Singh & Ors Vs. Surinder Kumar & Ors  INSC 26 (21 January 1998)
Ahmad, G.B. Pattanaik S.Saghir Ahmad, J.
appellants and respondents 1 to 7 are the employees of the Himachal Gramin Bank
(for short, 'the Bank'). In May- June , 1986, 30 posts of Field Supervisors, 15
of which were to be filled up by promotion from amongst the Clerks and 15 by
direct recruitment, became available. In February 1987, a selection was held,
in which 15 persons including the present appellants were selected and promoted
to the posts of Field Supervisors. This selection was challenged by respondents
1 to 7 by a Writ Petition in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, which was
allowed by the Single Judge on 10th December, 1990. This decision was upheld by the Division Bench on 14th January, 1994.
persons including the present appellants filed S.L.P. No. 15559/1994 in this
Court, and the Court by its Order dated 10th November, 1994 granted leave only
to appellants 10 to 15, while leave was refused to appellants No. 1 to 9.
have heard learned counsel of the parties, except the counsel for the Bank, who
did not appear.
is not disputed that the criterion for making promotion from the post of Clerk
to that of Field Supervisor was seniority-cum-merit. On a consideration of the
facts placed before the High Court, the Single Judge as also the Division Bench
came to the conclusion that, while making selection, the Bank did not follow
this criterion and instead, it made promotion on the basis of merit-cum-
seniority which vitiated the selection.
may be pointed out that, before the learned Single Judge as also before the
Division Bench, the Bank, in spite of directions of the Court, did not produce
the original records relating to the selection in question. The learned Single
Judge in its judgment has, in this regard, observed as under:- " Before
concluding the present case I must place on record that despite specific
direction dated 11.10.1990 to the H.P. Gramin Bank, the proceedings of the Departmental
Promotion Committee were not placed before this Court. The learned counsel for
the Bank, Sh. M.L. Sharma took time twice on 19.10.1990 and 26.10.1990, to
comply with the directions of the Court but failed. Ultimately, on 1.11.1990,
he showed his inability to show to this Court the proceedings of the
Departmental Promotion Committee, as the General Manager of the H.P. Gramin
Bank did not hand over the same to him despite assurances. In these that the
respondent-bank has failed to show to this Court that it has followed a fair
and just method of selection for promotion to the post of Field Supervisor.
Such a non- cooperating attitude of a public body which is expected to be a
model employer, militates against the fair adjudication of the issues raised
before the Court. It is advisable a litigant party, and more so, if the
litigant party is the Government or a Public Body, to avoid any secrecy and put
its record beyond the slightest pale of controversy to enable the Court to
decide the points in issue."
Since the Bank had adopted the criteria of "merit-cum- seniority" and
not "seniority-cum-merit" in making selection in question and did not
produce the original records despite several directions and opportunities, the
High Court was right in holding that the entire selection was vitiated.
is not infirmity in the judgments passed by the High Court and the same are
operative part of the judgment passed by the learned Single Judge is quoted
below:- " In the result, the petitioners succeed on the first point that
the promotion of respondent Nos. 2 and 16 to the posts of Field Supervisors is
bad for the reason that the H.P. Gramin Bank arbitrarily followed the criterion
of selection 'merit-cum-seniority' instead of 'seniority-cum-merit' applicable
to the post . As the petitioners succeed on the first point, I need not decide
the second point raised by them that the promotions were bad because the
constitution of the Departmental Promotion Committee was defective due to the
participation of the unauthorised person. Therefore, the promotion of
respondent Nos. 2 to 16 to the posts of Field Supervisor made on 26.6.1987 in
pursuance to he selection made by the Departmental promotion Committee on
6.2.1987 is set aside. The Himachal Pradesh Gramin Bank is directed to make
fresh promotion to the posts of Field Supervisor in accordance with law".
are informed that, in view of the present litigation, the Bank has not made any
promotion to the post of Field supervisors so far. The Bank cannot, by this
attitude, stagnate its employees. We, therefore, direct while dismissing the
appeal that the Bank shall hold a fresh selection in accordance with the
directions issued by the High Court within 5 months from today.
appellants, who were promoted in 1987 and were amongst the 15 persons
originally selected have been working on these posts under the interim orders
of this court but since the appeal is being dismissed, the period of 11 years
for which they were working on the posts of Field Supervisors shall not be
counted towards their seniority and if the respondents along with appellants or
any of them are selected and promoted to the post of Field Supervisor in the
fresh selection, they will retain their original seniority.
appeal is disposed of in the manner indicated above without any order as to