Supreme Court of India
Bijay Kumar Sinha vs Tripurari Sharan on 18 January, 2022Author: B.R. Gavai
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CONTEMPT PETITION (C) ……………../2022
DIARY NO.13110 OF 2021
CONTEMPT PETITION (C) ……………../2022
DIARY NO.21402 OF 2021
SLP (CIVIL) NO. 5846 OF 2020
BIJAY KUMAR SINHA AND OTHERS …PETITIONER(S)
TRIPURARI SHARAN AND OTHERS ..RESPONDENT(S)
CONTEMPT PETITION (C) NO.345 OF 2021
CONTEMPT PETITION (C) NO.652 OF 2020
SLP (CIVIL) NO. 5844 OF 2020
MA NO. 875 OF 2021
CONTEMPT PETITION (C) NO.651 OF 2020
SLP (CIVIL) NO. 5843 OF 2020
1. The petitioners have approached this Court contending
that the respondents have committed contempt of the order
dated 15th February 2021 passed by this Court.
2. The present proceedings have a chequered history. The
petitioners were appointed in various Corporations in the
erstwhile State of Bihar much prior to 1996. In the year
1996, the fodder scam resulted in a large number of
employees working in the Treasury Department either being
dismissed or suspended. On account of shortfall of the
employees in the Treasury Department, several Corporations
including the one, wherein the petitioners were employed,
were directed by the Department of Finance, Treasury and
Accounts Directorate, Government of Bihar vide its letter No.
447 dated 24th August 1996, to send the services of the
employees on deputation. In pursuance to the directions
dated 24th August 1996, issued by the State Government, the
petitioners and other employees were relieved and joined the
different treasuries in the erstwhile State of Bihar. On 15 th
November 2000, the State of Bihar was bifurcated into the
State of Bihar and the State of Jharkhand. The employees
were accordingly apportioned amongst the two States.
3. Various such employees employed with the State of
Jharkhand had approached the Jharkhand High Court by
filing writ petition being WP(S) No.1693 of 2012, with the
grievance that the services of such employees with the
Corporations were not considered for the purpose of
pensionary and retiral benefits. The employees succeeded
before the Jharkhand High Court vide its order dated 31 st
July 2013. The LPA No. 357 of 2013 filed by the State of
Jharkhand before the Division Bench was also dismissed
vide order dated 14th January 2015. The State of Jharkhand
came up before this Court by filing Civil Appeal No.13372 of
2015. This Court, vide order dated 7 th September 2017,
refused to interfere with the order of the Jharkhand High
Court dated 14th January 2015 and directed that the pension
and retiral benefits as also the arrears shall be calculated
giving the benefit of the judgment of the Jharkhand High
Court within a period of 6 months.
4. Simultaneously, a similar set of employees who were
apportioned to the State of Bihar, were also pursuing the
remedy before the High Court of Judicature at Patna. The
proceedings reached the Division Bench of the High Court of
Patna by way of LPA No. 763 of 2017. The Division Bench of
the High Court of Patna passed the following order on 12 th
“5. From the aforesaid legal principles laid down by
the Hon’ble Supreme Court, it is clear that the
employees identically situated like the appellants
herein, who were working in various Public Sector
undertakings, Boards and Corporations in the
undivided State of Bihar and whose cases were
decided by the High Court of Jharkhand, have been
granted benefit and the Hon’ble Supreme Court held
that they are entitled to count their service prior to
their absorption for the purpose of retiral benefits
and grant all pensionary benefits.
6. That being the position, we see no reason to deny
the same benefit to these appellants, who are
identically situated, like the other, who are allocated
to State of Jharkhand after reorganization of the
State of Bihar in the year 2000.
7. In view of the aforesaid, we allow all these
appeals, quash the order dated 29.03.2017 passed
by the Writ Court in C.W.J.C. No. 7702 of 2010 and
other analogous cases and direct the State of Bihar
to grant benefit to each of the appellants herein by
counting services as rendered by them in the
Boards, Corporations and Public Sector
Undertakings prior to their absorption and to grant
them the pensionary benefit after counting such
service in the Boards or Corporations.
8. That apart, we may observe that this order shall
be made applicable to all such employees, who are
working in the State of Bihar. Regardless to the fact
as to whether they have filed writ application or not,
as per the Litigation Policy of the State of Bihar, this
order shall be implemented, in the case of all
identically situated employees, who claim the
benefit by the State Government.
9. The benefits accrued to the appellants by virtue
of this order be granted within a period of three
months from today.”
5. Being aggrieved by the said order of the Division Bench
of the High Court of Patna, the State of Bihar approached
this Court by filing SLP(C) D. No.15567 of 2018. This Court
vide its order dated 4th March 2020, while dismissing the SLP
filed by the State of Bihar, observed thus:
“We have also been informed that from the
judgment dated 07.09.2017, a review petition was
dismissed by this Court on 06.03.2018 in which
substantially the same grounds as are taken by the
State today were taken by the State of Jharkhand
after which the review petition was rejected.
In the circumstances, we are of the view that
the Special Leave Petitions need to be dismissed.
Considering that the respondents have not
been paid anything, the State of Bihar to implement
the impugned LPA judgment and to see that all
benefits mentioned therein are paid within a period
of six months from today.
Pending applications stand disposed of.”
6. After the said order was passed, the State of Bihar
issued a Government Resolution dated 14 th September 2020
in purported compliance of the order passed by this Court
dated 4th March 2020. Contending that the State of Bihar has
not complied with the directions issued by this Court, the
present petitioners filed a contempt petition being Contempt
Petition (C) Diary No. 21402 of 2020 before this Court. This
Court passed the following order in the said contempt
petition on 15th February 2021:
“We have heard the learned counsel for the
petitioners as well as the learned counsel appearing
for the State of Bihar.
The learned counsel for the State of Bihar has
taken us through the Finance Department
Resolution dated 14.09.2020 in meticulous detail.
We may only indicate that our Judgment dated
04.03.2020 has made it clear that “the State of
Bihar is to implement the aforesaid impugned LPA
Judgment and to see that all benefits mentioned
therein are paid within six weeks”. This has still not
We grant the State of Bihar another three
months in order to do the needful, i.e. to pay to all
these employees exactly what was paid by the State
of Jharkhand to the employees who were covered by
this order. This must be done without any further
excuses within the period aforementioned.
In view of above, the contempt petitions are
Pending interlocutory application(s), if any,
is/are disposed of.”
7. Thereafter, the respondents had also filed an
application for extension of the period for compliance of the
orders passed by this Court dated 4th March 2020 and 15th
February 2021. One month was granted by this Court vide
its order dated 29th June 2021 as a last opportunity to
comply with the directions passed by it vide its earlier orders.
8. The petitioners have now approached this Court by the
present contempt petition contending that the respondents
have committed contempt of this Court inasmuch as they
have failed to comply with the orders passed by this Court
dated 4th March 2020 and 15th February 2021.
9. We have heard Smt. Meenakshi Arora, learned Senior
Counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioners and Shri
Ranjit Kumar, learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of
the respondentState of Bihar.
10. Shri Ranjit Kumar submitted that as a matter of fact,
the respondentState of Bihar has complied with the
directions issued by this Court vide order dated 15 th
February 2021, inasmuch as the Government Resolution
dated 14th September 2020 squarely implements the
directions issued by this Court. He further submitted that it
would reveal that this Court, for the first time, has observed
“We grant the State of Bihar another three months to do the
needful, i.e. to pay to all these employees exactly what was
paid by the State of Jharkhand to the employees who were
covered by this order”. He submitted that such an
observation is not there in the order passed by this Court
dated 4th March 2020 while dismissing the appeals filed by
the State of Bihar.
11. We do not find any merit in the submissions made by
Shri Ranjit Kumar. In the order dated 4 th March 2020, this
Court has reproduced, in extenso, the directions issued by
the High Court of Patna in its order dated 12 th December
2017. The said order of the High Court of Patna is very clear.
It was directed to State of Bihar to grant benefits to each of
the appellants therein by counting services as rendered by
them in the Boards, Corporations and Public Sector
Undertakings prior to their absorption and to grant them the
pensionary benefits after counting such service in the Boards
or Corporations. In the said order dated 04 th March 2020,
this Court has also noticed that the review petition filed by
the State of Jharkhand being Review Petition (Civil) No. 459
of 2018 in Civil Appeal No. 13372 of 2015 arising from the
order dated 7th September 2017 was also dismissed by this
Court vide its order dated 6 th March 2018. Vide the said
order dated 7th September 2017, this Court had directed that
all the benefits mentioned therein to be paid within a period
of six months from the date of the said order.
12. The perusal of the order dated 15th February 2021
would also reveal that the contention which is raised with
regard to compliance in view of the Government Resolution
dated 14th September 2020, was considered by this Court
and this Court did not find favour with the same. Though, it
was not necessary, we had clarified that the directions meant
payment to all the employees exactly what was paid by the
State of Jharkhand to the employees who were covered by
the said order.
13. From the perusal of the orders passed by the Division
Bench of the High Court of Patna as well as the orders
passed by this Court, it is clear that the State of Bihar was
required to give benefit to each of the appellants by counting
services as rendered by them in the Boards, Corporations
and Public Sector Undertakings prior to their absorption and
to grant them the pensionary benefits after counting such
service in the Boards or Corporations. The contention with
regard to compliance through Government Resolution dated
14th September 2020 has also been rejected by this Court in
its order dated 15th February 2021. It is further to be noted
that the State of Bihar itself had filed I.A. No. 62610 of 2021
for extension of period to comply with the directions issued
by this Court dated 4th March 2020 and 15th February 2021.
One month’s time was granted by this Court by order dated
29th June 2021.
14. In that view of the matter, we, prima facie, find that the
noncompliance of the directions issued by this Court dated
4th March 2020 and 15th February 2021, is wilful and
deliberate and amounts to contempt of this Court.
15. We therefore direct the respondentcontemnors to
remain present before this Court on 22 nd February 2022 and
show cause as to why they should not be held guilty for
having committed contempt of this Court and be punished in
accordance with law.
16. Needless to state that compliance of the directions, in
the meantime, will have a bearing on the punishment that
may be inflicted upon the respondentcontemnors.
17. All pending I.A.s are disposed of in terms of this order.
[L. NAGESWARA RAO]
JANUARY 18, 2022.