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Union of India Vs. B. Jayaraman [1993] INSC 283 (13 May 1993)

Yogeshwar Dayal (J) Yogeshwar Dayal (J) Kuldip Singh (J)

CITATION: 1993 SCR (3) 712 1994 SCC Supl. (1) 95 JT 1993 (3) 657 1993 SCALE (2)879

ACT:

HEAD NOTE:

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by YOGESHWAR DAYAL, J.- These six appeals have been filed against the decision of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Madras Bench, dated August 22, 1989 while disposing of Original Application Nos. 145 to 150 of 1987. Those were filed seriatim by B. Jayaraman; A. Kanakasena Rao; M. Venkatachalam; A. Sherfudeen; K. Viswanathan and P. Madhavan Adiyodi. The respondents in all these six matters before the Tribunal were the same namely, respondent 1 was Union of India whereas respondents 2 to 13 were the erstwhile Secretarial Assistants promoted as Superintendents Grade II and further promoted as Superintendents Grade 1 in the Secretariat of the Government of Pondicherry and governed by the Government of Pondicherry (Group 'C' - Non-Gazetted Ministerial Posts) Recruitment Rules, 1981 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules').

2.The petitioners before the Tribunal had challenged the promotion of respondents 2 to 13 therein who were promoted from Secretarial Assistants to Superintendents Grade 11 and further promoted as Superintendents Grade 1 before them in spite of the fact that the petitioners had already been working as Superintendents Grade 11 prior to the promotion of erstwhile Assistants as Superintendents Grade 11. The promotion of respondents before the Tribunal was alleged to be based on tentative seniority list wherein respondent 1 had included the feeder service rendered by the Assistants between January 1, 1973 and July 31, 1981 for computing the seniority in the grade of Superintendent Grade 11. The plea of the petitioners before the Tribunal was that from August 1, 1981 respondents 2 to 13 who were Assistants and were in a distinctly lower 97 scale of pay as compared to the applicants, they could not be promoted to the post of Superintendent Grade 1 before the petitioners. The Tribunal allowed the applications, O.A. Nos. 145 to 150 of 1987 and held:

"It appears to us that there has been some confusion between a liberal provision which has been deliberately made for conferring eligibility for consideration for promotion to the next higher post with reckoning of the period of service rendered in the post of Assistant for the purpose of counting seniority in the post of Superintendent, Grade

11. The tentative seniority lists based on which promotions of respondents 2 to 13 have been made as Superintendents Grade 1 are based on the application of an erroneous principle of determining seniority which is not backed b y any statutory provision. That has led to a situation where persons promoted to a higher grade of Superintendent Grade 11 before the Assistants and in which posts they were also confirmed, are being placed below respondent 2 onwards." 3.The Tribunal accordingly set aside the promotions of respondents 2 to 13 beforeit contained in various orders of the Government of Pondicherry dated August7, 1986; August 20, 1986; September 1, 1986 and November 17, 1986.

Respondent 1 was further directed to prepare the seniority list in the grade of Superintendent Grade 11 on the basis of the length of service rendered in that grade and thereafter, all the eligible persons may be considered for promotion to the post of Superintendent Grade 1 and that should include persons like respondents 2 to 13 before it who would get the benefit of service rendered by them as Assistant between January 1, 1973 to November 30, 1981 for determining the period of eligibility and not for the purpose of seniority in the cadre of Superintendent Grade II.

4.Aggrieved by the order of the Tribunal the Union of India had preferred the present appeals.

5.It appears the petitioners before the Tribunal were aggrieved by the grant of benefit of service rendered during the period January 1, 1973 to July 31, 1981 by those who were working in the grade of Assistants towards their seniority in the grade of Superintendent Grade II.

6.For appreciating the submissions of the learned counsel for the respective parties we may give a statement showing the dates of appointments in various grades and ranking assigned in respect of the petitioners and respondents 2 to 13 in O.A. Nos. 145 to 150 of 1987 before the Tribunal:

Name of the Date of Appointment Official Seniority in Asstt. Supdt.(NS) Supdt.Supdt. Supdt. Supdt. Supdt. Gr. Gr.II Gr.1 Gr.II Gr.1 II Petitioners B. Jayaraman ---- 2.8.731.8.81 13.10.86 104 189 (Applicant in O.A.145/87) A. Kanakasena ---- 10.12.73 1.8.81 17.11.86 113 197 Rao (Applicant in O.A. 146/ 87) 98 M. Venkatachalam ---- 2.8.73 1.8.81 13.10.86 103 188 (Applicant in O.A. 147/ 87) A. Sherfudeen ---- 30.8.78 1.8.81 7.9.87 140 Not applicant in O.A. Assign- 148/ 87) ed K. Vishwanathan ---- 7.4.77 1.8.81 20.3.87 126207 (Applicant in O.A. 149/87) P. Madhavan Adiyodi--- 10.2.76 1.8.81 17.12.86 119201 (Applicant in O.A. 150/ 87) Respondents V. Dhandapani 6.11.64 not 26.5.82 7.8.86 182 174 (R-2) appointed K.C. Kumaran 8.12.64 -do- 14.5.82 7.8.86 184176 (R-3) G. Ranganathan 11.3.65 -do- 13.1.82 7.8.86 186177 (R-4) S. Pushparaj 25.5.65 -do- 13.1.82 7.8.86 187178 R-5) K. Meenakshi 9.5.67 -do- 9.7.83 7.8.86 208179 (R-6) G. Radha-Kri- 19.5.67 -do- 12.1.827.8.86 188180 shan(R-7) S. Sethuraman 23.11.68 -do- 12.1.82 20.8.86 190 183 (R-8) S. Felixraj 7.4.69 -do- 12.1.8222.8.86 191 184 (R-9) S. Kuppusamy 4.4.69 -do- 12.1.82 1.9.86 193185 (R-10) R. Chandrase- 29.1.70 -do- 22.8.83 1.9.86 212 186 karan (R-11) J. Pandurangan 9.3-74 -do- 21.6.82 17.11.86 195 198 (R-12) S. Sundarasan Nov. -do- 30.9.86 17.11.86 183 175 1964

7. The scales of pay for various periods for the posts of Assistant, Superintendent Grade 11 and Superintendent Grade 1 may also be noticed:

------------------------------------------------------------ NAME OF THE POST SCALE OF PAY Pre-revised (prior Revised (w.e.f. On and from to 1973) 1.1.73) 1.8.1981 ------------------------------------------------------------ Assistant 210-425 425-700 425-700 Supdt. Grade II 325-475 (who 550-750 Supdt. (N.S.) have passed Hr. 550-750 Accounts Test) 270-435 425-700 (for others) (for others) Supdt. Grade 1 350-550 550-900 550-900

8. It may be noticed that most of the respondents before the Tribunal were working in the grade of Rs 425-700 when they were promoted to the post of Superintendent Grade 11 in the pay scale of Rs 550-750. It is thus clear that on 99 general principles of service jurisprudence the Assistants having been promoted to the grade of Superintendent Grade II after those already working Superintendent Grade 11 would naturally rank junior to them. The confusion in the Government appears to have been created in view of the note and the proviso occurring in Schedule VII of the Rules relating to the recruitment to the post of Superintendent Grade 1. In column 11 thereof the recruitment is provided by 'Promotion' from among the Superintendent Grade 11 who have completed five years of service in the said post. There is a note and the proviso to the following effect in column 11:

"Note.- For computing the five years service, the service rendered in the post of Superintendent (Non-Secretariat) and the service rendered after 1st January 1973 and up to 31st July 1981 in the post of Assistant shall be taken into account:

Provided that the Superintendents (Non- Secretariat) in service as on 31st December 1972 shall en bloc be seniors to Assistants in service on that date and the Superintendents (Non-Secretariat) and Assistants appointed on or after 1st January 1973 and up to 31st July 1981 shall rank inter se with reference to their dates of appointment in the respective posts."

9. It is clear that the note merely allows the erstwhile Assistants, who were promoted to the post of Superintendent Grade II, for purposes of counting the period of five years' service as Superintendent Grade 11, to include their service rendered as Assistants after January 1, 1973 to July 31, 198

1. This note is for no purpose other than for giving them eligibility for consideration for promotion from the cadre of Superintendent Grade 11 to the cadre of Superintendent Grade 1. The proviso again is very clear when it says that Superintendents (Non-Secretariat) in service as on December 31, 1972 shall en bloc be seniors to Assistants in service on that date and the Superintendents (Non-Secretariat) and Assistants appointed on or after January 1, 1973 and up to July 31, 1981 shall rank inter se with reference to the dates of appointment in their respective posts. All the Superintendents in Grade 11 who were appointed after July 31, 1981 would naturally rank in the seniority on the basis of respective dates of appointment as Superintendent Grade 11.

10. We are thus in complete agreement with the reasonings and conclusion of the Tribunal and it is declared that the note in column 11 is only for purposes of giving eligibility to the erstwhile Assistants working as Superintendents Grade II for purposes of being considered for promotion to the post of Superintendent Grade 1 and not for the purpose of seniority at all. There is no rule of seniority vis-a-vis for (sic) promotees to Superintendent Grade II with effect from August 1, 1981 for calculating seniority and normal rule of service jurisprudence of length of service will apply.

11. With these observations the appeals fail and are dismissed with no order as to costs.

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