Case Law Details

Case Name : All India Central Excise Inspectors Assn. Vs U.O.I (Allahabad High Court)
Appeal Number : P. I. L. Civil No. 14581 of 2020
Date of Judgement/Order : 17/03/2021
Related Assessment Year :

All India Central Excise Inspectors Assn. Vs U.O.I (Allahabad High Court)

Rejoinder affidavit filed by learned counsel for petitioner in the Court is taken on record.

Heard Mr. Prince Lenin, learned counsel appearing for petitioner, Mr. S. B. Pandey, learned Assistant Solicitor General of India has accepted notice on behalf of opposite parties no.1 and 2 and Mr. Dipak Seth, learned counsel appearing for opposite parties no.3 to 6.

The instant writ petition has been filed seeking following relief:

(i) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of Mandamus thereby directing the Union of India and Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs and GST Council to frame Rules and Guidelines regarding wearing of Prescribed Uniform for all officials top to bottom while working and posted in Central GST, Central Excise, Land Custom Stations and Other Customs formations which are being managed by officers of Central Excise.

(ii) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of Mandamus thereby directing the Union of India and Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs and GST Council to frame Rules and Guidelines regarding Guard of Honour, salute and inspection of Parade for officials posted in Central GST, Central Excise & Customs.

(iii) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of Mandamus thereby directing the Union of India and Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs and GST Council to withdraw all the Memos, vigilance inquires or any other disciplinary actions against the executive staff in absence of any Rules and Guidelines regard wearing of Uniform.

(iv) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of Mandamus thereby directing the Union of India and Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs and GST Council to close all the cases, vigilance inquiries, initiated or contemplated to be initiated against the executive staff for not wearing of Khaki Uniform. (SAME AS (iii).

(v) issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of Mandamus thereby directing the opposite parties to not harass and victimize the officials/staff in garb of vigilance inquiries initiated or contemplated to be initiated against the executive staff posted in Central GST, Central Excise & Customs department for not wearing of Khaki Uniform till any appropriate rules are framed in this regard by the authorities concerned.

(vi) Issue any other writ, order or direction which this Hon’ble Court deems just, fit and proper in the circumstances of the case.

(vii) allow the writ with costs in favour of the petitioner.”

Learned counsel for petitioner submits that after coming into force of GST Act there is no provision to wear any Uniform for the Central Excise Inspectors. The opposite parties insist for wearing of the Uniform and Salute the Officers in Uniform. It is submitted that the Uniform is being misused for personal works. It is also submitted that the members of the petitioner’s association who do not wear the Uniform are issued memos and disciplinary action are initiated against such persons including petitioner.

In pith and substance, the submission of learned counsel for petitioner is that without there being any prescribed Uniform for the Central Excise Inspectors, the opposite parties cannot insist for wearing of Uniform and in case the Uniform is not worn by the members of the petitioner’s association, no disciplinary action can be initiated against them. It cannot be termed to be disobedience or insubordination. It is also submitted that the members of the petitioner’s association are required to wear Uniform and also give Guard of Honour to the Higher Officers whenever they visit their office. There is no provision for providing Guard of Honour to the Higher Officers in the Department.

Mr. Dipak Seth, learned counsel appearing for opposite parties no.3 to 6 on the other hand submits that in fact the instant writ petition has been filed by Sri Abhijat Srivastava in the name of All India Central Excise Inspector Association as he was found to be guilty of insubordination, indiscipline and disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him.

Mr. Abhijat Srivastava had earlier approached this Court by filing a writ petition which was dismissed on the ground of eligibility of statutory alternative remedy before the Central Administrative Tribunal. Mr. Abhijat Srivastava, thereafter has preferred original application before the Central Administrative Tribunal which is pending. It is submitted that it has been the practice in the Central Excise Department since a very long time even before the independence of India that the Central Excise Inspector are required to wear Uniform and the said practice and custom is still in force in the department. There is no circular, letter or order of any Higher Authority banning the Uniform and the members of the petitioner’s association are paid additional allowances for wearing the Uniform and maintaining their Uniform.

As per the own case of the petitioner as set out in paragraph 19 of the writ petition there is practice of wearing Khakhi Uniform by the officers of different wings of the department which was started sometime in the year 1938. However, there is no uniformity in these uniforms. As such, it cannot be said that the insistence of wearing Uniform by the members of the petitioner’s association has been introduced recently in the department, without there being any order or direction.

It appears that certain members of the petitioner’s association were found guilty of insubordination and disobedience for not paying honour and respect to the National Flag and certain disciplinary proceedings were initiated against them. The petitioner’s association has filed the instant writ petition on behalf of those persons. We cannot appreciate the manner in which, the instant writ petition has been filed, particularly, when the disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the General Secretary of the petitioner’s association and he has himself challenged the same before the Central Administrative Tribunal where the case is pending. The writ petition appears to have been filed with ulterior motive to put undue pressure on the authorities, which cannot be appreciated.

Learned counsel for petitioner has also not been able to indicate any prejudice which could be caused to the members of the associations in case they are required to wear uniform. The prayer made in the writ petition are completely vague in nature without indicating any specific order or memorandum that the petitioner is challenging. So far as disciplinary action against members of the petitioner’s association is concerned, we are of the considered opinion that the same constitute a personal cause of action for which the association cannot be permitted to agitate the same. As indicated hereinabove, such disciplinary proceedings have already been challenged before appropriate forum.

It is also to be noted that this writ petition has been registered as a Public Interest Litigation, however, the learned counsel for petitioner submits that he has not filed it as Public Interest Litigation and it has been filed in individual capacity on behalf of petitioner’s association.

Be that as it may, we do not find any reason to grant indulgence in exercise of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The writ petition being misconceived is dismissed.

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