Nigam & Ors Vs. Narinder Kumar Agarwal  INSC 162 (31 January 1996)
M.M.Punchhi, M.M.Paripoornan, K.S.(J)
1996 AIR 1661 1996 SCC (2) 363 JT 1996 (1) 641 1996 SCALE (1)624
O R D
appellant-U.P. Jal Nigam was formed under the U.P. Water Supply and Sewerage
Act, 1975. Consequentially, the persons working in the Local Self Government
Engineering Department of U.P. were transferred to the appellant's
administrative control. In exercise of power under Section 97 of the Act, U.P.Jal
Nigam Engineers (Public Health Branch) Services Regulations, l978 (for short,
'Regulations') were framed. Rule 5 of the Regulations envisaged that :
Keeping into consideration rules 6, 17 and 18, recruitment from the following
Direct recruitment on the basis of result of competitive examination or as
prescribed in part 5 of the rules for recruitment.
case of emergency the Nigam can made recruitment on the basis of interview
Initial recruitment to the post of Asstt. Engineer will be made against only
Junior Engineers and computers of the former Local Self-Govt.
and/or in the service of Jal Nigam by promotion of those candidates who have
rendered continuous service of ten years in the former LSGD and/or U.P. Jal Nigam
or any other department.
service will be counted for this purpose. The candidates fulfilling these
conditions and also fall within the ambit of Rule 16(3) will be considered.
The details for recruitment to the post of Junior Engineer and computer is
given in condition 1.
recruitment will be done in such a way that 25% of the vacancies are filled by
promotion and the rest by direct recruitment.
relaxation in this percentage will be permitted only when suitable candidates
are not available.
10 prescribes that no person will be recruited direct in the civil side unless
he holds a degree in Civil Engineering or its equivalent from recognized
university or he has passed part A and B of AMIE. Clause 6 thereof also
provides that no person shall be recruited to the mechanical side on similar
conditions. The ratio for direct recruitment is 75% and for promotes 25% and
while calculating the vacancies the ratio of 25% for promotes always be
maintained. Rule 10(3) which is relevant for the purpose envisages that
Computers and Junior Engineers in the service of former LSGD or Jal Nigam will
not be promoted to the post of Asstt. Engineering (Civil) or (Mechanical) under
rule 5(1)(ka)(two) unless he has passed the condition prescribed in Rule 10(1)
and 10(2) of the Regulations. The note appended thereto given liver for
relaxation of conditions of recruitment and can adopt any other criteria for
the selection and promotion of Junior Engineers and Computers to the post of
Assistant Engineer. ln other words, the note enabled them only to relax the
rules prescribed for passing the qualifying examination for selection to the
posts of Asstt. Engineers. At this juncture, we would observe that the rule
runs contrary to the settled service jurisprudence and the law laid down by
this Court and deleterious to augment efficacy of service and would dry out the
source to improve excellence and honest service. However, since note is not the
subject matter of attack, we need not observe any further.
18 provides the right to promotion which envisages that "For promotion to
the post of executive engineer seniority will be the criteria and for promotion
if the post of Asstt. Engineer, Superintending Engineer and Chief Engineer, the
merit will be the criteria". The Jal Nigam in exercise of the power of
relaxation under the note passed a resolution on 31.12.1983 that it is not
appropriate to change the criteria every time and it is not necessary to change
the basis on which selection has been made previously. Therefore, the procedure
was reiterated as under:
preceding five years annual confidential record of each candidate shall be
perused. If there are more than half good entries or entries higher than that
then the candidate shall be considered fit for selection".
to the decision taken by the Jal Nigam in its 62nd meeting, the condition of
passing the qualifying examination for candidates eligible upto 31.12.83 has
been relaxed and instead the condition of gradation on the basis of service
records has been made the basis for promotion. In order to determine merits,
the confidential entries of all the candidates falling within the zone of consideration
be scrutinized even though their integrity has not been certified." 18
vacancies of Assistant Engineers have arisen and the erstwhile officers from
LSGD or those appointed under the Nigam have been considered for promotion from
25% quota reserved for inservice candidates. Under the resolution No.502, dated
19.5.1983, it was resolved that 10 years continuous service either in the
erstwhile department or under the Nigam is a pre-condition of which 5 years in Nigam
was necessary for promotion. It was also resolved that 5% of 25% was reserved
for graduate Engineers who should complete 5 years of service in Jal Nigam.
Following the above criteria, the candidates were considered and selected. It
would appear that first selection on September 24, 1983 and the second selection in August
1984 were made.
respondent who was appointed as a Junior Engineer in LSGD on April 12, 1973 had passed his BE degree qualifying
examination on November
3, 1982. He had put in
10 years of service as J.E. as on 13.4.1983. Since he was a graduate and was
eligible for promotion in general 25% quota as well as the graduates quota of
5%, but does not appear to have been considered on September 4, 1983 for selection.
in the second selection held in August, 1984 also he was considered but was not
selected. As a consequence, he filed the Writ Petition No.14229/84.
Allahabad High Court by order dated 17.1.1982 allowed the Writ Petition and
directed to consider the case of the respondent in the 25% quota reserved for
promotes for the relevant year proceedings dated 20.2.1992 have been placed
before us in which as per the directions of the Court the appellant had
considered his cases an additional post was created and he was promoted in 25%
quota reserved for promotes as a special case.
K. Madhava Reddy, the learned senior counsel for the appellant contended that
the note to the rule referred to hereinbefore gives power to the Board to relax
the criteria; the Board having relaxed the criteria considered all the persons
including 54 persons who are eligible according to the norm laid down; the
respondent was not considered since he did not come up within the zone of
consideration. It is also contended that out of 5% quota reserved for the
graduates, 17 candidates including the respondent on Serial No.13 were
considered. Since the criteria being merit and ability, the more meritorious
were promoted and the respondents, therefore, could not be selected. The High
Court had proceeded on a wrong premise, namely, the respondent was not
considered within 25% quota and he was alone the graduate eligible but was not
considered for promotion. It is stated that in view of the fact that 17
candidates, who are graduates, were considered and merit and ability being the
criteria, the premise on which the High Court proceeded is, therefore, not
valid in law.
A.K. Srivastava, the learned Advocate General of Sikkim appearing for the
respondent, contended that the respondent having duly qualified for promotion
in April 1983 by which date the criteria of relaxation was not made, ought to
have considered but was not considered according to the rules. Even in August
84 selection also he was not considered as he was fully qualified to be
the High Court was right in granting the direction and, therefore, there is no
merit in the case of the appellants.
would appear that the appellant with a view to see that all eligible persons
would come within the zone of consideration for promotion adopted a general
rule of relaxation and considered the cases of all the persons. But from the
resolution, we are unhappy to note that even merit or integrity have been
sacrificed as mentioned that they are not relevant for consideration. It is
settled law that merit and integrity are the sole consideration for selecting
posts and seniority would become relevant only when merit of all candidates are
approximately equal. The Board seems to have taken a reverse gear, obviously to
facilitate persons who are not having that much of integrity and ability.
However, since the promotion given to the persons has not been put in issues we
need not express any doubt on their selection but we are unhappy to note the
way in which the Jal Nigam is functioning in considering the promotion of the
officers to improve excellence or to inculcate efficiency, integrity and
honesty in the officers to reach higher echelons of service.
seen that since the criteria of zone of consideration was adopted as per the
resolution an 54 persons were considered and the respondent did not come up in
the zone of consideration, we cannot find fault with the non-consideration of
the respondent in that zone of consideration of 54 candidates. ln the quota of
5% reserved for graduates, though the respondent has fulfilled the qualifications
and was eligible to be considered, he was included in the penal of the
candidates, the selection was made by the committee constituted in that behalf.
The committee appears to have proceeded on the premise of merit and ability and
evaluated the criteria of all the 17 candidates and selected four candidates
who were standing at No.1,2,6 and 8. In the absence of any compelling
circumstances brought to our notice to show that the selected candidates are
not possessed of superior merit and ability than that of the respondents we do
not think that the selection is beset with any illegality. However, in view of
the circumstances that pursuant to the direction given by the High Court, the
claim of the respondent had already been considered and he has been promoted,
we do not incline to interfere with the order of the High Court.
appeal is accordingly dismissed with the above declaration of law and
observations. No costs.