Dr N.D. Mitra Vs. Union of India  INSC 342 (23 May 1994)
Singh (J) Kuldip Singh (J) Sawant, P.B.
1994 AIR 2163 1994 SCC (4) 474 JT 1994 (4) 206 1994 SCALE (2)1136
Judgment of the Court was delivered by KULDIP SINGH, J.- Geological Survey of
India (GSI) as an All India Service consists of six independent disciplines
(cadres) namely, Geology, Geophysics, Geophysics (Instrumentation),
Geochemistry, Drilling and Mechanical Engineering. Promotions, up to the rank of
Deputy Director General, are confined to the respective disciplines. Above the
Deputy Director General are two other ranks, Senior Deputy Director General and
the Director General. Entry into the service as Group-A officer is through one
of the disciplines. The seniority of the officers is maintained within their
respective disciplines. The feeder post for the Deputy Director General, in
each of the discipline, is that of Director. Since the upward journey within
the discipline ends at the post of Deputy Director General, the post of Senior
Deputy Director General is filled by considering the Deputy Directors General
from all the disciplines. The Government of India maintains a seniority list of
Deputy Directors General based on continuous length of service in the said
question before the Central Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) was whether
the seniority in the cadre of Deputy Directors General be determined on the
basis of continuous length of service in the said post or on the basis of the
length of service in the discipline. It was also urged before the Tribunal that
the Departmental Promotion Committee (the DPC) should meet at one point of time
in a year to fill all the vacancies of the Deputy Directors General falling
vacant in various disciplines.
argument was that due to red-tape or administrative delays in the constitution
of the DPCS, a person selected by an earlier DPC is bound to get higher
seniority due to the fortuitous circumstance of one DPC having met earlier than
the other. The Tribunal held that the seniority was rightly being determined on
the basis of continuous length of service in the post of Deputy Director
General. The Tribunal also rejected the contention regarding the simultaneous
holding of the DPCS. The appellants who were the applicants before the Tribunal
have come up to this Court against the judgment of the Tribunal.
N.D. Mitra and Dr S.K. Acharyya - the appellants, on being selected by the
Union Public Service Commission, joined the GSI as Geologist (Junior) in 1962,
promoted as Geologist (Senior) in 1966 and to 476 the post of Director
(Geologist) in 1979. Dr N.R. Sengupta, Respondent 4, was appointed as Assistant
Chemist in 1960, promoted as Chemist (Junior) in 1961, Chemist (Senior) in 1970
and Director (Geochem) in 1982. Shri D.B. Dimri, Respondent 5, was appointed as
Geophysicist (Junior) in 1966, promoted as Geophysicist (Senior) in 1971 and
Director (Geophysics Instrumentation) in 1981. Shri M.R. Nair, Respondent 6,
was promoted to the post of Geophysicist (Junior) in 1960, promoted as
Geophysicist (Senior) in 1966 and Director (Geophysics) in the year 1980. The
posts of Geologist (Junior), Chemist (Junior) and Geophysicist (Junior) are of
equal status though in different disciplines. The appellants contended before
the Tribunal that they, having been promoted to the post of Director earlier
than the respondents, should rank senior to them as Deputy Directors General.
It was further contended by the appellants that they were eligible for consideration
to the post of Deputy Director General in March 1988 but their cases were
considered by the DPC held in December 1988 whereas the DPCs for other streams
such as, Geochemistry, Geophysics and Geophysics (Instrumentation) were held in
March and May 1988. Further, in the case of the appellants, the recommendations
of the DPC were given effect to in the year 1989 whereas the recommendations in
respect of the respondents were accepted and appointments made in June, August
and November 1988. According to the appellants the delays in holding the
meeting of the DPC and giving effect to its recommendations have resulted in
depriving the appellants of their seniority above the respondents. As mentioned
above, tile Tribunal rejected the contentions of the appellants and dismissed
have heard learned counsel for the parties. We have noticed above that the
promotions from the cadres of Geologist (Junior), Chemist (Junior) and
Geophysicist (Junior) etc. up to the rank of Deputy Director General are made
discipline-wise. An officer holding the post of Geologist (Junior) cannot be
promoted as Chemist (Senior) or vice versa. Even Director (Geology) cannot be
promoted as Deputy Director General (Geochemistry). The feeder post for
promotion to the post of Deputy Director General in each discipline is the post
of Director in the said discipline.
example, the feeder post for Deputy Director General (Geology) is the Director
(Geology). Similar is the case with other disciplines. The normal rule for
fixing seniority in a cadre is the length of service. In the absence of any
statutory rules or executive instructions to the contrary, inter se seniority
amongst the Deputy Directors General has to be fixed on the basis of continuous
length in the said post. As mentioned above the hierarchy of the six distinct
separate disciplines comes to an end with the post of Deputy Director General.
Thereafter the post of Senior Deputy Director General is common to all the
disciplines. The Deputy Directors General, working in all the six disciplines,
are entitled to be considered for promotion to the post of Senior Deputy
Director General and as such it is necessary to maintain their inter se
seniority. We see no infirmity in fixing the seniority amongst the Deputy Directors
General on the basis of their length of service in the said post. We,
therefore, uphold the finding of the Tribunal on this point.
are, however, of the view that the Government of India must hold the meetings
of the DPC at the same time to fill the vacancies of the Deputy Directors
General available in various disciplines of the GSI. It is entirely for the
Government to decide whether the DPC is to meet once or twice in a year.
Whenever it is decided to hold the meeting of the DPC, it must be for all the
disciplines where the vacancies of Deputy Director General are available to be
filled. The recommendations of the DPCs should also be processed simultaneously
and, ordinarily, appointments made at the same time. Persons promoted and
appointed as Deputy Directors General on the same date can be given seniority
either on the basis of the length of service on the post of Director or on the
basis of the merit assigned by the DPC depending upon the statutory rules or
the Government instructions on the subject. We are giving these directions to
be operative prospectively. We are not inclined to interfere with the
selections made by various DPCs in the present case.
to the chart showing the career growth of the appellants and the respondents
filed by Respondent 2, Dr N.R. Sengupta, Respondent 4 and Shri M.R. Nair,
Respondent 6 have since retired from service. Shri D.B. Dimri, Respondent 5 was
promoted and appointed as Deputy Director General on 17-8-1988. He was further promoted to the post of Senior
Deputy Director General on 10-8-1993. Dr
N.D. Mitra, appellant, was promoted and appointed to the post of Deputy
Director General on 13-3-1988 and he was further promoted to the post of Senior
Deputy Director General on 10-8-1993. Dr S.K. Acharyya, appellant, was promoted
to the post of Deputy Director General on 9-3-1989. Promotion to the post of Director
General, GSI is governed by the rules called the Geological Survey of India
(Group A and Group B Posts) Recruitment (Amendment) Rules, 1993 (the Rules).
Rules have come into force with effect from 12-7-1993.
post of Director General is a selection post and is to be filled on the
recommendation of the Departmental Promotion Committee consisting of
Chairman/Member, Union Public Service Commission (Chairman) and Secretary
Ministry of Mines (Member). Senior Deputy Directors General with two years'
regular service in the grade or with five years' regular service in the grade
of Senior Deputy Director General and Deputy Director General combined, are
eligible to be considered for promotion to the post of Director General. Since
the post of Director General is a selection post, the seniority in the cadre of
Senior Deputy Director General/Deputy Director General is not of much relevance.
direct Respondents 1 to 3 to hold the meeting of the DPC under the Rules within
eight weeks from today, for selection to the post of Director General, GSI from
amongst the eligible Senior Deputy Directors General. The respondents shall
keep the date of retirement of any of the eligible officers in view and
preferably hold the meeting of the DPC before the said date.
appeal is disposed of in the above terms. No costs.