A Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat dismissed the petition filed by West Bengal-based Supreme Court lawyer Abu Sohel, who prayed that Rule 6(1) should be struck down for violation of the Constitution of India and public policy.
Rule 6(1) reads as follows:
“A cadre officer may, with the concurrence of the State government or the State governments concerned and the Central government, be deputed for service under the Central government or another State government or under a company, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not which is wholly or substantially owned or controlled by the Central government or by another State government.
Provided that in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central government and the State government or State governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central government.”
The petition stated that the intention of the legislature while promulgating this Rule back then may have been in consonance with the Constitutional mandate.
However, with the passage of time, several instances came to the fore wherein the Centre and states were at loggerheads due arbitrary invocation of the Rule, the plea highlighted.
It created havoc in the law and order condition and in the administrative structure of the concerned state governments, it was contended.
It was the petitioner’s argument that currently, the states have to bear the brunt of arbitrary actions taken by the Central government under the Rule.
There have been several face-offs between the Centre and the states which “ultimately threatened the federal structure of our Constitution,” Sohel claimed.
“In 2001, the infamous and ugly spat took place between the Centre and the Government of Tamil Nadu when the Centre decided to call back three IPS officers from state of Tamil Nadu,” read the plea.
There will be more will be more such instances of conflicts between the Centre and the states if the Rule continues to remain on statute book, the petitioner submitted.
“Impugned Rule creates unjustifiable and illegal deviation from intent of our Constitutional makers to create harmony between Centre and State and to boost up the essence of Centre State relations which is a paramount requirement in order create welfare state,” the petition contended.
The petition further claimed that the Rule violates the right to dignity, which is a facet of right to life under Article 21. The
“Arbitrary action by the Central government by virtue of the impugned Rule (supra) ultimately plays havoc with right of Officers to live a dignified life as guaranteed,” the plea states.
Violation of Article 14 was also contended, on the ground of unreasonable classification and manifest arbitrariness.