P. Ranjitharaj vs The State Of Tamil Nadu on 25 April, 2022


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Supreme Court of India

P. Ranjitharaj vs The State Of Tamil Nadu on 25 April, 2022

Author: Ajay Rastogi

Bench: Ajay Rastogi, C.T. Ravikumar

                                                    1


                                                               NON­REPORTABLE



                                  IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                    CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                              CIVIL APPEAL NO(s.) 3176­3177        OF 2022
                          (Arising from the SLP(Civil) No(s).14438­39 OF 2019)


   P. RANJITHARAJ                                                 …Appellant(s)


                                        VERSUS


   THE STATE OF TAMIL NADU & ORS.                                …Respondent(s)


                                                 WITH


                              CIVIL APPEAL NO(s.) 3178 ­3179         OF 2022
                         (Arising from the SLP(Civil) No(s). 7824­7825 OF 2022)
                                                          (D. NO.9915 OF 2019)


                                                 JUDGMENT

1. Delay condoned.

2.
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
Leave granted.

NIRMALA NEGI
Date: 2022.04.25
18:46:01 IST
Reason:

3. The present appeals have been filed assailing the judgment

dated 19th June, 2014 and later order dated 2nd November, 2018
2

passed in review application, whereby the appellants have been

denied to become member of the Tamil Nadu Pension Rules, 1978.

4. The indisputed facts manifest from the record are that 53

vacancies of Assistant Public Prosecutor Grade II (hereinafter

referred to as “APP Grade II”) came to be advertised by the Tamil

Nadu Public Service Commission (hereinafter referred to as “the

Commission”) by advertisement dated 9th November, 2001. After

undertaking the process for selection, the final select list was sent

by the Commission to the State Government, pursuant to which 51

persons, including those who are lower in order of merit to the

appellants herein, were appointed on the post of APP Grade II by

the Government by order dated 24th September, 2002.

5. So far as the present appellants are concerned, their names at

the given point of time were withheld for want of further verification

and clearance from the Commission. The Commission on

verification granted clearance to both the appellants and intimated

to the State Government by its communication dated 3 rd September,

2002 (much before the appointments made by order dated 24 th

September, 2002). Despite all the formalities being completed,

without any reasonable cause or justification, the State Government
3

withheld the appointments of the appellants and finally both the

appellants were appointed on the post of APP Grade II on 23rd

August, 2005 and 23rd April, 2004 respectively.

6. In the meanwhile vide notification dated 6th August, 2003, an

amendment was made under the Tamil Nadu Pension Rules, 1978

which came into force w.e.f. 1st April, 2003 and following proviso

was added to Rule 2 :

“Provided that these rules shall not apply to Government Servants
appointed on or after 1st April, 2003, to services and posts in
connection with the affairs of the State which are borne on
pensionable establishments, whether temporary or permanent.”

7. Accordingly, the State Government introduced a new Contrib­

utory Pension Scheme applicable to the Tamil Nadu State Govern­

ment employees who are recruited on or after 1st April, 2003.

8. The grievance of the appellants is that advertisement was

published by the Commission on 9 th November, 2001 for the block

year 1998­2002, pursuant to which after selection 51 candidates

out of 53 (except the appellants) were appointed by order dated 24 th

September, 2002 and before these appointments could be made,

the names of the appellants were also cleared by the Commission

after due verification on 3rd September, 2002, but the State Govern­

ment failed to include their names while appointments of other se­

lected candidates, including those who are lower in order of merit,
4

were made on 24th September, 2002 and without any reasonable

cause/justification, their appointments were withheld for two/three

years and finally they were appointed on 23rd August, 2005 and

23rd April, 2004 respectively and the delay in appointments in no

manner could be attributable to the appellants and because of their

later appointments, the Government has denied them to avail the

benefit and become a member of the Scheme, 1978 which was ap­

plicable to the employees who were appointed on or before 1 st April,

2003.

9. The counsel for the appellants further submits that in terms of

their placement in order of merit in the select list despite later ap­

pointments in the year 2004 and 2005, still all benefits, including

seniority, promotion, etc. were extended to the appellants. In the

given circumstances, merely because there is delay in appointment

would not deprive the appellants of their right to become a member

of the Pension Scheme, 1978 claiming parity with the other candi­

dates who had participated in the common process of selection held

by the Commission pursuant to advertisement dated 9 th September,

2001 and the High Court has committed a manifest error to proceed

blindly on the premise that since they were appointed after 1 st April,

2003, are not entitled to become member of Pension Scheme, 1978,
5

which was applicable to the employees appointed on or before 1 st

April, 2003 and the same needs to be interfered with by this Court.

10. Learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, while

supporting the finding recorded by the High Court under the im­

pugned judgment, submits that the Scheme of Rules 1978 which

has been amended by the notification dated 6 th August, 2003, is not

under challenge and that clearly demonstrates that it will be appli­

cable only to such of the employees who were appointed on or be­

fore 1st April, 2003, to draw the benefits of the Tamil Nadu Pension

Rules, 1978. Admittedly, the present appellants were appointed

much after the new Contributory Pension Scheme was introduced,

which was applicable to the employees recruited on or after 1 st

April, 2003, which alone will be applicable to the present appellants

and this what the High Court has observed in the impugned judg­

ment and needs no further interference by this Court.

11. After we have heard counsel for the parties and with their as­

sistance perused the material available on record, in our considered

view, the premise on which the High Court has proceeded is not

sustainable for the reason that the appellants along with other ap­

plicants had participated in the self­same selection process pur­

suant to advertisement dated 9th September, 2001 held for the post
6

of APP Grade II and verification was made by the Commission in the

case of the present appellants on 3rd September, 2002.

12. In the given circumstances, when those who are lower in order

of merit to the appellants were appointed by an order dated 24 th

September, 2002, the appellants have no right of say in the matter

of appointment and no justification has been tendered by the State

respondent as to why their names were withheld for two/three

years, when their names were cleared by the Commission on 3 rd

September, 2002 and sent to the State Government and finally ap­

pointments were made of the appellants on 23rd August, 2005 and

23rd April, 2004 respectively and the delay indeed in making ap­

pointments in the case of the present appellants in no manner

could be attributable to them.

13. In the given circumstances, when all other candidates who

had participated along with the appellants pursuant to advertise­

ment dated 9th November, 2001, on the recommendations made by

the Commission were appointed on 24th September, 2002 including

those who are lower in the order of merit, there appears no reason

for withholding the names of the present appellants and merely be­

cause they were appointed at a later point of time, would not de­

prive them from claiming to become a member of Tamil Nadu Pen­
7

sion Rules, 1978, which is applicable to the employees who were

appointed on or before 1st April, 2003.

14. In the facts and circumstances, the finding recorded by the

High Court qua the present appellants is not sustainable and de­

serves to be set aside.

15. The appeals are accordingly allowed and the judgment and

order dated 19th June, 2014 and 2nd November, 2018 of the High

Court qua the appellants are set aside. The respondents are

directed to treat the present appellants to be a member of the Tamil

Nadu Pension Rules, 1978 for all practical purposes and benefits as

member of the Rules, 1978 to which the appellants are entitled,

including retiral benefits, be made available to them. No costs.

16. Pending application(s), if any shall stand disposed of.

…………………………..J.

(AJAY RASTOGI)

………………………….J.

(BELA M. TRIVEDI)

New Delhi
APRIL 25, 2022.



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