Manohar Lal Jat vs The State Of Rajasthan on 26 November, 2020


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Supreme Court of India

Manohar Lal Jat vs The State Of Rajasthan on 26 November, 2020

Author: Uday Umesh Lalit

Bench: Uday Umesh Lalit, Vineet Saran, S. Ravindra Bhat

                                                            1


                                                                                           REPORTABLE

                                      IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                      CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                 CIVIL APPEAL NO (S). 3832-3833 OF 2020
                             (ARISING OUT OF SLP (C) NO(S). 26669-26670/2018)


          MANOHAR LAL JAT & ORS. ETC.                                               ...APPELLANT(S)

                                                       VERSUS

          THE STATE OF RAJASTHAN & ORS. ETC.                                        ...RESPONDENT(S)



                                                 WITH
                                      CIVIL APPEAL NO. _3834 OF 2020
                                  (ARISING OUT OF SLP (C) NO. 26671/2018)




                                                 JUDGMENT

S. RAVINDRA BHAT, J.

1. Leave granted. With consent of all the counsel for parties, the appeals
were heard finally and judgement was reserved on 24 th January 2020. These
appeals challenge the common judgement of the Rajasthan High Court 1. The
Division Bench of the High Court by the impugned judgement set aside an
order made by the learned single judge of that court and held that the present
Appellants (hereafter referred to as “direct recruits” or “DRs”) were not entitled
to claim seniority over and above the respondents, hereafter called
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by Dr.

“departmental promotes” or “DPs”). The DRs had approached the High Court in
Mukesh Nasa
Date: 2020.11.26
19:39:20 IST
Reason:

1

Sitting at its Jaipur Bench, in DB Special Appeal Writ Number 1053/2017 and DB Special Appeal Writ No.
1250/2017
2

the first instance, claiming that the seniority list, showing the DPs in earlier
positions, was untenable; the single judge allowed that petition. The Division
Bench has, however, allowed the appellants to question the eligibility of DPs to
be recruited.

2. The relevant facts are that on 01.09.2009, the Finance Department of the
Government of Rajasthan granted approval for creation of 531 posts of Tax
Assistants. This newly created post was augmented by further 23 posts, which
were added to the cadre; the final tally of such newly created posts of Tax
Assistants became 554. Amendments to the Rajasthan Commercial Taxes
Subordinate Services General Branch Rules, 1975, made with effect from
01.12.2010, prescribed the manner of filling of posts of Tax Assistants.
Schedule-I of the Amendment Rules defined the manner of filling of the posts
in the following terms:

“100% by direct recruitment:

(a) 80% by the appointing authority in accordance with Schedule
III

(b) 20% by selection from amongst ministerial staff of the
commercial taxes department that by way of departmental
examination in accordance Schedule II”

3. On 4th October 2010, a Departmental Selection Committee was
constituted for recruitment of both categories and proceedings were initiated
soon filling all the for 554 posts of Tax Assistants. In accordance with the rules,
it was proposed to fill the 80% quota of direct recruits to the extent of 443
vacancies and 111 from amongst DPs. Accordingly, on 25.01.2011 and
advertisement was issued for recruitment of DRs. The written examination,
stipulated under the rules was conducted for recruitment of DR’s; thereafter a
typing test was conducted on 15.05.2011. 356 candidates participated in this
typing test. On 16.05.2011, provisional results were declared for the test held
for DRs. Thereafter letters were apparently written by the Commissioner,
Department of Commercial Taxes enclosing a list of successful candidates, to
3

the police authorities for due verification of their character and antecedents. On
24.05.2011, the department advertised for filling up of the 20% quota for DPs.
Earlier the proposal was to hold the written examination for the DPs on
24.06.2011; however, it was held earlier on 11.06.2011 and 12.06.2011. The
results of these tests for the DPs were announced on 14.06.2011 and the
department issued promotion letters on 23.06.2011. On 24.06.2011 the
appellants were issued with letters for police verification and medical test. By
this time however the DPs had already been promoted, and had taken charge of
their posts. The appointment orders of the DRs were issued subsequently; on
04-07-2011.

4. On 5th June, 2013, the Commercial Taxes Department of the State of
Rajasthan published a seniority list in which those appointed as DPs, in the 20%
quota were shown as senior to the DR/the appellants. Apparently, some of the
DRs – including the appellants objected to this placement and sought for
correction of the seniority list2. Another provisional/tentative seniority list was
issued on 15-05-2014, in which the position was no different inasmuch as the
DPs were shown above the DRs. The appellants again objected; nevertheless on
18-09-2015 the Department substantially confirmed their previous positions in
the final list published by it.

5. The Direct Recruits (DRs) filed one set of Writ Petitions3 contending that
the seniority lists were contrary to law. Yet another seniority list was issued by
the Department on 30.05.2016 in which the previous position of the DPs was
left undisturbed. This became the subject matter of challenge before another
proceeding4. Though the two writ proceedings had challenged the seniority
position allotted to the DRs except the few DPs and official respondents, no

2
The third appellant, Ankur Kumar Bansal objected through a representation dated 27.06.2013, in effect stating
that the placement of DPs above the DRs was unjustified and contrary to the rules.

3

Manohar Lal Jat & Ors. vs. State of Rajasthan &Ors.

4

Gajendra Singh & Ors. vs. State of Rajasthan &Ors. CWP Np. 4630 of 2017
4

others were impleaded. The prominent grounds of attack in the writ petition,
were that the recruitments of the DRs and DPs took place simultaneously and
that the departmental candidates were mala fide issued with appointment letters
earlier, for no reason except to ensure that their dates of entry into the cadre of
tax inspectors were earlier, in order to favour their further career progression.

6. A learned Single Judge of the High Court by Judgment dated 25.05.2017
considered Rule 27 of the concerned Rules (hereafter called the “Seniority
Rules”)5.

7. The Single Judge took particular notice of Rule 27(2) which stated that
those who undergo recruitment process in an earlier selection will be placed at
senior positions to those who undergo recruitment in a selection by a later
process. The Single Judge concluded as follows:

“16. A glance of Rule 2 (1) would reveal that the
advertisement dated 25th January, 2011, was issued with
reference to the vacancies of the year 2010-2011. Obviously, the
advertisement dated 24th May, 2011, would be a recruitment
process with reference to the vacancies of the subsequent year
2011-2012. The respondents are curiously silent on this aspect
in their counter affidavits as well as during the arguments.

17. A conjoint reading of Rule 2(1) and 27 of the Rules of
1975, would leave no room of any doubt that the persons selected
and appointed as a result of a selection process, which is not
subject matter to review and revision, shall rank senior to the
persons who are selected and appointed as a result of subsequent
selection. Thus, the phrase „subsequent selection‟ under Rule 27
read with Section 2(1) leads to logical conclusion that the
petitioners are employees who were appointed in a previous
selection and the private respondents (departmental employees),
are the persons who were accorded appointment in a „subsequent
selection‟. Hence, those departmental candidates cannot be
allowed to march over and above in the seniority to the
petitioners, who are the successful selected candidates of a
previous selection process.”

5
Rajasthan Commercial Taxes Subordinate Services (General Branch) Rules, 1975
5

8. The DRs aggrieved by the Judgment of the learned Single Judge
preferred appeals to the Division Bench Special Appeal Writ No. 1053 of 2017
and Special Appeal Writ No. 1250 of 2017.

9. Since all the Departmental Promotees (DPs) were not represented before
the Single Judge, many of them preferred third party appeals. The Division
Bench by its impugned Judgment allowed these appeals by DPs after noticing
that Rule 27 which had been relied upon by the Single Judge had been
amended. The Division Bench took note of the fact that after amendment with
the amendment provisos have been added.

10. The Court held that the main provision of the Rule 27 was amended on
10.10.2002 which added a second proviso and that the proviso would operate
when two selections are for one and the same category. The relevant
observations of the Division Bench are as follows:

“In our opinion, there is conflict between the main provision of
rule 27 and second proviso. If proviso is applied taking into
consideration the earlier and subsequent selection followed by
appointment then, in a given case, where a selection was started
earlier to subsequent but the appointment is given first to those
selected pursuant to subsequent selection, the relevance of the
date of appointment gets nullified. It is because of appointment
of the candidates pursuant to the subsequent selection prior to
the appointment of the candidates out of earlier selection. They
would not get seniority despite earlier appointment and,
thereby, significance to the date of appointment given in Rule
27 would be violated. The proviso cannot nullify the main
provision and, in those circumstances, consideration of two
provisions has to be made. The proviso would operate when
two selections are for one and the same category.”

11. According to the Division Bench thus the two categories DPs and DRs
were different and it was not open to the DRs especially after a long lapse of
time, to question the placement in the seniority list of the DPs. However, since
the DRs/Original Writ Petitioners had argued before the Division Bench about
6

the ineligibility of DPs (or some of them) to participate in the selection –(which
was held in 2011) that issue was kept open.

Arguments of parties

12. Mrs. Aishwarya Bhati, learned Senior Counsel and Mr. Prashant Bhushan
appearing on behalf of the appellants argued that the Division Bench ignored
the fact that recruitments in this case were conducted with two different
advertisements for the same post, the appellants who were from open category
against 80% quota were selected earlier and the other set of departmental
employees were recruited later. In terms, the DR, answered the description of
having been selected earlier, and having participated in an earlier recruitment
process. On the other hand, the DPS responded to a different advertisement
issued later, and underwent a separate selection process. Plainly, having regard
to the express terms of the rule, i.e. Rule 27, the seniority of the direct recruits
(i.e. the appellants and others like them) had to be determined at posts earlier
than or senior to the DPs who were selected later.

13. It was argued that the mere incidence of issuance of earlier appointment
letters could not have resulted in an undue and unfair advantage to the DPs as to
deprive the DRs of earlier slots of the common seniority lists. Elaborating on
this aspect, learned counsel relied upon the observations of the Single Judge and
stated that selection or recruitment for the DR quota were advertised on
25.01.2011; the test was conducted on 17.04.2011 and on 16.05.2011 the select
list for the DR category was published. However, the Commercial Taxes
Department deliberately withheld issuing appointment letters and released
another advertisement to fill up the DP 20% quota of the ministerial employees
who were working in the same department. The departmental examination for
the DP quota was conducted on two successive dates i.e. 11.06.2011 and
12.06.2011. The learned counsel highlighted that this was despite the fact that
7

the departmental test was originally scheduled later. Having proceeded to
schedule the test earlier the state proceeded with unusual speed and published
the results of the DP category candidates for the 20% quota on 14.06.2011 and
hastily issued appointment letters on 23.06.2011. It was only thereafter that the
appointment letters of DR category candidates (for the 80% open quota) were
issued. It was submitted that these circumstances ipso facto established malice
against DRs and advertisement on the part of the State and its officers, to grant
undue and unfair advantage to the DP category of candidates.

14. Learned counsel highlighted that the representation/letter by the General
Secretary of the Departmental Employees Association had pressurised the
Commercial Tax Department to recruit DPs earlier and relied upon a letter dated
19.05.2011. The conduct and action of the State in speeding up the process of
selection of the DP quota to the utter disadvantage of the DR recruits, was thus
established from the record. The department in fact given unprecedented
priority, to select candidates for the 20% departmental quota.

15. Learned counsel also argued that the explanation given by the State for
the delay that occurred in issuing appointment letters to the DR quota
candidates (which was that sometime was taken in police verification and
medical check up) has to be considered in the light of these established facts.
The learned counsel emphasised that it was only after the appointment letters
were issued to the DP candidates in the 20% category on 24.06.2011 that a mere
10 days later, i.e. 14.07.2011, appointment letters were issued to the DR
candidates.

16. It was lastly argued that the Division Bench while ignoring the facts of
the case, interpreted the rules (Rules 27 of the Rajasthan Commercial Taxes
Subordinate Service (General Branch) Rules, 1975 (in short, the Rules of 1975)
incorrectly. The original Rule 27 which was amended by notification dated
10.10.2002, which reckoned the seniority from the date of appointment.
However, the proviso (2) of the Rules 27 was retained, which clearly stipulates
8

“that the persons selected and appointed as a result of selection, which is not
subjected to review and revision, shall rank senior to the persons who are
selected and appointed as a result of subsequent selection. Seniority inter-se of
persons selected on the basis of seniority-cum-merit and on the basis of merit in
the same selection shall be same as in the next below grade”.

17. It is argued that pertinently the intent of the rule, in retaining the proviso
(2) of the said rule, was to avoid ambiguity in reckoning seniority, in the cases
wherein the selection for the same post i.e. “Tax Assistants’ is done through two
different sources, wherein the date of advertisements and selection processes are
different. The proviso carves out an exception to the main provision, and the
function of the proviso is to limit the main part of the provision and carve out
something which but for the proviso would have been within the operative part.
This Court in various judgments such as S. Sundaram Pillai and others Vs. V.
R. Pattabiraman and Others6
; J.K. Industries Ltd. and & Ors Chief inspector of
Factories and Boilers & Ors7, held “proviso is an exception to the main part of
the section; but it is recognized that in exceptional cases a proviso may be
substantive provision itself.”

18. It is urged that the amended rule 27, only speaks about the seniority on
the basis of date of appointment; however, the proviso (2) clarifies the rule for
reckoning seniority when there are two advertisements for the same post, filled
through different categories (sources) of candidates. Therefore, the main rule
will only apply when the recruitment is through the same advertisement. It
cannot be applied in a case where another advertisement is issued for the same
post after the release of the results of the first advertisement and appointment
order is given in the later case. This process of arbitrary recruitment will always
deprive of the candidates in their order of seniority in their whole service tenure
which is against the principles of Article 14.

6

(1985) 1 SCC 591
7
1996) 6 SCC 665
9

19. Dr. Manish Singhvi, the learned Additional Advocate General, appearing
on behalf of the State of Rajasthan and Mr. R. Venkatramani, learned Senior
Counsel appearing on behalf of the contesting respondents, i.e. the
Departmental Promotee (DP) candidates, made their submissions. It was
argued on behalf of the State respondents that the permission for creation of 531
posts was given on 01.09.2009 and later 23 posts were added. The recruitments
in question resorted to in 2011, through the two advertisements issued (one for
the 80% quota of DRs and other to fill up 20% quota of DPs) was the first
recruitment drive to fill up these newly created posts which had hitherto not
existed. It was urged on behalf of the State that these circumstances of the case
are to be kept in mind from an important perspective i.e. the first attempt of the
State to fill up a large number of posts after they were encadred and were lying
unfilled for nearly two years. Learned counsel submitted that no doubt
advertisements to fill up the DR vacancies were issued prior in point of time i.e.
in January 201, however in response to this advertisement for the 80%
vacancies (i.e. 443 vacancies) no less than 15,352 applications were received;
these has to be screened to determine eligibility of the candidates; thereafter the
written examination was conducted on 17.04.2011. A typing test was also
conducted on 15.05.2011 for 356 candidates. A provisional result was declared
on 16.05.2011. The learned Additional Advocate General emphasized that the
police verification and medical examination processes took a little while for
such a large number of candidates and was eventually completed on 01.07.2011.

20. It was urged that two months period for completing this process cannot be
considered unreasonable for any stretch of imagination – since Rajasthan is the
largest State geographically and has about 35 districts. The advertisement for
departmental candidates was in the meanwhile issued on 24.05.2011. For filling
111 vacancies, 232 applications were received, written test was held on two
dates i.e. 11th and 12th June, 2011. The DPs were not required to undergo any
typing test nor require police verification and medical examination since they
10

were working with the Government for a considerable period of time. The
process for final appointment thus was relatively easy. In these circumstances
their results were compiled and published on 14.06.2011 but having regard to
the simplified and shortened nature of the selection process they were appointed
on 24.06.2011.

21. The learned Additional Advocate General and Senior Counsel for the
contesting respondents submitted that the Division Bench correctly concluded
that the underlying idea behind Rule 27 and the principle of seniority indicated
by it which is that those selected earlier would rank earlier to those selected
later, would apply in the case of recruits in the same category. Thus, for
instance, if within the DR quota there are two sets of selections, the Rule
enunciated in Rule 27, squarely applied, however that principle would be
inapplicable where the recruits are appointed from different categories such as
promotees and direct recruits. In such cases the main part of the Rule i.e.
seniority based upon the entry into the cadre would squarely applied.

22. Learned senior counsel highlighted that the consistent view of this Court
in several decisions has been to confine the proviso within the field of its
operation and not allow it to supplant the main or enacted portion contained in
the provision of which the proviso relates to. It is thus urged that the proviso
cannot be interpreted as nullifying the enactment or taking away something
conferred by the main section or provision. Learned counsel relied upon certain
decisions in this regard8. The learned AAG emphasized that the facts on record
show that the entire cadre was created for the first time by the single notification
dated 01.12.2010. The recruitment to the two categories occurred as a first time
measure. That advertisements were issued on different dates – one for direct
recruits (DRs) and the other for direct promotees (DPs) did not make them
separate recruitment processes. They were contemporaneous in that the State

8
Casio India Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Haryana
(2016) 6 SCC 209 & Rohitash Kumar v. Om Prakash Sharma and
Ors
. (2013) 11 SCC 451.

11

intended the selected candidates to man the same post. Thus, it could not be
argued that appointments made in the 80% quota for DR candidates was for a
previous year (having regard to the definition of “Year” under the recruitment
rules9.

23. It was highlighted in this regard that the decision to conduct the
recruitment and selection process was a composite one – though advertisements
were issued on separate dates. If one kept this in mind, it was clear that the
entire recruitment process was a composite one. Given that the 80% quota
earmarked for DRs was available to candidates with different eligibility criteria,
of necessity, a separate advertisement was issued. Similarly, having regard to
the fact that the 20% departmental promotion quota could be filled only by
those working within the Commercial Tax Department (and which could not be
filled by DRs), a different kind of advertisement with relevant eligibility
conditions was issued. This did not mean that separate selection processes were
held; since the department had vacancies in a new post for the first time,
recruitment had to be considered common.

Relevant rules:

24. Rule 27 of the Rajasthan Commercial Taxes Subordinate Services
(General Branch) Rules, 1975 was taken note of by the learned Single Judge.
The relevant extract of that Rule is reproduced below:

“27. Seniority “Seniority of persons appointed to the
lowest post of the Service or lowest categories of posts in
each of the Group/Sections of the Service, as the case
may be, shall be determined from the date but in respect
of persons appointed by promotion to other higher posts
9
Rule 2 reads as follows:

“Definition – 2.In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a)…………..

          (b)………………
          xxxxxx             xxxxxx                     xxxxxx
          (l) Year “means financial year”.
                                        12


in the Service or other higher categories of posts in each
of the Groups/Sections in the Service, as the case may be,
shall be determined from the date of their regular
selection to such posts.

Provided
(1) That the seniority inter-se of the persons appointed to
the Service before the commencement of the rules,
and/or in process of integration of the Services of the
pre-reorganisation of States of Rajasthan or the
Services of the new State of Rajasthan established by
the State Re-organisation Act, 1956, shall be
determined, modified or altered by the Appointing
Authority on an ad hoc basis;

(2) That the persons selected and appointed as a result of
a selection, which is not subject to review and
revision, shall rank senior to the persons who are
selected and appointed as a result of subsequent
selection. Seniority inter se of persons selected on the
basis of seniority-cum-merit and on the basis of merit
in the same selection shall be the same as in the next
below grade;”

25. With effect from 10.10.2002, the main provision of Rule 27 was amended
even while maintaining the two provisos below it. This was referred to by the
Division Bench in its impugned judgment. The amendment to the Rule is
extracted below:

“AMENDMENT: In the column of the Schedule attached
herewith, following words shall be substituted in place of every
Service Rule Col. No.4 with regard to substantial provisions
(except their provisions) which means:-

„Seniority in respect of persons appointed on the posts included
in the cadre of service shall be as per the provisions of these
rules and shall be fixed from the date of their appointment. Those
appointed on ad hoc or urgent temporary basis, they shall not be
considered after their regular selection.”
13

26. The following provisos to the above main provision (i.e. Rule 27 [1])
were left intact:

“Provided that
(1) That the seniority inter-se of the persons appointed to the
Service before the commencement of the rules, and/or in process
of integration of the Services of the pre-reorganisation of States
of Rajasthan or the Services of the new State of Rajasthan
established by the State Re-organisation Act, 1956, shall be
determined, modified or altered by the Appointing Authority on
an ad hoc basis;

(2) That the persons selected and appointed as a result of a
selection, which is not subject to review and revision, shall rank
senior to the persons who are selected and appointed as a result
of subsequent selection. Seniority inter se of persons selected on
the basis of seniority-cum-merit and on the basis of merit in the
same selection shall be the same as in the next below grade;”

27. Thus, the main provision was amended as to clearly provide that seniority
in the cadre would be fixed from the dates of appointment of the employees, or
officers, to the cadre.

28. The question to be decided here is having regard to the fact that the DPs
were concededly appointed prior to the DRs, where the latter, as is argued by
them appointed on the basis of merit “in the same selection”10 The DRs
argument is that their appointment, later than the DPs is the result of
manipulation by the department (or, rather some officers in the department) who
wished to favor the DPs; and that since their selections began before that of the
DPs, the second proviso is attracted, for determination of inter se seniority.
They also argue that the selection- in terms of the rules, “subsequent selection”
necessarily refers to a chronologically later event; in the present case, the
recruitment of the DRs began with the advertisement in January, 2011 (and

10
Second proviso to Rule 27 (1)
14

thus, in the earlier financial year, having regard to Rule 2 (l)) whereas the
selection process for DPs began in May, 2011.

29. On a plain reading of the entire rule (Rule 27 [1] and the two provisos)
what is evident is that (a) before the amendment of 2002, seniority of personnel
appointed to the “lowest categories of posts” in any department was to be
determined as from the date of appointment; however, for promotees, it was to
be from the date of selection; (b) after the amendment of 2002, seniority has to
be fixed (by reason of Rule 27 (1)) as on the date of appointment to the post or
service; (c) however, in the case of pre-state integration of state (of Rajasthan)
or pre-integration of services, seniority could be “modified or altered by the
Appointing Authority on an ad hoc basis”- this clearly was meant to be a
“sunset” clause, i.e. operative for a limited period; (d) the second proviso,-
which is the one pressed into service by the DRs, states that seniority of those
selected earlier will be determined over those selected latter.

30. Plainly, the principal mandate of the rule is that seniority is determined
on the basis of date of appointment (“shall be fixed from the date of their
appointment”). Proviso (2) lists out two rules. The first is that those selected
and appointed through a prior selection would rank senior to those selected and
appointed through a later selection process. The High Court, in this case, was of
the opinion that this rule (i.e. proviso) applied to selections from the same
source, i.e. where two sets of direct recruits were appointed, those selected
through a previous recruitment process, would rank senior to those recruited
through a later recruitment process. This interpretation is, in this court’s
opinion, salutary. There may be various reasons why the ultimate appointment
of one batch of recruits may be delayed: challenges to some part of the
recruitment process (such as shortlisting, calling of candidates for interviews
etc.), during which period, a subsequent recruitment may be undertaken. To
forestall any apprehensions as to which of the appointees would be senior, and
15

if those from the earlier process are appointed later, the proviso clarifies that
candidates from the earlier process would rank senior, despite the main rule
speaking of a date of appointment based seniority. The same logic would apply
to departmental promotees, as well, if two batches of promotees are appointed,
through selection. The second limb of the second proviso clarifies that when
merit based, or seniority based promotions are resorted to, the applicable norm
would be seniority in the feeder cadre, to forestall any debate about the rule of
merit (in the selection) being the guiding principle.

31. In Prem Kumar Verma v. Union of India11this court had to consider Rule
303 of the Railway Establishment Manual, which was phrased like Rule 27 in
the present case. The extract of the relevant discussion is as follows:

“4. In view of the rival submissions at the Bar the first question that
would arise for consideration is which Rule would govern the inter
se seniority. It is undisputed that vacancies arose prior to July 1989
and advertisement for the said post had been issued earlier to July
1989 and finally the Railway Recruitment Board concluded its
selection process and selected 29 candidates on 11-7-1989.
Therefore, the relevant Rules, as existed then, would govern the
inter se seniority. The next question that arises for consideration is
which is the relevant Rule that was in force in July 1989. From the
materials produced before us it appears that para 303 of the
Manual, as it stood in July 1989 is to the following effect:

“303. The seniority of candidates recruited through the
Railway Service Commission or by any other recruiting
authority should be determined as under:

(a) Candidates who are sent for initial training to training
schools will rank in seniority in the relevant grade in the order
of merit obtained at the examination held at the end of the
training period before being posted against working posts.

(b) Candidates who do not have to undergo any training, the
seniority should be determined on the basis of the merit order
assigned by the Railway Service Commission or other
recruiting authority.”

11
(1998) 5 SCC 457
16

Later on sometime in the year 1990 Rule 303(a) was amended by
inserting the following expression:

“Those who joined the subsequent course for any reasons
whatsoever and those who passed the examination in the
subsequent chance will rank junior to those who had
passed the examination in earlier courses.”

The aforesaid Rule stood further amended in 1993 which reads thus:

“In case however persons belonging to the same RRB
panel are sent for initial training in batches due to
administrative reasons and not because of reasons
attributable to the candidates, the inter se seniority will
be regulated batchwise provided persons higher up in the
panel of RRB not sent for training in the appropriate
batch (as per seniority) due to administrative reasons
shall be clubbed along with the candidates who took the
training in the appropriate batch for the purpose of
regularising the inter se seniority provided such persons
pass the examination at the end of the training in the first
attempt.”

5. In view of our conclusion that the posts fell vacant prior
to July 1989 and the process of selection was completed and the
Recruitment Board selected the candidates on 11-7-1989 the
amendment that was introduced on 5-5-1990 and the further
amendment of 1993 will have no application and it is the
unamended Rule 303(a), as it stood on 11-7-1989, that would
govern the case of inter se seniority. The analysis of the
provisions of para 303 indicates that where candidates are
required to undergo some training after being selected through
Railway Service Commission or any other recruiting authority,
their seniority is determined on the basis of their respective merit
in the examination held at the end of the training period and
where candidates do not have to undergo any training, the
seniority is determined on the basis of the merit assigned by the
Railway Service Commission or other recruiting authority. In the
present case the candidates had to undergo training and in fact
they had undergone training in batches, as already stated. In that
view of the matter their seniority had rightly been determined by
the Railway authority on the basis of their respective merit
obtained in the examination held at the end of the training
17

period. The Tribunal committed error by altering the said
seniority on the basis of a rule which was not in existence on the
date the vacancy arose and, on the date, when the selection was
completed.”

32. Keeping in mind that the advertisements (for filling the entire cadre, in
both the quotas or streams of recruitment) were issued one after the other, and
more importantly, that this was the first selection and recruitment to a newly
created cadre, the delay which occurred on account of administrative exigencies
(and also the completion of procedure, such as verification of antecedents) the
seniority of the promotees given on the basis of their dates of appointment, is
justified by Rule 27 in this case. The impugned judgment, in the opinion of this
court, is not erroneous; it does not call for interference.

33. In view of the above discussion, the appeals are dismissed, without order
on costs.

……………………………………………….J
[INDIRA BANERJEE]

………………………………………………J
[S. RAVINDRA BHAT]
New Delhi,
November 26, 2020.



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