Executive orders cannot supplant statutory rules

Madhya Pradesh High Court:  A writ petition was decided by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Sujoy Paul, J., wherein it was held that the order of sanctioning leave of the petitioner granted by the Executive Engineer was well within the powers of such officer as provided for in the statutory rules, and the benefit of such order could not be taken away from the petitioner.

The petitioner was a government employee and on an earlier occasion, the Executive Engineer had passed an order whereby he sanctioned the earned leave to the petitioner for 79 days. However, subsequently the said officer canceled his earlier order in light of the administrative instructions passed by the Engineer-in-Chief, according to which the leave could be sanctioned only by the Engineer-in-Chief. Learned counsel for the petitioner assailed the said order contending that M.P. Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 1977, provide that for class-III employees, the office head has full power to grant earned leave.

The High Court, after a due consideration of submissions made on behalf of the parties was of the view that the Executive Engineer, being the office head, was well within his powers to sanction the earned leave of the petitioner who was a class-III employee. The Court observed that it is a trite law that by issuing executive instructions, statutory rules cannot be supplanted although the same can be supplemented. Since the statutory rules recognized powers of the Executive Engineer as competent authority to sanction earned leave, such power could not be taken away by issuing executive instructions by the Engineer-in-Chief. Benefit of the said power could not be taken away from the petitioner. Resultantly, the petition was allowed and the impugned order canceling leave of the petitioner was set aside. [Piyush Verma V. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 116, order dated 27-2-2018]

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