No One Can Be Permitted To Take Benefit Of Wrong Order Passed By Court – Supreme Court
A two-judge Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna has held that no one can be permitted to take the benefit of a wrong order passed by the Court.
In this context, the Court noted –
"…no one can be permitted to take the benefit of the wrong order passed by the court which has been subsequently set aside by the higher forum/court. As per the settled position of law, no party should be prejudiced because of the order of the court."
Senior Advocate Mr. Manish Singhvi appeared for the Respondent – State, while Advocate Mr. R.K. Singh appeared for the Original Writ Petitioners – Appellants.
An appeal was preferred assailing the judgment of the Division Bench of the Rajasthan High Court which had quashed the orders of the Single Judge and had held that the three years Nursing course by the in-service candidates could not be treated as a period of deputation and be treated only on leave.
The High Court also reserved the liberty in favor of the State to recover the excess amount paid to the original Writ Petitioners treating the period of training as a period of leave permissible to be paid in easy equal installments.
Aggrieved, the original Writ Petitioners approached the Supreme Court.
In this case, the Writ Petitioners had submitted their applications for seeking study leave knowing fully well that joining the three-year Nursing course would not be treated on deputation for the in-service candidates.
The Supreme Court had earlier stayed the operation of the judgment passed by the Division Bench of the High Court with respect to the recovery of the amounts from the original Writ Petitioners.
The issue which was dealt with by the Apex Court was –
Whether there shall be the recovery of the amounts from the original writ petitioners, as directed in the impugned judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court.
The Apex Court firstly noted that in this case, the amount paid to the Appellants was not due to any mistake on the part of the State/State Authorities. The excess amount was paid pursuant to the order of the Single Judge of the High Court which was subsequently set aside by the Division Bench.
In this context, the Bench further noted –
"Therefore, on quashing and setting aside the judgment and order passed by the learned Single Judge under which the original writ petitioners were paid the excess amount, the necessary consequences must follow."
The Court also held that the amount paid in excess pursuant to the order of the Single Judge that was set aside by the Division Bench had to be refunded and/or returned by the original Writ Petitioners which the State was entitled to recover from them on the principle of Restitution.
The Bench additionally relying on a past decision held that the restitution principle recognizes and gives shape to the idea that advantages secured by a litigant, on account of orders of the court, at his behest, should not be perpetuated (State of Gujarat v. Essar Oil Ltd.).
Relying on Ouseph Mathai v. M. Abdul Khadir the Court noted that after the dismissal of the lis, the party concerned is relegated to the position which existed prior to the filing of the petition in the court which had granted the stay.
The Court held that even Section 144 of CPC provides for Restitution.
"In the present case, the order passed by the learned Single Judge has been set aside by the Division Bench of the High Court and therefore by applying Section 144 CPC also, the amount paid pursuant to the order passed by the learned Single Judge which has been set aside by the Division Bench is required to be refunded/returned by the original writ petitioners," the Court added.
The Court also held that the Division Bench of the High Court was absolutely justified in reserving liberty in favor of the State to recover the amount paid in excess to the original writ petitioners.
The Bench further opined that the Division Bench has not committed any error in reserving liberty in favor of the State to recover the excess amount paid from the original Writ Petitioners.
In the light of these observations, the Court disposed of the appeals with a direction to the State that the excess amounts shall be recovered in 36 equal monthly installments that would be deducted from the salary of the Writ Petitioners.