Telangana-Andhra Pradesh Power Staff allocation dispute| Here’s why Supreme Court refused to interfere with Justice Dharmadhikari (One-Man) Committee report

Supreme Court: In the dispute relating to distribution of personnel between the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporations, the bench of Ashok Bhushan* and MR Shah, JJ has held that the allocation made by the One-man Committee of former Supreme Court judge, Justice D.M. Dharmadhikari is final and that the said allocation cannot be challenged by any employee or officer or any utility before any forum.

After 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, the power utilities of Telangana unilaterally relieved 1157 employees working with power utilities of Telangana to join in respective power utilities of Andhra Pradesh. 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.

The High Court allowed the writ petitions, set aside the impugned action of power utilities of Telangana relieving 1157 employees and issued further directions. The High Court specifically disapproved the principle of nativity, which was the factor for allocation of the employees by the Telangana State power utilities.

Telangana Power Generation Corporation Limited filed moved the Supreme Court against the judgment of the High Court. Supreme 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, it, with the agreement of the parties entrusted the task to One-Man Committee of Justice Dharmadhikari. The Court also permitted the parties to approach the Court by filing an interlocutory application, if any, clarification or further directions were required.

The One-Man Committee after deliberations with all stakeholders noticed that 655 employees have been allocated from Telangana State to Andhra Pradesh and equal numbers from Andhra Pradesh to Telangana including 71 names from Andhra Pradesh to Telangana, which was held to be of special cases like spouse and medical cases.

On the liberty granted to parties to seek clarification or further direction, the Supreme Court said that it was done 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 power utilities of both the States having not been able to arrive at any consensus to finally determine the modalities to distribute the personnel between two States, this Court constituted One-Man Committee to decide the dispute. When this Court clearly directed as noted above that decision of OneMan Committee shall be final and binding on all the parties including power utility companies as well as the employees, the decision of the One-Man Committee has to be given due weight and cannot be lightly interfered with.”

[Telangana Power Generation Corporation Ltd. v. Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 995, decided on 07.12.2020]


*Justice Ashok Bhushan has penned this judgement

For Telangana State power utilities: Senior Counsels Mukul Rohtagi, Rakesh Dwivedi, V. Giri, Ranjit Kumar

For Andhra Pradesh power utilities: Senior Counsel Neeraj Kishan Kaul

For Telangana Electricity Engineers Association: Senior Counsel Dushyant Dave

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