Roy Choudhary & Ors Vs. Union of India & Ors  INSC 130 (6 April
Shah Mohammed Quadri, S.N.Phukan S.N.Phukan,J.
present appeal is directed against the order of the Central Administrative
Tribunal, Guwahati Bench in Original Application No.23 of 1991. By the impugned
judgment the Tribunal rejected the Original Application of the appellants for
appointment to Group C posts instead of Group D posts under Divisional Railway
Manager, Lumding, Assam. We may state here that earlier Group C post was designated
as Class III Post and Group D as Class IV post.
facts of the case are as follows :- All the five appellants were sponsored by
the Employment Exchange for recruitment of Trade Apprentices in Carriage &
Wagon Department of N.F. Railway in Lumding Division along with others. They
were selected as Trade Apprentices under Apprentice Act, 1961 and successfully
completed training in System Technical School, New Bonagaigaon under the N.F.Railways.
The appellants were interviewed against 25% vacancies of Fitter in Group C
category for Lumding Loco Repairing Shop and were selected against the
also joined as Fitter Grade III but on 7.6.90 the appointments were cancelled
and instead they were appointed to the post of Carriage Khalasi which is a
Group D post.
appeal being rejected, they approached the Administrative Tribunal where their
prayer was rejected by the impugned judgment. We may state here that by the
impugned judgment, the Administrative Tribunal also disposed of Original
Application filed by 20 applicants. They also completed training as Apprentices
but instead of appointing them in Group D post, they were appointed in Group C
prayer for appointment in Group D post was also rejected but they are not
to respondents, the present appellants have no legal right as they have
accepted appointment offered to them in Group D post. They are stopped from
making any grievance against the same. As the Railway Administration has acted
consistently with the then prevailing policy, the decision could not be
interfered with by the Tribunal. It has further been pleaded on behalf of the
respondents before the Tribunal that as the appointment of the appellants by
the initial order of appointment was found to be erroneous in view of the
policy decision that these posts will be filled up by promotion, the
appointments were cancelled and instead of leaving the appellants high and dry,
Railways have given them alternative appointment in Group D post which they
have accepted. We have heard Mr.Shahid Rizvi for the appellants and Ms.Rekha Pandey
for the respondents.
view of the contentions raised by the Bar, the question for determination by
this Court is whether there was violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the
Constitution on the ground of arbitrariness and discrimination as according to
the appellants, the appointments were cancelled without giving them any
opportunity of being heard. It has also been urged that as the appellants were
Trade Apprentices under the Apprentice Act, 1961 (for short The Act) and they
successfully completed the training as Fitter and were selected for appointment
for the posts, the cancellation order is in violation of the Act.
to Rule 159 of the Rules for Recruitment and Training of Group C and Group D
and Workshop Staff, out of the vacancy in the category of Skilled Artisans
Group C, 25% of the posts have to be filled up by selection from course
completed 'Act Apprencices', ITI passed candidates and Matriculates from the
open market; serving employees who were course completed 'Act Apprentices' or
ITI qualified could be considered against this quota allowing age relaxation as
applicable to service employees. Thus we find that for 25% of the posts, the
three categories were to be considered for selection, namely, (1) 25% by
selection from course complete Act Apprentices (2) ITI passed candidates and
Matriculates from the open market (3) Serving employees who were course
completed Act Apprentices or ITI qualified.
the said Rule, it appears that 50% posts are to be filled up by promotion of
the staff in lower grade as per prescribed procedure. Thus it is clear that the
present appellants are qualified to be recruited for the above post.
the first question is whether they have got a right to be selected only because
they are sent for training under the Act. We quote below Section 22 of the Act
:- "22. Offer and acceptance of employment - (1) It shall not be
obligatory on the part of the employer to offer any employment to any
apprentice who has completed the period of his apprenticeship training in his
establishment nor shall it be obligatory on the part of the apprentice to
accept an employment under the employer.
Notwithstanding anything in sub-section (1), where there is a condition in a
contract of apprenticeship that the apprentice shall, after the successful
completion of the apprenticeship training, serve the employer, the employer
shall, on such completion, be bound to offer suitable employment to the apprentice,
and the apprentice shall be bound to serve the employer in that capacity for
such period and on such remuneration as may be specified in the contract :
that where such period or remuneration is not, in the opinion of the
Apprenticeship Adviser, reasonable, he may revise such period or remuneration
so as to make it reasonable, and the period or remuneration so revised shall be
deemed to be the period or remuneration agreed to between the apprentice and
the employer." There is no dispute at the Bar that there was no guarantee
or promise for employment while sending the present appellants to undergo the
the appellants do not have the right to be appointed under the Act in view of
the specific legal provision under Section 22 of the Act.
view of the settled position of law though under Rule 159 of the Rules of
Recruitment and Training, 25% of the posts are to be selected from the course
completed Apprentices like the appellants, the appellants and similarly
situated persons cannot claim appointment as a matter of right for this post.
Railways may consider their cases for selection which was done in the present
appointment letters to all the appellants were issued on 28.5.90 and by letter
dated 7.6.90 i.e. less than one month the appellants were informed that in view
of the decision at the Headquarter level by the Railway Administration after
discussion with both the Unions on 27.11.89 it was decided that the course
completed Apprentices are to be absorbed only in Group D category and
therefore, the earlier letter of appointment was cancelled and the appellants
were given fresh appointments in Group D post.
the appointment letters dated 28.5.90 vide clause 2 of the letter, the
appellants were informed that if their services would be terminated, they shall
be entitled to a notice of 11 days or pay in lieu of. Thus this letter clearly
shows that the appellants were appointed purely on temporary basis and their
services could be terminated by giving 11 days notice or pay in lieu thereof.
In view of the nature of appointment, the above clause of the letter dated
7.6.90 cannot be said to be violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution
and at best the appellants would be entitled to get 11 days' notice or pay in
have stated that the appointment letters were issued due to bonafide mistake as
the decisions taken on 27.11.89 by the administration were not within the
knowledge of Divisional Personnel Officer of the Railway, Lumding, who issued
appointment letters. There is no allegations that the letter dated 7.6.90 was
issued with malafide intention. In fact, Railways have clearly stated in the
counter before the Tribunal that instead of leaving the appellants high and
dry, they were offered appointments in Group D category in view of the decision
arrived at between the Administration and the Unions.
Lumding Division of N.F.Railways, there was stagnation of the existing
employees in Group D category and there was surplus staff, as a result, closure
of Steam Lumding Loco Shed. Therefore, the matter was discussed between the
Administration and the Unions and it was decided that there will be no direct
entry to Group C post and all the vacant posts will be filled up by promotion
from Group D post. This policy decision was reasonable one and it was taken to
keep industrial peace, which fact was taken note of by the Tribunal.
urged on behalf of the appellants that the above policy was communicated by the
Railway Board subsequent to the appointments of the appellants, therefore, it
is not applicable in case of the appellants. We are unable to accept the
contention as the decision was taken in the meeting held on 27.11.89 i.e. prior
to letters of appointment issued to the appellants on 28.5.90. For the reasons
stated, we hold that action of the respondents is not arbitrary or
discriminatory and, therefore, not violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the
result, the appeal is dismissed. But in the facts and circumstances of the
case, parties are to bear their own costs.