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Prafulla Kumar Swain Vs. Prakash Chandra Misra & Ors [1993] INSC 31 (18 January 1993)

Mohan, S. (J) Mohan, S. (J) Sharma, L.M. (Cj) Bharucha S.P. (J)

CITATION: 1993 SCR (1) 241 1993 SCC Supl. (3) 181 JT 1993 (1) 360 1993 SCALE (1)162

ACT:

Orissa Forest Service Class II Recruitment Rules, 1959-Rules 5, 9, 16, 24 read with Regulation 12 of Regulation I-Direct Recruit-2 years of training-Whether to count as service under Government-"Recruitment" means whether "appointment"- Seniority of direct recruits-Whether to be reckoned from the date of recruitment.

Orissa Forest Service Class III Recruitment Rules, 1959-Rule 9-Posts of Assistant Conservators-Filling up by promotion and recruitment-Promotions to promotees in excess of quota- Whether justiciable.

Orissa Forest Service Class III Recruitment Rules, 1959- Rules 16,24-Recruitment under 1959 Rules-Whether 1984 Rules and/or Indian Forest Service (Appointment by Promotion) Regulations, 1966 applicable.

Orissa Forest Service Class III Recruitment Rules, 1959- Rules 5, 9-Recruitment in 1981-Gradation List of 1985- Challenging in 1988-Whether proper.

HEAD NOTE:

The Orissa Public Service Commission through an advertisement dated 8.10.64 Invited applications for admission of candidates to a competitive examination for selection to the posts of Orissa Forest Service Class II Service.

The 18 selected candidates were sent for training at the Indian Forest College during the year 1965-67. One of the candidates, who successfully completed the training was appointed to Class 11 Service. He filed a writ petition in the High Court, as he was assigned in the list of gradation a rank junior to the promotees, who were confirmed by Service Commission after his recruitment The High Court held that the recruitment to class II Service was complete only after successful completion of two years' training in the Forest College. The appeals by special leave flied against the High Courts 242 Judgment were dismissed by this Court.

In 1979, the respondent No. 1 (in all the present appeals) was directly recruited to the Orissa State Forest Service Class II by the State Commission. He was appointed as an Assistant Conservator of Forests, after his completion of training for two years at the Forest Service College.

Respondent No. 1 moved the Administrative Tribunal challenging the seniority of the Forest Rangers, who were members of the Orissa Subordinate Forest Service and were promoted as Assistant Conservators of Forests, when the respondent was undergoing his training.

Respondent contended before the Tribunal that the seniority of direct recruits vis-a-vis the promotees required to be decided on the basis of the Orissa Forest Service Class II Recruitment Rules, 1959; that his services should be reckoned from the date of recruitment Itself and not from the date of actual appointment; that the exclusion of the period of two years' training from the purposes of reckoning the seniority was illegal; and that the appointment of the promotees in excess of the quota prescribed by the Rules and in the absence of any specific order of Government providing otherwise was illegal.

Allowing the petition, the Tribunal held that the respondent No.1 (in the present appeals) was entitled to be treated as a direct recruit of 1979 and he be confirmed and promoted on being direct recruit of 1979 and his seniority to be fixed on the basis of being a direct recruit of 1979 within the 2/3rd quota for direct recruits.

The present appeals by special leave were preferred by the aggrieved parties against the judgment of the Tribunal.

The appellant in SLP (C) No. 1604 of 1992 submitted that the respondent No.1 was selected for undergoing superior Forest Service Course at the Forest Service College in 1979; that having regard to the terminology of the order which stated, "he was selected", it could not be held that he could lay a claim to the post; that the Tribunal had gone wrong in its interpretation of the rules that having held that both the direct recruits as well as the promotees were to undergo probation for a period of two years, the period of training for the direct recruit could not count as service; that the ratio of 2/3rd and 1/3rd between direct recruits 243 and promotees did not apply, if the Government provided otherwise; that the Civil List corrected upto 1982 was published in 1985; and that the judgment of the Tribunal resulted in unsettling the settled matters, hence same to be reversed.

The State adopted the arguments of the appellant in SLP (C) No. 1604/92.

The respondent No.1 submitted that recruitment was different from appointment; that when an officer was recruited to Class 11 Service if did not mean that only from the date of appointment his seniority was to be reckoned, that the argument that the period of training to be excluded merely because both the direct recruits as well as the promotees undergo probation was untenable; that when rules specifically prescribed the quota as 2/3rd and 1/3rd, the Government could not wriggle out of the situation that a saving provision was made which was factually not so in this case; that the point relating to laches which was never argued before the Tribunal, could not be raised before the Court.

Allowing the appeals, this court,

HELD, 1.01. The term 'recruitment "connotes and clearly signifies enlistment, acceptance, selection or approval for appointment Certainly, this Is not actual appointment or posting in service. In contradistinction, the word 'appointment' means an actual act of posting a person to a particular office. [253E] 1.02. Recruitment is just an initial process. 'Mat may lead to eventual appointment in service. But, that cannot tantamount to an appointment. No doubt, Rule 5 talks of recruitment to Class 11 Service. [253E] 1.03. Nowhere in the Recruitment Rules of 1959 it is specified that the services of a direct recruit under the Government shall be reckoned from the date of selection in the competitive examination. On the contrary, Regulation 12(c) is very clear that the period of training is not to be reckoned as Government service. [253F] 1.04. Under Regulation 12 the finally selected candidates are required to undergo two years training.

During the period of pendency & consolidated monthly allowance of Rs. 150 as stipend is paid. Under clause (b) of that Regulation he is required to execute a bond provided for 244 in Appendix A. Regulation 12 (c) in unmistakable terms says the period of training will not count as service under Government. Such service will count only from the date of appointment to the service after successful completion of the course of training. [253B-C] 1.05. After the successful completion of training when the appointment order Is issued the direct recruits are put on probation. Similar Is in the case of the promotees.

Both of them undergo probation. [253G] 1.06. The seniority of direct recruits will have to be reckoned only from the date of appointment and not from the date of recruitment. [253G] 2.01. The Government had clearly taken a decision to increase the number of posts to be filled up by promotion in excess of the 1/3rd of total posts in the cadre on administrative grounds connected with nationalisation of Kendu Leaf Trade in 1972-73 in the interest of public due to non availability of direct candidates trained In the Indian Forest College, Dehradun. [256G] 2.02. It is not correct to say that Government have decided that the quota of direct recruitment which will be encroached upon by the promotees will be released as and when direct recruits are available. [256H] 2.03. Hence, to contend that the promotees would obviously have to yield to direct recruits who came in subsequently within their quota and would consequently also not be eligible for seniority above direct recruits, is untenable. [257D] 2.04. ]Me promotions given in excess of 1/3rd quota are valid. There is no justification to push down the promotees in seniority. The promotion in excess of the prescribed quota was necessitated by the exigencies and in the intersest of the public. It is supported by a conscious decision of the Government which is permissible under Rule 5(3). [258D] Keshav Chandra Joshi and Ors. v. Union of India, [1990] Supp. 2 SCR 573 at page 586, distinguished.

Direct Recruit Class II Engineering Officers Association and Ors. v. State of Maharashtra and Ors., [1990] 2 SCR 900 at page 938; SLP (C) No. 1624 of 1988 Disposed of on 18.01.89; CA. Nos. 2051-52 of 1974 Disposed of on 7.1.88, referred to.

245 3.01. By the operation of deeming clause it only enables appointments made under 1959 Rules to be continued under 1984 Rules. Certainly, by the repeal of 1959 Rules It cannot mean all those appointments cease. Nor again, the substantive provision of Rule 16 would govern. Therefore, Rule 24 has no application. [256A-B] 3.02. Since the appointments in question have been made under 1959 Rules, 1984 Rules will be inapplicable. The 1984 Rules, came into force only when they were published in the Official Gazette on December 21, 1984. Explanation under Rule 16 is a substantive provision. Therefore, it cannot be retrospective. As regards Rule 24, the proviso clearly states that the Rules cannot be construed as affecting on invalidating the appointments already made. Therefore, if any right has been acquired or any privilege had accrued that would remain unaltered. Therefore, these appointments which are governed by the 1959 Rules will continue not- withstanding the repeal. [254H, 255A-B] 3.03. Since the appointments in question are regulated under Orissa Forest Service Class 11 Recruitment Rules, the Indian Forest Service (Appointment by Promotion) Regulations of 1966 have no application. The Orissa Rules were framed under proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India and have statutory and binding force. [258F] G.P. Singh: Principles of Statutory Interpretation Fourth Edition 1988, at page 208, referred to.

4.01. There have been laches on the part of the direct recruits in seeking the remedy. When the list was published in 1985 nothing prevented them to approach earlier. This is the point to be put against them. [258G] 4.02. The gradation list has been in operation over several years. There is no reason to unsettle the settled position.

[256E] Direct Recruit Class II Engineering Officers' Association v. State of Maharashtra and others, [1990] 2 SCC 715, referred to.

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal Nos. 185-187 of 1993.

From the Judgment and Order dated 5.8.1991 of the Orissa Ad- ministrative Tribunal, Bhubaneshwar in O.A. No. 679 of 1988.

246 B.A. Mohanty, A Mariarputham, Mrs. Aruna Mathur, Raju Rama- chandran and A.K. Panda for the Appellants.

Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, P.N. Misra, P. Gour, R.P. Wadhwani and C.N. Sreekumar for the Respondents.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by MOHAN, J. Leave granted in all the matters.

All these appeals can be dealt with under a common judgment since they are directed against the judgment and order dated August 5, 1991 passed by the Orissa Administrative Tribunal Bhubaneshwar in Original Application No. 679 of 1988.

Prakash Chandra Misra (Respondent 1 in all these appeals) was directly recruited to the Orissa State Forest Service Class 11 by the Orissa Public Service Commission in the year 1979. After completion of training for two years at Forest Service College, Burnihat, Assam he was appointed as an Assistant Conservator of Forests. He moved the Administrative Tribunal challenging the seniority of the Forest Rangers who were members of Orissa Subordinate Forest Service and were promoted as Assistant Conservator of Forests, between his recruitment and the joining of service after training. According to first respondent, the promotees who were promoted in the years 1981 and 1982 ought to have been assigned a place below him as per recruitment rules. The seniority of direct recruits vis-a-vis the promotees required to be decided on the basis of the Orissa Forest Service Class II Recruitment Rules, 1959.

It was further urged that he was recruited in the year 1979 through Public Service Commission. He had to undergo training for two years and thereafter he was appointed in the year 1981.

Therefore, the short question was whether the respondent was to be assigned seniority from the year 1979 (the year of recruitment) or from the year 1981 (the year of appointment). The Tribunal observed that Rule 9(a) of 1959 Rules read with Rule 6 would point out that the promotee officers were to be on probation for a period of two years like the direct recruits. Such direct recruits were also sent for training to the Forest Training College. The 1959 Rules used the word 'recruited', the 1984 Rules used the word "appointed". These words must be assigned proper meaning.

247 Inasmuch as the direct recruits were to be treated as seniors to promotees 'en bloc' the first respondent must be treated as a recruit of 1979 and ought to be treated as senior to promotees.

The next question that came up for consideration was as to the application of quota rule. On this, the Tribunal held that both in the 1959 Rules as well as in the 1984 Rules, the promotees and direct recruits will be in the proportion of 1/3rd and 2/3rd. In the present case, 1959 Rules being applicable there was no doubt that promotees have substantially encroached upon the quota for direct recruits.

In view of that, promotions which have been made more than the quota prescribed in the rules have to be either adjusted against future vacancies in the promotion quota or reverted.

Such promotions beyond the prescribed quota are illegal.

In view of these findings, the Tribunal held that the first respondent was entitled to be treated (i) as a direct recruit of 1979 and (ii) he shall be confirmed and promoted on the basis of being direct recruit of 1979. His seniority was to be fixed on the basis of being a direct recruit of 1979 within the 2/3rd quota for direct recruits. These directions were to be implemented within six months from the date of the order. On these terms, the petition of the first respondent came to be allowed.

Aggrieved by this judgment, SLP (C) No. 615 of 1992 has come to be preferred by Prafulla Kumar Swain, a promotee (Respondent No. 91 before the Orissa Administrative Tribunal).

SLP (Civil) No. 1604 of 1992 has come to be preferred by Bijay Kishore Mohanty and 10 others (respondents before the Orissa Administrative Tribunal).

The State has preferred SLP (C) No. 4186 of 1992.

Mr. Raiu Ramachandran, learned counsel for the appellant in SLP (C) No. 1604 of 1992 would submit that the first respondent was selected for undergoing superiod Forest Service Course at the Forest Service College, Burnihat, Assam in the year 1979. Having regard to the terminology of the order wh ich says 'he was selected", it cannot be held that he could lay a claim to the post. The Orissa Forest Service Class II Recruitment Rules, 1959 govern the case in question.

The Tribunal had gone wrong in its interpretation of the various 248 rules. First of all, it is incorrect to hold that they are merely administrative instructions. On the contrary, they are rules framed under proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India, as a result of which, they have statutory force. Having held that both the direct recruits as well as the promotees undergo probation for a period of two years, properly speaking, the period of training for the direct recruits could not count as service. That is precisely what is stated in clause (c) of Regulation 12. If under the said Regulation the appointment to service is to commence only after the successful completion of training there is no justification whatever to conclude that the date of recruitment could be the relevant date for the purposes of reckoning the seniority. Recruitment in the submission of the learned counsel would merely mean enlistment or selection. That is why Regulation 13 says the "selected candidates". Even Rules 9 has not been appreciated in its proper perspective.

As regards the ratio of 2/3rd and 1/3rd between direct recruits and promotees the relevant rule that is applicable is Rule 5(3). That sub-rule contains a provision: "Save as otherwise decided by Government". If, therefore, it has been otherwise provided by the Government, this ratio of 2/3rd and 1/3rd does not apply. In other words, there is overriding power vested in the Government. Hence, the ratio is flexible and contemplates a departure whenever the Government otherwise decides. Here again, the Tribunal has gone wrong. In Direct Recruit Class II Engineering Officers' Association and Ors. v. State of Maharashtra and Ors., [1990] 2 SCR 900 at page 938 this Court has taken the view that where the rules permit the authorities to relax the provisions relating to the quota, ordinarily a presumption should be raised that there was such relaxation when there is a deviation from the quota rule. In any event, the placement of Respondents 42 to 94 as per Civil List corrected upto 1982 was published in the year 1985 by the State Government. They are the promotees from amongst the various Rangers in Subordinate Service Class 11 as Assistant Conservator of Forests in 1980. This was at a time when the first respondent was undergoing training at Burnihat, Assam. If really, therefore, the gradation list was published as early as 1985, there is absolutely no justification for the first respondent to approach in the year 1988. The judgment of the Tribunal has resulted in unsettling the settled matters. For these reasons, it is prayed that the order of the Tribunal may be reversed.

Mr. A.K. Panda, learned counsel for the State adopts the arguments 249 of Mr. Raju Ramchandran, learned counsel for the appellant.

Mr. Shanti Bhushan, learned counsel appearing for the first respondent would submit that recruitment is different from appointment. The definition of the service is contained under Rule 3(e) which states "service" means Orissa Forest Service Class 11. The service consists of Officers of Class 11 who are designated as Assistant Conservator of Forests. Rule 5(c) talks of recruitment to Class II. In sub-rule (a) a reference is made to Regulation. What is contemplated hereunder is nothing more than the competitive examination prescribed under Regulation. Therefore, Regulation 12 cannot be pressed into service. When an officer is recruited to Class 11 Service it does not mean that only from the date of appointment his seniority is to be reckoned. The very fact that his recruitment to the service is enough. The argument of the other side that the period of training will have to be excluded merely because both the direct recruits as well as the promotees undergo probation is untenable. The question is, whether the direct recruits who are definitely superior could be pushed lower down to the promotees. In Service Law the direct recruits are always treated on a better footing than the promotees.

Even though the relevant years of recruitment and promotion of persons involved are essentially of the years 1979 to 1984, yet it is 1984 Rules which will govern.

Rule 24 of the 1984 Rules contains the repeal and saving clauses. That says that all the officers who were appointed prior to the repeal shall be deemed to have been appointed under the provisions of 1984 Rules. If that be so, the aforesaid Explanation to Rule 16 must apply. Thus it is clear as on today the seniority by the 1984 Rules. The same has clearly provided that the date of appointment of direct recruits for the purposes of seniority will be deemed to be 2 years prior to the date of appointment to a working post.

Since the normal period of training is 2 years this cannot but mean that the date of appointment of direct recruits for the purposes of seniority will be the date of selection. If the seniority is not a vested right it is well-open to the Government to alter the same by making a departure from 1959 and providing for the same in the amended 1984 Rules.

Learned counsel draws our attention to Indian Forest Service (Appointment by Promotion) Regulations of 1966. In the said Regulations, Regulation 5 in its Explanation 11 states that in computing the period of 250 continuous service the period of training which an officer had undergone is to be included. If that is the intention for Grade I Service, certainly a different intention cannot be spelt out under the 1959 Rules for Grade 11 Service.

This is also evident when the 1984 Rules are looked at.

There the rules clearly lay down in Rules 16 in its Explanation that the training period is not to be excluded.

When rules specifically prescribe the quota as 1/3rd the Government cannot wriggle out of the situation that a saving provision had been made which is factually not so in this case. For this purpose, the Government has relied upon the proceedings held on 5.1.80 and 7.1.80. The proceedings of Departmental Promotion Committee will not constitute the Government order. All Government orders must be issued under the signature of the Minister according to the Rules of Business. In the present case, no such order of the Minister regarding the alteration of quota is produced. The statutory rules lay down a clear legislative policy with regard to fixation of quota so that the brightest talent be made available for the service. As to what would be the consequence of violating a statutory rule has come to be laid down in Keshav Chandra Joshi and Ors. v. Union of India, [1990] Supp. 2 SCR 573 at page 586. That ratio squarely applies to the facts of the case.

The point relating to laches was never argued before- the Tribunal. Therefore, the appellant cannot be allowed to argue at this stage.

We will now proceed to set out the necessary factual background. The Orissa Public Service Commission through an advertisement dated 8.10.64 invited applications from open market for admission of candidates to a competitive examination for selection to the posts of Orissa Forest Service Class II service. 18 candidates were selected. They were sent for training at Indian Forest College, Dehradun during the year 1965-67. Only on successful completion of the training they could be appointed to Class 11 Service.

One of the candidates who was successful in completion of training and who received the posting order 233/67 came forward with a writ petition before the Orissa High Court that he had been assigned in the list of gradation a rank junior to the promotees who were confirmed by Service Commission after the recruitment of the petitioner. The scope of 1959 Rules came up for consideration and the High Court concluded that the recruitment to Class II Service was complete only after successful 251 completion of two years' training in the Forest College.

Relief was granted on that basis. That came up in appeal to this Court in Civil Appeal Nos. 2051-52 of 1974 State of Orissa v. Manoranjan Rath & Ors. By an order dated 7th of January, 1988, finding that there was no ground to interfere with the judgment of the High Court, the appeals came to be dismissed.

While the matter stood thus one of the directly recruited officers (Prakash Chandra Misra, respondent No.1) filed a petition before the Tribunal challenging the seniority. He contended that the promotees who were promoted in the year 1981- 82 ought to have been assigned a place lower than him as per recruitment rules. Two main contentions were:

1. His services should be reckoned from the date of recruitment itself and not from the date of actual appointment. Therefore, the exclusion of the period of two years' training for the purposes of reckoning the seniority was illegal.

2. The promotees had been appointed in excess of the quota which the rules had prescribed. There is no specific order of Government providing otherwise.

The Tribunal accepted these contentions and held that the petitioner before it being a direct recruit of the year 1979 must be treated as such and had to be confirmed and promoted on the basis of being a direct recruit of the year 1979.

This should be done within the 2/3rd quota for direct recruits. Accordingly the petition was allowed. It is under these circumstances, special leave petitions have come to be preferred. Having regard to the arguments two points arise for our determination:

(1) Whether the direct recruits are to be considered as recruited in the year in which they were selected by the Service Commission and sent for training into the Forest College or in the year in which they were actually appointed to a working post on completion of training? (2) Whether there was a quota fixed for promotees in the Orissa Forest Service during the relevant years.

Even at the outset, we may point out that the Tribunal has grossly erred in holding that the Orissa Service Class 11 Recruitment Rules of 1959 are mere administrative instructions. On the contrary, these rules were framed under the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution and they are 252 statutory in character.

Section 3(e) of 1959 Rules says 'Service" means the Orissa Forest Service Class II. Rule 5 reads as under:

"5. (1) Recruitment to Class II service shall be made (a)by direct recruitment on the result of competitive examination as per Regulation-I appended to this rule;

(b)by promotion as per the Regulation 11 appended to this rule governing promotions to the Orissa Forest Service, Class II;

(2)Government shall decide from time to time the number of vacancies in class II Service to be filled by direct recruitment and by promotion.

(3)Save as otherwise decided by Government, number of posts of the service filled up by promotion shall not exceed one-third of the total number of such posts in the cadre." Rule 9 is as follows:

"9(a) When officers are recruited by promotion and by direct recruitment during the same year the directly recruited members shall be considered senior to the promoted members irrespective of their dates of appointment.

(b)In case of promotion, seniority may be determined in accordance with the positions the promoted officers held in the recommendation of Public Service Commission made according to merit.

(c)In case of direct recruitment, seniority may be determined according to the achievements in the examination in the Forest College." Besides these rules there are also Regulations dealing with direct recruitment. It may be stated that the Regulations prescribe the condition of eligibility (Regulation 1(2)), educational qualification (Regulation I(6)), written test by means of a competitive examination (Regulation 18(a)) and 253 a viva voice test. The candidates are to be summoned for viva voice test on securing the minimum qualifying marks prescribed by the Commission. Thereafter the Commission prepares a list of successful candidates provided they are found fit in the physical test as prescribed under Regula- tion 1(5). The fist of successful candidates is to be forwarded to the Government for approval.

Regulation 12 is important for our purposes. Under that Regulation the finally selected candidates are required to undergo two years training. During the period of pendency a consolidated monthly allowance of Rs. 150 as stipend is paid. Under clause (b) of that Regulation he is required to execute a bond provided for in Appendix A. Regulation 12(c) in unmistakable terms says the period of training will not count as service under Government. Such service will count only from the date of appointment to the service after successful completion of the course of training. (Emphasis supplied). We must give full meaning and effect to this Regulation.

At this stage, we will proceed to decide as to the meaning and effect of the words "recruitment" and "appointment".

The term "recruitment" connotes and clearly signifies enlistment, acceptance, selection or approval for appointment. Certainly, this is not actual appointment or posting in service. In contradistinction the word "appointment" means an actual act of posting a person to a particular office.

Recruitment is just an initial process. That may lead to eventual appointment in the service. But, that cannot tantamount to an appointment. No doubt, Rule 5 talks of recruitment to Class II Service. We consider these are two sources of recruitment. Nowhere in the Recruitment Rules of 1959 it is specified that the services of a direct recruit under the Government shall be reckoned from the date of selection in the competitive examination. On the contrary, Regulation 12(c) is very clear that the period of training is not to be reckoned as Government service. It is admitted before us that after the successful completion of training when the appointment order is issued the direct recruits are put on probation. Similar is in the case of the promotees.

Both of them undergo probation. Therefore, in the light of these provisions it is not possible for us to accept the contention advanced on behalf of the direct recruits that their seniority must be reckoned from the date of their recruitment.

This is why Mr. Shanti Bhushan, learned counsel for the direct 254 recruits, respondents, would urge that 1984 Rules would govern. Rule 16 in Explanation provides thus:

"Explanation For the purpose of clause (a), the year of appointment of direct recruits shall be deemed to be the year arrived at after deducting two years from the date of successful completion of the training in the Forest College." He would urge that in view of Rule 24 all the appointments must be deemed to have been made under these Rules. Rule 24 reads thus:

"24. All rules and orders corresponding to these rules and in force immediately before the commencement of these rules are hereby repealed:

Provided that nothing in these rules shall be construed as affecting or invalidating the appointments already made or orders issued in accordance with the provisions of any rules or orders in force immediately before the commencement of these rules and that all such appointments and orders shall continue in force and shall, as far as may be, be deemed to have been made and issued under the appropriate provisions of these rules:

Provided further that Government may, by order, direct that any of the provisions of these rules shall not apply to the Officers already appointed under the rules and orders in force immediately before the commencement of these rules or shall apply to them with such modifications as the Government may specify in that order.' Therefore, according to him, the benefit of Explanation to Rule 16 quoted above must apply. We find it impossible to accept this contention for the following reasons:

1.Since the appointments in question have been made under 1959 Rules, 1984 Rules will be inapplicable.

2.The 1984 Rules came into force only when they were published in the Official Gazette on December 21, 1984.

255

3. Explanation under Rule 16 is a substantive provision.

Therefore, it cannot be retrospective.

4. As regards Rule 24, the proviso clearly states that the Rules cannot be construed as affecting or invalidating the appointments already made.

Therefore, if any right has been acquired or any privilege had accrued that would remain unaltered. Therefore, these appointments which are governed by the 1959 Rules will continue notwithstanding the repeal. Clauses (a) and (e) of Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 also point this position:

6. Effect, of repeal: Where this Act, or any (Central Act) or Regulation made after the commencement of this Act, repeals any enactment hitherto made, or hereafter to be made, then, unless a different intention appears, the repeal shall not (a) revive anything not in force or existing at the time at which the repeal takes effect;

or (b) (c) (d) (e) effect any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any such right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment as aforesaid." Coming to the deeming clause, that creates a legal fiction;

the Court is to ascertain for what purpose the fiction is created. In Justice G.P. Singh Principles of Statutory Interpretation (Fourth Edition 1988) at page 208 it is stated thus:

"As was observed by James, LJ. : 'When a statute enacts that something shall be deemed to have been done, which in fact and in truth was not done, the court is entitled and bound to ascertain for what purposes and between what person the statutory fiction is to be resorted to'. 'When a legal fiction is created', stated S.R. Das, J. "for what purposes, one is led to 256 ask at once, is it so created?" Therefore, by the operation of deeming clause it only enables appointments made under 1959 Rules to be continued under 1984 Rules. Certainly, by the repeal of 1959 Rules it cannot mean all those appointments cease. Nor again, the substantive provision of Rule 16, as stated above. Would govern. Therefore, Rule 24 has no application. Thus, we conclude that the seniority of direct recruits will have to be reckoned only from the date of appointment and not from the date of recruitment.

The gradation list which was impugned by the first respondent before the Tribunal was prepared in pursuance of the order of this Court read with the aforementioned judgment of the Orissa High Court and this is so stated in a letter dated 4th January, 1989 written by the Deputy Secretary to the Government of Orissa, Forest, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Department, Bhubaneshwar to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Orissa, Bhubaneshwar (Annexure- II to the Special Leave Petition in S.L.P. (C) No. 1604 of 1992). That this gradation list had been framed upon the aforesaid basis also does not appear to have been brought to the attention of the tribunal.

The gradation list has been in operation over several years.

We see no reason to unsettle the settled position. In this behalf we draw support from the judgment of this Court in Direct Recruit Class-II Engineering Officers' Association v.

State of Maharashtra and others., [1990] 2 SCC 715. We may also note that though the same question was before this Court a little before the petition was made by the first respondent before the Tribunal, no effort was made by the first respondent to intervene and place before this Court his point of view. It is inconceivable that he would not have known that the same question was before this Court.

Turning to the quota rule the records reveal that the Government had clearly taken a decision to increase the number of posts to be filled up by promotion in excess of the 1/3rd of total posts in the cadre on administrative grounds connected with nationalisation of Kendu Leaf Trade in 1972-73 in the interest of public due to non-availability of direct candidates trained in the Indian Forest College, Dehradun. It is not correct to say that Government have decided that the quota of direct recruitment which will be encroached upon by the promotees will be released as and when direct recruits are available. In fact, it was decided that the 4 direct 257 candidates who were by then under diploma course Training in forestry at Dehradun in the event of their coming out successful during 1974 from the training College may be appointed and in consequence, the junior most promotee officers whom were appointed on ad hoc basis as aforesaid pending concurrence of Orissa Public Service Commission will have to be reverted to make room for them. No promotion to Orissa Forest Service Class 11 could be made on regular basis without obtaining concurrence of the Orissa Public Service Commission as per Clause 2(h) of Regulation 11 appended to the Orissa Forest Class II Recruitment Rules, 1959. In view of the urgency to implement the Kendu Leaf Scheme in 1973, 39 Forest Rangers were appointed to Class 11 Forest Service on an 'ad hoc' basis for a period of six months or till concurrence of the Commission is received for their final appointment. The 39 Forest Ranger had already been promoted to Orissa Forest Service Class 11 on regular basis on the recommendation of the Orissa Public Service Commission. In view of this, it is not correct to say in that the decision taken by Government for promoting excess promotees in the year 1972 was only to promote them on an ad hoc basis within that quota. Hence, to contend that the promotees would obviously have to yield to direct recruits who came in subsequently within their quota and would consequently also not be eligible for seniority above direct recruits, is untenable.

We may also add that there were earlier proceedings in Transfer Application No.147 of 1986 before the Orissa Administrative Tribunal. The decision was rendered on 3.7.87. SLP (C) No. 1624 of 1.988 filed against the said decision was dismissed by this Court on 18.1.89. There was also an application, OJ.C. No. 588 of 1972 before the Orissa High Court in Manoranjan Rath v. State of Orissa and others.

The decision was rendered on 10.6.74. Against the said decision Civil Appeal Nos. 2051-52 of 1974 were preferred to this Court which were dismissed on 7.1.88. The Tribunal in the above judgment had held on perusal of the departmental file that the Government had taken decision to increase the number of posts to be filled up by promotion on administrative grounds. This was necessitated because of the nationalisation of Kendu Leaf Trade. Action to fill up the posts by promotion of Forest Rangers in excess of 1/3rd of the total posts in the cadre was taken in pursuance of the decision of the Government. Though the actual decision of the Government is not produced before us yet the proceedings of the meetings of the Departmental Committee held on 5.1.80 and 7.1.80 to select Forest Rangers suitable for promotion took note of 258 Rule 5(3) which contains the saving clause.

"Save as otherwise decided by Government, number of posts of the service filled up by promotion shall not exceed one- third of the total number of such posts in the cadre." These proceedings speak volumes. The proceedings were given effect to by promotions. Such promotions in excess of the prescribed quota had to be made since no more directly recruited candidates were available during that year. The Government did not want its work to be hampered by allowing the posts were to remain vacant. While seeking the concurrence of Orissa Public Service Commission to the decision taken by the Departmental Committee held on 5.1.80 and 7.1.80, the proceedings of the Committee explain the circumstances under which the Government decision was taken.

From this point of view, we find the decision in Keshav Chandra Joshi's case (supra) has no application here.

Therefore, the promotions given in excess of 1/3rd quota are valid. There is no justification to push down the promotees in seniority. The promotion in excess of the prescribed quota was necessitated by the exigencies and in the interest of the public. It is supported by a conscious decision of the Government which is permissible under Rule 5(3).

Therefore, we reject the arguments advanced on behalf of the direct recruits in this regard.

A reference was made to the Indian Forest Service (Appointment by Promotion) Regulations, 1966, particularly Regulation 5. It is also urged that from the post of Class 11, promotion is to be made to Class 1. We are of the view that since the appointments in question are regulated under Orissa Forest Service Class II Recruitment Rules, the said Regulations of 1966 have no application. Further, as pointed out above, the Orissa Rules were framed under proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India and have statutory and binding force.

Now comes the proverbial last straw on the camel's back.

There have been laches on the part of the direct recruits in seeking the remedy. When the list was published in 1985 nothing prevented them to approach earlier. This is the point to be put against them.

That this position was known to the direct recruit (Prakash Chandra Mishra) is clear from paragraph 18 of his petition before the Tribunal. It 259 reads thus. :

16. Therefore, placement of Respondent Nos. 42 to 94 as per Civil List corrected upto 1982 published in the year 1985 by the State Government who are promotees from amongst the Forest Rangers in Subordinate Service to Class II Service as Assistant Conservator of Forests in the year 1980 when this applicant was undergoing training at Burnihat, Assam, is patently illegal and an act without jurisdiction by the State Government of Orissa.' (Emphasis supplied) We do not want to unsettle settled matters which will lead to several complications.

In view of the foregoing discussion, we set aside the judgment of the Tribunal. The appeals will stand allowed.

However, there shall be no order as to costs.

V.P.R. Appeals allowed.

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