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Saturday, November 2, 2013

A public interest lititation writ of quo warranto the Court only makes a public declaration that the person holding the public office is a usurper and not eligible to hold the post and after the declaration is made he ceases to hold the office but can not order for recovery of salary/honorarium = Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha ......Appellant Versus Dhobei Sahoo & Ors. .....Respondents= http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=40949

A public interest lititation writ of  quo  warranto  
the
               Court only makes a public declaration that the person holding
               the public office is a usurper and not eligible to  hold  the
               post and after the declaration is made he ceases to hold  the
               office but can not order for recovery of salary/honorarium  =

whereby the Division Bench has quashed the appointment
                 of the respondent No. 5 herein  and  further  directed  the
                 present appellant to recover the amount  paid  to  the  5th
                 respondent  towards  honorarium,  in  a   public   interest
                 litigation preferred by the 1st   respondent,  the  present
                 appeals, one by the Central Electricity Supply  Utility  of
                 Odisha (CESU) and the other by  the  affected  person  have
                 been preferred, by special leave. =

  While
               exercising the power for issue of writ of  quo  warranto  
the
               Court only makes a public declaration that the person holding
               the public office is a usurper and not eligible to  hold  the
               post and after the declaration is made he ceases to hold  the
               office.  
Till the declaration is made, the incumbent  renders
               service and  when  he  has  rendered  service  he  cannot  be
               deprived of his  salary.   
Denial  of  pay  for  the  service
               rendered tantamounts to forced labour which is impermissible.
                
When an appointment is admitted and the incumbent  functions
               in the post and neither suspended nor removed  from  service,
               he is entitled to get salary, for it is his legal  right  and
               it is the duty of the employer to pay it as per the terms and
               conditions of the appointment.  
The matter may  be  different
               when  someone  continues  after   retirement   by   a   false
               declaration or misrepresentation.  
Recovery of  salary  would
               amount to deprivation of  payment  while  the  incumbent  was
               holding the post and had worked.  
Asking someone to work  and
               when his appointment is nullified by issue of a writ  of  quo
               warranto by the Court, we think that neither the employer can
               recover the amount nor the Court can direct for  recovery  of
               the same.  
There has to be some other reason  for  denial  of
               payment, recovery of salary or honorarium.  
In this  context,
               we may fruitfully reproduce a passage from People’s Union for
               Democratic  Rights  and  others  v.  Union   of   India   and
               others[17]: -

           “... if a person has contracted with another to perform  service
           and there is consideration for such  service  in  the  shape  of
           liquidation of debt or even remuneration he cannot be forced, by
           compulsion of law or otherwise,  to  continue  to  perform  such
           service, as that would be forced labour within the inhibition of
           Article 23.  
This Article strikes at every form of forced labour
           even if it has its origin in a contract voluntarily entered into
           by the person obligated  to  provide  labour  or  service  (vide
           Pollock v. Williams[18]).  
The reason is that it offends against
           human dignity to compel a person to provide labour or service to
           another if he does not wish to do  so,  even  though  it  be  in
           breach of the contract entered into by him.  
There should be  no
           serfdom or involuntary servitude  in  a  free  democratic  India
           which respects the dignity of the individual and  the  worth  of
           the human person.”

           43. In view of the aforesaid analysis  
we  are  of  the  resolute
               opinion that even while issuing a writ of quo warranto  there
               cannot be any direction  for  recovery  of  the  sum.  

The matter may be viewed from the point of view  of  the  5th
               respondent.  
True it is, his remaining in-charge of the  post
               of the CEO was called in question before the High Court in  a
               public interest litigation wherein a writ of quo warranto was
               issued.  
A judgment can be erroneous  but  when  there  is  a
               direction for recovery  of  the  honorarium,  it  indubitably
               creates a dent in the honour of a person.  
Honour  once  lost
               may be irredeemable or irresuscitable.  
Mr. Ramachandran  has
               number of times submitted  before  us  that  because  of  the
               humiliation faced, the 5th respondent decided not to continue
               in the post of the Chairman also.  
We have stated so  because
               we strongly feel that a cautious approach is requisite  while
               dealing with a writ of quo warranto.
45. Resultantly, the appeals are allowed  and  the  judgment  and
               order passed by the High Court is set aside.   In  the  facts
               and circumstances of the case there shall be no order  as  to
               costs.

                                                                Reportable
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9872 OF 2013
        (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (C) No. 16112 of 2012)


      Central Electricity Supply
      Utility of Odisha                                 ......Appellant


                                    Versus
      Dhobei Sahoo & Ors.                        .....Respondents


                                    WITH

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9871 OF 2013
        (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (C) No. 15870 of 2012)


      Bijaya Chandra Jena                               …Appellant


                                   Versus


      Dhobei Sahoo and others                           … Respondents




                               J U D G M E N T




      Dipak Misra, J.




            Leave granted in both the special leave petitions.

              2. Assailing the judgment and order dated 28.3.2012 passed  by
                 the High Court of Orissa, Cuttack in  WP(C)  No.  23268  of
                 2011 whereby the Division Bench has quashed the appointment
                 of the respondent No. 5 herein  and  further  directed  the
                 present appellant to recover the amount  paid  to  the  5th
                 respondent  towards  honorarium,  in  a   public   interest
                 litigation preferred by the 1st   respondent,  the  present
                 appeals, one by the Central Electricity Supply  Utility  of
                 Odisha (CESU) and the other by  the  affected  person  have
                 been preferred, by special leave.
The factual  matrix  and
                 the bedrock of challenge being similar we shall  state  the
                 facts which are requisite to  understand  the  controversy.
                 However,  the  description  of  the  parties  shall  be  in
                 accordance with their rank ascribed to them in  the  appeal
                 preferred by CESU.

              3.  The appellant-CESU has been created under  Section  22  of
                 the Electricity Act, 2003 (for brevity, “the  Act”)  passed
                 by the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (for  short
                 “the Commission”).
CESU is a deemed licensee under the Act
                 for the distribution of electricity in the Central Zone  of
                 Odisha.
It is necessary to  state  here  that  on  1.4.1996
                 Orissa  Electricity  Reforms  Act,  1995  came  into  force
                 providing for restructuring of the  Electricity  Sector  in
                 the  State  of  Odisha.  
Thereafter,  Orissa  Electricity
                 Reform  (Transfer  of  Undertakings,  Assets,  Liabilities,
                 Proceedings and Personnel) Scheme  Rules,  1996  came  into
                 existence and on that  base  a  newly  constituted,  wholly
                 owned Company of the Government  of  Orissa,  namely,  Grid
                 Corporation of Orissa Limited (GRIDCO) was vested with  the
                 Transmission, Distribution and Retail Supply  functions  of
                 the erstwhile Orissa State Electricity Board.
On  1.4.1999
                 by virtue of Orissa Electricity Reform (Transfer of Assets,
                 Liabilities, Proceedings and Personnel of Grid  Corporation
                 of Orissa (GRIDCO) to Distributions Companies) Rules, 1998,
                  the distributions and retail Supply  functions  of  GRIDCO
                 were vested with in  four  newly  constituted  Distribution
                 Companies  out of which one was Central Electricity  Supply
                 Company of Orissa  Limited  (CESCO)  which  was  given  the
                 responsibility of Distributions Undertakings of the Central
                 Zone  and  to  carry  out  them,  granted  a  license   for
                 distribution of  electricity  by  the  Commission.  
Be  it
                 noted, 51% Shareholding and Management of CESCO vested in a
                 private Company, namely, AES Orissa Distribution Pvt.  Ltd.
                 (AESODPL) and the balance 49% was held  by  GRIDCO.  
After
                 coming into  force  of  the  Act  on  10.06.2003  the  said
                 arrangement continued as  there  was  nothing  inconsistent
                 with the new legislation.  
On 26.2.2005 as  management  of
                 AESODPL abandoned the  management  of  CESCO,  the  license
                 granted in favour of CESCO was revoked  by  the  Commission
                 under  Section  19  of  the  Act  w.e.f.  1.04.2005.    
On
                 2.04.2005 an Administrator was appointed by the  Commission
                 for management and control of CESCO.

              4. As the factual matrix would further unfurl on 8.9.2006  the
                 Commission initiated the process for  sale  of  utility  of
                 CESCO under Section 20 of the Act.
However, as the Utility
                 could not be sold, by order dated 8.9.2006  the  Commission
                 created a new Utility, namely, CESU and formulated  Central
                 Electricity  Supply  Utility  of  Orissa   (Operation   and
                 Management) Scheme, 2006 (hereinafter referred to  as  “the
                 Scheme”)  for  Operation  and  Management  of   CESU.  
On
                 5.5.2007, the Scheme was amended by the Commission.  Clause
                 5 of the Scheme defined the powers  and  functions  of  the
                 Chairman, CEO (CEO), Chief Finance Officer (CFO) and  Chief
                 Operating Officer (COO).
On 31.10 2007, one S.K.  Dasgupta
                 was appointed as CEO of CESU with a  financial  package  of
                 Rs. 22 lakhs per annum.  
On 31.3.2010,  respondent  No.  5,
                 who had earlier served as Chairman and Managing Director of
                 GRIDCO as well as Member of the  Commission  from  2001  to
                 2006  and  had  forty-five  years  of  experience  in   the
                 electricity sector was  nominated  as  member  as  well  as
                 Chairman of the Management Board and of  CESU  without  any
                 remuneration.  
The Chairman was only  entitled  to  sitting
                 fee of Rs. 2000/- per meeting.

              5. As the  chronology  of  events  would  depict,  Mr.  S.  K.
                 Dasgupta resigned from the post of CEO on 8.8.2010  and  on
                 10.8.2010 he was relieved.   Keeping  in  view  the  smooth
                 functioning of CESU, the Commission decided to entrust  the
                 function, duties and responsibilities of  CEO  to  the  5th
                 respondent with immediate effect until  further  orders  or
                 until alternative arrangements were made by the Commission.
                  It was mentioned in the order dated 10.8.2010 that the 5th
                 respondent would enjoy all  the  perquisites/facilities  as
                 was being given to the CEO except the  monthly  emoluments.
                 It was also observed that the Commission would take a  view
                 later on regarding the desirability of giving an honorarium
                 to the Chairman.   On  12.11.2010,  the  Scheme  was  again
                 amended and a new Clause was inserted as Clause 4 (ix)  and
                 it was 6th Amendment to the Scheme.  On that day itself the
                 Commission fixed consolidated honorarium  of  Rs.  70,000/-
                 per month for the 5th respondent.

              6. After these developments, the respondent No. 1 and  another
                 filed a public interest litigation, WP  (C)  No.  23268  of
                 2011, on 26.8.2011  praying  for  issue  of  writ  of  “quo
                 warranto” for quashing  of  the  order  of  the  Commission
                 entrusting the functions of CEO of  the  CESU  to  the  5th
                 respondent.  It was contended before the  High  Court  that
                 CESU was a Government owned company and  it  had  become  a
                 rehabilitation centre for retired persons and deadwoods  at
                 the cost of public money; that the Orissa State Electricity
                 Board vide Office Order dated  30.8.1961  had  adopted  the
                 service conditions of Government servants and  GRIDCO  vide
                 its  Office  Order  dated   25.4.1996   had   adopted   the
                 regulations relating to service and allied matters for  the
                 employees of the Board transferred to GRIDCO;  that  asking
                 the Chairman of the Board of Management of CESU  to  remain
                 in-charge as CEO was contrary to the Scheme as amended upto
                 2010  vide  notification   dated   12.11.2010;   that   the
                 appointment  of  the  5th  respondent   was   contrary   to
                 Regulation  13(1)(2)(3)   of   GRIDCO   Officers’   Service
                 Regulations which provide for appointment to grades above E-
                 9 shall be on a contract basis initially for  a  period  of
                 three years and renewable thereafter for such period(s)  as
                 the Board for the Committee  of  the  Board  may  prescribe
                 until the Officer attains  the  age  of  superannuation  as
                 provided  in  these  Regulations;  and   that   the   third
                 respondent was appointed contrary to  law  and,  therefore,
                 his appointment should be quashed and the salary  drawn  by
                 him should be recovered.

              7. The aforesaid contentions were resisted by  the  Commission
                 contending,  inter  alia,  that  the  Commission  had   not
                 appointed the  5th  respondent  as  CEO  of  CESU  but  had
                 assigned the functions, duties and responsibilities till an
                 alternative arrangement was made by the Commission and  the
                 said arrangement was purely ad hoc in  nature;  that  CESCO
                 Officers’ Service Regulations had been adopted by CESU  but
                 not that of GRIDCO Officers’ Service Regulations; that  the
                 5th respondent was the Chairman of  CESU  in  view  of  his
                 bright  engineering  career  and  vast  experience  in  the
                 distribution sector and there has been no violation of  any
                 of the provisions of Orissa Service Code and Pension Rules;
                 that the said temporary arrangement had been  made  by  the
                 Commission only for the  interest  of  utility  and  larger
                 interest of the public and consumers  and  CESU;  that  the
                 Commission had given  the  5th  respondent  a  consolidated
                 honorarium of Rs.70,000/- per month whereas his predecessor
                 CEO was getting a total salary of Rs.1,67,284/-;  and  that
                 the Commission asking the  5th  respondent  to  remain  in-
                 charge  as  CEO  was  not  violative  of   any   rules   or
                 regulations.

              8. A counter affidavit was filed  by  the  CESU  and  the  5th
                 respondent contending that a Public Interest Litigation  of
                 the present nature was not maintainable and in any case the
                 Commission’s handing over the charge of as CEO to  the  5th
                 respondent would not be found fault with.

              9. The High Court referred to the maintainability of the  writ
                 petition and came to hold that as  the  post  of  the  CEO,
                 CESU, had not been filled in accordance  with  the  Service
                 Regulations of GRIDCO, the challenge to the effect that the
                 Chairman being higher in rank than the CEO could  not  have
                 been asked to discharge the function of  CEO  and  granting
                 honorarium  of  Rs.70,000/-  in  addition  to   his   usual
                 perquisites, a writ of quo warranto would lie.  Thereafter,
                 the High Court proceeded to scrutinize the order passed  by
                 the Commission asking the 5th respondent to  discharge  the
                 functions of CEO as a temporary measure and opined that  it
                 has to be  construed  as  an  appointment  and  the  person
                 concerned was not suitable to hold the post as the  service
                 regulations do not provide for the same.   The  High  Court
                 referred to clause 4(iv) and clause 5 of the Scheme and the
                 impugned order dated 12.11.2010 whereby the 5th respondent,
                 Mr. Jena, was given Rs.70,000/- per month as a consolidated
                 honorarium in  addition  to  the  usual  perquisites  being
                 enjoyed by the  CEO  like  telephone,  vehicle,  travelling
                 allowances excluding the house rent  and  opined  ascribing
                 certain reasons that the said appointment was illegal  and,
                 accordingly, quashed the  same.   The  High  Court  further
                 directed  for  recovery  of  the  amount   from   the   5th
                 respondent.  It is also apt to  note  here  that  the  High
                 Court directed that the Commission shall  immediately  take
                 steps to fill up the post of CEO within  a  period  of  two
                 months from the date of receipt of the copy of the judgment
                 and the Chairman shall not  be  allowed  to  function  till
                 filling up of the post of CEO and  some  other  responsible
                 officer of CESU shall act as in-charge CEO.

             10. At this stage,  we  think  it  apposite  to  summarise  the
                 principal reasons which have  been  ascribed  by  the  High
                 Court  while  setting  aside  the  order  whereby  the  5th
                 respondent was asked to  function  as  CEO  and  given  the
                 consolidated honorarium:

              i) The Commission  has  acted  illegally  and  arbitrarily  in
                 appointing the Chairman as the CEO, who is also one of  the
                 Members of the Board Management of CESU.

             ii) On reading of all the relevant clauses  it  is  very  clear
                 that the Chairman of the CESU is required to supervise  the
                 smooth functioning of the CESU and CEO is to act under  the
                 control of the Chairman. That being the  position  and  the
                 opp. party no. 3, who is a retired officer and the Chairman
                 of CESU could not have been appointed as CEO.

            iii) If the post of CEO in the organization falls vacant in view
                 of the urgency of either temporary appointment can be  made
                 or in charge arrangement can be made for temporary  period,
                 but the same power could not have been conferred  upon  the
                 Chairman as the  Chairman  is  required  to  supervise  and
                 control the function of officers of the Board as well as in
                 the Organization and, therefore, his appointment as CEO  by
                 way of an alternative arrangement is contrary to  Clause  5
                 of the Scheme.

             iv) It is not legally correct on the part of the Commission  to
                 appoint the Chairman as the CEO, which is contrary  to  the
                 service regulations and the 5th respondent should not  have
                 been allowed to function as the CEO having  regard  to  the
                 nature of powers and functions required to be discharged by
                 the Chairman, for CEO is under the control and  supervision
                 of the Chairman. As the 5th respondent cannot supervise his
                 own work  there  is  violation  of  principles  of  natural
                 justice as he cannot find out his own defects and discharge
                 his responsibilities.

              v)  The  Commission  has  acted  in   violation   of   service
                 regulations and hence, it is case of abuse of power.   That
                 apart, propriety demanded that the  5th  respondent  should
                 not have entrusted with the additional charge of CEO.

             vi) The appointment being contrary to the guidelines framed  by
                 CESU, the 5th respondent becomes an usurper to  the  public
                 office and hence, his appointment deserved to be quashed.


             11. We have heard Mr. P.P.  Rao,  learned  senior  counsel  for
                 Central Electricity Supply  Utility  of  Odisha,  Mr.  M.G.
                 Ramachandran,  learned  counsel  for  Bijay  Chandra  Jena,
                 Respondent No. 1 in person assisted by Mr. Aparajit Ninawe,
                 learned counsel, and Mr. Rutwik Panda, learned counsel  for
                 respondent No. 4 in both the appeals.

             12. Calling in question the defensibility of the  judgment  Mr.
                 Rao, learned senior counsel,  has  advanced  the  following
                 contentions: -

                 a) In relation  to  a  service  matter  a  public  interest
                    litigation is not  maintainable  except  as  far  as  it
                    relates to a writ of quo warranto and  in  the  case  at
                    hand, the  High  Court  has  failed  to  understand  the
                    implications of the writ of quo  warranto  and  has  not
                    only entertained the PIL in the garb of a  writ  of  quo
                    warranto but further proceeded to direct recovery of the
                    amount paid to the  Chairman  of  the  Commission  while
                    functioning as a CEO which is beyond the scope of a PIL.

                 b) A writ of quo warranto cannot be issued unless there  is
                    violation of statutory provisions and  in  the  case  at
                    hand, in the absence of  any  statutory  provision,  and
                    regard being had to the amendment of the Scheme made  on
                    12.11.2010 wherein sub-clause (ix) has been incorporated
                    in  clause  4  enabling  the  Commission  to  allow  the
                    Chairman to discharge the functions and responsibilities
                    of both the posts, the arrangement could not  have  been
                    unsettled by the High Court.

                 c) The  High  Court  has  failed  to  appreciate  that  the
                    appointing authority has the inherent power to  make  an
                    interim arrangement when the post falls  vacant  pending
                    selection  and  appointment  of  another  eligible   and
                    suitable candidate to the post and  in  similar  analogy
                    giving additional charge  of  the  post  to  a  superior
                    officer is not contrary to the public policy or  against
                    the interest of the institution.

                 d)  The  High  Court  has  fundamentally  misconstrued  the
                    provisions under the Act, Regulations and the Scheme and
                    has  erroneously  opined  that  the  Chairman,  who  was
                    holding the additional charge, had usurped the  position
                    despite being eligible, qualified and experienced.

                 e) The conclusion that the Chairman, who was age barred for
                    holding the post of CEO, should have been treated to  be
                    disqualified to hold the post,  is  both  fallacious  on
                    facts and erroneous  in  law.   There  is  no  statutory
                    provision prescribing the age.  That apart,  the  policy
                    decision  and  the  advertisement  do  not  curtail  the
                    power/authority  of   the   Commission   to   make   any
                    appropriate temporary arrangement, more so, when  it  is
                    so permissible under the Scheme.

             13. Mr. Ramachandran, learned counsel,  while  reiterating  the
                 submissions made by Mr. P.P. Rao,  further  submitted  that
                 when the Chairman had performed  the  duties  of  the  CEO,
                 there was no justification to direct for  recovery  of  the
                 sum, for it is unknown  to  service  jurisprudence  and  in
                 certain circumstances amounts to beggary which is enshrined
                 under Article 23 of the Constitution of India.  The learned
                 counsel would contend  that Mr. Jena  who  has  earned  his
                 reputation in his own field, despite the  said  order,  had
                 intimated  CESU that he would not function and  he  is  not
                 functioning in praesenti.

             14. Mr. Sahoo, appering in  person  and  Mr.  Aparajit  Ninawe,
                 learned counsel,  who  assisted  him,  submitted  that  the
                 verdict of  the  High  Court  is  absolutely  flawless  and
                 relying on the additional affidavit it has been  put  forth
                 that the post of CEO in CESU  is  a  selection  post  which
                 should have been filled up through a  public  advertisement
                 as per the procedure of selection and, therefore, Mr.  Jena
                 could not have been allowed to hold two posts, namely,  the
                 Chairman of CESU  as  well  as  the  CEO.   It  is  further
                 contended that there is a policy decision for filling up of
                 posts for senior positions  in  CESU  and  that  being  the
                 position, appointment of Mr. Jena is  vitiated.   The  said
                 policy decision has been emphatically placed reliance  upon
                 to highlight the factum of age which was 55 years in  2007.
                 It is also asserted in the affidavit that the age limit has
                 been enhanced to 60 years in the year 2012 but by the  time
                 Mr. Jena was asked to take over the charge he was more than
                 69 years and, hence, he was ineligible to hold the post.

             15.  Before we advert to  the  aforesaid  submissions  and  the
                 legal substantiality of the order passed by the High Court,
                 we may refer to certain authorities that throw light on the
                 duty of  the  Court  while  dealing  with  a  writ  of  quo
                 warranto.  In The University of Mysore v. C.D. Govinda  Rao
                 and another[1], Gajendrakadkar, J. (as  his  Lordship  then
                 was) speaking for the Constitution Bench, has stated  thus:
                 -

           “Broadly stated, the quo warranto proceeding affords a  judicial
           enquiry in which any person holding an  independent  substantive
           public office, or franchise, or liberty, is called upon to  show
           by what right he holds the said office, franchise or liberty; if
           the inquiry leads to the finding that the holder of  the  office
           has no valid title to it, the issue of the writ of quo  warranto
           ousts him from that office.  In other words,  the  procedure  of
           quo warranto confers jurisdiction and authority on the judiciary
           to control executive action in the matter of making appointments
           to public offices against the relevant statutory provisions;  it
           also protects a citizen from being deprived of public office  to
           which he may have a right.  It would thus be seen that if  these
           proceedings are adopted subject to the conditions recognized  in
           that behalf, they tend to protect the public  from  usurpers  of
           public office; in some cases, persons  not  entitled  to  public
           office may be allowed to occupy them and  to  continue  to  hold
           them as a result of the connivance of the executive or with  its
           active help, and in such  cases,  if  the  jurisdiction  of  the
           courts to issue writ of quo warranto is  properly  invoked,  the
           usurper can be ousted and the person entitle to the post allowed
           to occupy it.  It is thus clear that before a citizen can  claim
           a writ of quo warranto, he must satisfy the court,  inter  alia,
           that the office in question is a public office and  is  held  by
           usurper without legal authority, and that necessarily  leads  to
           the enquiry as to whether the appointment of  the  said  alleged
           usurper has been made in accordance with law or not.”

                                                         [Emphasis supplied]

             16. In High Court of Gujarat and  another  v.  Gujarat  Kishan
                 Mazdoor Panchayat and others[2] S.B.  Sinha,  J.,  in  his
                 concurring opinion, while  adverting  to  the  concept  of
                 exercise of jurisdiction by the High Court in relation  to
                 a writ of quo warranto, has expressed thus: -

           “22.  The High Court in exercise of its writ jurisdiction  in  a
           matter of this nature is required to determine at the outset  as
           to whether a case has been made out for issuance of  a  writ  of
           certiorari or a write of quo warranto.  The jurisdiction of  the
           High Court to issue a writ of quo warranto  is  a  limited  one.
           While issuing such a writ,  the  Court  merely  makes  a  public
           declaration but will not consider the respective impact  of  the
           candidates or other factors which may be relevant  for  issuance
           of a writ of certiorari. (See R.K. Jain v.  Union  of  India[3],
           SCC para 74)

           23.   A writ of  quo  warranto  can  only  be  issued  when  the
           appointment is contrary to the statutory rules. (See Mor  Modern
           Coop. Transport Society Ltd. v.  Financial  Commr.  &  Secy.  To
           Govt. of Haryana[4].)

                                                       [Underlining is ours]

             17. In Centre for PIL  and  Another  v.  Union  of  India  and
                 Another[5], a three-Judge Bench, after  referring  to  the
                 decision in R.K. Jain (supra), has ruled thus: -

           “64.  Even in R.K. Jain case, this Court observed vide  para  73
           that judicial review is concerned  with  whether  the  incumbent
           possessed qualifications for the appointment and the  manner  in
           which the appointment came to be made or whether  the  procedure
           adopted was fair, just and reasonable.  We  reiterate  that  the
           Government is not accountable to the courts for the choice  made
           but the Government is accountable to the courts  in  respect  of
           the lawfulness/legality of its decision when impugned under  the
           judicial review jurisdiction.”

             18. From the aforesaid exposition of law it is  clear  as  noon
                 day that the jurisdiction of the High Court while issuing a
                 writ of quo warranto is a  limited  one  and  can  only  be
                 issued when the person holding the public office lacks  the
                 eligibility criteria or when the appointment is contrary to
                 the statutory rules.  That  apart,  the  concept  of  locus
                 standi   which   is   strictly   applicable   to    service
                 jurisprudence for the purpose of canvassing the legality or
                 correctness of the action should not be allowed to have any
                 entry, for such allowance is likely to exceed the limits of
                 quo warranto which is impermissible.  The basic purpose  of
                 a writ of quo warranto is to  confer  jurisdiction  on  the
                 constitutional courts to see that a public  office  is  not
                 held by usurper without any legal authority.  While dealing
                 with the writ of quo warranto another aspect has to be kept
                 in view.  Sometimes a contention is  raised  pertaining  to
                 doctrine of delay and  laches  in  filing  a  writ  of  quo
                 warranto.  There is a  difference  pertaining  to  personal
                 interest or individual interest on one hand and an interest
                 by a citizen as a relator to the court on the  other.   The
                 principle of doctrine of delay and  laches  should  not  be
                 allowed any play because the person holds the public office
                 as a usurper and such continuance is to be prevented by the
                 court.  The Court is required to see that the larger public
                 interest  and  the  basic  concept   pertaining   to   good
                 governance are not thrown to the winds.

             19. Mr. P.P. Rao, learned senior counsel, has commended  us  to
                 the decision in Hari Bansh Lal v. Sahodar Prasad Mahto  and
                 others[6],  where  the  learned  Judges  referred  to   the
                 principles laid down in Duryodhan Sahu  (Dr.)  v.  Jitendra
                 Kumar Mishra[7] Ashok Kumar Pandey v. State of W.B.[8],  B.
                 Singh (Dr.) v. Union of India[9], Dattaraj Nathuji  Thaware
                 v. State of Maharashtra[10] and Gurpal Singh  v.  State  of
                 Punjab[11] and expressed the view thus: -

           “The above principles make it clear that except for  a  writ  of
           quo warranto, public interest litigation is not maintainable  in
           service matters.”

             20. Ordinarily, after so stating we  would  have  proceeded  to
                 scan the anatomy of the Act, the Rules, the concept of  the
                 Scheme under the Act and other facets but we  have  thought
                 it imperative to revisit certain authorities pertaining  to
                 public  interest  litigation,  its  abuses  and   the   way
                 sometimes the courts perceive the entire spectrum.   It  is
                 an ingenious and adroit innovation of  the  judge-made  law
                 within the constitutional parameters and serves as a weapon
                 for certain purposes.   It  is  regarded  as  a  weapon  to
                 mitigate  grievances  of  the  poor  and  the  marginalized
                 sections of the society and to check the abuse of power  at
                 the hands of the Executive and  further  to  see  that  the
                 necessitous law and order situation, which is the  duty  of
                 the  State,  is   properly   sustained,   the   people   in
                 impecuniosity do not die of hunger, national economy is not
                 jeopardized; rule of law is not imperiled; human rights are
                 not endangered, and probity, transparency and integrity  in
                 the governance remain in a  constant  state  of  stability.
                 The use of the said  weapon  has  to  be  done  with  care,
                 caution and circumspection.  We have a reason to say so, as
                 in the case at hand there has been a fallacious  perception
                 not only as regards the merits of the case but  also  there
                 is  an  erroneous  approach  in   issuance   of   direction
                 pertaining to recovery of the sum from the  holder  of  the
                 post.  We shall dwell upon the same at a later stage.

             21. As advised at present, we may refer to certain  authorities
                 in the field in this regard.  In Bandhua  Mukti  Morcha  v.
                 Union of  India  and  others[12],  Bhagwati,  J.,  (as  his
                 Lordship then was) had observed thus: -

           “When the Court entertains public interest litigation,  it  does
           not do so in a caviling spirit or in a confrontational  mood  or
           with a view to tilting at  executive  authority  or  seeking  to
           usurp it, but its attempt is only to ensure observance of social
           and economic rescue programme, legislative as well as executive,
           framed for the benefit of the have-nots and the handicapped  and
           to protect them against violation of their basic  human  rights,
           which is also the constitutional obligation  of  the  executive.
           The Court is thus merely assisting in  the  realization  of  the
           constitutional objectives.”

             22. In Dr. D.C. Wadhwa  and  others  v.  State  of  Bihar  and
                 others[13], the Constitution Bench, while  entertaining  a
                 petition under Article 32 of the Constitution on behalf of
                 the petitioner therein, observed that it is the  right  of
                 every citizen to insist that he should be governed by laws
                 made in accordance with the Constitution and not laws made
                 by  the  executive  in  violation  of  the  constitutional
                 provisions.  It has also been stated therein that the rule
                 of law constitutes the core of our Constitution and it  is
                 the essence of rule of law that the exercise of the  power
                 by  the  State  whether  it  be  the  legislature  or  the
                 executive or any other  authority  should  be  within  the
                 constitutional limitation and if any practice  is  adopted
                 by the executive which is in  flagrant  violation  of  the
                 constitutional limitations, a member of the  public  would
                 have sufficient interest to challenge such practice and it
                 would be the constitutional duty of the Court to entertain
                 the writ petition.

             23. In Neetu v. State of Punjab and others[14], the Court  has
                 opined that it is shocking to note that Courts are flooded
                 with large number of so called public interest litigations
                 where even a  minuscule  percentage  can  legitimately  be
                 called  as  public  interest  litigation.   Commenting  on
                 entertaining public  interest  litigations  without  being
                 careful of the parameters by the High Courts  the  learned
                 Judges observed as follows: -

           “Though the parameters of public interest litigation  have  been
           indicated by this Court in large number of cases, yet  unmindful
           of  the  real  intentions  and  objectives.   High  Courts   are
           entertaining such petitions and wasting valuable  judicial  time
           which, as noted above, could be otherwise utilized for  disposal
           of genuine cases.”

            Thereafter, giving a note on caution, the Court stated: -

           “Public interest litigation is a weapon which  has  to  be  used
           with great care and circumspection and the judiciary has  to  be
           extremely careful to see  that  behind  the  beautiful  veil  of
           public interest an ugly private malice, vested  interest  and/or
           publicity seeking is not lurking.   It  is  to  be  used  as  an
           effective weapon in the armoury of  law  for  delivering  social
           justice to the citizens.”

             24. In State of  Uttaranchal  v.  Balwant  Singh  Chaufal  and
                 others[15], this Court adverted to the  growth  of  public
                 interest  litigations  in  this  country,  and  the   view
                 expressed in various PILs and the criticism  advanced  and
                 eventually  conceptualized  the   development   which   is
                 extracted below: -

           “We deem it appropriate to broadly divide  the  public  interest
           litigation in three phases:

                             • Phase I. – It deals with cases of this  Court
                               where  directions  and  orders  were   passed
                               primarily to protect fundamental rights under
                               Article 21 of  the  marginalized  groups  and
                               sections  of  the  society  who  because   of
                               extreme  poverty,  illiteracy  and  ignorance
                               cannot  approach  this  Court  or  the   High
                               Courts.

                             • Phase II. – It deals with the cases  relating
                               to  protection,  preservation   or   ecology,
                               environment, forests, marine life,  wildlife,
                               mountains, rivers, historical monuments  etc.
                               etc.

                             • Phase III. – It  deals  with  the  directions
                               issued  by  the  Courts  in  maintaining  the
                               probity,  transparency   and   integrity   in
                               governance.”

             25. In Bholanath Mukherjee and others v.  Ramakrishna  Mission
                 Vivekananda Centenary College and others[16], it has  been
                 laid down that public interest  litigation  would  not  be
                 maintainable in service law cases.

             26. In Duryodhan Sahu (supra), a three-Judge,  Bench  posed  a
                 question whether the administrative tribunals  constituted
                 under the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 can entertain
                 a public interest litigation.   A  post  of  lecturer  was
                 created in a Government Medical College recognized by  the
                 Medical  Council  of  India  and  the   State   Government
                 requested the Public Service  Commission  to  recommend  a
                 suitable candidate from the reserved list.  At that stage,
                 a third party described himself  as  the  Secretary  of  a
                 particular   Surakhya   Committee,   filed   an   original
                 application for quashing the Government order creating the
                 post of the teacher.   A grievance was also put forth that
                 the post was not advertised.  The tribunal restrained  the
                 appointment of the beneficiary, the appellant before  this
                 Court.  The learned Judges opined that the  administrative
                 tribunal constituted under the said Act cannot entertain a
                 public interest litigation at  the  instance  of  a  total
                 stranger.  While so stating the three-Judge  Bench  opined
                 that as the prayer was for quashment of  the  creation  of
                 post  itself  and  preventing  the  authorities  and   for
                 preventing the Government from appointing any candidate as
                 Lecturer, the prayer would not come in the sphere  of  quo
                 warranto.

             27. Thus, from the aforesaid authorities  it  is  quite  vivid
                 that the public interest litigation was initially  evolved
                 as a tool to take care of  the  fundamental  rights  under
                 Article  21  of  the  Constitution  of  the   marginalized
                 sections of the society who because of their  poverty  and
                 illiteracy could not approach the court.  In  quintessence
                 it was initially evolved to benefit the have-nots and  the
                 handicapped for protection of their basic human rights and
                 to see that the authorities carry out their constitutional
                 obligations towards the marginalized  sections  of  people
                 who cannot stand up on their own and come to court to  put
                 forth  their  grievances.   Thereafter,  there  has   been
                 various phases as has been stated in Balwant Singh Chaufal
                 (supra).  It is also perceptible that court has taken note
                 of the fact how the public interest litigations have  been
                 misutilized  to  vindicate  vested   interests   for   the
                 propagated public interest.  In fact, as  has  been  seen,
                 even the people who are in service for their seniority and
                 promotion have preferred public interest litigations.   It
                 has also come to  the  notice  of  this  Court  that  some
                 persons, who describe themselves as pro bono publico, have
                 approached  the  court  challenging  grant  of  promotion,
                 fixation of seniority, etc. in respect of  third  parties.



             28. Regard being had  to  the  aforesaid  enunciation  of  law
                 relating to two spheres, namely, issue of a  writ  of  quo
                 warranto and the directions  which  are  justified  to  be
                 issued  in  a  public  interest  litigation  in  the  said
                 context,  we  shall  proceed  to  scrutinize   the   legal
                 substantiality of the judgment of the High Court.

             29. At this stage, it is necessary to  understand  the  Scheme
                 framed by the State Commission as per  the  provisions  of
                 Section 22 of  the  Act.   As  stated  earlier,  CESU  was
                 constituted by an  order  dated  8.9.2006  passed  by  the
                 Commission.  The Scheme was amended from time to time vide
                 notifications  dated  13.10.2006,  5.5.2007,   31.10.2007,
                 6.9.2008, 2.8.2010, 12.11.2010,  5.9.2011,  31.3.2012  and
                 17.9.2012.  As per the Scheme a CEO is to be appointed  on
                 the basis of a  regular  advertisement  published  in  the
                 newspaper   and   the   advertisement    prescribes    the
                 qualification and other criteria to  be  satisfied  by  an
                 applicant aspirant  to  the  post  of  CEO.   The  service
                 conditions of the CEO are decided by the State  Commission
                 taking into consideration the situation prevalent  as  per
                 the resolution and orders passed by the  State  Commission
                 from time to time and the said selection, is to be made in
                 a transparent manner.  It is the stand  of  the  appellant
                 that Mr. Jena was not appointed as CEO in accordance  with
                 the procedure.  It is to be noted that he was  functioning
                 as the Chairman of CESU.  Sub-clause (iv) of clause  4  of
                 the amended Scheme dated 31.10.2007 may be reproduced with
                 profit: -

           “The  CEO,  CFO,  COO  and  CCO  should  not  hold   any   other
           posts/office during their tenure in  the  CESU.   The  terms  of
           office, emoluments and conditions of service of  CEO,  CFO,  COO
           and CCO shall be such as to be  decided  by  the  Commission  by
           order issued under this Scheme.  The Commission may extend their
           tenure for a further period, as it thinks fit.”

           29. Clause 5(ii)  of  2007  Scheme  enumerated  the  powers  and
               functions of the CEO.  Clause 5 was amended  and  thereafter
               on  12.11.2010  further  amendment  was  brought  in.    The
               amendment,  inter  alia,  substituted  clause  4(iv).    The
               following was added to  the  existing  clause  4  as  clause
               4(ix): -

           “Whenever needed, the power, functions and  responsibilities  of
           Chairman and CEO can be discharged by one person, designated  as
           Chairman-cum-CEO.”

           30. At  this  stage,  it  may  be  noted  with  profit  that  the
               Commission vide letter dated 29.12.2007 had  communicated  to
               the CESU about the terms and conditions  for  appointment  of
               CEO.  It reads as follows: -

           “1.   Chief Executive Officer:

                 The Scale of Pay of the Chief Executive Officers is  fixed
           at Rs.18,400-500-22,400/-.   The  Basic  Pay  of  Shri  Dasgupta
           joining in the post of  Chief  Executive  Officer  is  fixed  at
           Rs.22,400/-  per  month.   Besides  above,  he  is  entitled  to
           Dearness Pay and DA at the current rate  allowed  by  the  State
           Government.  The cost to the  Company  per  month  includes  the
           House Rent Allowances, Medical Allowances, Books, Periodical and
           Telephone Allowances, Attendant’s Allowances, LTC  and  personal
           Pay.   Besides  above,  as  Chief  Executive  Officer  would  be
           entitled to Leave Salary  Contribution,  Contributory  Provident
           Fund, Service Gratuity as applicable  to  the  post,  which  are
           included in the cost to Company.

                 The Chief Executive  Officer  is  entitled  to  Conveyance
           Allowance of Rs.20,000/- per month for  vehicle  hired/owned  by
           him along with the driver’s pay + reimbursement of the  cost  of
           fuel for official duty beyond the local duty

                                     Or

                 He is entitled to a vehicle provided  by  the  CESU  along
           with five liters of fuel per day for personal use.   The  option
           is to be exercised by the incumbent.

                  The  personal  Pay  includes  the  Management  Allowances
           allowed to the post of Chief  Executive  Officer  which  is  the
           monthly pay out of Medi-claim Insurance  Premium  and  the  Life
           Insurance Premium.  As such all Medical Expenses shall be  borne
           by him.  The Personal Pay shall be linked to the performance  of
           the Chief Executive Officer.

                 As negotiated at the time of interview the appointment  of
           Shri Swapan Dasgupta as CEO in CESU is initially for a period of
           four years on Contract Basis, which can be extended for one year
           depending on the necessity of the organization, performance  and
           usefulness of the officer and  the  cost  to  company  shall  be
           limited to 10% over and above  his  present  entitled  in  CESC,
           Kolkata.

                 The Contract can be terminated on  either  side  by  three
           months notice or by payment/deposit of three months’  emoluments
           in lieu of notice.”

           31. When Mr. Swapan Dasgupta was appointed as CEO, the conditions
               of appointment were – annual  package  of  Rs.22  lakhs  with
               certain perquisites.  After Mr. Dasgupta submitted his letter
               dated 9.8.2010 requesting the Commission to relieve him  from
               the post of CEO, the Commission decided to relieve  him  with
               effect  from  that  date.   Thereafter   on   10.8.2010   the
               Commission passed the following order: -

           “At present, Shri B.C. Jena, Chairman, CESU Management Board  is
           closely monitoring the overall functioning of CESU as per para 5
           of the FIFTH Amendment to the Central Electricity Supply Utility
           of Orissa (Operation and Management) Scheme,  2006  notified  by
           the  Commission  vide  Notification  No.   CESU(O&M)/4590   dtd.
           03.8.2010.  It has  been  stipulated  that  the  Chairman  shall
           guide, advise and have overall superintendence and control  over
           the CEO, CFO, COO, CCO, CPIO, Sr. G.M. (HR) and CVO  for  smooth
           and efficient functioning of the CESU.  Since it will take quite
           some time for  the  selection  of  a  CEO  to  make  alternative
           arrangement, the Commission shall  have  now  decided  that  the
           function, duties and responsibilities  of  CEO,  CESU  shall  be
           discharged by Shri B.C. Jena, Chairman,  CESU  Management  Board
           until further orders or until alternative arrangement is made by
           the Commission.  This order will be effective from 10.8.2010.

                 Shri Jena will enjoy all the  perquisites/  facilities  as
           was being given to the CEO except the monthly  emoluments.   The
           Commission would take a view later on regarding the desirability
           of giving an honorarium to the Chairman, CESU  Management  Board
           for enabling him to discharge his duties and responsibilities as
           a CEO over and above the responsibilities of  Chairman  and  his
           other current assignments, if any.”

           32. We may also note with profit that a policy decision had  been
               taken for preparing an advertisement for appointment  of  the
               CEO at the time of Sengupta’s appointment.  It  provided  for
               filling up of senior positions for CESU.  It stipulated  that
               the tenure of appointment would be  for  a  period  of  three
               years  and   extendable   thereafter   depending   upon   the
               performance and the maximum age limit of the candidate  shall
               not exceed 55 years as on 1.9.2007.  The  qualification  that
               was required was that the CEO shall be a  person  with  drive
               and initiative and shall be in overall charge of engineering,
               finance, commerce, corporate/regulatory affairs  and  general
               management.   He  should  at  least  possess  a   degree   in
               electrical   engineering.    An   added   qualification    of
               MBA/CA/FICWA from a reputed University was desirable.  It was
               also stipulated that service experience of about 15-20  years
               of which at least 5 years  was  a  must  for  top  managerial
               position.

           33. Mr. Sahoo has brought on record an advertisement for  filling
               up the post for the period 2007-08.  The advertisement  dated
               26.5.2012 has also been brought on record.  True it is, it is
               after the judgment of the High Court and it reads as follows:
               -

           “The Chief Executive Officer shall be a person with initiative a
           drive.  He will be in overall charge  of  engineering,  finance,
           commerce, corporate/ regulatory affairs and  general  management
           of the utility.  This is a Board level position and he should at
           least possess a professional degree in Engineering or Management
           or Accountancy or Law from a reputed University.  He should have
           at least 10 years experience in senior level managerial position
           in a large organization.”

           34. It also stipulates that the tenure of  appointment  would  be
               for a period of two years and extendable thereafter depending
               upon the performance of the candidate and the requirement  of
               the organization and the applicant should not be more than 60
               years of age as on 1.4.2012.

           35. In this backdrop it is to be seen whether the action  of  the
               authority requiring the Chairman to remain in-charge  of  the
               CEO or to function as CEO comes within the scope and ambit of
               writ of quo warranto.  We have already stated the  principles
               relating to exercise of jurisdiction of the court to issue  a
               writ of quo warranto.  When a writ of quo warranto is  filed,
               it is the obligation of the relator to satisfy the court that
               the office in question is a public office and is held by  the
               usurper without the legal authority.  It is the duty  of  the
               court to see whether the appointment has been  made  contrary
               to the statutory rules.  Issue of institutional integrity has
               also to be taken into consideration when a post is filled  up
               and that is where the manner in which the appointment came to
               be made or whether the procedure adopted was fair,  just  and
               reasonable are required to be seen.   On  a  perusal  of  the
               reasons adopted by the High Court it is perceptible  that  it
               has paved a different path.  It has  given  emphasis  on  the
               role of the Commission, the functionism of CESU, the  control
               of the Chairman on the CEO, the violation of  the  principles
               of natural justice, the nature of appointment, the  abuse  of
               power by the Commission and the violation of the  regulations
               in such appointment.  In our opinion,  most  of  the  reasons
               that  have  been  given  by  the  High  Court   are   totally
               unrelatable to the sphere of issue of writ of  quo  warranto.
               We are only required to see whether the  Commission  had  the
               authority to make any temporary arrangement and  whether  the
               5th  respondent  was  eligible  for  the  said  purpose.   To
               understand the said  facet,  we  have  to  refer  to  certain
               provisions of the Act which encapsulate the basic map of  the
               functions of the licensees and the utility service.   Section
               19 of the Act deals with revocation of licence of a licensee.
                Section 20 provides for sale of utilities of licensees.   It
               prescribes the procedure and the arrangements to be  made  by
               the Commission.  Till the licence is sold, the Commission has
               been authorised to make interim arrangements.   It  has  been
               conferred the power to appoint Administrator of the  utility.
               Section 22 takes care of  the  situation  where  no  purchase
               takes place, that is to say, when the utility is not sold  in
               the manner provided under Section 20 or Section 24.  We think
               it necessary to reproduce Section 22 of the Act: -
           “22.  Provisions where no purchase takes place.  –  (1)  If  the
           utility is not sold in the manner provided under section  20  or
           section 24, the  Appropriate  Commission  may,  to  protect  the
           interest of the consumers or in the public interest, issue  such
           directions or formulate such Scheme as it may deem necessary for
           operation of the utility.

                 (2) Where no directions are issued or Scheme is formulated
           by  the  Appropriate  Commission  under  sub-section  (1),   the
           licensee referred to in section 20 or section 24 may dispose  of
           the utility in such manner as it may deem fit.

                 Provided that, if the licensee does  not  dispose  of  the
           utility, within  a  period  of  six  months  from  the  date  of
           revocation, under section 20  or  section  24,  the  Appropriate
           Commission may cause the works of the licensee in, under,  over,
           along or across any street or public  land  to  be  removed  and
           every such street or public land to be reinstated,  and  recover
           the cost of such removal and reinstatement from the licensee.”

            From the aforesaid provision, it is limpid that  the  Commission
      has been conferred power to formulate a Scheme or issue directions  in
      the public interest so that operation of the utility  service  is  not
      put to hazard.

           36. In the case at hand, as has been stated earlier, the  utility
               service came into existence after formulation  of  a  Scheme.
               The Scheme has been amended from  time  to  time.   The  High
               Court has referred to  clause  4(iv)  and  clause  5  of  the
               Scheme.  We think it appropriate to  reproduce  clause  4(iv)
               and clause 5 of the Scheme as reproduced by the High Court: -

           “(iv)  The  CEO,  CFO  and  COO  should  not  hold   any   other
           posts/office during their tenure in  the  CESU.   The  terms  of
           office, emoluments and conditions of service of CEO, CFO and COO
           shall be such as to be decided by the Commission by order issued
           under this Scheme.  The Commission may extend their tenure for a
           further period, as it thinks fit.”

                      xxx              xxx              xxx

           Clause 5 :

           “(i)  Chairman

                 (a) He shall preside over all Board Meetings.

                  (b)   He   shall   guide,   advise   and   have   overall
                 superintendence and control over the CEO, CFO and  COO  for
                 smooth and efficient functioning of the CESU.

                 (c) He shall decide all the matters referred to him by the
                 Board.

                 (d) He shall discharge all other duties  assigned  by  the
                 Commission under the Scheme.

           (ii)  Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

                 Subject to overall supervision, control and delegation  of
                 power  by  the  Management  Board  and  directions  of  the
                 Commission –

                 (a) He shall act as Chief Executive and Chief Spokesman of
                 the CESU.

                 (b) He shall manage the day-to-day affairs and  management
                 of CESU and shall represent the CESU before the  Commission
                 and other Authorities.

                 (c) He shall  carry  out  and  implement  the  orders  and
                 directions issued by the Commission to the CESU.

                   (d)   He   shall   carry   out   and    implement    the
                 resolutions/decisions taken by the Management Board.

                 (e) In consultation with the Management  Board,  he  shall
                 design  and  implement  the  organizational  structure  and
                 management of the CESU.

                 (f) In the name and on behalf of the CESU, he shall  enter
                 into contract with all external  agencies  and  take  loans
                 from funding/financial institutions.

                 (g) On behalf of the CESU,  he  shall  discharge  all  its
                 statutory/regulatory requirement and obligations.

                  (h)  Any  other  function  as  may  be  assigned  by  the
                 Commission or the Management Board from time to time  under
                 the Scheme.

                 (i) The CEO shall report to the Chairman.”

           37. After reproducing the same the High Court has opined thus: -

           “On reading of all the aforesaid relevant  clauses  it  is  very
           clear that the Chairman of the CESU is required to supervise the
           smooth functioning of the CESU and Chief Executive Officer is to
           act under the control of the Chairman.  That being the  position
           and the opp. party no. 3, who  is  a  retired  officer  and  the
           Chairman  of  CESU  could  not  have  been  appointed  as  Chief
           Executive Officer.  If the post of Chief  Executive  Officer  in
           the Organization falls vacant in view of the urgency  of  either
           temporary appointment can be made or in charge  arrangement  can
           be made for temporary period, but the same power could not  have
           been conferred upon the Chairman as the Chairman is required  to
           supervise and control the function of Officers of the  Board  as
           well as in the Organization, therefore his appointment as  Chief
           Executive Officer as an alternative arrangement is  contrary  to
           Clause 5 of the  Scheme  referred  to  supra.   The  powers  and
           functions of the Chief Executive  Officer  have  been  extracted
           above.  Further, as could be seen from the impugned  order,  the
           appointment in question is styled as temporary  in  nature.   If
           the post falls vacant, it is the duty of the Commission  to  see
           that  the  post  is  filled  up   by   following   the   service
           regulations.”

           38. Thereafter, the High Court has  referred  to  the  resolution
               dated 12.11.2010 by which the Commission had allowed Mr. Jena
               to continue as Chairman-cum-CEO to discharge the  duties  and
               responsibilities until further orders and  was  extended  the
               benefit of consolidated honorarium of Rs.70,000/-  per  month
               in addition to the usual perquisites as enjoyed by  the  CEO.
               After so stating, the High Court  has  proceeded  to  express
               thus: -

           “24.  The contention urged  on  behalf  of  opp.  party  no.  2-
           Secretary, OERC is that only temporary arrangement has been made
           fixing a monthly honorarium of Rs.70,000/- which is  payable  to
           the Chief Executive Officer.   It  is  unknown  to  the  service
           jurisprudence that an employee/officer who is put in  charge  of
           another office or post in addition to his  own  duty  is  to  be
           granted honorarium.  The same is totally impermissible  in  law.
           On reading Annexures-3 & 5, we are of the view that  it  is  not
           legally correct on the part of the  Commission  to  appoint  the
           Chairman as the Chief Executive Officer, which  is  contrary  to
           the service regulations.  opp. party no. 3 should not have  been
           placed on temporary arrangement as the Chief  Executive  Officer
           having regard to the nature of powers and functions required  to
           be discharged by the Chairman who has been put in charge of  the
           Chief Executive Officer who is under the control and supervision
           of the Chairman.  He cannot supervise his own work which is  the
           violation of principle of natural justice.  He cannot  find  out
           his own defect and discharge his responsibilities.

           25.   Therefore, we are of the  view  that  the  Commission  has
           acted illegally and in violation of service regulations  placing
           the opp. party no.3 in the post of Chief Executive  Officer  and
           further granting him honorarium w.e.f.  11.08.2010  vide  letter
           dated 12.11.2010 under Annexure-5, which  is  a  clear  case  of
           abuse of power of the Commission and the said appointment  order
           is without authority of law and opp. party no.3 should not  have
           been entrusted with the duties, functions  and  responsibilities
           of the CEO while functioning as Chairman of CESU.  Therefore, we
           are of the view that both Annexures-3  &  5  are  liable  to  be
           quashed and the same are accordingly quashed and a writ  of  quo
           warranto is issued forthwith as  the  opp.  party  no.3  is  not
           competent to hold the post of Chief Exeucitve Officer of CESU.”

           39. We have reproduced the order in extenso because we are of the
               considered  opinion  that  the  reasons  are   flawed.    The
               Commission has the power under the Scheme to give  additional
               charge of CEO to the Chairman.  The Scheme is framed  by  the
               Commission.  The whole thing is controlled  by  the  language
               used in the Scheme.  The High Court, instead of  appreciating
               the eligibility of the 5th respondent, has  adverted  to  the
               concept of internal administration of CESU, that is,  CEO  is
               required to report  to  the  Chairman  and  if  the  Chairman
               remains in charge, his actions may go without scrutiny.   The
               assumption in this regard is not correct.  The Board has  the
               overall power of supervision and management.  That apart, the
               power is vested with  the  Commission  to  do  so  under  the
               Scheme.   The  High  Court  has  also  referred  to   certain
               provisions about the regulations.  Needless to emphasise, the
               said regulations operate in a different field altogether  and
               have nothing to do with any appointments  under  the  Scheme.
               The  only  thing  which  has  been  highlighted  by  the  1st
               respondent is that it was accepted by the High Court that  he
               was a retired officer  and  was  appointed  as  Chairman  and
               further was asked to remain in charge of CEO  and  was  given
               some honorarium, which is impermissible.  In  fact,  what  is
               submitted is that he becomes an appointee in respect  of  two
               posts  which  the  law  does  not  countenance.    The   said
               submission suffers from a fundamental fallacy.  The  Chairman
               of CESU is a honorary post.  He was getting sitting fees  for
               attending the meetings.   He  was  not  even  given  a  fixed
               honorarium.  Therefore, to conclude that he was  holding  two
               posts and drawing salary for  both  the  posts  is  factually
               incorrect.

           40. The whole thing has to be scrutinized from the point of  view
               of power.  Suitability or  eligibility  of  a  candidate  for
               appointment to a post is within the domain of the  appointing
               authority.  The only thing that can  be  scrutinized  by  the
               Court is whether the appointment is contrary to the statutory
               provisions/rules.  In Hari Bansh Lal (supra) the  Court  took
               note of the stand of  the  Law  Officer  of  Jharkhand  State
               Electricity Board and commented  on  the  somersault  in  the
               stand made by the State and thereafter proceeded to note that
               the appellant Hari Bansh Lal had retired in 1985 and there is
               no prescription for upper age limit for appointment as Member
               or Chairman of  the  Board.   The  Court  took  note  of  the
               encomiums by the Electricity Board and the  State  Government
               before the High Court.  Eventually, the learned Judges opined
               thus: -

           “43.  Though, in the PIL, the writ petitioner has mentioned  the
           age of Mr. Lal as 90, it  is  factually  incorrect  and  Mr  Lal
           himself swore an affidavit and asserted and it is  not  disputed
           by the State that he is 84 as on date and according to  him,  he
           is hale and healthy.  We have already reproduced  the  stand  of
           the  State  Government  before  the   High   Court   about   his
           qualification and service rendered as Member and Chairman in the
           State Electricity Board.”

                      xxx              xxx              xxx

           “45.  Taking note of all these relevant factors and of the  fact
           that admittedly, there is no age-limit prescribed in  the  rules
           for appointment to the post of Chairman and also with regard  to
           the stand of the State Government  about  the  qualification  as
           well as good service rendered by the appellant, we feel that  in
           the event of quashing the  High  Court’s  order,  he  should  be
           allowed to continue as Chairman of the Electricity Board.”

           41. Keeping the aforesaid opinion in mind, we  shall  address  to
               the controversy in  the  case  at  hand.   From  the  factual
               depiction it is seen that though the policy  and  the  Scheme
               provide that the age of the candidate  shall  not  exceed  55
               years as on 1.9.2007, yet the tenure is extendable thereafter
               depending upon the performance.  We have referred to the same
               only for the purpose that though there is a maximum age limit
               at the time of submission of an application, yet the term can
               be extended.  It may be apposite to note here  that  even  if
               the  maximum  age  limit  is  provided  for   submission   of
               application and the period of appointment is three years,  it
               is extendable depending upon the performance.  Having  regard
               to the nature of language used, it is to be construed that it
               is a contract appointment to choose a  highly  qualified  and
               skilled  person.   The  extension  is  also  dependant   upon
               performance.  No limit is provided for number of  extensions.
               It  would  depend  upon  the   capability,   efficiency   and
               suitability as adjudged by the employer.   Needless  to  say,
               for grant of extension the person would  not  have  a  right.
               Similarly his continuance for the term of  three  years  will
               depend upon the nature of appointment letter issued  to  him.
               Thus viewed, we are inclined  to  think  that  the  principle
               stated in Hari Bansh Lal’s case would  get  attracted.   That
               apart, there is no maximum age limit for Chairman.  He  holds
               a higher post and his experience  and  capability  have  been
               appreciated by the Commission.  It is a well known  principle
               that the employer can ask an officer to remain in  charge  of
               another office till the said post is filled up. It is  within
               the permissible authority of the employer.  Under the  Scheme
               the Chairman was not getting any remuneration.  He  was  only
               getting sitting fees.  Looking at his ability and  efficiency
               the Commission thought it appropriate that he should be given
               the charge of CEO and accordingly an  honorarium  was  fixed.
               Honorarium was not equivalent to the salary.  The High  Court
               has erroneously opined that it was an appointment.   The  5th
               respondent  was  not  getting  two  sets  of  salary.    Thus
               analysed, we have no hesitation that the reasons ascribed  by
               the High Court to quash the arrangement are unacceptable and,
               accordingly, the  decision  on  that  score  deserves  to  be
               lancinated and we so do.

           42. We may proceed to state that once we have dislodged  the  the
               decision of the High Court whereby it  has  opined  that  the
               Chairman could not have been allowed to remain  in-charge  of
               CEO as a logical corollary the direction  for  recovery  gets
               annulled.  But we think  it  appropriate  to  add  something.
             
Even in a writ of quo warranto while declaring that a  person
               is not eligible to hold the post had rendered service, we are
               disposed to think, there cannot be recovery of amount.  
While
               exercising the power for issue of writ of  quo  warranto  
the
               Court only makes a public declaration that the person holding
               the public office is a usurper and not eligible to  hold  the
               post and after the declaration is made he ceases to hold  the
               office.  
Till the declaration is made, the incumbent  renders
               service and  when  he  has  rendered  service  he  cannot  be
               deprived of his  salary.   
Denial  of  pay  for  the  service
               rendered tantamounts to forced labour which is impermissible.
                
When an appointment is admitted and the incumbent  functions
               in the post and neither suspended nor removed  from  service,
               he is entitled to get salary, for it is his legal  right  and
               it is the duty of the employer to pay it as per the terms and
               conditions of the appointment.  
The matter may  be  different
               when  someone  continues  after   retirement   by   a   false
               declaration or misrepresentation.  
Recovery of  salary  would
               amount to deprivation of  payment  while  the  incumbent  was
               holding the post and had worked.  
Asking someone to work  and
               when his appointment is nullified by issue of a writ  of  quo
               warranto by the Court, we think that neither the employer can
               recover the amount nor the Court can direct for  recovery  of
               the same.  
There has to be some other reason  for  denial  of
               payment, recovery of salary or honorarium.  In this  context,
               we may fruitfully reproduce a passage from People’s Union for
               Democratic  Rights  and  others  v.  Union   of   India   and
               others[17]: -

           “... if a person has contracted with another to perform  service
           and there is consideration for such  service  in  the  shape  of
           liquidation of debt or even remuneration he cannot be forced, by
           compulsion of law or otherwise,  to  continue  to  perform  such
           service, as that would be forced labour within the inhibition of
           Article 23.  This Article strikes at every form of forced labour
           even if it has its origin in a contract voluntarily entered into
           by the person obligated  to  provide  labour  or  service  (vide
           Pollock v. Williams[18]).  The reason is that it offends against
           human dignity to compel a person to provide labour or service to
           another if he does not wish to do  so,  even  though  it  be  in
           breach of the contract entered into by him.  There should be  no
           serfdom or involuntary servitude  in  a  free  democratic  India
           which respects the dignity of the individual and  the  worth  of
           the human person.”

           43. In view of the aforesaid analysis  we  are  of  the  resolute
               opinion that even while issuing a writ of quo warranto  there
               cannot be any direction  for  recovery  of  the  sum.  
While
               entertaining a PIL pertaining to a writ of  quo  warranto  we
               would add that it is the obligation of the court to pave  the
               path which are governed by constitutional parameters and  the
               precedential set-up.  It is to be borne in mind that laws are
               commended to establish a society as required by the paradigms
               laid down by law.  The courts while implementing law may  not
               always be guided by total legalistic approach but  that  does
               not necessarily mean to move on totally moralistic  principle
               which has no sanction of law.  We have  been  constrained  to
               say so as we find that there is a temptation to say something
               in a public interest litigation which can be construed as the
               overreach.  It  needs  no  special  emphasis  to  state  that
               formulations of guidelines or directions issued are bound  to
               be within the constitutional parameters.

         
44. The matter may be viewed from the point of view  of  the  5th
               respondent.
True it is, his remaining in-charge of the  post
               of the CEO was called in question before the High Court in  a
               public interest litigation wherein a writ of quo warranto was
               issued.  
A judgment can be erroneous  but  when  there  is  a
               direction for recovery  of  the  honorarium,  it  indubitably
               creates a dent in the honour of a person.  
Honour  once  lost
               may be irredeemable or irresuscitable.  
Mr. Ramachandran  has
               number of times submitted  before  us  that  because  of  the
               humiliation faced, the 5th respondent decided not to continue
               in the post of the Chairman also.  
We have stated so  because
               we strongly feel that a cautious approach is requisite  while
               dealing with a writ of quo warranto.

           45. Resultantly, the appeals are allowed  and  the  judgment  and
               order passed by the High Court is set aside.   In  the  facts
               and circumstances of the case there shall be no order  as  to
               costs.


                                                               ………………………..J.
                                                              [Anil R. Dave]




                                                               ………………………..J.
                                                               [Dipak Misra]
      New Delhi;
      November 01, 2013.





      -----------------------
[1]

      [2] AIR 1965 SC 491


[3]

      [4] (2003) 4 SCC 712


[5]

      [6] (1993) 4 SCC 119


[7]

      [8] (2002) 6 SCC 269


[9]

      [10] (2011) 4 SCC 1


[11]

      [12] (2010) 9 SCC 655


[13]

      [14] (1998) 7 SCC 273


[15]

      [16] (2004) 3 SCC 349


[17]

      [18] (2004) 3 SCC 363


[19]

      [20] (2005) 1 SCC 590


[21]

      [22] (2005) 5 SCC 136


[23]

      [24] AIR 1984 SC 802


[25]

      [26] AIR 1987 SC 579


[27]

      [28] AIR 2007 SC 758


[29]

      [30] (2010) 3 SCC 402


[31]

      [32] (2011) 5 SCC 464


[33]

      [34] (1982) 3 SCC 235


[35]

      [36] 322 US 4 : 88 L Ed 1095




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