State of Uttarakhand
& another Vs. Archana Shukla & Others
O R D E R
Heard learned counsel
for the parties. This Appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment and
order dated 06th March, 2006 passed by the High Court of Uttarakhand at
Nainital in Writ Petition No. 140/2005. The facts have been set out in the
impugned judgment and hence we are not repeating the same here except wherever necessary.
The respondents herein were appointed on adhoc officiating post in the year
1988 for a fixed term which was continued. They were regularised in the year
2004 under the Uttaranchal Regularization of Ad Hoc Appointments (Posts under
the purview of Public Service Commission) Rules, 2002 (for short 'the Rules').
claimed benefit of their service from 1988 to 2004 for the purpose of seniority
and this has been granted by the High Court. Hence, this appeal. We are afraid,
we cannot agree with the view taken by the High Court. Rule 7(1) of the Rules
states as under: "A person appointed under these rules shall be entitled
to seniority only from the date of order of appointment after selection in accordance
with these rules and shall, in all cases, be placed below the persons appointed
in accordance with the relevant service rules or as the case may be, the regular
prescribed procedure, prior in the appointment of such person under these rules."
Admittedly, the respondents
were appointed after a selection under the Regularization Rules in the year
2004. Hence, in our view, they can get seniority only from the year 2004 and
not from 1988. The rule is clear and hence we cannot debar from the clear
meaning of the rule. It has been held in Raghunath Rai Bareja & Another vs.
Punjab National Bank & Others (2007) 2 SCC 230 that when there is a
conflict between law and equity, it is the law which has to prevail in accordance
with the latin maxim 'dura lex sed lex' which means 'the law is hard but it is the
Equity can only
supplement the law, but it cannot supplant or override it. This view was
followed in Civil Appeal No.2684 of 2007 titled B.Premanand & Others vs.
Mohan Koikal & Others decided on 16th March, 2011. In the present case,
Rule 7 is very clear and hence the respondents are not entitled to the benefit
of their service from 1988 to 2004 for the purpose of their seniority. Accordingly,
this appeal is allowed and the impugned judgment of the High Court is set
aside. No costs.Civil Appeal No.1474 of 2007 In view of our order passed today in
Civil Appeal No. 5130 of 2009, this appeal is also allowed and the impugned judgment
of the High Court is set aside. No costs.
[CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD]