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M. Ramachandran Versus Govind Ballabh And Ors.

1999 (9) TMI 970 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

C.A. No. 2704 of 1997 - Dated:- 21-9-1999 - S.P. Kurdukar And R.P. Sethi, JJ. For the Appellant: Guntur Prabhakar, Adv For the Respondents: Anoop George Chaudhary, D.S. Mehra, Anil katiyar, (NP), Binu Tamta, A.S. Rawat and Preveen Swarup, Advs. and Govind Ballabh (In-person) for Respondent No. 1 ORDE .....

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quot;the Rules"). One set of employees claim their seniority from the date of their deputation to the aforesaid service of the CAT and the other set of employees pray for counting of the period of their service to the equivalent post held by them in their parent department, before their deputation and absorption in the service. On the application filed by respondent No. 1, the CAT accepted the former plea and directed the determination of the seniority of the employees of the CAT from the d .....

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he Rules, The appellant contends that Rule 5(2) and its proviso governs the method for determination the seniority but the respondent No. 1 who has appeared in person and learned Counsel appearing for the Union of India have contended that the inter se seniority of the employees of the CAT has to be determined on the basis of the official memoranda on the subject which were consolidated by the Government of India on 3rd July, 1986. Necessary admitted facts are that the Central Administrative Tri .....

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cable to the officers and employees belonging to Group A, B, C and D, as the case may be, of corresponding scales of pay stationed at those places. The respondent No. 1 was in the service of Delhi High Court and sent on deputation to the CAT, Principal Bench as Court Officer on 8.1.1986. The terms of his deputation were extended from time to time in public interest. The appellant, who was holding the post of Section Officer in his parent department with effect from 31 December, 1982, joined the .....

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etaries in the CAT was published on 1.6.11.1990. Final seniority list as on 1.11.1989 is admitted to have been published on 17.5.1994. Respondent No. 1 filed Original Application before the Principal Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal on 2.6.1995 seeking the following reliefs: (i) to quash erroneous guidelines (Ann. A- 6 collectively) issued by respondent No. 2 being contrary to statutory rules and D.O.P.T's instructions/O.Ms; (ii) to quash letter No. PB/7/12/94-Estt.1 dated 24,1.1995 .....

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0 circulated vide letter No. 1/55/90-Estt. Dated 17.5.1994 in accordance with Rule 5(2) of CAT Gr.'B', 'C Misc. Posts) Recruitment Rules, 1989 read with DOPT consolidated OM dated 3.7.1986; (vi) to direct respondents to hold fresh/review DPCs for appointment to the posts of Deputy Registrar in the Tribunal according to CAT (Gr.'A' posts) Recruitment Rules 1988 on the basis of appropriate placement of the applicant in the final seniority list of SO/CO/PS(s) as on 1.11.1989 as .....

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etter dated 9.6.1989 the CAT had called for options for absorption to the post of PAs/Senior PA and Section Officer in the CAT in response to which he consented for absorption along with respondents 4 to 10. The respondent No. 1 and respondent No. 10, namely Shri Govind Ballabh and Shri A.K. Ajmani are stated to have been absorbed with effect from 1.11.1989 vide order dated 14.12.1989 allegedly on the basis of the first DPCs recommendation while respondents 4 to 9 including the appellant, who ar .....

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It was alleged that instead of finalising the tentative seniority list circulated on 16.11.1990, the CAT issued its own guidelines one after another in the years 1991, 1992 and 1993 allowing the deputationists-absorbers the benefit of service rendered by them in their parent department towards seniority allegedly contrary to DOPT's own rules and instructions on the subject which, according to him, adversely affected his rights. The Second seniority list is stated to have been circulated on .....

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ive Tribunal. 4. Referring to Rule 5 of the Rules, the Central Administrative Tribunal noticed that the rule making authority had visualised a situation where a problem in fixing seniority could arise from the persons recruited from the same source and working in the same parent department. It erroneously interpreted the term "source" to mean the Central/State Govt./High Court/Subordinate Courts and that the proviso to Rule 5(2) lay down that the seniority of officers recruited from su .....

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r appointment to the post in the CAT. The Tribunal further held: 22. The question may then arise that if all the existing employees were absorbed on the same date i.e. 1,11.1989 although by different orders, how then is their inter-se seniority to be determined. In the absence of anything in the Recruitment Rules themselves to answer this point, we would necessarily have to full back on DO & T's OM dated 3.7.1986 extracted in paragraph 8 above and in respect of deputationists (applicant .....

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, 1989 can be harmoniously interpreted with DP & T's instructions dated 3.7.1986 on the subject and CAT's impugned guidelines which serve counter to the same are therefore, not in accordance with law. 24. We would add that it is only this interpretation which can obviate results which would otherwise be quite extraordinary in grant of seniority to persons in CAT from a date even prior to the inception of CAT on 1.11.1985; or two sets of principles for determination of seniority one l .....

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ngs and various memoranda issued to persuade us to agree that the rules do not envisage the determination of the inter-se seniority of the persons recruited to the service by absorption in terms of Rule 5(1) of the Rules. 6. In order to appreciate rival contentions it is necessary to have a glance of Rule 5 which provides: 5. Absorption/regularisation of existing employees. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the provisions of these rules, the persons holding the posts of Court Officers/Se .....

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dition that such persons exercise their option for the absorption and that their parent Departments do not have any objection to their being absorbed in the Tribunal. (2) The seniority of officers mentioned in Sub-rule (1) shall be determined with reference to the dates of their regular appointment to the posts concerned : Provided that the seniority of officers recruited from the same source and in the posts held by them in the parent Department shall not be disturbed. (3) The Suitability of pe .....

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ular service in the scale of pay of ₹ 1400-2600 or equivalent. (ii) Transfer on deputation/Transfer. Persons working under Central/State Government/High Court/ Subordinate Courts. (a)(i) holding analogous post on regular basis; or (iii) holding posts of Assistant or equivalent in the scale of ₹ 1400-2600 with 8 years regular services and (b) possessing the educational qualifications prescribed for direct recruits in Column 8. Note : The period of Deputation including the period of de .....

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tion or by transfer and by absorption. External source would conceive the recruitment of eligible persons who are not already in service in the organisation to which the recruitment is to be made. For the purposes of posts in the service regarding which the dispute has arisen, the source of recruitment for the purposes of Sub-rule (1) of Rule 5 are; (i) promotion, (ii) transfer on deputation/transfer. Persons specified in the aforesaid categories possessing requisite qualification prescribed the .....

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12(ii)(a)(i)(ii)(b). The Tribunal was, therefore, not justified in holding that the source of appointment of parties to the dispute was either the Central or the State Government or the High Court or the Subordinate Courts. The proper interpretation of the Rule read with Schedule is that all such parties were recruited from the same source, i.e., Transfer on deputation/Transfer and possessed requisite qualifications for recruitment to the new service. 7. Referring to the Official Memorandum date .....

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e date of absorption. If he has, however, been holding already (on the date of absorption) the same or equivalent grade on regular basis in his parent department, such regular service in the grade shall also be taken into account in fixing his seniority, subject to the condition that he will be given seniority from- the date he has been holding the post on deputation, (or) the date from which he has been appointed on a regular basis to the same or equivalent grade in his parent department, which .....

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seniority notwithstanding the length of service or earlier holding of the equivalent post or grade by a person who incidentally happens to be sent on deputation at a later date. Such a contention, if accepted, would be against the settled principles of service jurisprudence. We also feel that, as the Rules hold the field, the Official Memorandum has to give way in the matter of determination of inter se seniority of the persons recruited to the service on the same date. 8. Relying upon its earli .....

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ity in the transferred post. The transfer cannot wipe out his length of service in the post from which he has been transferred. It has been observed by this Court that 9. In K. Anjaiah and Ors. v. K. Chandraiah and Ors. [1998]2SCR35 this Court held: It is a just and wholesome principle commonly applied to persons coming from different sources and drafted to serve a new service to count their previous length of service for determining their ranking in the new service cadre. In M. Hara Bhupal v. U .....

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ns holding such posts would be entitled to the benefits of Official Memorandum dated 3.10.1989. The Court did not distinguish any of its earlier decisions mentioned hereinabove. 10. The reliance of the respondents on A.K. Bhatnagar and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors. (1995)IIILLJ287SC is of no help to them in any way. The Court in that case held that : The law is clear that seniority is an incidence of service and where the service rules prescribe the method of its computation, it is squarely go .....

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of India v. H.R. Patankar and Ors. [1985]1SCR400 . 11. We are of the considered opinion that Sub-rule (2) of Rule 5 is the relevant rule relating to the determination of the seniority of the officers recruited to the service under Sub-rule (1) of Rule 5. The seniority of such recruited officers is required to be determined with reference to the dates of their regular appointment to the posts. The proviso to Sub-rule (2) shall cover the case of such officers whose seniority cannot be determined .....

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e service and that in the absence of there being specific rule, resort be had to the Official Memorandum relied upon by the respondents. Seniority is a relevant term having reference to the class, category and the grade to which the reference is made. Length of service is a recognised method of determining the seniority. Such length of service shall have reference to the class, category or grade which the parties were holding at the relevant time. It, therefore, follows that total length of serv .....

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