At, Supreme Court of India
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE KURIAN JOSEPH
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE A.M. KHANWILKAR & THE HONOURABLE DR. JUSTICE DHANANJAYA. Y. CHANDRACHUD
For the Appellants: Rani Chhabra, AOR. For the Respondents: Ajit Kumar Sinha, Sr. Advocate, R.D. Agrawala, Sr. Advocate, Arunima Dwivedi, Vijay Prakash, Chandra Nand Jha, Chiranjeev Johri, Advocates, Gurmeet Singh Makker, AOR, Pradeep Kumar Mathur, AOR.
Kurian Joseph, J.
2. The appellants before this Court had a limited grievance that they have not been reinstated in terms of the judgment dated 16.05.2008 passed by the High Court and the order dated 11.03.2011 passed by this Court in SLP(Civil) No. 24235 of 2008.
3. When the matter came up for admission on 16.12.2016, this Court passed the following order:
"The learned counsel for the petitioners submits that all the other coworkers, who are similarly situated and did not face retrenchment, have been regularised in service. It is further submitted that even those who faced retrenchment, have been regularised and only the petitioners have been discriminated.
It is further pointed out that there was a direction by the learned Single Judge of the High Court to consider them for regularisation and what was conceded by the petitioners before this Court was only forgoing the back-wages and in all other respects, the understanding was that the other directions would survive."
4. Mr. R.D. Agrawala, learned senior counsel appearing for the respondents had made a vehement statement that this Court had only granted benefit of continuity of service and not regularisation. We are afraid, this submission cannot be appreciated. The order passed by the High Court to the relevant extent reads as follows:
"The retrenchment of the petitioners effected on 16th August, 2001 vide Annexure A10 and similar notices issued to be petitioners are quashed and set aside. The retrenchment of the petitioners with effect from 16.8.2001 is declared void ab initio. The petitioners will be deemed to be in continuous service with the respondents with all consequential benefits. The respondents are directed to consider the cases of the petitioners for regularization under Annexure A1 on the premise that they had completed requisite number of days as observed by the Court with all consequential benefits. It is also declared that the petitioners were eligible to be considered for regularization under the left out scheme/instructions issued in the year 2001 as well.
The entire exercise will be completed by the respondents within a period of 6 weeks from today."
5. It was against the above order, the respondent had approached this Court leading to the Order dated 11.03.2011. The order passed by this Court read as under:
"Learned counsel appearing for the respondents states that the respondents shall not claim any back wages, if they are reinstated in terms of the impugned judgments. She, however, prays that the respondents should not be deprived of other service benefits. In view of the statement of learned counsel appearing for the respondents, we dispose of the Special Leave Petition with the direction that the respondents shall be reinstated within four weeks from today. However, except for the benefit of continuity in service for the purposes of pension, they will not be entitled to any other relief.
The Special Leave Petition is disposed of accordingly."
6. It is fairly clear that the intention of this Court was that the appellants should be considered for regularisation. What was deprived was only the benefit of back wages which the appellants already gave up.
7. The order passed by the High Court is set-aside and the appeals are allowed. The appellants, in terms of the declaration made by the High Court, shall stand regularised
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w.e.f. 11.04.2011. They shall not be entitled for any back wages till 11.04.2011. But from 11.04.2011, they shall be entitled for all benefits as regular employees. The same shall be disbursed within eight weeks from today and, if not, the benefits will carry interest at the rate of 12% p.a. from 11.04.2011 and the officers responsible for the delay shall be personally liable for the same.