The Supreme Court ticked off the Centre on Thursday for frequently filing appeals challenging issues relating to class IV employees but not having the "guts" to take on Indian Administrative Service/Indian Police Service officers over such issues.
"Why do you come to us frequently against labourers, kalasis and chaprasis. Do you have the guts to take on IAS/ IPS officers? You keeping filing petitions against class IV employees but not against IAS/IPS officers. That's because you don't have the guts," a bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar remarked.
The apex court passed the observation while dismissing the Centre's appeal challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court direction to appoint Jarnail Singh as a labourer in the Ministry of Defence. According to Wasim Ahmed Quadri, the Centre's counsel, though Singh was selected after an interview, he could not be appointed to the post for want of sanction as it was "time barred." The counsel submitted that Singh was considered to the post on March 10, 1990, by the ministry, though the last date for appointment as per the rules was May 25, 1989.
Quadri submitted that the final appointment was subject to the condition that it would get the requisite sanction from the government. As the sanction could not be accorded, as it was time barred, he was not appointed. Singh challenged the decision before the Central Administrative Tribunal, which ruled in favour of the Centre, but the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the government to appoint Singh to the post.
The High Court noted that Singh was entitled for appointment as the selection process was conducted through the employment exchange. Aggrieved, the Centre appealed in the apex court. The apex court while upholding the high court's direction said the "question of law" on the issue would, however, be kept open.
In other words, the direction for appointment has been made on the facts of the present case but not as a general ruling.