w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Hitesh Bhardwaj v/s Ministry of Finance, Union of India & Another


Company & Directors' Information:- L & T FINANCE LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U65990MH1994PLC083147

Company & Directors' Information:- S P FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65990MH1979PTC021790

Company & Directors' Information:- V L S FINANCE LIMITED [Active] CIN = L65910DL1986PLC023129

Company & Directors' Information:- L R N FINANCE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65921TN1992PLC089288

Company & Directors' Information:- S M FINANCE LTD [Active] CIN = L65999TG1984PLC004526

Company & Directors' Information:- J R D FINANCE LTD [Active] CIN = L65999WB1993PLC058107

Company & Directors' Information:- B R D FINANCE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65910KL1995PLC009430

Company & Directors' Information:- T C I FINANCE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65920MH1973PLC017042

Company & Directors' Information:- BHARDWAJ INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U24100DL2015FTC284710

Company & Directors' Information:- A. V. B. FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED. [Active] CIN = U65993DL1992PTC049818

Company & Directors' Information:- S M L FINANCE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65910KL1996PLC010648

Company & Directors' Information:- S B FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U65921TG1988PTC008268

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA FINANCE LTD. [Active] CIN = L65110WB1984PLC050214

Company & Directors' Information:- J J FINANCE CORPORATION LTD [Active] CIN = L65921WB1982PLC035092

Company & Directors' Information:- G V S FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U65921TG1988PTC008269

Company & Directors' Information:- G T P FINANCE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65921TZ1991PLC003149

Company & Directors' Information:- S R K FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65910UP1994PTC016038

Company & Directors' Information:- R N FINANCE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1988PLC034289

Company & Directors' Information:- J R D FINANCE LTD [Active] CIN = U65999WB1993PLC058107

Company & Directors' Information:- C K G FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65910KL1996PTC010147

Company & Directors' Information:- L N FINANCE LTD [Active] CIN = U65923WB1991PLC052876

Company & Directors' Information:- R K FINANCE LTD [Active] CIN = L65921WB1983PLC035896

Company & Directors' Information:- V P C L FINANCE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65920TG1996PLC023172

Company & Directors' Information:- J S M FINANCE PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U74140MP1995PTC009542

Company & Directors' Information:- I & D FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65191TN1991PTC021369

Company & Directors' Information:- UNION FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910GJ1994PLC023717

Company & Directors' Information:- L N FINANCE PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U65929AS1992PTC003766

Company & Directors' Information:- N B A FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1993PLC052393

Company & Directors' Information:- T P D FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U67120RJ1994PLC008051

Company & Directors' Information:- R G L FINANCE COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1983PTC015809

Company & Directors' Information:- S K B FINANCE LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U65999WB1996PLC082317

Company & Directors' Information:- J V FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1985PTC067873

Company & Directors' Information:- L C J FINANCE PVT. LTD. [Active] CIN = U65921WB1995PTC068809

Company & Directors' Information:- H L T FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921DL1996PTC078128

Company & Directors' Information:- R N C P FINANCE LTD. [Dissolved] CIN = U67120WB1995PLC072339

Company & Directors' Information:- T T FINANCE LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U67120DL1986PLC023168

Company & Directors' Information:- M M V R FINANCE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65921TZ1997PLC007705

Company & Directors' Information:- D B FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65191TN1989PTC016705

Company & Directors' Information:- C H P FINANCE PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U65921PB1992PTC012788

Company & Directors' Information:- S L B P FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1990PTC041694

Company & Directors' Information:- R S FINANCE PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U65191WB1988PTC044144

Company & Directors' Information:- I C FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65921UP1989PTC011236

Company & Directors' Information:- V K FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U67120WB1991PTC052140

Company & Directors' Information:- C AND N FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921DL1998PTC094290

Company & Directors' Information:- C D R FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910TG1995PLC022237

Company & Directors' Information:- J R FINANCE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65921PB1996PLC017699

Company & Directors' Information:- I C S FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921TZ1987PLC001991

Company & Directors' Information:- D D S FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910DL1996PTC076165

Company & Directors' Information:- K V L FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65191TN1989PLC016715

Company & Directors' Information:- D A S FINANCE PVT LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921PB1993PTC012888

Company & Directors' Information:- U B FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1992PTC051300

Company & Directors' Information:- V L G FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910AP1997PTC027952

Company & Directors' Information:- E M S FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921TZ1986PTC001789

Company & Directors' Information:- T D M FINANCE COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65923KL1997PTC011601

Company & Directors' Information:- S. F. FINANCE COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921PB1996PTC018702

Company & Directors' Information:- D S L FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65921TG1996PTC023898

Company & Directors' Information:- R D P FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65929DL1997PTC089092

Company & Directors' Information:- S R K C FINANCE LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U65999TZ1989PLC002445

Company & Directors' Information:- R K N FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65191TN1997PTC038377

Company & Directors' Information:- H A FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65993DL1987PTC027064

Company & Directors' Information:- V V A FINANCE LTD [Active] CIN = U65993WB1984PLC037171

Company & Directors' Information:- Y B FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921CH1996PTC017745

Company & Directors' Information:- D G L FINANCE LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U67120TG1993PLC015604

Company & Directors' Information:- M S R FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U65191TN1989PTC016789

Company & Directors' Information:- S S P FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65191TN1987PTC014526

Company & Directors' Information:- C R N FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1994PTC062802

Company & Directors' Information:- I FINANCE COMPANY LIMITED [Active] CIN = U67110DL2011PLC212268

Company & Directors' Information:- BHARDWAJ FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U65993PB1976PTC003650

Company & Directors' Information:- H AND Z FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U67190MH1995PTC093153

Company & Directors' Information:- Y AND K FINANCE COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1985PTC019837

Company & Directors' Information:- S L P FINANCE PRIVATE LTD. [Strike Off] CIN = U65923DL1985PTC021970

Company & Directors' Information:- V M FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910PB1996PLC018339

Company & Directors' Information:- D S K FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910UP1988PLC010317

Company & Directors' Information:- G B V FINANCE COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65110UP1988PTC010219

Company & Directors' Information:- B H FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65922KA1995PTC018390

Company & Directors' Information:- M .R .S . FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65929DL1995PLC067184

Company & Directors' Information:- H D FINANCE LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U67120DL1986PLC023675

Company & Directors' Information:- P R K FINANCE P LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U65191TN1995PTC033478

Company & Directors' Information:- T AND C FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U67120RJ1996PLC012576

Company & Directors' Information:- W S FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65192UP1996PTC020243

Company & Directors' Information:- S A C FINANCE COMPANY PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U65999WB1985PTC039002

Company & Directors' Information:- BHARDWAJ AND CO. PVT. LTD. [Strike Off] CIN = U45201RJ1984PTC003047

Company & Directors' Information:- C C FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65191TN1997PTC037805

Company & Directors' Information:- S R B FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910UP1988PLC010045

Company & Directors' Information:- P V FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65993DL1987PTC027270

Company & Directors' Information:- R V S FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65990KA1995PTC018436

Company & Directors' Information:- P AND B FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U99999MH1986PTC038841

Company & Directors' Information:- B B P FINANCE COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921PB1996PTC018183

Company & Directors' Information:- A E FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65999TZ1990PTC002905

Company & Directors' Information:- L R FINANCE COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910UP1988PTC009758

Company & Directors' Information:- S B M FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921PB1994PLC014374

Company & Directors' Information:- T A S FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U65191TN1990PTC018654

Company & Directors' Information:- D AND O FINANCE COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1993PTC054788

Company & Directors' Information:- H R P FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921PB1995PTC015715

Company & Directors' Information:- P T R FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65191TN1989PTC016795

Company & Directors' Information:- B & S FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U65191TN1988PTC015491

Company & Directors' Information:- H S B FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U67120RJ1996PTC012119

Company & Directors' Information:- M. J. S. FINANCE COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65921PB1971PTC003049

Company & Directors' Information:- A R FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U65921PB1989PTC009778

Company & Directors' Information:- K G FINANCE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910TZ1982PLC001219

Company & Directors' Information:- S AND Z FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65923PN1997PTC106520

Company & Directors' Information:- H S N FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U67120PB1993PTC013900

Company & Directors' Information:- G N FINANCE PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U65990MH1981PTC024294

Company & Directors' Information:- C S FINANCE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910GJ1987PTC009799

    W.P.(C). No. 3308 of 2020

    Decided On, 01 June 2020

    At, High Court of Delhi

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE VIPIN SANGHI & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE RAJNISH BHATNAGAR

    For the Petitioner: Dr. Pradeep Sharma, Harsh, Advocates. For the Respondent: Jasmeet Singh, CGSC, Shobhana Takiar, ASC.



Judgment Text


CM APPL. 11606/2020

Exemption allowed, subject to all just exceptions.

The Court fees be paid within a week.

The application stands disposed of.

W.P.(C) 3308/2020

The present writ petition has been preferred in public interest seeking following reliefs:

“a) Issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ, order or direction to the Respondents to withdraw the notification issued by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India

b) Issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ, order or direction to the Respondents to withdraw the endorsement against the notification, issued by the Ministry of Finance, Government of NCT of Delhi.

c) Issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ, order or direction to the Respondents to defreeze and release the enhanced Dearness Allowance to the Central Government Servants and pensioners as per norms.

d) Issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ, order or direction to the Respondents to defreeze and release the enhanced Dearness Allowance to the Government Servants and pensioners of GNCTD as per norms.”

The respondent no. 1/Union of India issued an Office Memorandum dated 23.04.2020 which is the cause for the petitioner’s grievance in the present writ petition. The said Office Memorandum reads as follows:

“No.1/1/2020-E-II(B)

Government of India

Ministry of Finance

Department of Expenditure

***

North Block, New Delhi

Dated the 23rd April, 2020.

OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Subject: Freezing of Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief to Central Government pensioners at current rates till July 2021.

The undersigned is directed to say that in view of the crisis arising out of COVID-19, it has been decided that the additional instalment of Dearness Allowance payable to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief to Central Government pensioners, due from 1st January 2020 shall not be paid. The additional instalments of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief due from 1st July 2020 and 1st January 2021 shall also not be paid. However, Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief at current rates will continue to be paid.

2. As and when the decision to release the future instalment of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief due from 1st July 2021 is taken by the Government, the rates of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief as effective from 1st January 2020, 1st July 2020 and 1st January 2021 will be restored prospectively and will be subsumed in the cumulative revised rate effective from 1st July 2021. No arrears for the period from 1st January 2020 till 30th June 2021 shall be paid.

3. These orders shall be applicable to all Central Government employees and Central Government pensioners.

Sd/-

(Annie George Mathew)

Additional Secretary to

the Government of India.”

The petitioner is also aggrieved by the consequent order issued by respondent no. 2/GNCTD dated 24.04.2020, whereby the GNCTD has followed suit in terms of the Office Memorandum dated 23.04.2020 issued by respondent no. 1. The Office Memorandum dated 23.04.2020, in effect, conveys the decision of the Central Government that Dearness Allowance due to the Central Government Employees and Dearness Relief due to the Central Government Pensioners from 01.01.2020 shall not be paid. It also states that additional installment of the Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief due from 01.07.2020 and 01.01.2021 shall also not be paid. Pertinently, Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief at the current rates would continue to be paid. The said Office Memorandum further states that as and when the decision to release future installment of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief due from 01.07.2021 is taken by the Government, rates of the Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief as effective from 01.01.2020, 01.07.2020 and 01.07.2021 will be restored prospectively, and will be subsumed in the cumulative revised rate effective from 01.07.2020. No arrears from the period 01.01.2020 till 30.06.2021 shall be paid.

The first submission of the petitioner is that Central Government Employees and Central Government Pensioners have a vested right to receive the enhanced Dearness Allowance/ Dearness Relief which has already been declared effective from 01.01.2020. The said increase was declared at 4%. The petitioner also claims that such employees and pensioners also have vested right to continue to receive enhancement in Dearness Allowance/ Dearness Relief on and from 01.07.2020 and 01.01.2021.

To examine the merit of this submission, we may refer to the All India Services (Dearness Allowance) Rules, 1972. These statutory rules have been framed by the Central Government after consultation with the Government of the States concerned in exercise of powers conferred by Sub-Section (1) of Section 3 of All India Services Act,1952. Rule 3 of the said Rule is relevant and which reads as follows:

“3. Regulation of dearness allowance:

Every member of the Service and every officer, whose initial pay is fixed in accordance with sub-rule (5) or sub-rule (6A) of rule 4 of the Indian Administrative Service (Pay) Rules, 1954 or sub-rule (5) of rule 4 of the Indian Police Service (Pay) Rules, 1954 or sub-rule (6) of rule 4 of the Indian Forest Service (Pay) Rules, 1968, shall be entitled to draw dearness allowance at such rates, and subject to such conditions, as may be specified by the Central Government, from time to time, in respect of the officers of Central Civil Services, Class I.”

(emphasis supplied)

From the above Rule, it would be seen that Central Government servants shall be entitled to draw Dearness Allowance “at such rates, and subject to such conditions, as may be specified by the Central Government, from time to time, in respect of officers of the Central Civil Service, Class-I”. We may notice that there is no other statutory rule brought to our notice relating to payment of Dearness Allowance or Dearness Relief and it appears that the said Rule governs the payment of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief to Government servants and Government Pensioners of the Union in respect of all the classes of employees.

The above rule shows that the entitlement to draw Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief is determined by the Central Government. The same may be specified by the Central Government from time to time, subject to whatever conditions the Government may deem fit to impose.

From the above Rule, it is clear to us that, firstly, there is no statutory rule which obliges the Central Government to continue to enhance the Dearness Allowance or Dearness Relief at regular intervals i.e. to revise the same upwards from time to time. Consequently, there is no vested right in the Central Government Employees, or Central Government Pensioners to receive higher Dearness Allowance or Dearness Relief on regular intervals.

Pertinently, by the impugned Office Memorandum, the Central Government has frozen – and not withdrawn, the Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief being paid to Central Government Employees and Central Government Pensioners at the time of issuance of the said Office Memorandum.

So far as the submission with regard to increase of 4% Dearness Allowance or Dearness Relief with effect from 01.01.2020 is concerned, the impugned Office Memorandum does not seek to take it away. All that it does is to postpone its payment till after 01.07.2021. That power, in our view, resides with the Central Government, by virtue of Rule 3 of the All India Services (Dearness Allowance) Rule, 1972, since the Central Government is empowered to take the decision to make payment of Dearness Allowance/Dearness Relief, subject to such conditions as the Central Government may specify from time to time.

The submission of learned counsel for the petitioner is that the Central Government in the impugned Office Memorandum has referred to COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for its decision contained in the said Office Memorandum. However, the impugned Office Memorandum has not been issued by the competent authority under the Disaster Management Act. We do not find merit in this submission. The provisions of the Disaster Management Act are not the only repository of the power of the Government to take action in the light of the pandemic. As noticed above, the power to determine as to how much Dearness Allowance is to be paid, i.e. at what rates, and subject to what condition, resides with the Central Government by virtue of Rule 3 of All India Services (Dearness Allowance) Rules, 1972. Merely because the said impugned Office Memorandum makes reference to the COVID-19 pandemic, it does not follow that the only provision which the respondents could have invoked are those contained in the Disaster Management Act. The Central Government, by referring to COVID-19 pandemic in the impugned communication, has merely provided its reasons and justification for its decision contained in the said Office Memorandum.

The next submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the impugned Office Memorandum is also in violation of Article 360(4)(a)(i) of the Constitution of India. Article 360 of the Constitution of India contains the provision as to financial emergency, and it provides that if the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen whereby the financial stability of credit in India or any part of the territory thereof is threatened, he may, by a proclamation make declaration to that effect. The submission is that President of India has not declared financial emergency. The further submission is that it is only during financial emergency declared by the President, that by virtue of Sub-Article 4(a)(i) – a provision could be made requiring reduction of salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons serving in connection with the affairs of the State. Since no financial emergency has been declared, the Office Memorandum in question could not have been issued which is referable to Article 360(4)(a)(i) of the Constitution of India.

We find this submission to be completely misplaced. This is for the reason that Article 360(4)(a)(i) deals with a situation where the Government seeks to reduce the salary or allowance of all, or any class of persons, serving in connection with the affairs of the State. In the present case, the Office Memorandum does not seek to reduce either the salaries or allowances, which includes Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief in respect of serving Government servants, or its pensioners. All that it does is to freeze the payment of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief at the pre-existing level, and to put in abeyance any increase in Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief till July, 2021. The said freeze does not tantamount to reduction of either salary, or allowances, of persons serving in connection with the affairs of the State.

The further submission of learned counsel for the petitioner is that the Office Memorandum could not have been issued by mere issuance of an office order, and the same should have been either framed as a statutory rule,

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or by issuing a gazette notification. We do not find any basis for this submission. We have noticed Rule 3 of the All India Services (Dearness Allowance) Rules, 1972. The said Rule does not state that the Central Government can form, or communicate, its decision with regard to entitlement to draw Dearness Allowance, subject to conditions, only by framing another rule, or by a gazette notification. There is no such requirement in law. Therefore, we do not find any merits in this submission as well. So far as the right to receive the increase of Dearness Allowance/ Dearness Relief already declared by the Government with effect from 01.01.2020 is concerned, it falls well within the domain of the Central Government to decide as to when to disburse the said increase. There is no obligation in law upon the Central Government to disburse the increase in Dearness Allowance/ Dearness Relief within a time bound manner. Rule 3 of All India Services (Dearness Allowance) Rules referred to above, itself empowers the Central Government to lay down the conditions subject to which Dearness Allowance may be drawn by officers of Central Government. For the aforesaid reasons we do not find any merit in this petition and the same is, accordingly, dismissed.
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