Rao & Ors Vs. State of A.P. & Ors  INSC 163 (25 April 1990)
Rangnath Misra Rangnath Kuldip Singh (J) Sahai, R.M. (J)
1990 SCR (2) 703 1990 SCC 524 JT 1990 (2) 560 1990 SCALE (1)84
Services: A.P. (Roads and Buildings) Engi- neering Service Rules, 1965: Rule
3(3)(a)--Assistant Engi- neers--Promotees and direct recruits--lnterse
3(a) of rule 3 of the Andhra Pradesh (Roads and Buildings) Engineering Service
Rules, 1965 prescribes that the substantive vacancies in the category of
Assistant Engineers 37-1/2 per cent shall be filled up by direct recruitment
and the remaining 62-1/2 per cent by transfer and promotion of junior officers.
Siva Reddy v. State of Andhra Pradesh,  Suppl. SCC 225, filed by direct
recruits, the Court had directed the State Government to ascertain the exact
sub- stantive vacancies in the category of Assistant Engineers in the service
as on December 31, 1982, work out the quota prescribed under rule 3(3)(a) of
the Rules and draw up a seniority list accordingly.
draft seniority list drawn up by the State Gov- ernment on the basis of the
guidelines, it placed the 1982 direct recruits from serial Nos. 234 to 269
without disturb- ing promotees upto serial No. 233 and the remainder of promotees
given promotion prior to 1982 were placed against serial Nos. 270 to 300. In C.
Radhakrishna Reddy v. State of A.P., W.P. No.
369 of 1989 decided on November
10, 1989 the Court
found the said list in accord with the directions.
these writ petitions preferred by the promotee As- sistant Engineers, it was
contended for them that serious injustice had been done to them as the accrued
rights of theirs had been disturbed and some of the direct recruits had been
given the benefit of seniority above them by count- ing service prior to their
the writ petitions, the Court,
1. A Government servant is justified in taking legal action 704 when he feels
that a stigma or punishment is undeserved but he is expected to bear with
fortitude and reconcile to his lot suppressing disappointment when he finds a
co-worker raised to a position which he himself aspired after. [707G] Dr. G. Marulasiddaiah
v. Dr. T.G. Siddapparadhya & Ors.,  1 SCC 568, referred to.
K. Siva Reddy's case, the Court had taken a very equitable view in not
disturbing the regularisation contrary to the quota and had taken every care to
ensure that the cause of justice was not made to suffer and a balance was
maintained by an appropriate admixture of relief by confin- ing the
reconsideration for a period after 1982. The year 1982 was fixed on account of
two features, (i) that regular disputes had been raised from that time, and
(ii) a period of 5-6 years was not too long a period to give rise to a sense of
conclusiveness generated by long lapse of time. The promotee-engineers should
have been happy and thankful to their lot that their regularisation was not
disturbed and even seniority prior to 1982 was not being affected though they
had acquired these benefits out of turn. [707C-E]
JURISDICTION: Writ Petition No. 1275 of 1989 etc.
Article 32 of the Constitution of India).
Chhabra, K. Ramkumar, Govind Mukhoty and Vimal Dave for the Petitioners.
Ramamurthy (NP), K.K. Venugopal, H.S. Gururaj Rao, Ms. Chandan Ramamurthi, M.A.
Krishnamurthi, T.V.S.N. Chaff, S. Markandeya, W.A. Nomani, G.S. Giri Rao and
A.K. Raina for the Respondents.
Judgment of the Court was delivered by RANGANATH MISRA, J. These are petitions
under Art. 32 of the Constitution. Petitioners are promotee-Engineers of the
Roads & Buildings Wing of the Andhra Pradesh Engineering Service and
challenge mainly is to certain earlier decisions of this Court resolving
similar disputes by judgments ren- dered in writ petitions and to the
guidelines formulated by the State Government in the matter or' the drawing up
of the seniority list by way of implementation of this Court's directions.
Facts are not in dispute. Shortly stated, under the Rules substantive vacancies
in the category of Assistant Engineers have to be filled up from two
sources--37-I/2 per cent by direct recruitment and the remainder of 62-1/2 per
cent by transfer of Supervisors and Draughtsmen and by promotion of Junior
Engineers. Regular direct recruitment had not been made as and when due and promotees
beyond the limit had been put in in the place of direct recruits. While
disposing of a group of petitions in a contest of this type in K. Siva Reddy
& Ors. v. State of A.P. & Ors.,  Suppl. SCC 225, a two-Judge
Bench of this Court instead of disturbing the entire group of promotee
Engineers in excess of the quota, made the following direction:
the question of inter se seniority on the basis of non-enforcement of the rules
from the very beginning may create hardship and that would be difficult to
mitigate but we see no justification as to why the benefit of the scheme under
the rules should not be made available to direct recruits at least from 1982.
When the State Government by rules duly framed prescribed the method of
recruitment and put the scheme into operation it had the obligation to comply
with it. The explanation offered by the State Govern- ment for non-compliance
of the requirements of the rules does not at all impress us. We, therefore,
direct that as on December
31, 1982, the State
Government must ascertain the exact substantive vacancies in the category of
Assistant Engineers in the service. On the basis that 37-1/2 per cent of such
vacancies were to be filled up by direct recruit- ment, the position should be
worked out. Promotees should be confined to 62 1/2 per cent of the substantive
vacancies and in regard to 371/2 per cent of the vacancies the shortfall should
be filled up by direct recruitment. General Rules shall not be applied to the
posts within the limits of 37 1/2 percent of the substantive vacancies and even
if promo- tees are placed in those posts, no seniority shall be count- ed.The
State Government shall take steps to make recruitment of the shortfail in the
direct recruitment vacancies within the limit of 37 1/2 per cent of the total
substantive vacan- cies up to December 31, 1987 within four months from today
by following ,the normal method of recruitment for direct recruits. The
seniority list in the cadre of Assistant Engineers shall be redrawn up, as
directed by the Tribunal, by the end of September 1988, keeping the directions
re- ferred to above in view. There 706 shall be a direction issued to the State
of Andhra Pradesh to make recruitment to the category of Assistant Engineers by
strict compliance of Special Rules henceforth." The State Government came
forward to implement the direction and published the draft seniority list drawn
up on the basis of discussed guidelines. Keeping the directions in view the
draft list placed the 1982 direct recruits from serial nos. 234 to 269 without
disturbing promotees upto serial no. 233 and the remainder of promotees given
promo- tion prior to 1982 were placed against serial nos. 270 to 300.
petition no. 369 of 1989--C. Radhakrishna Reddy & Ors. v. State of A. P. & Ors., had earlier raised the
same dispute. By judgment dated November 10, 1989, while dismiss- ing the said
writ petition a two-Judge Bench of this Court said:
Siva Reddy's case this Court found that promotees had exceeded the quota and
even got regularised in respect of the posts in excess of the limit. Taking
into consideration the fact that regularisation had been done after the promo- tees
had put in some years of service and disturbing regu- larisation would
considerably affect the officers concerned, regularisation was not interfered
with. This Court's inten- tion obviously was not to take away the benefit of regulari-
sation in respect of the officers belonging to the promotee group in excess of
their quota but the Court did not intend to allow such regularised officers in
excess of the quota to also have the benefit of such service for purposes of sen-
iority. A reading of the judgment in Siva Reddy's case clearly indicates that
this Court intended what the Govern- ment have laid down by way of guideline.
We see no justifi- cation to interfere with the Government direction. A draft
seniority list on the basis of such direction has already been drawn up and has
been circulated. We are told that objections have been received and would be
dealt with in usual course by the appropriate authorities. This writ petition
had been entertained in view of the allegation that the Government direction
was on a misconception of what was indicated in the judgment and in case there
was any such mistake the same should be rectified at the earliest. Now that we
have found that the Government order is in accord with the Court direction,
this writ petition must be dis- missed and individual grievances, if any, 707
against the draft seniority list would, we hope, be consid- ered on the basis
of objections filed by the competent authority." At the hearing Mr. Mukhoty,
appearing in support of the main petition, vehemently contended that serious
injustice had been done to the promotees and accrued rights of theirs had been
disturbed. He submitted that some of the direct recruits had been given the
benefit of seniority by counting service prior to their actual recruitment and
relied upon observations made by this Court in some cases to the effect that
for computation of length of service the period prior to selection was being
counted by a deeming position of employment prior to recruitment. When called
upon to sub- stantiate his allegation, he has not been able to do so. On the
other hand, the Court had taken a very equitable view in not disturbing the regularisation
contrary to the quota and had taken every care to ensure that the cause of
justice was not made to suffer and a balance was maintained by an appro- priate
admixture of relief by confining the reconsideration for a period after 1982.
The year 1982 was fixed, as the reasonings indicate, on account of two
features--(i) that regular disputes had been raised from that time; and (ii) a
period of 5-6 years was not too long a period to give rise to a sense of
conclusiveness generated by long lapse of time. The promotee-Engineers should
have been happy and thankful to their lot that their regularisation was not disturbed
and even seniority prior to 1982 was not being affected. Oblivious of these
benefits which they have re- tained though acquired out of turn, they have
proceeded on the footing that their cause has been affected and justice to them
has been denied by placing a group of them below the 1982 recruits. We do not
think that for dismissing this group of petitions anything more should be said
excepting to quote with approval what this Court had said in Dr. G. Marulasiddaiah
v. Dr. T.G. Siddapparadhya & Ors.,  1 SCC 568:
canker of litigiousness has spread even to a sphere of life where discipline
should check ambition concerning personal preferment." A government
servant is justified in taking legal action when he feels that a stigma or
punishment is undeserved but he is expected to bear with fortitude and
reconcile himself to his lot suppressing disappointment when he finds a co-
worker raised to a position which he himself aspired after.
Ordinarily, we would have awarded exemplary costs but with a view to allowing
an appropriate reconciliation of the petitioners to their lot and not to give
them a feeling of infliction of any new injury, we refrain from doing so.
Petitions dis- missed.