15 April 1982
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal Civil 5880 of 1981








CITATION:  1982 AIR 1107            1982 SCR  (3) 628  1982 SCC  (2) 273        1982 SCALE  (1)342  CITATOR INFO :  RF         1985 SC 724  (5)  RF         1987 SC1467  (3)  R          1989 SC1988  (18)

ACT:      Constitution of India 1950, Articles 14. 19 (1) (g), 32 and 311  (2) &  Tamil Nadu  Abolition of  posts of part-time Village Officers Act 1981, Ss.2 (e), 3 and 5.      State enactment-Abolition of civil posts-Posts of part- time village  Officers abolished-Introduction  of whole-time village administrative officer-Whether valid and legal.      Civil  Service-Civil   post-Abolition  of  post-Whether government has  a right-Abolition  of post  and abolition of cadre-Distinction-Rights of the incumbent of the post.

HEADNOTE:      In the  State of  Tamil  Nadu  the  administration  was carried on  at the  village level  by a chain of officers in regular gradation one above the other since the commencement of the  Christian era.  This system  known as the barabaluti system consisted  of twelve  functionaries :(1) headman, (2) karnam or  accountant, (3)  shroff or notazar, (4) nirganti, (5) toty  or taliary,  (6) potter,  (7) smith, (8) jeweller. (9)  carpenter,   (10)  barber,   (11)  washerman  and  (12) astrologer.  The   first  five   rendered  service   to  the Government. By  the end  of the nineteenth century, two Acts were enacted for the purpose of regulating the work of these village offices.      The Madras  Proprietary States’  Village  Service  Act, 1894 (Madras Act No. 11 of 1894) dealt with three classes of village officers  viz. village  accountants, village headman and village  watchman. It  provided for  their  appointment, remuneration and summary punishment of misconduct or neglect of duty.  The Madras  Hereditary Village  offices  Act  1895 (Madras Act  No. 111  of 1895)  regulated the  succession to certain other  hereditary village  offices and  provided for the appointment  of persons  to hold  such offices  and  the control of  the holders  thereof. Under both these statutes, the village  offices devolved  on a single heir according to the general  custom  and  rule  of  primogeniture  governing succession to  impartible zamidaris.  In cases  to which the



aforesaid two  statutes were inapplicable provision was made by the  Standing orders promulgated by the Board of Revenue, which  were   known  as  the  Board’s  Standing  orders  for appointing village officers on a hereditary basis. 629      The distinctive  features of  the service conditions of the village  officers appointed under the aforesaid two Acts or the Board’s Standing orders were that they were part-time employees of the Government, they were appointed directly by the Revenue officer, the records maintained by them could be retained in  their houses,  no  fixed  hours  of  duty  were prescribed, they  were not  constituted  into  any  distinct service, could  not be  transferred outside  their district, and that  they were  paid honorarium  for the  services that they discharged.  The Fundamental  Rules applicable  to  all other State Government employees, the Pension Rules, and the Leave Rules were not applicable to these village officers.      This Court in Gazula Dasaratha Rama Rao v. The State of Andhra Pradesh  & ors.  [1961] 2  SCR 931  having held  that section 6 (1) of the Madras Act No. 3 of 1895 was void as it contravened Article 16 (2) of the Constitution, instructions were issued  by the  Board of Revenue on March 12, 1962 that in respect  of future  vacancies in village offices governed by the Madras Act No. 2 of 1894, and the Madras Act No. 3 of 1895, the  appointments should be made on a temporary basis, and the  State Legislature  enacted the  Madras  Proprietary Estates’ Village  Service and  the Madras Hereditary Village offices (Repeal) Act, 1968 repealing the 1894 and 1895 Acts. Pursuant to  section 3  of this  Act, the  State  Government promulgated that  Tamil Nadu Village officers Service Rules, 1970 which  provided for  the constitution of the Tamil Nadu Village officers Service, consisting of (i) Village headman, additional village  headman, (ii) village karnam, additional village karnam,  and (iii)  talayari and  nirganti  and  the method of recruitment to the said posts.      In the year 1973, the Administrative Reforms Commission set up by the State Government recommended that the existing part-time village  officers should  be replaced  by  regular whole-time transferable public servants who should form part of the Revenue hierarchy. The State Government accepted this recommendation and  promulgated on  May 17,  1975 the  Tamil Nadu Village  officers (appointed  under  B.S.  Os)  Service Rules 1974.  Thereafter on  October 9,  1978 the  Tamil Nadu Village officers (appointed under B.S.Os) Service Rules 1978 were issued fixing the age of retirement of village officers at 60 years.      On November 13, 1980, the Tamil Nadu Abolition of posts of  part-time   Village   officers   ordinance,   1980   was promulgated  abolishing   the  posts  of  part-time  village officers in  the State.  The ordinance was later replaced by the Tamil  Nadu abolition  of  posts  of  part-time  Village officers Act  1981, which  provided for  the appointment  of Village Administrative  officers. By  section 3  of the Act, the posts  of part-time village officers were abolished with elect from  November 14,  1980 and  every officer  holding a post so  abolished ceased  to hold  such post, and section S provided for  payment of compensation to those who ceased to be part-time village officers.      The petitioners  in their  writ petition  to this Court contended that  the ordinance  and the Act were violative of Article 19 (1) (g); Article 311 (2), and contravened Article 14 of  the Constitution.  The State Government contested the petitions and  contended that  the State Government being of the opinion that the 630



system of  part-time Village-officers  was out-moded and did not fit  in with the modern needs of village administration, after careful  consideration taken  the policy  decision  to abolish all  the posts  of  part-time  village  officers  on grounds of  administrative  necessity  and  to  introduce  a system of  whole time officers to be incharge of the village administration.  To   achieve  this,   the   ordinance   was promulgated on November 14, 1980 which was later replaced by the Act.  It  was  further  contended,  that  since  by  the ordinance and the Act, certain posts had been abolished, the petitioners who were incumbents of the abolished posts could not raise any of the grounds raised by them.      Dismissing the petitions, ^      HELD: 1.  (i) The  power to  abolish a  civil  post  is inherent in  the right  to create  it.  The  Government  has always the  power, subject  to the constitutional provisions to reorganise  a department  to provide  efficiency  and  to bring about  economy. It  can abolish  an office  or post in good faith.  The action to abolish a post should not be just a pretence  taken to  get rid  of an inconvenient incumbent. [643 G]      American Jurisprudence  2d vol.63  p. 648-649: H. Eliot Kaplan-The Law of Civil Service pp 214-215 referred to.      In the  instant case  the abolition  of  the  posts  of village officers  was sought  to be  achieved by  a piece of legislation passed  by the  State  Legislature,  namely  the Tamil Nadu  Abolition of posts of part-time Village officers Act, 1981.  Want  of  good  faith  or  malafides  cannot  be attributed to the Legislature. [646 A]      (ii) The  Act is not violative or Article 19 (1) (g) as it does not affect the right of any of the incumbents of the posts to carry on any occupation of their choice even though they may  not be  able to  stick on  to the posts which they were holding. [647 C]      Fertilizer Corporation  Kamgar Union  (Regd)  Sindri  & ors. v. Union of India & ors. [1981] 2 SCR 52, referred to.      2. (i) The doctrine of pleasure incorporated in Article 310  cannot  be  controlled  by  any  legislation;  but  the exercise of  that power by the President or the Governor, is however  made   subject  to  the  other  provisions  of  the Constitution, one  of them  being Article  311, which is not made subject  to any other provision of the Constitution and is paramount in the field occupied by it. [648 D-E]      (ii) The termination of service of a Government servant consequent upon  the abolition  of posts  does  not  involve punishment at  all and  therefore does  not attract  Article 311(2). [654 B; 654-E]      Parashotam Lal Dhingra v. Union of India [1958] SCR 828 at 841,  Moti Ram  Deka etc.  v.  General  Manager,  N.E.F., Railways, Maligaon, Pandu etc. 631 [1964] 5  SCR  683  and  P.V.  Naik  8.  Ors.  v.  state  of Maharashtra & Anr., AIR 1967 Bom. 482, referred to.      (iii) If a post is not a special post and its incumbent is a  member of  a cadre his rights as a member of the cadre should be  considered before  deciding whether he has ceased to be a government employee on the abolition of the post. On such scrutiny  it is  likely that  the services  of  another member of  the cadre may have to be terminated or some other member of  the cadre may have to be reverted to a lower post from which  he may  have  been  promoted  to  the  cadre  in question by  the application of the principle of ’last come, first go’.  If, however,  where  the  post  abolished  is  a special post or where an entire cadre is abolished and there



is no  lower cadre  to which  the members  of the  abolished cadre can  reasonably be  reverted, the  application of this principle may not arise at all. [653 C-D]      State of  Mysore v. H. Papanna Gowda & Anr. etc. [1971] 2 S.C.R. 831, referred to.      (iv) In  modern  administration,  it  is  necessary  to recognise the existence of the power with the Legislature or the Executive  to create  or  abolish  posts  in  the  civil services of  the State.  The volume  of administrative work, the measures  of economy  and the  need for streamlining the administration to  make it  more efficient  may  induce  the State  Government   to  make  alterations  in  the  staffing patterns of  the  civil  service  necessitating  either  the increase or  the decrease in the number of posts. This power is  inherent   in   the   very   concept   of   governmental administration. To  deny that  power to the Government is to strike at  the very  roots of  proper public administration. This power  to abolish a post which may result in the holder thereof ceasing  to be  a Government  servant has  got to be recognised, but  any action  legislative or  executive taken pursuant to that power is always subject to judicial review. (656 A))       M. Ramanatha Pillai v. The State of Kerala Anr. (1974) 1 S.C.R.  515, Champaklal  Chimanlal Shah  v. The  Union  of India [1964] S S.C.R. 190, Satish Chandra Anand v. The Union of India  [1953] S.C.R.  655, Shyam Lal v. State of U.P. and Union of  India [1955]  1 S.C.R. 26, State of Haryana v. Des Raj Sangar of Anr. [1976] 2 S.C.R. 1034, referred to.      Abdul Khalik  Renzu &  Ors. v.  The State  of Jammu and Kashmir A.I.R. 1965 J & K 15, overruled.      In the  instant case  it cannot  be said that the State Act by which the village officers in the State of Tamil Nadu were abolished, contravenes Article 311 (2). [657 F]      (v) The  posts of  village officers which were governed by the Madras Act II of 1894, the Madras Act III of 1895 and the Board  s Standing  orders were  feudalistic in character and the  appointment to these posts were governed by the law of primogeniture,  the family  in which  the  applicant  was born, the village in which he was born, and the fact whether he owned  any property  in the village or not. These factors are alien to modern-administrative service and clearly 632 opposed to  Articles 14  and 16.  The Administrative Reforms Commission   rightly   recommended   their   abolition   and reorganisation of the village service. [657 H; 658 A C]      (vi) Having  regard to the abolition of similar village offices in  the neighbouring  States of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and  the agitation  in the  State of  Tamil Nadu for reorganisation of  village service,  the decision to abolish the village  offices which were feudalistic in character and an anachronism  in the  modern age  cannot  be  said  to  be arbitrary or unreasonable. [660 C]      R. Shankaranarayana  & Ors.  v. the  State of  Mysore & ors. A.I.R. 1966 S.C. 1571. B.H. Honnalige Gowda v. State of Mysore & Anr., A.I.R. 1964 Mysore 84, referred to.      3. (i)  Any  classification  under  Article  14  should satisfy two  tests: (i)  that there  exists an  intelligible differentia between those who are grouped together and those who are  not included  in the  group, and  (ii)  that  there exists a  reasonable nexus  between the  differentia and the object for which classification is made. [662 F]      (ii) Upto December 16, 1970 all appointments to Village officers were  being made  under the two Madras Acts and the Board’s Standing  orders on  the basis of factors dealt with therein, but after December 16, 1970 recruitment was made in



accordance with  the Tamil  Nadu  Village  officers  Service Rules 1970.  By these  rules  a  new  service  of  part-time Village officers  was constituted and the;, persons who were appointed were  paid a  fixed amount  every month  by way of remuneration. Under  the Act  Of 1981  and the  Rules framed thereunder the  Village Administrative  officers were  to be appointed and  to be  recruited directly.  The posts were no longer treated  as part-time  posts and holders thereof were full time government officials entitled to draw salary every month. Even  though the  Village  officers  appointed  after December 16,  1970 were  in a way different from the village officials appointed  prior to  that date  the two  cannot be equated with  the  new  Village  officers  who  were  to  be appointed under  the 1981 Act and the rules made thereunder. It cannot  therefore  be  stated  that  Article  14  of  the Constitution has  been violated in abolishing the posts held by those appointed after December 16, 1970. [662 H; 663 A-E; 663 H; 664A]      4 (i)  The State  Government will  give effect  to  the memorandum filed  on its  behalf in  the case  of those  who possess the  minimum general  qualification prescribed under the Act  and the Rules. The State Government shall re-employ all  such   persons  who   have  not   crossed  the  age  of superannuation and  who are selected in the new cadre. Until they are so selected they will not be paid any remuneration. Even if  they  are  re-employed  the  amount  paid  to  them pursuant to  the interim  orders will not be recovered. [668 G-H; 669 A]      (ii) The  compensation, if  any payable  by  the  State Government under  section s of the Act to those who cease to be village  officers shall  be adjusted  against the  amount paid pursuant  to the  interim orders,  and  any  amount  in excess of  the compensation,  shall not be recoverable. [669 B-C] 633

JUDGMENT:      ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Writ Petition Nos 5880-82, 6176- A 77,  5921, 5922,  6220,  6426-27,  6355-56,  6264-70,6276, 6178-79, 6191, 1718 of 1980 and 220-22, 2113 of 1981.      (Under Article 32 of the Constitution)      K K  Venugopal, (6355-56  of 1980)  (In W P. Nos. 6212, 6427 &  5880-82/80) F.S.  Nariman, (In W.P. Nos. 6264-70/80) R.K Gargo,  (In W.P.  Nos. 6191 & 6426/80), S.N. Kackar, (In W.P. Nos:  5921/80 &  220/81 and  G.L. Sanghi,  (In W.P. No. 1718/81) for the Petitioners.      C.S. Vaidyanathan,  Vineet Kumar, Parthasarathi, A.T.M. Sampath. Miss  Lily Thomas,  N.A. Subramanium, Naresh Kumar, Mahakir Singh and S. Srinivasan for the Petitioners.      Lal  Narayan   Singh,  Attorney  General  (In  W.P.  No 5880180) M.R  Banerjee, Addl. Solicitor General (In W.P. No. 6355/80) R.  Rrishnamoorthy, Adv.  Genl. T.N.  (In W.P. Nos. 1718 & 6276/ 1980) for the Respondents. D      Dr. Y.  S.  Chitale,  (In  W.P.  No.  6426/80),  L.  M. Singhvi, (In  W.P. 6264/80)  Mr. Laxmi  Kant Pandey and S.S. Ray, (In W.P. 6212 of 1980) for the Respondents.      A.V. Rangam, (In all matters) for the Respondents. E      The Judgment of the Court was delivered by      VBNKATAR  MIAH.   J.  In   these  writ  petitions,  the petitioners who  were holders  of posts of part-time village officers in  the State of Tamil Nadu or associations of such persons have  questioned the  constitutional validity of the Tamil Nadu  Abolition of posts of part-time Village officers



ordinance,  1980  Tamil  Nadu  ordinance  No.  10  of  1980) (hereinafter referred  to as  ’the ordinance’) and the Tamil Nadu Abolition  of posts  of part-time Village officers Act, 1981 (Tamil Nadu Act No. 3 of 1981) (hereinafter referred to as ’the  Act) which replaced the ordinance. The total number of posts abolished by the Act is 23,010      In Tamil  Nadu, as in other parts of India, the village has been  the basic  unit of revenue administration from the earliest  times   of  which   we  have   any   record.   The administration was being carried on at the lowest level by a chain of  officers in  regular gradation one above the other at the commencement of the Christian era. The 634 same system  has been  in vogue  uptil now. It was generally known as  the borabaluti  system  ordinarily  consisting  of twelve functionaries.  In Tamil  Nadu,  these  functionaries were known  as (I)  headman, (2)  karnan or  accountant, (3) shroff or  notazar, (4)  nirganti, (5)  toty or taliary, (6) potter, (7) smith, (8) jeweller, (9) carpenter, (10) barber, (11) washerman  and (12) astrologer. Of them, the first five only rendered service to Government.      The headman  who goes by various names such as monigar, potail,  naidoo,  reddy,  peddakapu  etc.  is  an  important officer. He  represented  the  Government  in  the  village, collected the  revenue and had also magisterial and judicial powers of some minor nature. As a magistrate he could punish persons for  petty offences  and as  a Judge could try suits for sums  of money  or other personal property upto Rs. 10/- in value,  there being  no appeal against his decision. With the consent of the parties, he could adjudicate civil claims upto Rs. 100 in value. The headman has been generally one of 1 the largest landholders in the village having considerable influence over  its inhabitants.  The karnam  or the village accountant maintained  all the  village accounts,  inspected all  fields   in  the  village  for  purposes  of  gathering agricultural  statistics,   fixation   of   assessment   and prevention and  penalisation of encroachments, irregular use of water  and verification  of tenancy  and  enjoyment.  The nirgantis guarded  the irrigation  sources and regulated the use of  water. The  toty or  taliary  assisted  the  village accountant in  his  work.  By  the  end  of  the  nineteenth century, two  Acts were brought into force in the Presidency of Madras  for the purpose of regulating the work of some of the village officers. The Madras Proprietary states’ Village Service Act,  1894 (Madras  Act No.  II of  1894) dealt with three classes  of village officers viz. village accountants, village headmen  and village  watchmen or police officers in permanently settled  estates, in  unsettled palaiyams and in inam  villages.   It  provided  for  their  appointment  and remuneration and for the - prevention and summary punishment of misconduct  or neglect  duty on  their part and generally for securing their efficiency. The Madras Hereditary Village offices Act, 1895 (Madras Act No. III of 1895) regulated the succession to  certain other  hereditary village  offices in the Presidency  of Madras;  for the  hearing and disposal of claims to  such offices  or the  emoluments annexed thereto; for the  appointment of persons to hold such offices and the control of  the holders  thereof. The Village officers dealt with by this Act were (i) 635 village munsifs, (ii) potels, monigars and peddakapus, (iii) karnams,   (iv) nirgantis, (v) vettis, totis and tar dalgars and (vi)  talayaris in  ryotwari villages  or inam villages, which  for  the  purpose  of  village  administration,  were grouped with ryotwari villages.



    Under both  these statutes,  the village  offices  were considered as  hereditary in character and the succession to all hereditary  village offices  devolved on  a single  heir according to  the general  custom and  rule of primogeniture governing succession  to impartible  zamindaris in  Southern India. When  the person  who would  otherwise be entitled to succeed to  a hereditary  village office  was a  minor, such minor was  being registered  as the  heir of the last holder and some  other  person  qualified  under  the  statutes  in question to  discharge the  duties of  the office  was being appointed to  discharge the  duties of  the office until the person registered  as heir  on attaining  majority or within three years thereafter was qualified to discharge the duties of the office himself when he would be appointed thereto. If the   person   registered   as   heir   remained   otherwise disqualified for  three years  after attaining  majority, he would be deemed to have forfeited his right to office and on such forfeiture  or on  his death,  the vacancy  had  to  be filled up  in accordance with the provisions of the statutes as if  he was  the last  holder of  the office. It is stated that  in   cases  to  which  the  above  two  statutes  were inapplicable, provision had been made by the Standing orders promulgated by  the Board of Revenue which were known as the Board’s Standing  orders  for  appointing  village  officers again generally  on a  hereditary basis.  Some of  the other distinct features  of the  service conditions of the village officers appointed  under the  Madras Act  No. II of 1894 of the Madras  Act No.  III of  1895 or  the  Board’s  Standing orders were  that  they  were  part-time  employees  of  the Government; that the records maintained by them were allowed to be  retained in their houses that there was no attendance register and no fixed hours of duty were prescribed in their case. They were appointed directly by the Revenue Divisional officer and against his order, an appeal lay to the District Revenue officer  and then a revision to the Board of Revenue and  a   second  revision   to  Government.  They  were  not constituted  into   any  distinct   service,  There  was  no provision for reservation of posts of village officers G for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and backward classes There was no minimum general qualification prescribed prior to the year 1970  for persons  to be  appointed as village officers under the said - statutes or the Board’s Standing orders. It was enough if they were able to read and to write. No period of probation was pres- 636 cribed after  they were  appointed.  The  Fundamental  Rules applicable to  all  other  State  Government  servants,  the Pension Rules  and the  Leave Rules  were not  applicable to these village officers. They could take up part-time work or occupation after  securing  necessary  permission  from  the concerned  Revenue   authorities.  There   was  no   age  of superannuation  fixed  in  their  case  and  they  were  not entitled   to  retirement  benefits  such  as  gratuity  and pension. All  village head  men including those who belonged to Scheduled  Castes and  Scheduled Tribes  had  to  furnish security in the form of property or cash the estimated value of which  was not  less than half the amount of land revenue and  loan   demand  of   the  village.  They  could  not  be transferred outside their district. In fact very rarely they were transferred.  During the period of leave, no honorarium was paid  to them  and during  the period  of suspension, no subsistence -  allowance was  paid. The  honorarium paid  to them  was  a  fixed  amount  with  no  element  of  dearness allowance.      In M.  Ramappa v.  Sangappa & Ors. where this Court had



to consider  whether the  officers  holding  the  hereditary village offices  under the  Mysore Village offices Act, 1908 which contained  provisions similar to the provisions of the two Madras  Acts referred  to above were qualified for being chosen as  members of the State Legislative Assembly, it was held that  such officers who were appointed to their offices by the  Government, though  it might  be that the Government had no option in certain cases but to appoint an heir of the last  holder,   held  offices  of  profit  under  the  State Government  since  they  held  their  office  by  reason  of appointment made by the Government and they worked under the control p  and supervision  of the Government and that their remuneration  was   paid  by   the  Government  out  of  the Government funds  and assets. Accordingly this Court came to the conclusion  that such village officers were disqualified under Article 191 (I)(a) of the Constitution from contesting at an election to the State Legislative Assembly.      In Gazula  Dasaratha Rama  Rao v.  The State  of Andhra Pradesh &  Ors this  Court held  that section  6(1)  of  the Madras Hereditary  Village offices Act, 1895 (Madras Act No. 3 of  1895) which  Provided that in choosing Persons to fill the new village offices of 637 an amalgamated  village under that Act, the Collector should select the  persons  whom  he  considered  to  be  the  best qualified from among the families of the last holders of the offices in  the villages  which  had  been  abolished  as  a consequence of  such amalgamation was void as it contravened Article  16   (2)  of  the  Constitution.  After  the  above decision, instructions  were issued  by the  Madras Board of Revenue on  March 12,  1962 to the effect that in respect of future vacancies  in village  offices governed by the Madras Act No.  II of  1894 and  the Madras Act No. III of 1895 the appointments  should   be  made   on  temporary  basis  only following  the   procedure  prescribed   under  the  Board’s Standing order No. 156. Since it was felt that the above two Madras  Acts   which  contained   provisions  providing  for appointment to  village offices  on  hereditary  basis  were violative of  Article 16  of the Constitution in view of the pronouncement of  this Court  in Gazula Dasaratha Rama Rao’s case  (supra),  the  State  Legislature  passed  the  Madras Proprietary  Estates’   Village  Service   and  the   Madras Hereditary Village  offices (Repeal)  Act, 1968  (Madras Act No. 20  of 1968)  repealing the  above two statutes viz. the Madras Act  No. II  of 1894  and the  Madras Act  No. III of 1895. The  said Act  was brought into force with effect from December 1,  1968. It  extended to the whole of the State of Madras, except  the Kanyakumari  district and the Shencottah taluk of the Tirunelveli district (vide section I (2) of the Madras Act  No. 20 of 1968). Sub-section (3) of Section 2 of that Act,  however, provided that every holder of a village, office, appointed  under the  Acts  repealed  by  it  would, notwithstanding the  repeal continue  to hold office subject to such  rules as  may be  made under the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution. Section 3 of that Act directed that any vacancy  arising after  the date  of the commencement of that Act  in the  village once referred to in subsection (3) of section  2 thereof should be filled up in accordance with the provisions  of the  Rules  made  under  the  proviso  to Article 309  of the  Constitution. On  December 1, 1968, the Governor of  Tamil Nadu promulgated a Rule under the proviso to Article  309 of  the  Constitution  providing  that  "the Standing orders  of the  Board of  Revenue applicable to non hereditary village  offices shall apply to every holder of a village office  to  which  the  Madras  Proprietary  Estates



Village Service Act, 1894 (Madras Act No. II of 1894) or the Madras Hereditary  Village offices Act, 1895 (Madras Act No. Ill of  1895) was  applicable immediately before the 1st day of December,  1968" on  which date  the Madras Act No. 20 of 1968 came  into force.  Pursuant to  section 3 of the Madras Act No. 20 of 1968, the Governor of Tamil Nadu 638 promulgated  under   the  proviso  to  Article  309  of  the Constitution the  Tamil Nadu Village officers Service Rules, 1970 providing  for  the  constitution  of  the  Tamil  Nadu Village officers  Service consisting of (i) village headman, additional village  headman, (ii) village karnam, additional village karnam  and (iii)  talayari  and  nirganti  and  the method of recruitment to the said posts. The said Rules came into force  on December  16, 1970  and they  extended to the whole of  the State  of Tamil  Nadu except  the  Kanyakumari District and the Shenootah taluk of the Tirunelveli district and the  city of Madras. Rule 18 of the said Rules, however, stated  that  nothing  contained  in  them  would  apply  to persons, who  on the  date of  coming into force of the said Rules,  were   holding  the  posts  of  village  headman  or additional village  headman, village  karnam  or  additional village   karnam    either   temporarily   or   permanently. Consequently the  said Rules were not applied to the holders of village  offices who  had been  appointed temporarily  or permanently under  the  two  repealed  Acts  and  under  the Board’s Standing  orders before  the date  on which the said Rules came  into force.  These Rules  prescribed that  every person who  made an  application for appointment the post of village headman  or additional  village headman  or  village karnam or  additional  village  karnam  should  possess  the following  qualifications,   namely  (i)   he  should   have completed the S.S.L.C. Examination held by the Government of Tamil Nadu  and (ii)  he should  have secured  a pass in the special tests  specified in  cl. (2)  of the  table given in Rule S  thereof in  respect of the posts specified in column (I) thereof.  On the  same  date,  the  Tamil  Nadu  Village officers (Classification,  Control and  Appeal) Rules,  1970 and the  Tamil Nadu  Village officers  Conduct  Rules,  1970 promulgated  under   the  proviso  to  Article  309  of  the Constitution by  the Governor of Tamil Nadu came into force. These Rules  were  applicable  not  merely  to  the  village officers appointed after that date but also to those who had been appointed  under the repealed Acts and under the Boards Standing order  prior to  December 16,  1970. The Tamil Nadu Civil Services  (Classification, Control  and Appeal)  Rules dealt  with  the  disciplinary  proceedings  that  might  be instituted against  the village  officers  governed  by  the them. The Tamil Nadu Village officers Conduct Rules provided that the  Tamil Nadu Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1960 as amended  from time  to time  would apply  to the  village officers subject  to the  modification specified  in rule  3 thereof which provided that the village officers being part- time Government  servants might  take up  part-time work  or occupation 639 provided that  (I) such part-time work or occupation did not interfere A with their legitimate duties as village officers and (2)  the previous permission in writing had been applied for  and   obtained  from  the  Revenue  Divisional  officer concerned if  the work  or occupation  was confined  to  the charge village  and from the District Collector concerned if the work  or occupation  extended beyond the charge village. From November  15, 1973  all the  three sets  of Rules which came into  force on  December 16,  1970,  as  stated  above,



became applicable to the village officers in the Kanyakumari district  and   the  Shencottah  taluk  of  the  Tirunelveli district also.  They, however,  continued to be inapplicable to the city of Madras.      In the year 1973, the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by  Mr. T.A.  Verghese, I.C.S.  recommended that  the existing part-time  village officers  should be  replaced by regular whole-time  transferable public  servants  and  that they should  form part of the Revenue hierarchy, disciplined in the  tradition of  that department  and motivated  by the incentive  of   career   advancement   available   in   that department.  They   also  recommended   that  16,585  survey villages in  the State  of Tamil Nadu should be grouped into 11,9554 revenue  groups. The  Commission further recommended that the  11,954 revenue  groups should  be  regrouped  into larger village  panchayats with  a population of about 5,000 and the  8 annual  panchayat tax  demand of the order of Rs. 5,000. The  Commission envisaged  that  with  some  marginal adjustment the  enlarged village  panchayat would  be of the order of  4,000 in  the State  of Tamil  Nadu and that there should be  a village  officer, a village clerk and a village peon in  respect of each such enlarged village panchayat and on appointment  to these  offices, the  holders  of  village offices appointed  under, the  two repealed statutes and the Board’s Standing  orders should  be removed  and the  former village offices  should be  abolished since  the  Commission felt that  "the administration  at  the  grass  root  level, provided by  the present generation of village officers with feudal  traditions,  is  inconsistent  with  the-egalitarian principles aimed  at in  our democratic  constitution".  The Commission  further   felt  that   "the  reform  of  village administration has  high priority,  as it  would benefit the whole mass  of rural  population." The  Commission, however, took note  of the  fact in paragraph 2.11 of its Report that the Government had, in the recent years, attempted to remedy the situation  by repealing  the Madras  Hereditary  Village offices Act, 1895 and by framing a set 640 Of new service rules for village establishment under Article 309 of  the Constitution. But it was of the opinion that the said Rules,  however, did not go far enough as they were not applicable to  the existing  set of village officers. It was of the  view that  full-time officers  could be  expected to service a  much larger  area than  the existing  villages or groups of  villages and  such regrouping  of  villages  into larger groups  had to  be done carefully taking into account local conditions  such as  compactness of  the  group,  easy intercommunications, nature of land, number of holdings etc. The Commission,  however, was of the view that such of those among the  existing village  headmen and  karnams,  who  had passed the  S.S.L.C. Examination might be considered for the posts of  the village  officers and  village clerks on their past performance.  Similarly  as  regards  village  officers working in the Kanyakumari district and the Shencottah taluk of the  Tirunelveli district which came over to the State of Tamil Nadu  from Kerala  in 1956  on the  reorganisation  of States, the  Commission observed  that l most of the village officers of those transferred territories who were qualified and full-time  Government servants should be absorbed in the new set  up as  envisaged by the Commission. On May 17,1975, the Governor  of  Tamil  Nadu  promulgated  the  Tamil  Nadu Village officers  (appointed under  B.S. Os)  Service Rules, 1974 under  the proviso  to Rule  309 of the Constitution in respect of  the village officers appointed prior to December 16, 1970. The above Rules were, however, kept in abeyance by



an order  made on July 1, 1975 on receipt of representations from the  village officers  in regard to the fixation of the age of  superannuation at  SS years.  On August 24,1977, the Chief Minister  of Tamil  Nadu announced on the floor of the Legislative Assembly  that the Government proposed to set up a Committee  to . examine whether the posts of karnams could be dispensed  with. Thereafter  on October 9,]978, the Tamil Nadu  Village  officers  (appointed  under  B.S.Os)  Service Rules, 1978  were issued fixing the age of retirement of the village officers  at 60  years. Sub-rule  (2) of & Rule I of the said Rules stated that the said Rules would apply to all village officers  holding the  posts of  village headman  or additional village  headman, village  karnam  or  additional village  karnam,   talayari,  vetti   or   nirganti   either permanently or  temporarily on  December 16,  1970  provided that at  the time  of their appointment, they were qualified under the  Board’s Standing  orders. The  Government thought that the  said Rules  would be  applicable  to  all  village officers  who  were  holding  village  offices  on  December 16,1970 refer- 641 red to  in Rule 1(2). But some of the holders of the village offices who  had been appointed under the Madras Act No. III of 1895  prior to  the decision  of  this  Court  in  Gazula Dasaratha Rama  Rao’s case  (supra)  which  as  rendered  on December 6,  1960, filed  writ petitions  on the file of the High Court  of Madras  stating that  the Tamil  Nadu Village officers (appointed  under the b.) Service Rules, 1978 which fixed the  age of  superannuation of  village officers at 60 years  were   not  applicable   to  them  since  on  a  true construction of  the said  Rules, they  were inapplicable to them. The  High  Court  of  Madras  allowed  the  said  writ petitions by its judgment dated August 18, 1980 holding: "We have already  extracted sub-rule (2) of rule 1 of the rules. That rule  expressly states  that the  rules will  apply  to village officers,  who, at  the time  of their  appointment, were qualified  under the Board’s Standing orders applicable to them and their appointment had been made by the authority competent under  the Board’s  Standing orders. In respect of these petitioners,  who were  appointed under the provisions of Madras Act 3 of 1895 before 6th December, 1960, there was no question  of their being qualified to be appointed to the village office  under the Board’s Standing orders applicable to them,  and their  qualifications and  appointment  rested solely on the provisions contained in Section 10 of the Act. Consequently the  petitioners herein  will  not  answer  the description contained  in sub-rule  (2) of  rule (1)  of the rules. If  they do  not answer  the description contained in sub-rule (2)  of rules, the rules are not applicable to them and therefore, they can not be required to retire under rule 4 (1) of the rules."      It would appear that some of the other village officers to whom  the said  Rules had  been made  applicable had also filed  writ   petitions  on  the  file  of  the  High  Court questioning the validity of the Rules on the ground that the said Rules  made  a  discrimination  between  them  and  the village officers  who were  holding office prior to December 16, 1970 to whom the said Rules were held to be inapplicable by the  judgment of  the High  Court delivered on August 18, 1980 and  those petitions were posted for hearing during the first week  of December,  1 980.  Before the  said petitions were taken  up for hearing the Governor of Tamil Nadu issued the ordinance  on November  13, 1980 abolishing the posts of part-time village  officers in  the  State  of  Tamil  Nadu. Immediately after  the promulgation  of the ordinance, steps



were taken  to take  possession of  all the records with the village officers who were holding offices on that day and to replace them by Officers appointed under 642 section  14   of  the   ordinance.  Immediately   after  the promulgation of  the said  ordinance, some  of  the  village officers who  were affected  by it  questioned its  validity before this Court in Writ Petitions Nos. 5880-82 of 1980 and 5921 of  1980. The other connected writ petitions came to be filed thereafter.  In the  meanwhile the  Tamil  Nadu  State Legislature passed  the  Act  which  is  impugned  in  these petitions replacing  the  ordinance.  The  petitioners  have challenged in  these writ  petitions the Act also by seeking appropriate amendment of their petitions.      The broad  features of the Act are these: The object of the Act  is set  out in  its  preamble.  Because  the  State Government was  of the  opinion that the system of part-time village officers  was outmoded  and did  not fit in with the modern  needs   of  village  administration  and  the  State Government had  after careful  consideration taken  a policy decision to  abolish all  the  posts  of  part-time  village officers on  grounds  of  administrative  necessity  and  to introduce a  system of whole-time officers to be incharge of village administration,  the Act  came to  be  enacted  with effect from November 14, 1980 in the place of the ordinance. The Explanatory  Statement attached  to the  ordinance  also contained a  statement to  the same  effect  indicating  the object of  the Ordinance.  The expression ’part-time village officers’ is  defined in section 2 (e) of the Act as village headman  (including  additional  village  (headman  village) karnam  (including   chief  karnam  and  additional  village karnam) or  Triune officer  (who was exercising functions of three different village officers) appointed under the Madras Act II  of 1894,  the Madras  Act III  of 1895,  the Board’s Standing orders,  the Tamil Nadu village Service Rules, 1970 officers Kuvalar,  or any  other law  but does  not include, Grama Kavalar  Grama Paniyalar  and Pasana  Kavalar. Village Administrative officer  means  an  officer  appointed  under section 4(1)  of the Act. By sec. 3 of the Act, the posts of part-time village  officers were  abolished with effect from November  14,   1980  and  every  officer  holding  post  so abolished ceased  to hold  such post.  The Act  provided for appointment of Village Administrative officers. Section 5 of the Act  provided for  payment of  compensation to those who ceased  to  be  part-time  village  officers  calculated  in accordance with  the formula  mentioned in it. Section 10 of the Act  provided that  the Act would not apply to the posts of karnams which were held by whole-time Government servants in the  city of Madras and the posts of village officers and village assistants which were held by the whole- 643 time Government  servant in  the  Kanyakumari  district  and Shencottah taluk of the Tirunelveli districts.      Three principal  points are  urged  before  us  by  the petitioners in  these petitions  (i) that  the ordinance and the Act  are violative of Art. 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, (ii) that  they are  violative of  Article 311  (2)  of  the Constitution and  (iii) that  they contravene  Article 14 of the Constitution.  The State  Government contends that since by the  ordinance and  the  Act,  certain  posts  have  been abolished,  the   officials  who   were  incumbents  of  the abolished posts  cannot raise  any of  the grounds raised by them.      Entry 41  in List  II of  the Seventh  Schedule to  the Constitution confers  the power  on the State Legislature to



make laws  with respect  to State public services subject to the provisions  of the  Constitution.  Article  309  of  the Constitution provides  that subject to the provisions of the Constitution,  the   State  Legislature   may  regulate  the recruitment and  conditions of  service of persons appointed to public  services and posts in connection with the affairs of the  State. Article  311 (2)  of the  Constitution states that no  person who  is a  member of  a civil service of the Union or  an all-India service or a civil service of a State or holds  a civil post under the State shall be dismissed or removed or  reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has  been informed of the charges against him and given a L reasonable  opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges. Article  14 of the Constitution guarantees equality before the  law and  equal protection of the laws. It is not disputed that  any law  that is  passed  in  relation  to  a Government employee  should  not  contravene  any  of  these provisions-Article 19 (1)(g), Article 311 (2) and Article 14 of the  Constitution. We  shall now  proceed to  examine the case with reference to each of them.      The power  to abolish  a civil  post is inherent in the right to  create it.  The Government  has always  the power, subject, of  course, to  the constitutional  provisions,  to reorganise a  department to  provide efficiency and to bring about economy.  It can  abolish an  office or  post in  good faith. The  action to  abolish a  post should  not be just a pretence taken  to get  rid of an inconvenient incumbent. We have  the   following  statement  of  the  law  in  American Jurisprudence 2nd, Vol. 63 at Pages 648-649 : 644      "37. Manner, sufficiency, validity, and effect.           It is  not always  easy  to  determine  whether  a      public office  has been abolished. It is not sufficient      merely  to   declare  that   a  particular   office  is      abolished, if  in fact  it is  not abolished,  and  the      duties thereof  are continued.  An office  is abolished      when the act creating it is repealed. But the repeal of      the statute  creating an office, accompanied by the re-      enactment of  the substance of it, does not abolish the      office. Abolition  of an  office may  also  be  brought      about by  a  constitutional  provision,  or  by  a  new      constitution or  a  constitutional  amendment.  A  non-      constitutional office may be indirectly abolished as by      legislating away  the  duties  and  emoluments  of  the      office.           The  legislature   may  not  evade  constitutional      provisions by  a sham  or  pretended  abolition  of  an      office, as  where there  is mere colorable abolition of      the office  for the  purpose  of  getting  rid  of  its      incumbent. This may happen where an office is abolished      in terms  and promptly  recreated under  the same  or a      different  name,  provided  the  legislature  does  not      attach duties  and burdens  to  the  new  office  of  a      character such  as to  make it  in reality  a different      office.           Where  an   office  is   duly  abolished   by  the      legislature or  the people,  it ceases to exist and the      incumbent  is   no  longer  entitled  to  exercise  the      functions thereof,  or to  claim  compensation  for  so      doing, unless he is under contract with the state so as      to come  within the  protection of  the  constitutional      inhibition against  impairment  of  the  obligation  of      contract. Since a de jure office is generally essential      to the  existence of a de facto officer, persons cannot      act as  de facto  officers of  an office which has been



    abolished."      H. Eliot Kaplan writes in his book entitled "The Law of      Civil Service" at pages 214-115 thus :           "8. "Good  Faith" in  Abolition of Positions-There      of course,  is no  vested right  to employment  in  the      public service.  The notion,  much too  prevalent, that      any one  who has  been appointed  after  a  competitive      examination is entit- 645      led to  be retained  in the service is erroneous. Where      there is  any reasonable  justification for eliminating      positions  in  the  public  service,  even  where  such      abolition of  positions  may  be  subject  to  judicial      review,  the  inclination  of  the  courts  is  not  to      interfere, avoiding  substitution of judicial wisdom or      judgment for that of the administrator.           A  position   is  not  lawfully  abolished  solely      because it  has been  left vacant for a short period of      time and  subsequently filled by another appointee than      the one laid off and entitled to re-employment.           Good faith of a head of department in abolishing a      position on  alleged grounds  of economy has often been      challenged. Most  courts have  held that  the issue  of      good faith on the part of an administrative official is      one of  law solely for the court to pass on, and not an      issue of  fact which  may be  submitted to  a jury  for      determination. The  jury may determine the facts, which      the  court  in  turn  may  find  as  a  matter  of  law      constitute bad  faith; but  a verdict  by a jury that a      department head  had acted in bad faith in abolishing a      position was  set aside as a conclusion of law, and not      properly finding of fact. What constitutes bad faith as      a  matter  of  law  in  abolishing  positions  must  be      determined by  the precise  facts in  each case.  As  a      general rule,  where  positions  are  purported  to  be      eliminated and  incumbents  laid  off,  and  thereafter      identical or  similar positions  are re-established and      the positions  filled by  others not entitled under the      Civil service  law and  rules to  such employments, the      courts will  not hesitate to order re-employment of the      laid off employees."      The above  passages sum  up the  law on the question of abolition of posts in civil service as it prevails in United States of America.      In  England  too  there  is  provision  for  compulsory premature retirement  in the  public interest  on structural grounds, grounds of limited efficiency and redundancy. (Vide paragraph 1303, Vol. 8 Halsbury’s Laws of England 4th Edn.) 646      In the  instant case,  the abolition  of the  posts  of village officers  is sought  to be  achieved by  a piece  of legislation passed  by the  State Legislature.  Want of good faith or malafides cannot be attributed to a Legislature. We have only to see whether the legislation is a colourable one lacking in legislative competence or whether it transgresses any other constitutional limitation.      So far  as the  argument based on Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution  is concerned,  we are  bound by  the  view expressed  by  the  Constitution  Bench  of  this  Court  in Fertilizer Corporation Kamgar Union (Regd), Sindri & Ors. v. Union of  India  &  Ors.  in  which  Chandrachud,  C.J.  has observed at pages 60-61 thus :           "The right  to pursue  a calling or to carry on an      occupation is  not the  same thing as the right lo work      in a particular post under a contract of employment. If



    the workers  are  retrenched  consequent  upon  and  on      account of  the sale, it will be open to them to pursue      their rights  and remedies  under the  Industrial Laws.      But the  point to  be noted  is that  the closure of an      establishment in  which a workman is for the time being      employed does  not by  itself infringe  his fundamental      right to  carry on an occupation which is guaranteed by      Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution. Supposing a law      were passed  preventing a  certain category  of workers      from accepting  employment in  a fertiliser factory, it      would be possible to contend then that the workers have      been deprived of their right to carry on an occupation.      Even assuming  that some  of the workers may eventually      have to  be retrenched in the instant case, it will not      be possible  to say  that their  right to  carry on  an      occupation has been violated. It would be open to them,      though undoubtedly  it will  not be  easy, to  find out      other avenues  of  employment  as  industrial  workers.      Article 19  (1) (g)  confers a  broad and general right      which is  available to  all persons  to do  work of any      particular kind and of their choice. It does not confer      the right  to hold  a particular  job or  to  occupy  a      particular post of one’s choice. Even under Article 311      of the  Constitution, the  right to continue in service      falls with the abolition of the post in 647      which the person is working. The workers in the instant      case can  no more complain of the infringement of their      fundamental right  under Article  19 (1) (g) than can a      Government servant  complain of  the termination of his      employment on the abolition of his post. The choice and      freedom of the workers to work as industrial workers is      not affected  by the  sale. The sale may at the highest      affect their locum, but it does not affect their locus,      to work  as industrial workers. This is enough unto the      day on Art. 19 (1) (g)."      In view of the above ruling, it is not possible to hold that the  Act violates  Article 19  (1) (g)  as it  does not affect the  right of  any of  the incumbents of the posts to carry on any occupation of their choice even though they may not be  able to  stick on  to  the  posts  which  they  were holding.      We shall next examine the argument based on Article 311 (2) of  the  Constitution.  We  have  already  seen  in  the Fertilizer  Corporation  Kamgar  Union’s  case  (supra)  the observation to  the effect  ’Even under  Article 311  of the Constitution, the  right to  continue in  service falls with the abolition  of the  post in which the person is working.’ It is  said that  the ’act of removing a person from a chair is different  from the  act of  removal of the chair itself’ although the  incumbent loses  the chair  in both the cases. Since it  is. strenuously urged before us that there is some amount of  contradiction in  some of  the  rulings  of  this Court, we  shall review  the legal  position to  the  extent necessary  before   reaching  our   own  conclusion  on  the question.      The doctrine  that the  tenure of  a holder  of a civil post is dependent upon the pleasure of the Crown is peculiar to English law.      In India,  Article 310  of the  Constitution  of  India provides :           "310 (1)  Except as  expressly  provided  by  this      Constitution, every person who is a member of a defence      service or of a civil service of the Union or of an all      India service  or holds any post connected with defence



    or any civil post . under the Union holds office during      the pleasure  of the President, and every Person who is      a member of a civil 648      service of  a State  or holds  any civil  post under  a      State holds  office during the pleasure of the Governor      of the State.           (2) Notwithstanding  that a person holding a civil      post under the Union or a State holds office during the      pleasure of  the President  or, as  the case may be, of      the Governor  of the  State, any contract under which a      person, not  being a  member of a defence service or of      an all-India service or of a civil service of the Union      or a State, is appointed under the Constitution to hold      such a  post may,  if the President or the Governor, as      the case  may be, deems it necessary in order to secure      the services af a person having special qualifications,      provide for  the payment  to him  of  compensation,  if      before the  expiration of an agreed period that post is      abolished or  he is, for reasons not connected with any      misconduct on his part, required to vacate that post."      While the  doctrine of pleasure incorporated in Article 310 cannot be controlled by any legislation, the exercise of that power by the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is  however made  subject to the other provisions of the Constitution, one  of them  being Article  311, which is not made subject  to any other provision of the Constitution and is paramount  in the  field occupied  by it.  The contention urged before  us  is  that  every  kind  of  termination  of employment under Government would attract Article 311 (2) of the Constitution  and a  termination on the abolition of the post cannot  be an  exception. While  construing Article 311 (2) of the Constitution, as it stood then, in Parashotam Lal Dhingra v. Union of India, Das, C.J. Observed :           "The  Government   cannot  terminate  his  service      unless it  is entitled  to do  so (I)  by virtue  of  a      special term  of the  contract of  employment, e.g., by      giving the requisite notice provided by the contract or      (2) by  the  rules  governing  the  conditions  of  his      service,  e.g.,   on   attainment   of   the   age   of      superannuation prescribed  by  the  rules,  or  on  the      fulfillment   of   rule   conditions   for   compulsory      retirement or  subject to  certain safeguards,  on  the      abolition of the post or on being 649      found guilty,  after a proper enquiry on notice to him,      of misconduct,  negligence, inefficiency  or any  other      disqualification."                     (emphasis added)      Again at  pages  857-858  in  the  same  judgment,  the learned Chief Justice observed :           "The foregoing conclusion, however, does not solve      the entire problem, for it has yet to be ascertained as      to when  an order  for the  termination of  service  is      indicted as  and by  way of  punishment and  when it is      not. It  has already  been said  that where  person  is      appointed  substantively   to  a   permanent  post   in      Government service,  he normally  acquires a  right  to      hold the post until under the rules, he attains the age      of superannuation  or is  compulsorily, retired  and in      the absence  of a  contract, express  or implied,  or a      service rule,  he cannot  be turned  out  of  his  post      unless the  post itself  is abolished  or unless  he is      guilty of misconduct, negligence, inefficiency or other      disqualifications and appropriate proceedings are taken



    under the  service  rules  read  with  Art.  311  (2)."      (emphasis added)      It may  be mentioned  here that  the words  "subject to certain safeguards"  found in  the earlier  extract are  not used with  reference to  abolition of  posts  in  the  above extract. Later  on, Das,  C.J observed that the Court should apply two  tests namely  (1) whether the servant had a right to the  post or  the rank or (2) whether he had been visited with evil consequences such as loss of pay and allowances, a stigma affecting  his future  career in  order to  determine whether the  removal of  an officer  from a  post  attracted Article 311  (2). The  decision in  Parshotam Lal  Dhingra’s case (supra) was reviewed by a Bench of seven Judges of this Court in  Moti Ram  Deka etc.  v.  General  Manager,  N.E.F. Railways, Maligaon,  Pandu v. etc. In that case the question which arose  for consideration was whether Rules 148 (3) and 149 (3)  of the  Indian Railway  Establishment Code violated either Article  311 (2),  or Article 14 of the Constitution. Sub-rules (1)  and (2)  of Rule  148  dealt  with  temporary railway servants  and apprentices respectively. The relevant part of Rule 148 (3) read thus : 650           "148 (3) other (non-pensionable) railway servant:-      The service of other (non-pensionable) railway servants      shall be liable to termination on notice on either side      for the periods shown below. Such notice is not however      required  in   cases  of  dismissal  or  removal  as  a      disciplinary  measure   after   compliance   with   the      provisions  of   Clause  (2)  of  Article  311  of  the      Constitution,  retirement   on  attaining  the  age  of      superannuation,  and  termination  of  service  due  to      mental or physical incapacity."      Rule 149  was brought  into force  in the place of Rule 148 in  the case  of pensionable servants in November, 1957. Here again,  sub-rules (1)  and (2)  of Rule  149 dealt with temporary railway  servants and  apprentices. Rule  149  (3) read thus:           "149 (3)  other railway servants:- The services of      other railway  servants shall  be liable to termination      on notice  on either  side for the periods shown below.      Such notice  is  not  however,  required  in  cases  of      dismissal or  removal as  a disciplinary  measure after      compliance with the provisions of clause (2) of Article      311 of  the Constitution,  retirement on  attaining the      age of  superannuation, and  termination of service due      to mental or physical incapacity."      The majority  judgment in  this case, however, observed that a  Government servant  on being  appointed  to  a  post permanently acquired  a right  to hold  the post  under  the Rules until  he attained  the age  of superannuation  or was compulsorily retired  or was  found  guilty  of  an  act  of misconduct in accordance with Article 311(2). It disapproved the statement  found in Parshotam Lal Dhingra’s case (supra) at pages  857-858 to the extent it recognised the removal of a permanent  Government servant  under a contract express or imp lied  or a  service rule. After referring to one passage at page  841  and  another  at  page  843  in  Parsotam  Lal Dhingra’s case,  Gajendragadkar, J.  (as he  then was),  who delivered the  majority judgment  in Moti  Ram  Deka’s  case (supra) observed at pages 718-719 thus:           ’Reading these  two observations  together,  there      can be no doubt that with the exception of appointments      held under  special contract,  the Court  took the view      that wherever  a  civil  servant  was  appointed  to  a      permanent post  substantively, he  had a  right to hold



    that post  until. he reach ed the age of superannuation      or was compulsorily retired, 651      or the  post was  abolished. In all other cases, if the      services of  the said  servant  were  terminated,  they      would have  to be  in conformity with the provisions of      Art. 311(2),  because termination in such cases amounts      to removal.  The two  statements of the law to which we      have just  referred do  not leave any room for doubt on      this point." (emphasis added)      It may  be noticed that removal of a Government servant from a  post on  its abolition  is recognised  in the  above passage as  a circumstance  not attracting Article 311(2) of the Constitution.  The Court  after  a  review  of  all  the decisions before  it including the decision in Parshotam Lal Dhingra’s case (supra) held that the above two Rules 148 (3) and 149  (3) which  authorised the  removal officers holding the posts  substantively by  issuing a mere notice infringed Article  311  (2)  of  the  Constitution.  The  question  of abolition of  posts did  not arise for consideration in this case. The  validity  of  removal  of  a  Government  servant holding a  permanent post on its abolition was considered by Desai, J.  and Chandrachud, J. (as he then was) in P.V. Naik & Ors.  v. State of Maharashtra & Anr.(1) The learned Judges held that the termination of service of a Government servant consequent upon  the abolition  of  posts  did  not  involve punishment at  all and  therefore did  not  attract  Article 311(2).      Since much reliance is placed by the petitioners on the decision of  this Court  in State  of Mysore  v. H.  Papanna Gowda & Anr. etc.(2) it is necessary to examine that case in some  detail.  The  facts  of  that  case  were  these:  The respondent in  that case  was holding the post of a chemical assistant in  the Agricultural Research Institute, Mandya in the Department  of Agriculture of the State of Mysore. Under the Mysore  University of  Agricultural Sciences  Act,  1963 which came  into force  on April 24, 1964, the University of Agricultural Sciences  was established.  Sub-section (5)  of section 7 of that Act provided:           "7. (5)  Every  person  employed  in  any  of  the      colleges specified  in sub-section (1) or in any of the      institutions referred to in sub-section (4) immediately      before the appointed 652      day or  the date  specified in  the  order  under  sub-      section (4),  as the  case may  be, shall,  as from the      appointed day or the specified date, become an employee      of the  University on  such terms and conditions as may      be determined  by the  State Government in consultation      with the Board."      The Board  referred to in the above sub-section was the Board of  Regents of the University. By a notification dated September 29, 1965 issued under section 7(4) and (5) of that Act, the  control and management of a number of research and educational institutions under the Department of Agriculture were transferred  to the  University.  Alongwith  them,  the Institute in  which the  respondent  was  working  was  also transferred to  the University.  The  result  was  that  the respondent ceased  to be an employee of the State Government and became  an employee  of  the  University.  Thereupon  he questioned the  validity of  sub-sections  (4)  and  (5)  of section  7   of  the  said  Act  on  the  ground  that  they contravened Article  311(2) of  the Constitution  before the High Court  of Mysore,  which upheld  his  plea.  The  State Government questioned  the decision of the High Court before



this Court  in the  above  case.  This  Court  affirmed  the decision of  the High  Court holding  that Article 311(2) of the Constitution  had been  contravened as  the prospects of the respondent  in Government service were affected. In this case the  parties proceeded  on the  basis that there was no abolition of  post as  such as can be seen from the judgment of the High Court. The only ground was whether when the post continued to  exist though under a different master, in this case it  being the  University, it  was open  to  the  State Government to  transfer its employee to the control of a new master without  giving an  option to him to state whether he would continue  as a  Government employee  or not. The court was not  concerned about  the consequences of abolition of a post as  such in this case. As can be seen from the judgment of the  High Court in this case (vide Papanna Gowda v. State of  Mysore(1)  one  serious  infirmity  about  the  impugned provisions was  that whoever  was holding the post in any of the institutions transferred to the University automatically ceased to  be the  Government servant.  Even if the case was one where abolition of the post was involved, the law should have made  provision for the determition of the employees in the cadre in question who would cease to be 653 Government employees  with reference to either the principle of ’last  come, first  go’ or any other reasonable principle and given  them an  option to join the service under the new master instead  of just  transferring all  the employees who were then working in the institutions to the University. The impugned provisions  were not  rules dealing with the age of superannuation or  compulsory retirement.  Nor the  case was dealt with  on the  principle of  abolition  of  posts.  The decision in  this case  takes its  colour from  the peculiar facts involved in it. One principle that may be deduced from this decision  is that  if a  post is not a special post and its incumbent  is a member of a cadre his rights as a member of the cadre should be considered before deciding whether he has cased  to be  a government  employee on the abolition of the post. It is likely that on such scrutiny the services of another member of the cadre may have to be terminated on its abolition or  some other  member of the cadre may have to be reverted to  a lower  post  from  which  he  may  have  been promoted to  the cadre in question by the application of the principle of  ’last come,  first go’. If, however, where the post abolished is a special post or where an entire cadre is abolished cadre  and there  is no  lower cadre  to which the members of  the abolished  can reasonably  be reverted,  the application of  this principle  may not arise at all. In the circumstances, the petitioners cannot derive much assistance from this decision.      The  question   whether   Article   311(2)   would   be contravened if  Government  servant  holding  a  civil  post substantively lost his employment by reason of the abolition of the  post held  by him  directly arose  for consideration before this  Court in  M. Ramanatha  Pillai v.  The state of Kerala &  Anr.(1) Two points were examined in that case: (i) whether the  Government had  a right  to abolish a post in a service and  (ii) whether  abolition of a post was dismissal or  removal  within  the  meaning  of  Article  311  of  the Constitution. The  Court held that a post could be abolished in good  faith but  the order abolishing the post might lose its effective  character if  it was established to have been made arbitrarily,  mala fide  or as  a mask  of  some  penal action  within   the  meaning  of  Article  311  (2).  After considering the  effect of  the decisions  in Parashotam Lal Dhingra’s case  (supra), Champaklal  Chimanlal Shah  v.  The



Union of India,(2) 654 Moti Ram  Deka’s case  (supra), Satish  Chandra Anand v. The Union of  India (1) and Shyam Lal v. State of U.P. and Union of India.(2)  This Court  observed in  this case at page 526 thus:           "The abolition of post may have the consequence of      termination of  service  of  government  servant.  Such      termination is  not dismissal  or  removal  within  the      meaning  of   Article  311  of  the  Constitution.  The      opportunity  of  showing  cause  against  the  proposed      penalty of  dismissal or  removal  does  not  therefore      arise in  the case  of abolition of post. The abolition      of  post   is  not   a  personal  penalty  against  the      government  servant.   The  abolition  of  post  is  an      executive policy  decision. Whether  after abolition of      the post,  the Government  servant who  was holding the      post would or could be offered any employment under the      State would therefore be a matter of policy decision of      the Government  because the  abolition of post does not      confer on  the person  holding the  abolished post  any      right to hold the post."      The true effect of the decision in Moti Ram Deka’s case (supra) on  the question of applicability of Article 311 (2) of the  Constitution to a case of abolition of post has been clearly explained  in this  case and  we have very little to say anything  further on it. Suffice it to say that the Moti Ram Deka’s  case (supra) is no authority for the proposition that Article 311 (2) would be attracted in such a case.      The above  view was  followed by this Court in State of Haryana v.  Des Raj  Sangar &  Anr.(1) to  which one  of  us (Murtaza Fazal Ali, J.) was a party. Khanna, J. speaking for the Court observed at pages 1037-38 thus:           "Whether a post should be retained or abolished is      essentially a  matter for  the Government to decide. As      long as  such decision  of the  Government is  taken in      good faith  the same  cannot be set aside by the court.      It is  not open to the court to go behind the wisdom of      the decision and substitute its own opinion for that of      the Government on the point as to whether a post should      or should not be 655      abolished. The  decision to  abolish the  post  should,      however, as  already mentioned,  be taken in good faith      and be not used as a cloak or pretence to terminate the      services of  a person  holding that post. In case it is      found on  consideration of the facts of a case that the      abolition of  the post  was only  a device to terminate      the services  of an employee, the abolition of the post      would suffer  from a  serious infirmity  and  would  be      liable to  be set  aside. The  termination of a post in      good  faith  and  the  consequent  termination  of  the      services of  the  incumbent  of  that  post  would  not      attract Article 311."      Before concluding  our discussion  on this topic, it is necessary to  refer to  a decision  of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court  in Abdul  Khalik Renzu  & Ors.  v. The  State of Jammu and  Kashmir(1) to which one of us (Murtaza Fazal Ali, J. (as he then was) was a party in which the validity of the abolition of  posts constituting the special police squad of the State of Jammu and Kashmir was questioned. In that case, the High  Court while  recognising the  power of  the  State Government  to  abolish  the  posts  and  to  terminate  the services of  the incumbents  of such  posts held  that  such action could  be  validly  taken  only  subject  to  certain



safeguards and  in the  absence of  any such  safeguards the abolition was  bad. The High Court did not clearly spell out the nature and extent of safeguards referred to therein. The High  Court   relied  on   the  words  ’subject  to  certain safeguards, on  the  abolition  of  posts’  in  the  passage occurring at  page  841  in  Parshotam  Lal  Dhingra’s  case (supra) which  is extracted  above to  reach the  conclusion that unless  the abolition  of posts was accompanied by such safeguards, Article 311 would be infringed. With respect, it should be  stated that the High Court did not notice that in another passage at pages 857-858 in the same decision, which is also  extracted above, the abolition of posts referred to therein  was  unqualified.  In  this  passage  there  is  no reference  to   any  safeguards   at   all.   Probably   the ’safeguards’ referred  to in  the passage  at  page  841  in Parshotam Lal  Dhingra’s case  (supra) meant an abolition of posts which  was  in  good  faith  and  not  a  pretence  of abolition of  a post  resorted to in order to get rid of its incumbent and the creation of the same post with a different form or  name with  a new  incumbent. The  above view of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir is however, in conflict with the decision in Ramanatha 656 Pillai’s case (supra) and hence must be considered as having been overruled  by this Court. In modern administrations, it is necessary  to recongnise  the existence of the power with the Legislature  or the Executive to create or abolish posts in  the   civil  service   of  the   State.  The  volume  of administrative work,  the measures  of economy  and the need for  streamlining   the  administration   to  make  it  more efficient  may   induce  the   State  Government   to   make alterations in  the staffing  patterns of  the civil service necessitating either  the increase  or the  decrease in  the number of  posts. This power is inherent in the very concept of governmental  administration. To  deny that  power to the Government is  to strike  at the very roots of proper public administration. The power to abolish a post which may result in the holder thereof ceasing to be a Government servant has got to  be recognised.  But we  may hasten  to add  that any action legislative or executive taken pursuant to that power is always subject to judicial review.      It is  no doubt  true that Article 38 and Article 43 of the Constitution  insist that  the State should endeavour to find sufficient  work for  the people  so that  they may put their capacity  to work  into economic use and earn a fairly good living.  But these articles do not mean that every body should be  provided with  a job  in the civil service of the State and  if a person is provided with one he should not be asked to  leave it even for a just cause. If it were not so, there would  be no  justification for  a small percentage of the population being in Government service and in receipt of regular income  and  a  large  majority  of  them  remaining outside  with  no  guaranteed  means  of  living.  It  would certainly be  an ideal  state of  affairs if  work could  be found for all the able bodied men and women and everybody is guaranteed the  right to  participate in  the production  of national wealth  and to enjoy the fruits thereof. But we are today far away from that goal. The question whether a person who ceases  to be  a Government  servant  according  to  law should be  rehabilitated by giving an alternative employment is, as the law stands today, a matter of policy on which the Court has no voice.      On a fair construction of the provisions of Article 311 (2) of  the Constitution and a consideration of the judicial precedents having  a bearing  on the question, we are of the



view that it is not possible to hold that the termination of service brought about by 657 the abolition  of a  post effected  in good  faith  attracts Article 311  (2). An  analysis of Article 311 (2) shows that it guarantees to a person who is a member of a civil service of the Union or an all-India service or a civil service of a State or  holds a  civil post the right to defend himself in any  proceeding   leading  to   his  dismissal,  removal  or reduction in  rank. It  requires that  in  such  a  case  an inquiry should  precede any  such action, at that inquiry he should be  informed of  the charges  against him and given a reasonable opportunity  of being  heard in  respect of those charges. Where  it is  proposed after such inquiry to impose upon him  any such  penalty, such  penalty may be imposed on the basis of the evidence adduced during such inquiry and it shall not  be necessary  to give such person any opportunity of making representation on the penalty proposed. The second proviso to  Article 311 (2) of the Constitution sets out the circumstances  when  that  clause  would  not  apply.  These provisions  show   that  Article  311  (2)  deals  with  the dismissal, removal,  or reduction  in rank  as a  measure of penalty on  proof of an act of misconduct on the part of the official  concerned.   This  fact   is  emphasised   by  the introduction of  the words  ’an inquiry in which he has been informed of  the charges against him’ in Art. 311(2) when it was substituted  in the  place of  the former  clause (2) of Article 311  by the  Constitution (Fifteenth Amendment) Act, 1963 which  came into  force on  October  5,  1963.  In  the circumstances, it  is difficult  to  hold  that  either  the decision in  Moti Ram Deka’s case (supra) or the decision in Papanna Gowda’s  case (supra)  lays down that the provisions of Article  311 (2)  should  be  complied  with  before  the services  of  a  Government  servant  are  terminated  as  a consequence of  the abolition  of the  post held  by him for bona fide  reasons. In  view of  the foregoing, it cannot be said that  the Act  impugned in these petitions by which the village offices  in the  State of  Tamil Nadu were abolished contravenes Article 311(2) of the Constitution.      We have now to consider the submission based on Article 14 of  the Constitution.  This aspect  of the case has to be examined from  two angles- (i) whether the step taken by the Legislature to abolish the village offices in question is so arbitrary as to conflict with Article 14 of the Constitution and (ii) whether unequals have been treated as equals by the Legislature.      While dealing with the first point it is to be observed that the  posts of  village officers  which were governed by the Madras  Act II  of 1894,  the Madras Act III of 1895 and the Board’s Standing Orders 658 were feudalistic  in character and the appointments to those posts were  governed by the law of primogeniture, the family in which the applicant was born, the village in which he was born, and  the fact  whether he  owned any  property in  the village  or   not.  Those   factors  are   alien  to  modern administrative service  and are  clearly opposed to Articles 14 and  16  of  the  Constitution.  No  minimum  educational qualifications had  been prescribed.  It was  enough if  the applicants knew  reading and  writing in the case of some of them. The  posts were  not governed  by the  regular service rules applicable  generally to  all officials  in the  State service.  Rightly   therefore,  the  Administrative  Reforms Commission recommended their abolition and reorganisation of the village  service. The relevant part of the Report of the



Administrative Reforms Commission reads thus:           "The concept  of service  was conspicuously absent      in this  relationship. Village  officers were part-time      employees and  not  subject  to  normal  civil  service      discipline. They  do not  function from  public offices      where they were expected to receive people and transact      public business.  All  accounts,  survey  and  registry      records were in their private custody. Villagers had to      go to  the residences of Village officers and await the      latter’s convenience for referring to public records or      for  getting  extracts  from  them.  This  reduced  the      accessibility  particularly  of  "high  caste"  village      officers to  the poor  farmers  of  the  "backward  and      untouchable"  communities.  Their  emoluments  for  the      part-time service,  were meagre  and appeared  to be an      honorarium rather  than a  living wage.  Communications      and living  conditions  in  villages  being  difficult,      subordinate inspecting  officers were  dependent on the      private hospitality  of village  officers during  their      official visits.  These  factors  led  to  the  village      officers developing  an attitude  of  condescension  in      their  dealings   with  villagers.   Even  though   the      hereditary principle  was held  to be  unconstitutional      recently, the  members  of  their  families  still  get      preferential treatment,  even if informally, in filling      up vacant  offices. In  recent times,  village officers      have generally  ceased to be leading and affluent riots      and  are  reduced  to  earn  their  livelihood  largely      through the misuse of their position." 659      The problems  involved in the reorganisation of Revenue villages in  Tamil Nadu were also discussed in the Report of Mr. S.P.  Ambrose, I.A.S.  submitted to the State Government in January, 1980. In the course of the Report, he observed:      "4.2 Reorganization of Revenue Villages-           4.2.1. In  view of  the considerable  increases in      the total  beriz of  villages, particularly  those with      extensive irrigated areas, new rules for the regulation      and distribution  of water  in the project areas and in      old  ayacut   areas,   and   the   reduced   work   and      responsibilities of  the talayaris  on account  of  the      increase  in   the  strength   of  the  regular  Police      establishments the  norms, for determining the strength      of the villagee establishment, as laid down in B.P. Ms.      No. 324,  dated the  9th December  1910, read with B.P.      Ms. No.  231, dated  the 23rd  February 1921, no longer      held good.           4.2.2.  The  size  of  the  survey  villages  vary      widely; 4.77  hectares is  the extent  of the  smallest      village and  20,947  hectares  is  the  extent  of  the      biggest village.  In terms  of population, the smallest      has  population   of  33,   while  the  largest  has  a      population of  12,777. Even though survey villages have      been grouped  to form  convenient  revenue  groups  for      purposes of village administration, the size of revenue      groups also vary widely. With the increases in the area      cultivated, area  irrigated (both  from Government  and      private sources) and the number of pattas the work load      in most  villages has  increased considerably  now. The      question for  consideration is  whether a comprehensive      exercise  to   reorganise  the  revenue  villages  into      convenient and viable village administrative units with      reference  to   the  existing   work  load   should  be      attempted, and thereafter to revise the strength of the      village establishment  by laying  down fresh  norms for



    determing  its   strength.  This   will  be   a   major      administrative   exercise.    If   convenient   village      administrative units  with, more  or less,  equal  work      load are  to be  constituted, several factors like area      cultivated  (gross   and  net),  area  irrigated,  crop      pattern, population, number of pattadars and beriz have      to be taken into account 660      Before this  is attempted,  the major  policy issue  is      whether to  continue the  present part-time  system  of      village  officers  or  to  have  regular,  transferable      Government servants  as Village  Officers in  charge of      bigger  administrative  units  as  recommended  by  the      Administrative Reforms Commission."      Having regard  to  the  abolition  of  similar  village offices in  the neighbouring  States of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and  the agitation  in the  State of  Tamil Nadu for reorganisation of  village service,  it cannot  be said that the decision  to abolish  the  village  offices  which  were feudalistic in character and an achronisms in the modern age was arbitrary  or unreasonable.  Another aspect  of the same question is whether the impugned legislation is a colourable one passed  with the  object of  treating the  incumbents of village offices  in an  unjust way. A similar contention was rejection by this Court in B.R. Shankaranarayana and Ors. v. The State of Mysore and Ors.(1) in which the validity of the Mysore Village  Offices Abolition  Act (14  of  1961)  which tried to  achieve more  or less  a similar  object arose for consideration, with  the  following  observations  at  pages 1575-1576:           "(13) As  pointed out  by this  Court in  Gajapati      Narayan Deo’s  case,  AIR  1953  S.C.  375,  the  whole      doctrine of colourable legislation resolves itself into      the question  of competency of a particular legislature      to enact  a  particular  law.  If  the  legislature  is      competent to pass the particular law, the motives which      impel it  to pass  the law are really irrelevant. It is      open to  the Court  to scrutinize  the law to ascertain      whether the  legislature by  device, purports to make a      law which,  though in  form appears  to be  within  its      sphere, in effect and substance, reaches beyond it.           (14)  Beyond  attempting  the  argument  that  the      impugned Act  is a  piece  of  colourable  legislation,      learned Counsel  for the appellant has not succeeded in      substantiating his  contention that  the  Act  and  the      rules made there under are merely a device for removing      the  present   incumbents  from   their   office.   The      provisions of the Act and the 661      rules made thereunder plainly provide for the abolition      of hereditary  village offices  and make  those offices      stipendiary posts.  The Act  makes  no  secret  of  its      intention to abolish the hereditary posts.           (15) It  is argued  that even after abolition, the      same posts  are sought  to be continued. It is no doubt      true that  the names  of  the  offices  have  not  been      changed but  there is  a  basic  structural  difference      between the  posts that  have been abolished. The posts      created by  the new  Act are  stipendiary  posts.  They      carry salaries  according to  the grades created by the      rules.  The   incumbents  are  transferable  and  their      service is  pensionable. Different  qualifications  are      prescribed for  the new  posts. From a consideration of      the incidents  attaching to  the new  posts it is clear      that the  old posts  have been  abolished and new posts



    have been  created and that the whole complexion of the      posts has been changed.           (16)  The  result  is  that  in  our  opinion  the      impugned Act cannot be held to be a piece of colourable      legislation and as such invalid."      A learned  discussion on  all the  points raised in the above case  is found  in the  judgment of  the High Court of Mysore in  B.H. Honnalige  Gowda  v.  State  of  Mysore  and Anr.(1) Hence the above contention has to be rejected.      The next contention of the petitioners which is of some substance and which is based again on Article 14 needs to be examined here. It is seen from section 2 (e) of the Act that the expression  ’part-time village  officer’ is  defined  as follows:           "2. (e)  "part-time village officer" means Village      Headman (including  Additional Village Headman, Village      Karnam (including  Chief Karnam  and Additional Village      Karnam) or Triune Officer appointed under- 662      (i)   the Madras  Proprietary Estates’) Village Service           Act, 1894  (Madras Act  II of  1894) or the Madras           Hereditary Village  offices Act,  1895 (Madras Act           III of 1895);      (ii) the Board’s Standing orders;       (iii) the  Tamil Nadu  Village officers Service Rules,           1970 or  any other rules made under the proviso to           Article 309 of the Constitution; or      (iv) any other law,      but does not include Grama Kuvalar, Grama Paniyalar and      Pasana Kavalar;"      By section  3 of  the Act,  the posts held by the part- time village officers, as defined above, are abolished. As a consequence of  the above  provision  not  merely  posts  of officers appointed  under the Madras Act No. II of 1894, the Madras Act  No. III  of 1895 and the Board’s Standing orders prior to  December 16,  1970 but  also  the  posts  held  by officers appointed  after that  date under  the  Rules  made under the  proviso to  Article 309  of the Constitution i.e. The Tamil  Nadu Village  Officers Service Rules, 1970 or any other rule  made by  the Governor have been abolished. It is argued that  the abolition  of posts  of officials appointed after December  16, 1970  under the  Rules  made  under  the proviso to  Article 309  of the Constitution is violative of Article 14  of the  Constitution. We  have given our anxious consideration to  this submission. Any classification should satisfy two  tests-(i) that  there  exists  an  intelligible differentia between those who are grouped together and those who are not included in the group and (ii) that there exists a reasonable  nexus between  the differentia  and the object for which  classification is  made. As  stated  earlier  the object of the impugned legislation is to abolish posts which were part-time  in nature  and which had come into existence under laws  which  were  feudalistic  in  character  and  to replace them  by  posts  held  by  new  incumbents  who  are recruited  under  it.  The  question  for  consideration  is whether  the   grouping  together  of  the  part-time  posts mentioned in  section 2  (e) of the Act is unconstitutional. There  is  no  dispute  that  upto  December  16,  1970  all appointments to  village offices  were being  made under the two Madras Acts referred to above and the Board’s 663 Standing orders  on the  basis of  factors dealt with above. But after  December 16,  1970, recruitment was being made in accordance with  the Tamil  Nadu  Village  Officers  Service Rules, 1970  By the  said Rules  a new  service of part-time



village officers  was constituted. Rule 5 thereof prescribed the minimum educational qualification and the tests which an applicant had  to be eligible for being appointed. The Rules fixed the  age of superannuation at 55 years. But even under these Rules,  the persons  who were appointed were part-time village officers who were paid a fixed amount every month by way of  remuneration. The nature of duties performed by them and the responsibilities they had to discharge were also the same. The  posts held  by them  were non  pensionable posts. Under the  Act and  the Rules framed thereunder, the village administrative officers  to be appointed are to be recruited directly. No person shall be eligible for appointment to the post of a village administrative officer unless he possesses the minimum general educational qualification referred to in Rule 12  (a)  (i)  of  Part  II  of  the  Tamil  Nadu  State Subordinate Services  Rules and prescribed Schedule I to the said Part  II. Every person appointed to the post has within a period of one year from the date on which he joins duty to undergo the training and pass the tests prescribed by Rule 9 of the Rules made under the Act. Every person appointed as a village administrative  officer is  liable to be transferred from one  place to  another. The  age of  superannuation  is fixed at  58 years.  The said  posts are no longer part-time posts and  the holders  thereof  are  full  time  Government officials entitled  to draw  salary every month in the scale of Rs.  350-10-420-15-600 and  other  allowances  and  these posts are  pensionable posts. It is also to be seen from the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission and other material  placed before  us that  the revenue  village will be  reorganised so  as to  form  viable  administrative units which  would require  the services  of  a  whole  time village administrative  officer. The  area under  a  village administrative officer  is much  larger  than  many  of  the existing revenue  villages. When  such reorganisation of the village administration  is contemplated,  it  would  not  be possible to  allow charges  of diverse  sizes to continue to remain in  any part,  of the  State of  Tamil Nadu. In these circumstances, even  though the  village officers  appointed after December  16, 1970  are in  a way  different from  the village officials  appointed prior  to that  date, they  too cannot  be  equated  with  the  new  village  administrative officers who  will be  appointed under the Act and the Rules made thereunder. 664 It cannot,  therefore,  be  held  that  Article  14  of  the Constitution has  been violated in abolishing the posts held by those appointed after December 16, 1970.      The petitioners  in Writ  Petitions Nos. 6191, 6355 and 6356 of 1980 who are holders of village offices in Tiruttani Taluk and Pallipatu area have questioned the impugned Act on the ground that the State Legislature could not pass the law without the  previous  approval  of  Central  Government  as required by  the proviso to sub-section (4) of section 43 of the Andhra  Pradesh and  Madras (Alteration  of  Boundaries) Act, 1959  (Central Act 56 of 1959). The area in which these petitioners were  working as village officials forms part of the transferred  territories transferred from Andhra Pradesh to Tamil  Nadu under  the aforesaid Act. Their contention is that since  they were  working as  village officials  in the said area  prior to  the commencement  of the above said Act the conditions  of their  service could  not be  altered  to their prejudice  without obtaining  the previous approval of the Central Government. Section 43 of the Andhra Pradesh and Madras (Alteration of Boundaries) Act, 1959 reads:      "43. Provisions relating to services-



    (1)  Every person, who immediately before the appointed           day, is  serving in connection with the affairs of           Andhra Pradesh  or Madras shall, as from that day,           continue so  to serve,  unless he  is required  by           general or special order of the Central Government           to serve  provisionally  in  connection  with  the           affairs of the other State.      (2)   As soon  as may  be after  the appointed day, the           Central Government  shall by  general  or  special           order, determine  the State  to which every person           provisionally allotted to Andhra Pradesh or Madras           shall be finally allotted for service and the date           from which  such allotment shall take effect or be           deemed to have taken effect.      (3)   Every person  who is  finally allotted  under the           provisions of sub-section (2) to Andhra Pradesh or           Madras  shall,   if  he  is  not  already  serving           therein, be made 665           available for serving in that State from such date           as may  be  agreed  upon  between  the  two  State           Governments or  in default  of such  agreement, as           may be determined by the Central Government.      (4)  Nothing in this section shall be deemed to affect,           after the  appointed day,  the  operation  of  the           provisions  of  Chapter  I  of  Part  XIV  of  the           Constitution in  relation to  the determination of           the conditions  of service  of persons  serving in           connection with  the affairs  of Andhra Pradesh or           Madras.                Provided  that   the  conditions  of  service           applicable immediately before the appointed day to           the case  of any  person provisionally  or finally           allotted to  Andhra Pradesh  or Madras  under this           section shall  not be  varied to  his disadvantage           except with  the previous  approval of the Central           Government.      (5)   The Central  Government may at any time before or           after the  appointed day  give such  directions to           either State  Government as may appear to it to be           necessary for  the purpose of giving effect to the           foregoing provisions of this section and the State           Government shall comply with such directions."      The  answer  of  the  State  Government  to  the  above contention is  that the  petitioners in  these petitions are not allotted  under section  43 (2) of the above said Act to the State of Tamil Nadu and hence the proviso to sub-section (4) of  section 43  is not  applicable. The petitioners have not shown  any such order of allotment under section 43 (2). Hence the  proviso to  sub-section (4)  of section 43 is not attracted. Under  section 43  (4) of the above said Act, the State Government  is entitled to deal with all the officials in the  areas transferred to them in accordance with Chapter I of  Part XIV of the Constitution. The above contention is, therefore, rejected.      In the  course of  the hearing  on a suggestion made by the Court,  the learned  Attorney General filed a memorandum which reads as follows: 666           "All the  erstwhile Village  officers who  possess      the  minimum   general  educational   qualification  as      required under  the Abolition  Act and  irrespective of      their age (but subject to the rule of retirement framed      under  the   Abolition  Act   and  the   Rules   framed      thereunder) will  be screened  by  a  Committee  to  be



    appointed by  the Government.  They need  not make  any      application and  they need not also appear for any test      conducted by  the Tamil  Nadu Public Service Commission      for  the   post  of   Village  Administrative  officer.      Guidelines to the Committee will be as follows:-      (1) Punishment      (2) Physical condition.           All the  persons selected by the Committee will be      appointed by  the competent  authorities and relaxation      in respect  of age  will be  given. They  will  be  new      appointees under the Abolition Act and will be governed      by the  provisions  of  the  Act  and  the  rules  made      thereunder. Compensation will not be available to those      who are so appointed.           The remaining  vacancies will  be filled  up  from      among the candidates already selected by the Tamil Nadu      Public Service Commission."      After the  above petitions were filed under the interim order passed  in these  cases all  the officials involved in these cases  are being  paid the  honorarium  by  the  State Government. Those  who fail  in these  petitions would  have become liable to repay the amount which they have thus drawn in excess  of the compensation, if any, they may be entitled to. It  is submitted by the learned counsel for the State of Tamil Nadu  that the State Government will not take steps to recover such excess amount. The above statement is recorded.      The attitude  displayed  by  the  State  Government  in filing the  memorandum referred  to above  and in  making  a statement to the effect that the amount paid pursuant to the interim orders  in in excess of the compensation payable the village officials  concerned will  not  be  recovered  is  a highly commendable one and we record 667 our deep  appreciation for  the laudable  stand taken by the Government.      It was,  however, strenuously  urged by Shri R. K. Garg that those who have to vacate the posts would be without any work  and   some  of  them  have  large  families  and  that compensation, if any, payable to them is very inadequate  He urged that  it was  the duty of the State Government to make adequate provision  pursuant to Article 38 and Article 43 of the Constitution.  These Articles  are in  Part  IV  of  the Constitution. They  are not  enforceable by  the courts  but they are still fundamental in the governance of the country.      The nature  of the relationship that exists or ought to exist between  the Government  and the  people in  India  is different from  the relationship  between the  ruler and his subjects in  the West.  A study  of the history of the fight for liberty that has been going on in the West shows that it has been a continuous agitation of the subjects for more and more freedom  from a king or the ruler who had once acquired complete control  over the  destinies of  his subjects.  The Indian tradition  or  history  is  entirely  different.  The attitude of  an Indian ruler is depicted in the statement of Sri Rama in the Ramayana thus:       Kshatrirairdharyate chapo nartshabdo bhavaideeti                                          (Ramayana III-10-3)      (Kshatriyas (the  kings) bear the bow (wield the power)      in order  to see that there is no cry of distress (from      any quarter).      The duty  of the  administrator, therefore,  is that he should promptly  take all  necessary steps  to alleviate the sufferings of  the people even without being asked to do so. While attending to his duties an administrator should always remember the great saying of the Tamil saint Tiruvalluvar:



668           Do nought that soul repenting must deplore,      If thou  hast sinned,  "its well  if thou  dost sin  no      more.      (Let a minister never do acts of which he would have to      grieve saying, "What is this I have done", (but) should      he do (them), it were good that he grieved not.)      (No. 655  in Tirukkural:  Translation by  Rev. Dr. G.U.      Pope and others (Reprint 1970) p. 175).      An administrator’s  actions should be such as he is not driven to repent for the mistakes he may have committed. But if he  has committed  any mistakes in the past he should try to avoid  a repetition  of such  mistakes. It is significant that in  Tamil language  the equivalent of the word ’people’ is ’Makkal’  which is  also sometimes used as the equivalent of ’children’.  It is  for the  State Government to consider what can  be done  to those  who fail in the petitions. This observation is made particularly in regard to those who were recruited after December 16, 1970 under the rules made under the proviso  to Article  309 of  the Constitution in view of the  fact  that  their  recruitment  was  not  made  on  the hereditary  principle.   Those  who   have  passed  S.S.L.C. examination amongst  them  come  within  the  scope  of  the statement made  by the  learned Attorney  General. But those who have  merely  completed  S.S.L.C.  examination  but  not passed it  fall outside  the scope  of that  statement  even though they  have  gained  experience  while  they  were  in office. We  hope and  trust that  the State  Government will look into  this matter  purely from  a humanitarian point of view. This is only a suggestion and not a direction.      In the  result the  petitions are  dismissed subject to the following:      (i)   The State  Government will  give  effect  to  the           memorandum  filed   on   its   behalf   which   is           incorporated in this judgment in the case of those           who possess  the  minimum  general  qualifications           prescribed  under  the  Act  and  the  Rules  made           thereunder and who were holding the posts of part-           time village  officers immediately  before the Act           came into  force. The  State Government  shall re-           employ all  such persons  who have not crossed the           age of  superannuation and who are selected as per           the 669           memorandum in  the new  cadre within  four  months           from today.  Until they are so selected, they will           not be paid any remuneration. Even if they are re-           employed, the  amount paid to them pursuant to the           interim orders will not be recovered from them.      (ii) The  compensation, if  any, payable  by the  State           Government under section 5 of the Act to those who           cease to  be village  officers shall  be  adjusted           against the  amount paid  pursuant to  the interim           orders passed in these cases. The State Government           will not recover from them any amount paid to them           pursuant to  the interim  orders passed  in  these           cases in  excess  of  the  compensation,  if  any,           payable to them.      (iii) The interim orders stand vacated with effect from           April 15, 1982.      (iv) No costs. N.V.K.                                   Petitions dismissed 670