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In a judgment that could help government trim flab, the Supreme Court upheld the executive’s right to decide on the size of the work force. The government had powers for abolition and creation of posts, the Supreme Court ruled while setting aside a ruling of the Punjab & Haryana High Court which had said the abolition of posts of accounts executives by the Haryana government was illegal. The high court had asked that state to reinstate the petitioner, whose service was terminated.

Overturning this decision, a SC bench comprising Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice P Sathasivam said it was up to the government to decide whether a particular post was necessary, depending upon exigencies of the situation and administrative necessity.

The bench also emphasised the restricted role of courts in this matter by saying, “the court would be the least competent in the face of scanty material to decide whether the government acted honestly in creating a post or refusing to create a post or its decision suffers from mala fide, legal or factual.”

The apex court opined that “as long as the decision to abolish the post is taken in good faith in the absence of material, interference by the court is not warranted”. The Supreme Court said the “materials placed before us clearly show that the abolition of the post was the result of government’s efforts to control its non-planned expenditure.”

“We are of the opinion that that the decision to abolish the posts of accounts executives was taken on the basis of the over-all assessment of the work load and staff requirement,” Justice Sathasivam, writing the verdict, said.

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