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SC Upholds, HC's order allocating employees for powersector undertakings in states of Telangana & AP

Supreme Court upholds High Court order in allocation of the employees for power sector undertakings in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Telengana Power Generation Corporation Ltd.(TSGENCO) v. Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Ltd.

7th December, 2020.

The Hon'ble Supreme Court Justices Ashok Bhushan And M.R. Shah in an appeal against the common judgment of High Court of Hyderabad held that it is obligatory for power utilities of both the State of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana and all concerned to carry out and implement the directions of the One-Man Committee Report.

The dispute is pertaining to allocation of the employees of the power sector undertakings in the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. It arose in the wake of the division of the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh into two States, namely, the State of Telangana and the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh by Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014. This Court while upholding the judgment of the High Court appointed a One-Man Committee consisting of a former Judge of this Court for distributing the personnel between two States. Thereafter, the Committee proceeded to formulate the modalities for distributing the personnel, prepared the reports allocating the personnel at several stages. The present appeal is in pursuance of the liberty granted by this Court, permitting the parties to approach the Court by filing an interlocutory application, if any, clarification or further directions were required. The power utilities of Telangana were motivated by principle of nativity, i.e., those employees whose service records mentioned them as resident of any part of the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh were relieved and those who belonged to territory of the newly formed State of Telangana were permitted to join at Telangana by their self-option, against which writ petition was filed before the High Court where it was disapproved. This Court upheld the order of the High Court, however, noticing that two States have not been able to arrive at any consensus and to finally determine the modalities for distributing the personnel between two States, this Court with the agreement of the parties entrusted the task to the One-Man Committee.

The Committee had finalized XIV modalities to be adopted for allocation of the personnel between two States in accordance with Section 82 of the Act, 2014. Along with report by the committee, a final allocation list in the two States corporations/companies was prepared and annexed. On an application submitted by One-Man Committee, this Court also passed an order for payment of salary to the allocated employees. In the committee's concluding Report, an allocation list submitted by Andhra Pradesh utilities was approved and a compliance report was filed by the A.P. Power Utilities with certain changes.

The learned senior counsel appearing for Telangana power utilities submitted that under the judgment of this Court, One-Man Committee had to confine the allocation to 1157 employees only. The Committee has exceeded the mandate of this Court and substantially expanded the exercise of allocation of employees by giving completely go-bye to Final Report and modalities finalized. The ratio of 3552:2550 as given in the Concluding Report with regard to employees of Andhra Pradesh power utilities and Telangana power utilities respectively is not prescribed by the Government Orders except in respect of headquarter posts and the number of total employees, i.e., 6102 as mentioned in the Concluding Report is erroneous as it does not take into account the employees working in two distribution companies of Telangana, i.e., TSSPDCL and TSNPDCL. Reciprocity was not prescribed in the modalities given by One-Man Committee as approved by this Court. One-Man Committee erred in deviating from modalities by issuing the Concluding Report and allocation of employees as per principle of “financial neutrality” and “balancing of employees”. The allocation exercise as per the Concluding Report is arbitrary being contrary to the orders of this Court and also contrary to the modalities framed by One-Man Committee and the earlier reports.

The learned senior counsel appearing for Andhra Pradesh power utilities contends that the Concluding Report submitted by One-Man Committee is not beyond the remit of this Court and it has not gone beyond the orders of this Court. The Telangana State power utilities by one or other means right from very beginning have been harping only on principle of nativity, which was specifically disapproved by the High Court. The submission of the applicant that the allocation exercise was to confine only to 1157 employees is not correct. Although, it is true that before the High Court, the challenge was to the unilaterally relieved 1157 by Telangana State power utilities and this Court in its judgment dated has also observed that One-Man Committee would determine the modalities for distributing the personnel, i.e., the aforesaid 1157 employees. This Court has clarified that in case dispute persists in respect of other employees of these Power Utility Companies to the two States, it would be open to the respective States/Power Utility Companies to bring the same before the said Committee. It is, thus, clear that the remit of the One-Man Committee was not confined to 1157 employees only. It is further submitted that the Government Orders referred to population ratio, hence, the said ratio could not have been ignored while allocating. It is submitted that the Andhra Pradesh power utilities had not raised any objection with regard to modalities formulated by the One-Man Committee. There was no mandate in the modalities or under law to allocate employees to his/their home district. All modalities including the option and seniority were to be considered while finalising the allocation. One-Man Committee, which has been empowered to take a final decision regarding allocation was fully entitled to seek any further direction looking to the fact that the allocation process has taken considerable time and some further adjustments were required to be made by the One-Man Committee.

The learned senior counsel appearing for the Telangana Electricity Engineers Association submits that One-Man Committee has travelled outside the limits of both the Concluding Report and Supplementary Report and are not correct. It is submitted that allocation in Telangana State power utilities being excessive the prospect of promotion of Engineers working in Telangana are affected. The Telangana State power utilities have been over burdened with a large number of employees, which is contrary to the spirit of the Act, 2014 and prospect from the employees hailing from the Telangana is affected.

The learned senior counsel submits that One-Man Committee has not taken into consideration the judgment of this Court in Telangana Judges Association v. Union of India, (2018) SC 1729. He further submits that in Supplementary Report modalities earlier finalised have been obliterated.

The liberty granted to parties to seek clarification or further direction was with object to complete the process of distributing the personnel between two States. There was no right of appeal given to any of the parties or any officer or employee against the report of One-Man Committee. The scope of these miscellaneous applications is, thus, very limited and by these miscellaneous applications, the power utilities of both the States cannot be allowed to seek re examination of various issues, which were raised before One-Man Committee. As per the statutory Scheme delineated by Section 82, the power utilities themselves were contemplated to determine the modalities for distributing the personnel between two successor corporations/companies. The court after observing the facts did not find any error in the allocations made by the One-Man Committee in its Concluding Report. The court further observes that the list of 655 employees submitted by Telangana State power utilities for allocation to Andhra Pradesh power utilities has been approved by the One-Man Committee for which there is no dispute and it fails to understand that how the applicants can raise the issue regarding number of allocable employees to be considered by this Court in these proceedings. The objection raised by the applicants on selection of 584 having not been accepted by the One-Man Committee, the court sees no reason to take any different view. The One-Man Committee took a decision that when 655 employees are coming from Telangana State to Andhra Pradesh, same number should go from Andhra Pradesh to Telangana State which is utility-wise and personnel-wise and it is clear and unambiguous.

The court held that

"We make it clear that the One-Man Committee was entrusted only with distribution of personnel between the two States, which distribution has been finalised by the One-Man Committee. Insofar as the allocation made by the One-Man Committee, no objection or challenge by any employee or officer is entertainable, we clarify that the One-Man Committee having completed the process of allocation, the said allocation cannot be challenged by any employee or officer or any utility before any forum."(Para 57)

Hence, the appeal stands dismissed.

M. Maheswari



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