T. M. Sampath & Ors Vs. Sec. Min. of Water Resources & Ors, on 20th January 2015, Supreme Court Of India: Case Brief

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APPLICABILITY OF GOVERNMENT OFFICE MEMORANDUM TO THE EMPLOYEES OF AUTONOMOUS BODY: Parity amongst the Employees of NWDA and the Central Government.
Bench: Justice Anil R. Dave, Vikramajit Sen, Pinaki Chandra Ghose.
Civil Appeal Nos. 712 – 713 of 2014

It is being recognised principle of law that the Autonomous bodies cannot be treated par with the State as defined under Article 12 of the Constitution of India, merely because of its having funding by the Government, as near all of the autonomous bodies, more or less are having touch with the State, but the same should not bring them within the purview of State. And any rules which are being applicable to the employees of Government, as such should not be applicable to the employees of such autonomous bodies, when such autonomous bodies themselves have framed rules for their employees. In the present case, the employees of one autonomous body, namely, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) claimed that they should be governed by the O.M. which is being applicable to the Central Government Employees, in respect to their pensions and provident funds. Such claim is made on the basis of the fact that the NWDA comes under Ministry of Water Resources, as such NWDA receives funds from the government.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed that, it is proved that the NWDA is an autonomous body under the authority of Ministry of Water Resources and its employees are governed by the bye-laws framed by itself, namely, Contributory Provident Fund (CPF) Rules, 1982 which were duly approved by its governing body. Under such situations, it is the settled law that for interpreting such bye-laws, the Courts should not interfere or if interferes then such interference should be minimum. And, when such rules were framed by such autonomous bodies are applicable to their employees, then question of applicability of O.M. (which was being applicable to the employees of Central Government) should not arise.

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 The Hon’ble Supreme Court has, further, observed that the employees of NWDA were not similar as that of Government of employees, as NWDA is not instrumentality of the State within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution. Moreover, the employees of NWDA failed to prove that they are at par with the employees of the Central Government in any situation. Consequently, the Hon’ble Court has held that the appeal by the employees of NWDA was meritless and hence was dismissed.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.

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See Original Judgement: T. M. Sampath & Ors Vs. Sec. Min. of Water Resources & Ors, on 20th January 2015