Union Public Service Commission Vs. L.P. Tiwari
& Ors  Insc 831 (22 November 2006)
Lakshmanan & Altamas Kabir
out of SLP (c) No.12249/2006) ALTAMAS KABIR, J.
L.P. Tiwari, respondent No.1 in the first matter and Shri DP. Dwivedi,
respondent No.1 in the second matter, were serving as State Service Forest
Officers in the post of Assistant Conservator of Forests in the office of the
Divisional Forest Officer, Bhopal, Madhya
Pradesh. Both the said officers became eligible to be promoted to the Indian
Forest Service under the provisions of the I.F.S. (Appointment by Promotion)
Regulations, 1966 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Regulations') Regulation 3
of the said Regulations provides for the appointment of a Selection Committee
consisting of the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission or where the
Chairman is unable to attend, any other Member of the Union Public Service
Commission along with the following members as far as the State of Madhya
Pradesh is concerned:-
Chief Secretary to the Govt. of M.P;
Secretary to the Govt. of M.P. dealing with Forests;
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests,Govt. of M.P.;
Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt.of M.P. and;
nominee of the Govt. of India not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the
Govt. of India.
meetings of the Selection Committee are presided over by the Chairman/Member of
the Union Public Service Commission.
keeping with the Regulations, the Selection Committee classifies eligible State
Forest Service Officers coming within the zone of consideration as
"outstanding", "very good", "good" or
"unfit" on an overall assessment of their service records.
as per Regulation 5 (4), the Selection Committee prepares a list by including
the required number of names first from amongst officers classified as
"outstanding" and then from amongst those classified as "very
good", and thereafter from amongst those classified as "good".
The names within each category are set in the order of their respective inter
se seniority in the said Forest Service.
Annual Confidential Reports of the eligible officers form the basis on which
such officers are categorized in the manner indicated above. However, while
making an overall assessment, the Selection Committee also takes into account
orders and remarks regarding appreciation for meritorious work done by the
concerned officer. Similarly, orders awarding penalties or any adverse remarks
communicated to the officer and which have not been expunged are also taken
into consideration while grading the officers.
instant case, a meeting of the Selection Committee was held on 12th and 13th December, 2002 to prepare the yearwise Select List
for the years 2001 and 2002 for promotion to the I.F.S. cadre of Madhya Pradesh
in accordance with the aforesaid Regulations. The size of the Select List for
the year 2001 was 11 and 9 for the year 2002.
zone of consideration in each year is taken as three times the number of
vacancies available, 33 names were considered for the 11 vacancies for the year
2001 and 27 names were considered for filling up the 9 vacancies for the year
2002. On an overall assessment of his service records, the Selection Committee
assessed Shri L.P. Tiwari as being "very good". On such assessment,
his name was included at serial no.10 in the Select List of 2001 for promotion
to the Indian Forest Service. The respondent Nos. 4 to 8 were assessed as
"outstanding" by the Selection Committee and were included at serial
nos. 3 to 7 in the Select List.
by his placing at serial no.10 in the Select List, Shri L.P. Tiwari filed
O.A.No.118/2004 before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jabalpur
(hereinafter referred to as 'the Tribunal') claiming that he ought to have been
assessed as "outstanding" and should have been assigned seniority in
the Indian Forest Service Cadre over respondent Nos. 4 to 8.
Shri D.P. Dwivedi's name was also considered and placed at serial no.8 in the
Select List for the year 2001 and he was also graded as "very good"
by the Selection Committee, his name did not find place in Select List for the
year 2001 on account of the statutory limit on the size of the Select List. He
was also not considered for promotion to the Select List of 2002 as he had
crossed the age of 54 years on 1st January, 2002 which was the date fixed for
reckoning the eligibility of officers for inclusion in the Select List of 2002.
also filed Original Application No.16/2003 before the Tribunal challenging the
selection/appointment of the State Forest Officers to the I.F.S. cadre for the
two aforesaid applications as also the application filed by one M. Ramachandran
(O.A.No.69/2003) were taken up for hearing together since the grievances were
more or less common, although the prayer in Shri L.P. Tiwari's application was
different from the others. While the others prayed for a de novo selection by a
Review Departmental Promotion Committee, Shri L.P. Tiwari prayed for a
declaration that he ought to have been assessed as "outstanding" in
the year 2001 and that he should be assigned seniority in the I.F.S. Cadre over
the respondent Nos. 4 to 8 and others. The learned Tribunal adopted a rather
unusual procedure in dealing with the applications after going through the
Annual Confidential Reports of the applicants in detail. On a comparison of the
merits and demerits of the parties as reflected in their Annual Confidential
Reports, the Tribunal came to a finding that patent material irregularities had
been committed by the Selection Committee for the year 2001 for which the
entire selection process for the year 2001 was liable to be reviewed. The
respondents were accordingly directed to convene a meeting of the Selection
Committee to review the proceedings of the Selection Committee for the year
2001 in the light of the observations made in the Tribunal's order and
thereafter to grant all consequential benefits within a period of three months
from the date of communication of the order.
Union Public Service Commission filed two separate Writ Petitions in regard to
the applications filed by Shri L.P. Tiwari and Shri D.P. Dwivedi being
W.P.No.3718/05 (S) and W.P. No.3719/05 (S). Both the Writ Petitions were taken
up for hearing on 9th March, 2006 and ultimately by its judgment dated 14th
March, 2006, the High Court upheld the findings of the Tribunal and dismissed
both the Writ Applications. The High Court directed the respondents to hold a
Review Departmental Promotion Committee in accordance with the Rules within a
period of 60 days from the date of receipt of a certified copy of the order and
submission of the same to the competent authority by Shri L.P. Tiwari and Shri
appeal has been preferred by the Union Public Service Commission against the
aforesaid judgment and order of the High Court affirming the order and
directions given by the Tribunal.
behalf of the appellant, it was contended that both the Tribunal as also the
High Court had misdirected themselves in directing a Review Departmental
Promotion Committee to be held since the entire procedure leading to the
preparation of the Select List both for the years 2001 and 2002 was strictly in
accordance with the Regulations and there had been no deviation therefrom. It was
urged that the Selection Committee had acted strictly in accordance with the
parameters laid down by the Regulations. In fact, Mr. Rao, learned senior
counsel, took us through each step of the procedure which is adopted by the
Selection Committee while grading the eligible candidates in the different
regard to the provisions in the Regulations that the Annual Confidential
Reports of the past five years would be taken into consideration for preparing
the Select List, the Tribunal appears to have committed an error in relying on
Annual Confidential Reports of even previous years and thereby widening the
scope of selection. Such an erroneous approach has led the Tribunal to wrongly
conclude that the Selection Committee had erred in grading the eligible
now more or less well-settled that the evaluation made by an expert committee
should not be easily interfered with by the Courts which do not have the
necessary expertise to undertake the exercise that is necessary for such purpose.
Such view was reiterated as late as in 2005 in the case of U.P.S.C. vs. K. Rajaiah
& Ors., reported in (2005) 10 SCC 15, wherein the aforesaid Rules for the
purpose of promotion to the I.P.S. Cadre was under consideration. Apart from
the above, at no stage of the proceedings, either before the Tribunal or the
High Court or even before this Court, has any allegation of mala fides been
raised against the Selection Committee and the only grievance is that the
Selection Committee erred while making assessment of the comparative merits of
the respective candidates. While concluding his submissions, Mr. Rao had
pointed out that the direction given by the High Court to the appellant to hold
a Review Departmental Promotion Committee was also erroneous since the
Regulations provided for selection to be made not by a Departmental Promotion
Committee but by a Selection Committee constituted as per the Regulations.
on behalf of the respondents it has been urged that there was no bar which
precluded the Tribunal from looking into the original ACRs of the respective
candidates, what we are required to consider is whether it was at all prudent
on the part of the Tribunal to have adopted such a procedure which would amount
to questioning the subjective satisfaction of the Selection Committee in
preparing the Select List.
the submissions made and the materials on record, we are satisfied that the
methodology which has been evolved and included in the Regulations for grading
the eligible officers have been religiously followed by the Selection Committee
which did not call for any interference by the Tribunal. The High Court has
merely followed the decision of the Tribunal without independently applying its
mind to the facts involved.
accordingly allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the High Court
impugned in this appeal as also that of the Tribunal.
will, however, be no order as to costs.