E.P. Royappa v State of Tamil Nadu

Bench: Chief Justice A.N. Ray, Justice D.G. Palekar, Justice V.Y. Chandrachud, Justice P.N. Bhagwati and Justice V.R. Krishnaiyer

Petitioner: E.P. Royappa

Respondent: State of Tamil Nadu and Another

Citation: 1974 AIR 555, 1974 SCR (2) 348

Issue:

  • Whether the transfer of petitioner to subsequent posts was in contradiction to the proviso of Rule 4(2) of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, and Rule 9[sub-r.(1)] of the Indian Administrative (Pay) Rules, 1954?
  • Whether the transfer was violative of Article 14 and Article 16 of the Constitution of India?
  • Whether the act of respondent to transfer the petitioner was mala fide or not?

Facts:

  • The petitioner was a member of the Indian Administrative Service in Tamil Nadu. Temporarily a post of Additional Chief Secretary was created in the grade of Chief Secretary for one year. Later on, the petitioner was posted as Additional Chief Secretary. After some time the post of Chief Secretary was vacant and the petitioner was appointed.
  • The State Government recommended that the posts of Chief Secretary and the post of First Member of the Board of Revenue shall be considered to be in the same category and should be interchangeable selection posts the Central Government and provided that the pay of First Member and the Board of Revenue shall be same as that of the Chief Secretary. Then, the post of First Member of the Board of Revenue was equated in rank and status to that of the Chief Secretary.
  • The Government of India after some time raised the pay, rank, and status of the Post of Chief Secretary in respect of the Secretary to the Government of India and was raised above any other post in the State counting the post of First Member, Board of Revenue.
  • The State Government granted sanction for the creation of a temporary post of Deputy Chairman in the State Planning Commission for one year and the petitioner was appointed under that post provided that he gets the same rank and pay as that of Chief Secretary. The petitioner did not accept the post and took a leave.
  • On the petitioner’s return, the post of Deputy Chairman was created for one year and the petitioner was appointed under that post. The petitioner made a representation that the post of Deputy Chairman can not continue for more than one year as it is invalid under Rule 4(2) of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954.
  • The State Government created a temporary post for restructuring and explaining the Sales Tax Act, and the petitioner was appointed under this post. The petitioner again did not join his post and got a leave. After petitioners transfer the State Government abolished the post of Deputy Chairman and created a new post of Deputy Chairman in the Grade of First Member of Board of Revenue on a pay of Rs. 3000 monthly and appointed a First Member of the Board of Revenue for the post. A person who was admittedly junior to the petitioner was promoted as Chief Secretary and was confirmed in that post.
  • A petition under Art. 32 was filed by petitioner challenging the constitutional validity of his transfer first to the post of Deputy Chairman State Planning Commission and later to the post of Officer on Special Duty.

The Argument raised by Petitioner:

  • It was argued that the act of respondent was in contradiction to the proviso of Rule 4(2) of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, and Rule 9 of the Indian Administrative Service (Pay) Rules 1954.
  • The petitioner contended that the action of the state violated Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution as the posts the petitioner was transferred to were inferior.
  • The act of state was with malafide intention and was over their power.
  • It was argued that the reason behind the transfer of the petitioner was due to the ill motives of CM of Tamil Nadu.

The argument raised by Respondent:

  • The respondent argued that the petitioner was appointed in an overseeing capacity to the post of Chief Secretary and they relied upon Fundamental Rule 9(19). According to this rule, a Government servant oversees a post when he performs the duties of a post on which another person holds a lien or the Government thinks of appointing a person in a vacant seat.
  • It was argued that the transfer of the petitioner was due to the ill motives of CM of Tamil Nadu was baseless.

Judgment:

The court held that the promotion of petitioner as Chief Secretary was only in an acting or officiating capacity and not in a substantive capacity. It was held that the addition of the post in the Indian Administrative Service Cadre of Tamil Nadu State is not permissible as it will result in altering the strength and composition of the Cadre. The State has no such power under rule 4(2) of the Cadre Rules. The court said that the post of Deputy Chairman cannot be declared equivalent in status and responsibility to the post of Chief Secretary at one time and the post of First Member Board of Revenue later on. But the petitioner cant is permitted to challenge the validity of the appointment as he accepted the appointment without protest. The court concluded that Rule 9 and Sub Rule (1) was not complied with. But the petitioner cannot get relief in a petition under Article 32 because violation of Rule 9 Sub Rule one does not infringe any fundamental right.

It was held that for establishing mala fide the burden lies upon the one who alleges it and the petitioner has failed establishing so against the respondent.

The petition was rejected.

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