Citation : AIR 1974 SCC 555

Court : The supreme court of India

Bench : Ray , AN (CJ) , Palekar DJ , Chandrachund, YV Bhagwati , PN Krishnaiyer .


This is a very important landmark case where the question of law was regarding article 14 of the Constitution of India. Justice Bhagwati, delivering the judgment on behalf of himself, chandrachud, and Krishna Iyer,  JJ. Observed: “ equality is a dynamic concept with many aspects and dimensions and it cannot be ‘cribbed, cabined and confined ‘ within traditional and doctrinaire limits. From a positivistic point of view, equality is the antithesis of arbitrariness. Equality and arbitrariness are sworn enemies; one belongs to the rule of law in a republic while the other, to the whim and caprice of an absolute monarch. Where an act is arbitrary, it is implicit in that it is unequal both according to political logic and constitutional law and is therefore violative of article 14.”


The petitioner was a member of Indian administrative services, Tamil Nadu. In 1969, the position of the office of chief secretary fell vacant. The petitioner was selected for the said post and a draft order was issued having the assent of the chief minister. But later on, his position was shifted to a temporary post of officer on special duty.

The petitioner filed a writ petition under article 32 of the constitution for the writ of mandamus. The petitioner contended that the post of officer on special duty was not validly created under rule 4 of the Indian administrative services (cadre) rules, 1954. He also contended that it was violative of rule 9 of Indian administrative services (pay) rules, 1954; which says that no post shall be appointed unless the concerned authority, i.e, state or central government makes a declaration that said post is equivalent in status and responsibility to the post specified and thus the new post was inferior to that of chief secretary and was violative of article 14 and 16 of the constitution. Moreover, the creation of new posts and the transfer was a mala-fide exercise of power.


The court held that the post was created for discharging functions requiring very high caliber and specialized experience. The wide experience of the petitioner in the field of commercial taxes made the government post him as an officer on special duty. Thus the post was not to be considered as any less in status and responsibility than the top most carder post. There was no ground for attributing bad faith or improper motive by the government against the petitioner.

Further, the affidavit evidence also indicated that the government, in all circumstances, accepted the advice of the petitioner and there did not appear any disagreement between the government. The allegations inflicted on the chief minister were baseless as they did not count as any act of violation and intimidation. The court thus dismissed the petition on the aforesaid mentioned grounds. The court also stated that no answer to the charge of infringement of articles 14 and 16 to say that petitioner had no right to the post of chief secretary but was merely officiating in that post.

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