STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
New Delhi, 4 November
The Supreme Court has held that courts cannot order recovery of the salary amount of an employee while quashing the appointment as the denial of pay for the service rendered would amount to “impermissible” “forced labour”.
“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…,” a Bench of Justices Anil R Dave and Dipak Misra said.
In a 59-page verdict, it said: “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.”
The court set aside the judgment of the Orissa High Court which, while deciding a PIL, had quashed the appointment of Mr B C Jena as the CEO of Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha (CESU) and also directed the PSU to recover the amount paid to Mr Jena as honorarium.
“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,” the court said.
The Bench also dealt with the misuse of PILs and said the “judge-made law” should have been used for the benefits of the marginalised section of society.