Divisional Personnel Officer, Souther
Railway Vs. S. Raghavendrachar  INSC 301 (16 December 1965)
16/12/1965 SATYANARAYANARAJU, P.
GAJENDRAGADKAR, P.B. (CJ) WANCHOO, K.N.
CITATION: 1966 AIR 1529 1966 SCR (3) 106
R 1974 SC 87 (14) R 1974 SC 423 (17) R 1974
SC1898 (7) RF 1976 SC1766 (2,12) RF 1976 SC2547 (21)
Constitution of India, Art. 311(2)-Reversion
from officiating post to substantive post when juniors Officiating in higher
post-Whether amounts to reduction in rank.
The respondent was employed in the Southern
Railway as Train Examiner in the scale of Rs. 100-5-125-6-185. He was promoted
to officiate in the next higher scale of Rs. 150225. Subsequently he was
reverted to the lower scale, and his departmental representations and appeals
having failed, he filed a writ petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution.
The High Court held that the reversion of the
respondent amounted to a reduction in rank because he was reverted from the
higher post to the lower post notwithstanding the fact that his juniors were
still retained in the higher posts.
As this reduction of rank was in violation of
Art. 311(2) the High Court granted the writ prayed for. The Divisional Personnel
Officer, Southern Railway appealed to this Court by special leave.
It was contended on behalf of the appellant
that the High Court had misunderstood the ratio of the judgment of this Court
in Vaikunthe's case and that the respondent had not suffered any reduction in
rank within the meaning of Art.
HELD : (i) The reversion of a Government
servant from an officiating post to his substantive post, while his junior is
officiating in higher post, does not, by itself, constitute a reduction in rank
within the meaning of Art.
311(2) of the Constitution. [110 D] (ii) An
important aspect of the decision in Vaikunthe's case was lost sight of by the
High Court. The real ground on which Vaikunthe's reversion to his original post
of mamlatdar was held to be a violation of his constitutional guarantee was
that his chances of promotion were irrevocably barred for a period of three
years. There was no such bar on promotion in the present case. [114 E] Madhav
Laxman Vaikunthe v. State of Mysore,  1 S.C.R.
(iii) The respondent's complaint was that he
had lost his seniority by reason of the retention of his juniors in the
officiating higher post. But his rank in the substantive post i.e. in the lower
grade, was in no way affected by this. In the substantive grade the respondent
retained his rank and was not visited with any penal consequences. The
respondent had no right to the post to which he was provisionally promoted. His
reversion in these circumstances did not amount to reduction in rank. [118 G119
A] 107 Parshotam Lal Dhingra v. Union of India,  S.C.R. 828, State of
Bombay v. F. A. Abraham,  Supp. 2 S.C.R. 92 and The High Court, Calcutta
v. Amal Kumar Roy,  1 S.C.R. 437, 'relied on.
P. C. Wadhwa v. Union of India,  4
S.C.R. 598, distinguished.
M. A. Waheed v. State of Madhya Pradesh,
 Nag. L. J.
305, referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 975 of 1964.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order December 12, 1962, of the Mysore High Court in W.P. No. 531 of 1961.
Bishan Narain, Naunit Lal and B.R.G.K. Achar,
for the appellant.
S. K. Venkataranga Iyengar and R.
Gopalakrishnan, for the respondent.
The judgment of the Court was delivered by
Satyanarayana Raju, J. This appeal, by special leave, raises a somewhat
important question of all, which is whether the reversion of a Government
servant from an officiating post to his substantive post, while his junior is
officiating in the higher post, does not, by itself, constitute a reduction in
rank within the meaning of art. 311(2) of the Constitution.
For the purpose of deciding the point raised
in the appeal, it would be necessary to state the material facts. The Southern
Railway has two grades of Train Examiners, one in the scale of Rs.
100-5-125-6-185 and the other in the scale of Rs. 150-225. The respondent was
employed in the lower scale as a Train Examiner. By an order dated April 7,
1959, the respondent was promoted to officiate in the higher scale with a starting
salary of Rs. 150 per month. That order read as follows :
"2. Sri S. Raghavendrachar, TXR-YPR in
scale Rs. 100-185 is promoted to officiate as TXR in scale Rs. 150-225 on Rs.
150 per month and retained YPR as TXR-IC. 185 is promoted to officiate as TXR in
scale Rs. 150225 on Rs. 150 per month and transferred to SBC-BG vide item
Sanction endorsed by D.S. for promotion of
items 2 and 3." 108 There is a note appended to the order which is
important "Note: 1. The promotion of items 2 and 3 are purely provisional
subject to revision when Divisional Seniority lists are drawn up." By an
order dated November 27, 1959, the respondent was reverted. ]Mat order was as
"Sri S. Raghavendrachar, TXR/YPR
(officiating) in scale Rs. 150-225 is reverted to scale Rs. 100-185 on Rs. 130
per month and transferred to SBC/MG." On receipt of this order, the
respondent made representations to the appellant. The appellant sent to the
respondent communication dated May 25, 1960 :
"As per the existing instructions an
officiating employee with less than 18 months of service in the higher grade
may be reverted to lower scale without assigning any reason for such reversion
by a competent authority.
Since the period of your officiating in scale
Rs. 150225 was less than 18 months and since your reversion from scale Rs.
150-225 to Rs. 100-185 has been ordered by a competent authority, no reasons
need be assigned as requested in your representation dated 8th/9th December
As regards the confirmation of TXRs in scale
Rs. 150-225, who were your juniors while you were officiating in scale Rs.
150-225, 1 have to advise you that consequent on your reversion to scale Rs.
100-185, all your juniors, in scale Rs. 150-225, have become your seniors and
their confirmations in preference to you are in order.
Regarding your re-promotion to scale Rs. 150225,
it will be considered in the normal course according to your, seniority and
suitability to hold the post in scale Rs. 150225." The respondent made a
further appeal to the Divisional Superintendent, Mysore, on July 2, 1960 and
sent him two reminders. Not having got any response, he filed an appeal on
January 31, 1961, to the General Manager, Southern Railway. The respondent sent
a reminder to the latter on March 31, 1961. In reply, 109 the Divisional
Personnel Officer wrote to the respondent as follows by letter dated April 30,
Rs. 150-225 (PS) was not a penalty as
presumed by you, in your above representations. The vacancy thus released by
you in scale Rs. 150225 (PS) and the vacancies which existed on the date of
your reversion were filled up on 14th February 1960. You are therefore eligible
to be considered for promotion against a vacancy which occurred after the date
of your reversion and not against the vacancies which existed on the date of
your reversion and also the vacancy caused by your reversion. No regular
vacancy (other than short term leave vacancy) in scale Rs. 150-225 has occurred
from the date of your reversion till date. You will therefore be considered for
promotion against the next vacancy, subject to the condition of seniority-cumsuitability,
on the basis of which only promotions to non-selection posts are to be ordered.
2. As regards seniority, all those hitherto
promoted to scale Rs. 150-225 (PS) will automatically rank seniors to you and
your seniority if promoted will be reckoned only from the date of your
promotion in future vacancy.
3. Your contention that, when you were
promoted to officiate for 2 months against the leave vacancy of Shri
Venkataraman, as per this office order No. M. 542/PI of 14th November 1960, you
should have been continued even after the expiry of the leave vacancy, and that
Shri Varghese should have been reverted, is not correct, for the reasons stated
in paragraph 2 above.
4. Your representation of 30th January 1961
to GM(P) Madras is therefore withheld." Aggrieved by the order dated
November 27, 1959, the respondent moved the Mysore High Court, on the failure
of his representations to the hierarchy of Departmental Heads, for a writ of
certiorari to quash the impugned order made by the appellant. By judgment dated
December 12, 1962, a Division Bench of the High Court quashed the order of
reversion. The High Court observed that it was not necessary to express any opinion
on the question whether the reversion of the respondent on the ground that his
work was unsatisfactory amounted to a reduction 110 in rank within the meaning
of that expression occurring in art. 311(2) of the Constitution. But the High
Court held that the reversion of the respondent amounted to a reduction in rank
because he was reverted from the higher post to the lower post notwithstanding
the fact that his juniors were still retained in the higher posts. In reaching
this conclusion the High Court purported to follow the decision of this Court
in Madhav Laxman Vaikunthe v. State of Mysore(.).
The Divisional Personnel Officer, Southern
Railway, Mysore,obtained special leave from this Court against the order of the
It is contended by Mr. Bishan Narain, learned
counsel for the appellant, that the High Court misunderstood the ratio of the
judgment of this Court in Vaikunthe's case(1), that there is no right in a
Government servant to promotion as of right, that the mere reversion of a Government
servant from an officiating post to his substantive post, notwithstanding that
his juniors are retained in the higher posts, does not amount to a reduction in
rank and the provisions of art.
311(2) are not attracted. On the other hand,
it is contended by Mr. S. K. Venkataranga lyengar, learned counsel for the
respondent, that the circumstances of the case clearly indicated that the
reversion of the respondent amounted to a reduction in rank and since the
procedure prescribed by art. 311(2) was not complied with, the order of
reversion was bad in law.
It may be taken to be settled by the
decisions of this Court that since art. 311 makes no distinction between
permanent and temporary posts, its protection must be held to extend to all
government servants holding permanent or temporary posts or officiating in any
of them, but that protection is limited to the imposition of three major
penalties contemplated by the Service Rules, viz., dismissal or removal or
reduction in rank.
The first of the cases which may be
considered is the decision in Parshotam Lal Dhingra v. Union of India(2),
Commonly known as Dhingra's case. In this case, Das C.J., who spoke for the
majority, considered comprehensively the scope and effect of the relevant
constitutional provisions, service rules and their impact on the question as to
whether reversion of Dhingra offended against the provisions of art.
311(2). Dhingra was appointed as a Signaller
in 1924 and promoted to the post of Chief Controller in 1950. Both these posts
were in Class III Service. In (1)  1 SCR. 886.
(2)  S.C.R. 828.
111 1951, he was appointed to officiate in
Class II Service as Assistant Superintendent, Railway Telegraphs. On certain
adverse remarks having been made against him, he was reverted as a subordinate
till he made good his 'short comings. Then, Dhingra made a representation.
Subsequently, the General Manager gave him
notice reverting him to Class III appointment. It was this order-which was
challenged by Dhingra by a writ petition, in the High Court and, eventually, in
this Court. The question for decision was whether the order of the General
Manager amounted to reduction in rank within the meaning of art. 311(2) of the
Constitution, and Dhingra was entitled to a reasonable opportunity to show
cause against the order. This Court held that the reversion of an officiating
officer to his substantive post did not attract the provisions of art.
311(2) and that Dhingra was not entitled to
the protection of that article.
It is however true that even an officiating
government servant may be reverted to his original rank by way of punishment.
It was therefore observed in Dhingra's case(") at p. 863 :
"Thus if the order entails or provides
for the forfeiture of his pay or allowances or the loss of his seniority in his
substantive rank or the stoppage or postponement of his future chances of
promotion, then that circumstance may indicate that although in form the Government
had purported to exercise its right to terminate the employment or to reduce
the servant to a lower rank under the terms of the contract of employment or
under the rules, in truth and reality the Government has terminated the
employment as and by way of penalty." One test for determining whether the
termination of service was by way of punishment or otherwise is to ascertain
whether under the Service Rules, but for such termination, the servant has the
right to hold the post. It was held in Dhingrads case(1) that he was holding an
officiating post and had no right under the rules of the Railway Code to
continue in it, that under the general law such appointment was terminable at
any time on reasonable notice and the reduction could not operate as a
forfeiture of any right, that the order of the General Manager visited him with
no evil consequences and that the order therefore did no", amount to a
reduction in rank.
(1) (1958] S.C.R. 828.
112 Vaikunthe's case(1) was relied upon by
the High Court in support of its conclusion that the reversion of the
respondent amounted to a reduction in rank. It is therefore necessary to
scrutinize the facts of that case.
The appellant Vaikunthe, who held the rank of
a Mamlatdar in the first grade, and was officiating as District Deputy
Collector, was alleged to have wrongly charged travelling allowance for 59
miles instead of 51 and was, as the result of a Departmental enquiry, reverted
to his substantive rank for three years and directed to refund the excess he
had charged. He made a representation to the Government which was of no avail
although the Accountant General was of the opinion that the appellant had not
over-charged and committed no fraud. Ultimately, the appellant was promoted to
the Selection Grade but the order of reversion remained effective and affected
his position in the Selection Grade.
After retirement he brought a suit for a
declaration that the order of reversion was void and for recovery of a certain
sum as arrears of salary and allowances. The trial Court held that there was no
compliance with the provisions of S. 240(3) of the Government of India Act,
1935, granted the declaration but refused the arrears claimed. Vaikunthe filed
an appeal and the State a cross-objection. The High Court dismissed the appeal
and allowed the cross-objection, holding that the order of reversion was not a
punishment within the meaning of S. 240(3) of the 1935 Act.
This Court held that the matter was covered
by the observations in Dhingra's case(1) and the tests of punishment laid down
by this Court viz., (1) whether the servant had a right to the rank or (2)
whether he had been visited with evil consequences of the kind specified
therein, and that the second test certainly applied. This Court concluded that
Vaikunthe might or might not have the right to hold the higher post, but there
could be no doubt that he was visited with evil consequences as a result of the
order of reversion. It was there held :
"Mere deprivation of higher emoluments,
however, in consequence of an order of, reversion could not by itself satisfy
that test which must include such other consequences as forfeiture of
substantive pay and loss of seniority." Since the requirement of s. 240(3)
of the 1935 Act, which corresponds to art. 311(2) of the Constitution, had not
been found to have been fully complied with, the order of reversion was held to
(1)  1 S.C.R. 886.
(2)  S.C.R. 828.
113 There was an important aspect of this
decision which was lost sight of by the High Court. The impugned order there
ran as follows :
"After careful consideration Government
have decided to revert you to Mamlatdar for a period of three years........
It was pointed out in Dhingra's case(-) that
if the order of reversion entailed or provided for the forfeiture of the pay or
allowances of the Government servant or loss of his seniority in his
substantive rank or the stoppage or postponement of his future chances of
promotion, then that circumstance might 'Indicate that although in form the
Government had purported to exercise its right to terminate the employment or
to reduce the servant to a lower rank under the terms of the contract of
employment or under the rules, in truth and reality the Government had
terminated the employment as and by way of penalty. At p. 891, Sinha, C.J., who
spoke for the Court, pointed out:
he would have continued as a Deputy Collector
but for the Order of the Government, dated August 11, 1948, impugned in this
case, as a result of the enquiry held against him, and that his reversion was
not as a matter of course or for administrative convenience. The Order, in
terms, held him back for three years. (Italics ours). Thus his emoluments,
present as well as future, were adversely affected by the Order aforesaid of
the Government. In the ordinary course, he would have continued as a Deputy
Collector with all the emoluments of the post and would have been entitled to
further promotion but for the set back in his service as a result of the
adverse finding against him which finding was ultimately declared by the
Accountant General to have been under a misapprehension of the true facts. It
is true that he was promoted as a result of the Government Order dated March
26, 1951, with effect from August 1, 1950. But that promotion did not entirely
cover the ground lost by him as a result of the Government Order impugned in
this case." Again, at p. 893, the learned Chief Justice pointed
out"If the loss of the emoluments attaching to the higher rank in which he
was officiating was the only consequence of his reversion as a result of the
enquiry against him, the appellant would have no cause of (1)  S.C. 828.
114 action. But it is clear that as a result
of the Order dated August 11, 1948 (Ex. 35), the appellant lost his seniority
as a Mamlatdar, which was his substantive post. That being so, it was not a
simple case of reversion with no evil consequences; it had such consequences as
would come within the test of punishment as laid down in Dhingra's case."
Finally, it was pointed out :
"If the reversion had not been for a
period of three years, it could not be Said that the appellant had been
punished within the meaning of the rule laid down in Dhingra's Case. It cannot
be asserted that his reversion to a substantive post for a period of three
years was not by way of punishment. From the facts of this case it is clear
that the appellant was on the upward move in the cadre of his service and but
for this aberration in his progress to a higher post, he would have, in
ordinary course, been promoted as he actually was some time later when the
authorities realised perhaps that he had not been justly treated......
The real ground on which Vaikunthe's
reversion to his original post of Mamlatdar was held to be a violation of his
Constitutional grantee was that his chances of promotion were irrevocably
barred for a period of three years. If this aspect of Vaikunthe's case(1) is
borne in mind, it will be found that there is no basic inconsistency between
the decisions which have a bearing on the question as to in what cases
reversion would amount to a reduction in rank.
Even so, it is contended by learned counsel
for the respondent that the real reason which operated on the mind of the
appellant was that the respondent's work in his officiating capacity was
unsatisfactory. Assuming that to be so, the question is whether his reversion
to his original post, because he was found unsuitable for the higher rank to
which he had been given the officiating chance, is valid.
In State of Bombay v. F. A. Abraham(2) the
respondent held the substantive post of Inspector of Police and had been
officiating as Deputy Superintendent of Police. He was reverted to his original
rank without being given an opportunity of being heard in respect of the
reversion. His request to furnish him with reasons for his reversion was
refused. Later, a departmental (1)1 S.C.R.886.
(2)  Supp. 2 S.C.R. 92.
115 enquiry was held behind his back in
regard to certain allegations of misconduct made against him in a confidential
communication from the District Superintendent of Police to the Deputy Inspector-General
of Police, but these allegations were not proved at the enquiry. The InspectorGeneral
of Police, however, thereafter wrote to the Government that the respondent's
previous record was not satisfactory and that he had been promoted to officiate
as Deputy Superintendent of Police in the expectation that he would turn a new
leaf. The High Court held, following its earlier decision in M. A. I. Waheed v.
State of Madhya Pradesh(1) that if a person officiating in a higher post is
reverted to his original post in the normal course, that is, on account of
cessation of the vacancy or his failure to acquire the required qualification,
the reversion did not amount to a reduction in rank but if he is reverted for
unsatisfactory work, then the reversion would amount to a reduction in rank.
This Court did not agree with the observations in Waheed's case(1) that when a
person officiating in a post s reverted for unsatisfactory work, that reversion
would amount to a reduction in rank. This Court took the view that the
Government had a right to consider the suitability of the respondent to hold
the position to which he had been appointed to officiate and that it was
entitled for that purpose to make inquiries about his suitability and that was
all what the Government had done in that case.
Two more cases cited at the Bar now require
to be considered. In The High Court, Calcutta v. Amal Kumar Roy (2) this Court
held that the word 'rank' in art. 311(2) referred to classification and not to
a particular place in the same cadre in the hierarchy of service. The facts of
the case were as follows. The respondent was a Munsif in the West Bengal Civil
Service (Judicial). When the cases of several Munsifs came up for consideration
before the High Court for inclusion in the panel of officers to officiate as
Subordinate Judges, the respondent's name was excluded. On a representation
made by him, the respondent was told by the Registrar of the High Court that
the Court had decided to consider his case after a year. As a result of such
exclusion, the respondent, who was then the senior most in the list of Munsifs,
lost eight places in the cadre of Subordinate Judges before he was actually
appointed to act as an Additional Subordinate Judge. His case mainly was that
this exclusion by the High Court amounted in law to the penalty of 'withholding
of promotion' without giving him an opportunity to show cause. He pray(1)
 Nag. L.J. 305.
(2)  1 S.C.R. 437 116 ed that a
declaration might be made that he occupied the same position in respect of
seniority in the cadre of Subordinate Judges as he would have done if no
supersession had taken place and claimed arrears of salary, in a suit filed by
him. The trial Court decreed the suit. On behalf of the appellants a preliminary
objection was taken in this Court that the controversy raised was not
justiciable. This Court held that there was no cause of action for the suit and
the appeal must succeed.
It was there contended on behalf of the
respondent that even though there, might not have been any disciplinary proceedings
taken against him, the effect of the High Court's order was that he was reduced
by eight places in the list of Subordinate Judges and that in law amounted to a
reduction in rank within the meaning of art. 311 (2) of the Constitution. At p.
453 it was pointed out as follows :
"In our opinion, there is no substance
in this contention because losing places in the same cadre, namely, of
Subordinate Judges does not amount to a reduction in rank within the meaning of
art. 311(2). The plaintiff sought to argue that 'rank', in accordance with
dictionary meaning, signifies 'relative position or status or place, according
to Oxford English Dictionary. The word 'rank' can be and has been used in
different senses in different contexts. The expression 'rank' in art. 3 1 1 (2)
has reference to a person's classification and not his particular place in the
same cadre in the hierarchy of the service to which be belongs. Hence, in the
context of the Judicial Service of West Bengal, 'reduction in rank' would imply
that a person who is already holding the post of a Subordinate Judge has been
reduced to the position of a Munsif, the rank of a Subordinate Judge being
higher than that of a Munsif. But Subordinate Judges in the same cadre hold the
same rank though they have to be listed in order of seniority in the Civil
List. Therefore, losing some places in the seniority list is not tantamount to
reduction in rank. Hence, it must be held that the, provision-, of art.
311 (2) of the Constitution are not attracted
to this case." This decision therefore is authority for the position that
losing some places in the seniority list is not tantamount to reduction in rank
117 The respondent relied upon the decision of this Court in P.
C. Wadhwa v. Union of India(1). There, the
appellant, a member of the Indian Police Service and holding the substantive
rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (a post in the junior time scale of
pay) in the State of Punjab, was promoted to officiate as Superintendent of
Police, which was a post carrying a higher salary in the senior time-scale, and
posted as Additional Superintendent of Police. After he had earned one
increment in that post, he was served with a charge-sheet and before the
enquiry, which had been ordered, had started, he was reverted to his
substantive rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police, the ground suggested
for reversion being unsatisfactory conduct.
No details of the unsatisfactory conduct were
specified and the appellant was not asked for any explanation. At the time when
the appellant was reverted officers junior to him in the I.P.S. Cadre of the
State were officiating in the senior scale. The order entailed loss of pay as
well as loss of seniority and postponement of future chances of promotion.
It was held that the order of reversion made
against the appellant was in effect a 'reduction in rank' within the meaning of
art. 311(2) of the Constitution and inasmuch as he was given no opportunity of
showing cause against the said order of reversion, there was violation of art.
On a consideration of the circumstances of
the case, this Court reached the conclusion that the action of the Government
reverting the appellant was mala fide. But that was not the sole ground on
which the order of reversion was held to be bad.
After an examination of the legal position
from the large body of rules to which reference was made, it was held that in
so far as the Indian Police Service is concerned there was only one cadre, that
appointment to posts borne on that cadre were to be made by direct recruitment
except to the extent of 25 per cent of the senior posts which may be filled by
promotion from the State Police Service. A special feature of the All India
Services like the Indian Police Service and the Indian Civil Service is that
promotion is a matter of right. It was for this reason that this Court, by a
majority pointed out at p. 622 that in the case of' those services there was no
rule which, specifically provided that an officer had to be freshly appointed
to a post carrying a salary in the senior scale of pay.
(1)  4 S.C.R. 598.
118 At p. 627 it was said "In our
opinion, the whole scheme of the rules indicates that a person borne on the
junior scale of pay has a right to hold a post on the senior scale of pay
depending upon the availability of, a post and his seniority in the junior
scale of pay.... If a person holding a post in the senior scale, though in an
officiating capacity, is found to be unfit to hold that post, action will have
to be taken against him as required by r. 5 of Discipline and Appeal Rules
because his reversion to a post in the lower scale would amount to reduction in
rank within the meaning of art.
311 of the Constitution." On a
consideration of the circumstances of that case, it is clear that the decision
itself proceeded on the basic fact that for members of All India Services like
the Indian Police Service, promotion was a matter of right and special
considerations would have to be applied to them.
Now, in the light of the principles
established by the above decisions, we may consider the respondent's case. The
Southern Railway has two grades of Train Examiners. The respondent and one
James Blazey were promoted from the lower grade to officiate in the higher
grade. The respondent was shown at item no. 2 and James Blazey at item no. 3 in
the promotion list. A note was appended to the order that the promotion of the
respondent and Blazey were 'purely provisional subject to revision when
seniority lists were drawn up for the Division'. By reason of the order dated
November 27, 1959, the respondent was reverted to the lower grade while Blazey
was retained in the higher grade. The case of the respondent is that Blazey was
junior to him and that since he was reverted while Blazey was not, it would
amount to a reduction in rank so far as he was concerned.
It is plain that what he complains of is that
he lost his seniority by reason of the retention of Blazey in the officiating
The respondent's rank in the substantive post
i.e., in the lower grade, was in no way affected by this. In the substantive
grade, the respondent retained his rank. It may also be added that he was
visited with no penal consequences. It is no doubt true that it is not the form
but the substance that matters, but once it is accepted that the respondent has
no right to the post to which he was provisionally promoted, there can be no
doubt that his reversion does not amount to a reduction in rank.
119 None of the decisions considered above
lends support to the contention for the respondent.
It was finally argued that the procedure
prescribed by rr. 1609 to 1619 of the rules contained 'in the Indian Railway
Establishment Code, Vol. I., were contravened. Rule 1609 reads "As a general
rule, in no circumstances, should a gazetted railway servant be kept in
ignorance for any length of time that his superiors, after sufficient
experience of his work, are dissatisfied with him; where a warning might
eradicate a particular fault, the advantages of prompt communication are
obvious. On the other hand, the communication of any adverse remarks removed
from their context is likely to give a misleading impression to the gazetted
railway servant concerned. The procedure detailed in rule 1610 should therefore
be followed." Rules 1609 to 1618 apply only to gazetted railway servants.
'Me respondent is not a gazetted railway
servant and there is no question of his claiming that he is entitled to the
right given under the above rules.
Rule 1619 refers to non-gazetted railway
servants. That rule Provides that in general conformity with the principles
laid down in the preceding rules applicable to Gazetted Railway Servants, a
General Manager may frame detailed rules for the preparation, submission and
disposal of confidential reports on non-gazetted railway servants. Learned
counsel for the respondent could not place before us those rules, if any.
The contentions raised by the respondent
having been negatived, this appeal must succeed, and it is accordingly allowed,
but, in the circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs.