Rao Vs. The Secretary to Government & Ors  INSC 469 (7 September 1995)
K. Ramaswamy, K. Hansaria B.L. (J)
1996 SCC (7) 51 JT 1995 (7) 34 1995 SCALE (5)459
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 8417-18 & 8419 OF 1995 (Arising out of SLP (C)
Nos.7050-7051/95 and 9506/95)
O R D
We have heard the appellant in person, who prepared the case thoroughly and
argued very neatly and meticulously, point by point, making analytical
presentation of the case with reference to various orders issued by the
Government and cleared the clogs crept in the controversy.
Government of Andhra Pradesh had obtained from Accountant General, A.P., the
services of Divisional Accountants, SAS Accountants and SAS passed Auditors on
deputation to the State Government as Divisional Accountants. A three member
Committee appointed to advice the Government on the desirability and
feasibility to absorb them in the State service, had recommended for
consideration thereof, in G.O. Ms. 304 Finance and Planning, dated November 20, 1979, Government had decided to take
them over from the administrative control of the Accountant General, A.P.
subject to the terms and conditions stated therein.
cadre of the Divisional Accountants was constituted with the Finance and
Planning Department of the Government to exercise administrative control. It
called for options from them which were subject to their accepting service
conditions of the State Government and the State's scale of pay. Admittedly,
all the deputationists had opted for and the service was constituted w.e.f. January 1, 1980. In paragraph 8 thereof it was
stated that :
inter se seniority of Divisional Accountants, Selection Grade Divisional
Accountants and Section Officers/S.A.S. Divisional Accountants borne on the
Accountant General's cadre of Divisional Test passed Divisional Accountants
taken over to the State Service will be fixed in the State cadre based on their
inter se seniority as Divisional Accountants in the Accountant-General's
gradation list on the date of taking over.
to the posts of Divisional Accountants, Grade-I shall be made based on
seniority-cum-merit. The present pay and Dearness Allowance actually drawn by
the S.A.S. Divisional Accountants/Section Officers under the Accountant-General
on the date of take over will be protected in the case of those opting to State
Service, when fixing their pay in the State D.A's scale of pay admissible to
them according to their seniority in the gradation list of Divisional
Accountants. Their fixation of pay in the State D.A.'s scale will be made on
the basis of their notional pay in the Central D.A.'s scale which they would
have drawn but for their promotion as Section Officer/S.A.S. Divisional
Accountants under the Accountant- General. The difference between the pay and
dearness allowance drawn by them under the Accountant-General and the pay and
dearness allowance admissible to them in the State scale will be given as
personal pay to be absorbed in future increments." G.O. Ms. No. 290 dated
11.11.1982 was issued by the Government exercising the power under proviso to
Article 309 of the Constitution, constituting the A.P. Divisional Accountants
Service under the A.P. Divisional Accountants Officers Service Rules, 1980
which came into force w.e.f.
1, 1980. In terms of
G.O. Ms. No. 304, the gradation was as Divisional Accountants Grade-I and
Divisional Accountants, Grade-II. The Divisional Accountant Grade-I is a
promotional post from Divisional Accountant Grade-II, and Divisional Accountant
Grade II are to be filled up by direct recruitment from open market. In Note
(1) thereof, it was stated that "all the Divisional Accountants Officers
borne on the Accountant General Office, who exercised their option to come over
to the State service, shall be deemed to have been taken over on 1.1.80 to the
State Divisional Accountants officers service against grade I or grade II, as
the case may be." In Rule 6, the special qualifications, method of recruitment
and qualifications have been mentioned as under:
Method of Qualifications
------------------------------------------------------------ Divisional By
promotion shall have put in Accounts service of not less officers than 3 years
as Gr.I Divisional Accountants Officer, Grade-II (Category -II) and must have
passed the `Divis -ional Test'.
not concerned with Category II. However, it is relevant to mention about that.
With regard to existing S.A.S. passed Divisional Accounts Officers, Accountants
or SAS passed Auditors under the administrative control of the Accountant
General, A.P. prior to the take over of the cadre by the State Government, they
were directed to reckon their total service under the category as Divisional
Accounts Officers, Grade II.
G.O. Ms. No. 314 Planning and Finance, dated 30.11.1982 statutory orders under
proviso of Article 309 were issued accepting the options given by the deputationists
and taken over as Divisional Accounts Officers Grade I and Grade II, as the
case may be. The Notification reads thus :
Senior Grade and Junior Grade Divisional Accountants, who opted to the State
Service consequent to the take- over of the cadre of Divisional Accountants by
the State Government from the Accountant General, Andhra Pradesh as shown in
the Annexure are deemed to have been absorbed into the State Service subject to
the terms and conditions laid down in G.O.Ms. No. 304, Finance and Planning
(Finance Wing. WA.1) Department, dated 20.11.1979." Second paragraph
thereof states that Senior Grade Divisional Accountants and the Junior Grade
Divisional Accountants shown in the Annexure to the Order are deemed to have
been absorbed into the State Government Service in the posts shown against
their names w.e.f. 1.1.1980, subject to the terms laid down in G.O.Ms. No.304.
In sequel thereof, statutory rules were issued in G.O.Ms. No.139, dated
30.4.1982, constituting AP Accounts Service, stating therein that Grade I
Divisional Accountant is a feeder post for appointment by promotion to the post
of Assistant Pay and Accounts Officer. For promotion as officers in Category 3,
i.e., Assistant Pay and Accounts Officer, the proviso says that the service
rendered as Senior Grade Divisional Accountant after promotion from Grade-II shall
alone be taken into account by the State Government for reckoning the
qualifying service for promotion as Assistant Pay and Accounts Officer.
reading of these statutory orders vis-a-vis the administrative decisions taken
by the Government in G.O.Ms. No.304 would clearly establish that the deputationists,
who have been designated as Grade I and Grade II Officers and given their
unconditional options for absorption into the State Service, were absorbed in
the "Divisional Accountant Service" constituted by the Government as
Gr. I and Gr. II officers. The previous service rendered as either Grade I or
Grade II officers has been reckoned for the purpose of their respective
eligibility to the promotion to the higher cadre.
for promotion as Assistant pay and Accounts Officer in category III of A.P.
Accounts Service, the qualifying period of service is as Grade I Divisional
Accountants in A.P.
Division Service. They must have passed Divisional Accounts test and after
promotion as Divisional Accounts Grade-I must have put in the minimum
question is whether the appellant is senior to some of the contesting
respondents. The contention of the appellant is that by virtue of his passing
the Divisional Accountants test earlier, though the respondents were holding
posts carrying higher pay, all of them cannot be reckoned as seniors to him as
some of them had passed this later. On the other hand, their seniority requires
to be reckoned from the date of their passing Divisional Accountant test. Since
some had passed the test later to him they are juniors to him.
contended on behalf of the respondents that in G.O.Ms. No.304, in particular para
8, it is clearly mentioned that the S.A.S. Accounts Officer/S.A.S. passed
Auditors, who held the higher scale of pay since declared to be entitled to
Grade-I, they are entitled, though some of them passed the Divisional
Accountant test later to the appellant, to be promoted as Grade-I Divisional
Accountants and some of them had been so promoted, and so, they cannot be made
juniors to the appellant. At this juncture we may make it clear that respondent
Nos. 3 to 6, 10 and 11 had passed Divisional Accounts test earlier to the
Nos. 7,9,12 and 13 had admittedly passed Divisional Accountant test subsequent
to the appellant. It is also not in dispute that the appellant was promoted as
a Divisional Accountant Grade I on 6.7.1987 while respondent Nos. 7, 9, 12 and
13 were promoted on July
question, therefore, is who, among them, is senior to each another. Prior to
taking over on January
1, 1980, admittedly,
all of them were governed by the Manual of the Accountant General issued by the
CAG of India. Chapter V deals with Subordinate Accounts Service which consists
of the confirmed apprentices, SAS Accountants on probation, Accounts Clerks in
their office and the Divisional Accountants under their control. Para 320 of the Manual prescribes the method of
computation of seniority on passing the Divisional Accountants test which reads
Clerks recruited from sources (1) and (2) who pass the Divisional Test
Examination (paragraph 322) are placed on a waiting list but allowed to retain
their liens on their substantive appointments till they are confirmed in the
Divisional Accountants' Cadre. Their relative seniority will be determined with
reference to the date of their passing the Divisional Test Examination (the
Viva-Voce part of it in the case of S.A.S. Examination passed clerks). The
Divisional Accountants who pass the same Divisional Test will be senior to all
the Divisional Accountants who pass in subsequent tests. The inter se seniority
of Divisional Accountants who pass the same test will be decided on the basis
of the marks obtained by them in the aggregate in the Divisional Test
Examination." The rest of the para being not material for the purpose of
this case is omitted.
would thus be clear that the S.A.S. Accountants on probation, Divisional
Accountants and Clerks who passed the SAS examinations are the feeder posts for
the Subordinate Accountants Service. Similarly, in the statutory rules issued,
referred to earlier, for Grade I posts of the Divisional Accountants, Grade II
is the feeder post. Passing of Divisional Accounts test is a pre-condition for
promotion as Divisional Accounts Grade I. Paragraph 320 expressly prescribes
that the date of passing Division Accounts test is the criteria for
determination of inter se seniority.
the SAS Accounts Officers or the clerks who passed the SAS examinations had
held higher scale of pay or higher responsibility, to determine their inter se
seniority, date of passing Divisional Accounts test is the criterion. The inter
se seniority shall be reckoned with reference to the date on which the respective
candidate passed the Accounts test.
view of the admitted position that the appellant had passed the Accounts test
earlier to the aforesaid respondents, he is entitled to be treated as senior to
these respondents in the Grade II post of Divisional Accountant, in the list
sent by the Accountant General for absorption in the Divisional Accountants
Service constituted by the State Government. The factum of drawing higher pay
or holding higher responsibilities became irrelevant due to operation of the
rules. The Government, therefore, is directed to reckon inter se seniority with
reference to the date of his passing Accounts test and inter se seniority
should be determined in the respective Annexures prepared by the State
accordingly. The reliance on G.O.Ms. No.449 dated 16.9.1983 for upgradation
into Divisional Accountants Grade I does not have any relevance as regards the
service under the Divisional Accountants Service Rules of the P.W.D.
appeal is accordingly allowed but in the circumstances without costs.
C.A. NOS.8417-18 & 8419/95 @ SLP (C)
NOS.7050-51/95 AND 9506/95
view of the judgment rendered above in C.A.
4172 of 1995, the appeals are allowed. No costs.