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1988 (3) TMI 457

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..... /80-CS. I dated 29th December, 1984 prescribing 8 years of approved service as Section officer as condition of eligibility for being considered for promotion to Grade-I Post in C.S.S. The appellants, Miss Prabha Devi and Shri Rajiv Kalsi were recruited directly- through examination held by Union Public Service Commission in 1978 as Section officers. The appellants Shri G.S. Grewal and Shri Surjit Singh were recruited through examination held by Union Public Service Commission in 1980 as Section officers. These direct recruits had been appointed in substantive vacancies of Section officers in accordance with the quota reserved for direct recruits by the service rules. The inter se seniority of the direct recruits and the promotees is fixed in accordance with the quota and rota system. The appellants are seniors to the promotees in accordance with the said quota and rota Rule. The promotion to Grade I post of C.S.S. Rules is made in accordance with the provisions of sub-rule 2 of rule 12 of the said Rules. The proviso to sub-rule 2 of rule 12 of C.S.S. Rules, 1962 was originally to the following effect: "Provided that if any person appointed to the Section officers' Grade be .....

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..... ibility for promotion to Grade I of C.S.S. The third proviso of sub-rule (2) of rule 12 was further substituted by the following proviso by Notification dated December 29, 1984: "Provided further that if any person appointed to the Section officers' Grade is considered for promotion to Grade I under this sub-rule, all persons senior to him in Section officers' Grade, belonging to the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes who have rendered not less than 4 years' approved service in that grade, shall also be considered for promotion. This amended rule enjoins that a directly recruited Section officer has to render 8 years' approved service in the grade of Section officer before being eligible for consideration for promotion to Grade I. The only exception made in this rule is with regard to Section officers belonging to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes who shall have to render only four years approved service in that grade in order to qualify themselves for being considered for promotion to the said Grade I. This condition of eligibility as introduced by the 1984 amendment of the third proviso of sub-rule (2) of rule 12 has been questioned in the petiti .....

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..... Some of them have rendered their service in the promoted post very efficiently and they have earned remarks such as "very meritorious and outstanding" from the Department. There is nothing to show that the promoted direct recruits were proved inefficient in discharging their duties and responsibilities of the higher post. Mr. Shanti Bhushan furhter submitted that even in accordance with the provisions of sub-rule (2) of rule 12 as amended in 1978 direct recruit Section officers after having rendered six years' approved service in the grade had been considered for promotion and were promoted to Grade I. This system worked out very satisfactorily and the direct recruit Section officers who were promoted to Grade I post performed their duties attached to the higher post duly and satisfactorily. The amendment of the eligibility qualification in 1984 providing a longer period of service as S.O. is, therefore, arbitrary and inequitable. There is no rationale behind this amendment which works to the serious prejudice of the direct recruit Section officers for being considered for promotion to Grade I of the C.S.S. Service even though the promotee Section officers junior to t .....

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..... n service and were not considered for promotion even. These promotee Section officers like the Respondent No. 2 have not been considered for promotion in spite of their rendering service as such for more than thirteen years whereas the direct recruit Section officers who were appointed much later were considered and promoted purely on the ground of seniority. This has created frustration in the minds of the promotees. To obviate this the Government after due consideration of all aspect has by Notification dated December 29, 1984 amended the proviso to sub-rule (2) of rule 12 of C.S.S. Rules prescribing an uniform eligibility of rendering eight years' approved service as Section officers by both the direct recruit Section officers and the promotee Section Officers for being considered for promotion to Grade I (Under Secretary). The said amendment, it has been submitted, is neither arbitrary nor unjust. It has been further submitted that the promotee Section officers if given promotion will render their service duly and efficiently as has been rendered by the direct recruit Section officers promoted to Grade I. According to the C.S.S. Rules, 1962, the substantive vacancies of Sec .....

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..... of years in service and also due performance of the duties and responsibilities attached to the post of Section officer is very relevant and as such prescribing such an eligibility qualification has nexus to the suitability for the promoted post. The directly recruited Section officers are not totally excluded from the zone of consideration for promotion. They will be considered like the promotee Section officer as soon as they have rendered eight years' approved service as Section officer. The Tribunal has held that: "The qualifications for any post are prescribed having regard to the nature of the post and the duties and responsibilities attached to it. For due discharge of duties attached to a post, academic excellence alone may not be sufficient. Factors like experience over certain number of years in service and holding a post of a certain level are relevant. That gives them the opportunity to deal with several files, handle different situations, tackle varied problems, extract work from subordinates of varying capabilities and serve under superiors with differing styles of functioning. They acquire knowledge of men and matters and the necessary acumen to deal with is .....

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..... The prescribing of an eligibility condition for entitlement for consideration for promotion is within the competence of the rule-making authority. This eligibility condition has to be fulfilled by the Section officers including senior direct recruits in order to be eligible for being considered for promotion. When qualifications for appointment to a post in a particular cadre are prescribed, the same have to be satisfied before a person can be considered for appointment. Seniority in a particular cadre does not entitle a public servant for promotion to a higher post unless he fulfils the eligibility condition prescribed by the relevant rules. A person must be eligible for promotion having regard to the qualifications prescribed for the post before he can be considered for promotion. Seniority will be relevant only amongst persons eligible. Seniority cannot be substituted for eligibility nor it can over-ride it in the matter of promotion to the next higher post. The rule in question which prescribes an uniform period of qualified service cannot be said to be arbitrary or unjust violative of Articles 14 or 16 of the Constitution. It has been rightly held by the Tribunal: "When c .....

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