A mere existence of an order in the Government file (i.e., where the order is issued) does not result in a binding order for creating legal rights, and therefore, when legal rights are created only on communication and a legal cause of action is complete only on such communication, thus accordingly it is the place where the order of termination of services is communicated that would be the place where the territorial jurisdiction arises. This was held by a single judge bench of Delhi high court, comprising Justice Valimiki J. Mehta, in the case of P.K.S. Shrivastava v. Union Of India And Anr. [W.P.(C) No.10392/2015; decided 1 December 2016]. Full order of the high court is reproduced below.
In this case, the petitioner questioned the termination of his contractual services with the respondent no.2, namely, Goa Shipyard Ltd. as a Director (Corporate, Planning, Projects & Business Development). Admittedly, the Petitioner performed his services at Goa and was posted at Goa. The order of termination of his services was issued by Government of India at Delhi. But, the termination order was served upon the petitioner at Goa. The termination order dated 27.10.2015 was not served on the petitioner directly and it was served on the petitioner in terms of the subsequent letter dated 28.10.2015 issued to the petitioner. The issue was that whether merely because the Government of India has issued its letter dated 27.10.2015 (vide which petitioner’s services were terminated) at Delhi, would this ipso facto give territorial jurisdiction to Delhi High Court although this letter has not been communicated to the petitioner at Delhi and has in fact been communicated to the petitioner at Goa in terms of the subsequent letter dated 28.10.2015.
The high court noted that a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the judgment in the case of Bachhittar Singh Vs. State of Punjab, AIR 1963 SC 395, has held that orders passed in Government files, unless communicated, would not give a legal right to a person. The high court also noted that oe such recent judgment of the Supreme Court following the ratio of the judgment in the above case of Bachhittar Singh is the case of Sethi Auto Service Station and Another Vs. Delhi Development Authority, (2009) 1 SCC 180, wherein the Supreme Court has held that unless and until an order is communicated to a person, without such communication the order does not culminate into an executable order and that the decision becomes the decision only when it is communicated to the concerned person.
The high court held that a cause of action in law means that an enforceable right in law accrues. When a right accrues simultaneously a liability also arises against a person. If an enforceable right arises only on communication of the order, then, a cause of action arises and is complete only when the communication of the order to the person concerned is complete. Without such communication of an order to the concerned person, the cause of action is not complete for filing of a case in a court of law. It is when the order in the Government file is communicated to the aggrieved person at a particular place, then, at that place where the communication is done, a cause of action can be said to have arisen and not at the place where the order is passed on the file because a non-communicated order passed at a place where such order is lying in the file is not an actionable order creating a right or liability.
In the present case, the order dated 27.10.2015 has not been directly communicated to the petitioner because the order which is communicated to the petitioner is the order dated 28.10.2015 and which has been issued to the petitioner at Goa and where he performed his services with the respondent no.2/Goa Shipyard Ltd. Therefore, it is held that if without communication of an order to the concerned person no right arises in favour of the Government and no liability accrues against an employee that his services stand terminated, and hence cause of action will only be therefore complete for filing of judicial proceedings on communication and therefore the place where the communication is made would be the place where the territorial jurisdiction would exist, although the order of may have been passed elsewhere i.e Delhi in the present case.
The high court further held that the Division Bench judgment of Delhi High Court in the case of Mukul Gupta Vs. Management Development Institute & Anr., 219 (2015) DLT 321, does not consider the binding ratio of the judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Bachhittar Singh or as elaborated in Sethi Auto Service Station and therefore, the Court will have to act as per the ratios of the judgments of the Supreme Court and not as per the decision of the high court Division Bench judgment in the case of Mukul Gupta.
Accordingly, it was held that Delhi High Court has no territorial jurisdiction in the present matter and the writ petition was therefore dismissed with the liberty to the petitioner to approach the competent court of territorial jurisdiction in accordance with law.
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