A Miscellaneous application filed before the Supreme Court by Rajan Sharma, a retired Vice-Chairman (Judicial) of the Railway Claims Tribunal’s Mumbai Bench, to revive his petition and claim extension of service, was rejected by the apex Court on Tuesday.
A three-judge bench rejected Sharma’s claim and held: “We have come to the conclusion that petitioners have no subsisting right to demand either extension of their appointment or a re-appointment.”
Sharma, prior to his retirement, had dragged the Railway Board (RB) to the Supreme Court, seeking an extension to his tenure citing urgency and a violation of his fundamental rights, by invoking Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. His Public Interest Litigation was rejected by the apex court and Sharma subsequently retired. A Miscellaneous application was filed him to revive his petition.
Meanwhile, a four-month extension granted to Sharma to retain his accommodation at Badhwar Park, the sea-facing railway officers’ colony in Colaba, has raised eyebrows within bureaucratic circles.
This comes after the Western Railway’s (WR) order for extension of his quarters cited a Railway Board circular of 2006, which in essence is applicable to only retired railway officers re-engaged as Member (Technical) or Vice-Chairman (Technical) in the RCT. This rule has been misinterpreted to grant the extension, officials claimed.
Every Bench hearing claims cases for railway accident victims comprises two members — a Member (Technical) and a Member (Judicial). While the Member (Technical) is a retired officer of the Indian Railway (IR), a Member (Judicial) is appointed from outside railway services, having a legal background. Rajan Sharma served as a Vice-Chairman (Judicial) at the Mumbai Bench while RD Sharma is still serving as the Member (Technical).
A senior railway officer with experience in the RCT explained, “The Railway Board letter of 2006 regarding retention of railway quarter is applicable to Vice-Chairman (Technical)/ Member (Technical) of RCT, because they are retired railway officers who joined RCT by taking voluntary retirement from railway service. This rule is not applicable to the Vice Chairman (Judicial)/Member (Judicial), because they are not retired railway officers.”
RD Sharma, when asked for a comment on the rules under which the extension has been granted, said, “They have cited a circular from 2006 issued by the Railway Board, based on which the General Manager of Western Railway has approved his extension. It has nothing to do with the RCT.” When asked if the circular applies to all members of RCT, RD Sharma refused to comment.
Chief PRO of WR, Ravindra Bhakar, said, “All relevant rules are being followed while taking any decision pertaining to the matter.”
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