continuance in service on the strength of the interim order would automatically fall once the Special Leave Petition is dismissed and the termination order attains finality.”
The judges added, “The division bench has rightly set aside the judgment and 31 October 2012 order of the single judge. The writ petition was allowed in complete ignorance of the fact that the services of the petitioner stood determined long back and that he was not entitled to any benefit based on his subsequent promotion.”