Pravakar Mallick vs State Of Orissa . on 17 April, 2020


Supreme Court of India

Pravakar Mallick vs State Of Orissa . on 17 April, 2020

Author: Mohan M. Shantanagoudar

Bench: Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, R. Subhash Reddy

C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

                                                                                       REPORTABLE

                                              IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                                CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                                CIVIL APPEAL NO.3240 OF 2011

                             Pravakar Mallick & Anr.                                   …..Appellants

                                                                Versus

                             The State of Orissa & Ors.                              …..Respondents

                                                                WITH

                                                  Civil Appeal No.4421 of 2011

                                                           JUDGMENT

R. Subhash Reddy, J.

Civil Appeal No.3240 of 2011

1. This civil appeal is filed, aggrieved by the judgment and order

dated 24.12.2010 passed by the High Court of Orissa at Cuttack in W.P.

(C) No.6781 of 2008. By the aforesaid order, writ petition filed by

respondent nos.4 to 8 herein, is allowed by setting aside the order dated

17.04.2008 passed in O.A.No.904(C) of 2008 etc. by the Orissa

Administrative Tribunal and the Government Resolution dated

20.03.2002 and the consequential Gradation List dated 03.03.2008 of

Orissa Administrative Services, Class-I (Junior Branch) are quashed.
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
ANITA MALHOTRA

2. In view of the instructions issued in Office Memorandum dated
Date: 2020.04.17
15:26:04 IST
Reason:

21.01.2002, by the Government of India, Ministry of Personnel, Public

Grievances and Pensions, the Government of Orissa has passed
1
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

Resolution dated 20.03.2002. By the aforesaid Resolution, while

withdrawing the earlier instructions, for fixation of seniority of Scheduled

Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) government servants on promotion by

virtue of rule of reservation, the State Government has issued

instructions to the effect that the “Catch Up Principle” adopted earlier by

the State Government in General Administration Department Resolution

No.39374 dated 02.11.2000 shall not be followed any longer. It is

further ordered that the government servants belonging to SCs/STs shall

retain their seniority in the case of promotion by virtue of rule of

reservation. In the said G.O. it is further clarified that the government

servants belonging to general/OBC category promoted later will be

placed junior to the SC/ST government servants promoted earlier, by

virtue of rule of reservation.

3. The High Court has allowed the abovementioned writ petition and

the connected writ petitions and quashed the aforesaid G.O. and

Gradation List dated 03.03.2008 mainly on the ground that, unless and

until the State Government makes a law for conferring the benefit of

promotion with consequential seniority to SC/ST candidates, they are

not entitled to claim seniority in the promoted categories over the

general category candidates. The said writ petition is allowed, following

the judgment of this Court in the case of M. Nagaraj & Ors. v. Union of

India & Ors.1.

1 (2006) 8 SCC 212
2
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

4. The respondent-writ petitioners were appointed to Orissa

Administrative Service-II (OAS-II) posts pursuant to selections made by

the Orissa Public Service Commission. They were recruited during the

years 1983, 1984 and 1987. They were assigned different ranks in the

merit list for their respective batches prepared by the Public Service

Commission. In the above said merit list, persons belonging to SC/ST

category, who were appointed against the reserved vacancies were

placed below the writ petitioners. Thus, the writ petitioners were senior

to appointees belonging to SC/ST category. The respondent-writ

petitioners were subsequently promoted and appointed in the next

higher category, i.e., Orissa Administrative Service-I (OAS-I)(JB) vide

Government Notification dated 26.08.2000. The appellants and some

others belonging to SC and ST category, recruited along with the

respondent-writ petitioners in subsequent batches, were given

promotion to the rank of OAS-I(JB) against reserved vacancies during

the year 1995 and 2000 as provided under Orissa Reservation of

Vacancies in Posts and Services (For Scheduled Castes and Scheduled

Tribes) Act, 1975 and the rules made thereunder. The seniority of

reserved categories and unreserved categories, including that of the

respondent-writ petitioners was not finalised by the Public Service

Commission since the principles determining seniority, inter se, was the

subject matter of several litigations. The original seniority position in the

cadre of OAS-II prepared by the Public Service Commission was

retained without any changes in view of the judgment of this Court in the

3
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

case of Union of India & Ors. v. Virpal Singh Chauhan & Ors. 2.

Irrespective of getting promotion in subsequent years, the inter se

seniority of the respondent-writ petitioners and the SC/ST roster point

promotees in the rank of OAS-I was maintained in the seniority list

prepared on 16.05.2001. Article 16(4A) of the Constitution of India was

amended by 85th amendment, enabling the State to grant benefit of

promotion with consequential seniority to SC/ST reserved category

officers. By Constitution (85th) Amendment Act of 2001, Article 16(4A)

was amended and for the words, “in matters of promotion to any class”,

the words, “in matters of promotion with consequential seniority to any

class” were substituted. In the judgment of this Court in the case of M.

Nagaraj1 a Constitution Bench of this Court, while upholding the

Constitution (85th) Amendment Act of 2001 held that, the State is not

bound to make reservation for SCs/STs in matter of promotions.

However it was held that, if they wish to exercise their discretion and

make such provision, the State has to collect quantifiable data showing

backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that

class in public employment in addition to compliance with Article 335 of

the Constitution of India. It is further made clear that even if the State

has compelling reasons, the State will have to see that its reservation

provision does not lead to excessiveness so as to breach the ceiling of

50% or obliterate the creamy layer or extend the reservation indefinitely.

In the case of Virpal Singh Chauhan2, this Court has held that reserved

2 AIR 1996 SC 448 = (1995) 6 SCC 684
4
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

promoted candidates are not entitled to seniority in the promoted post

and if the general category candidate reaches the said post, he is

entitled to seniority over the promotees to reserved vacancies.

Subsequently, a three-Judge Bench judgment of this Court in the case of

Jagdish Lal & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Ors. 3 has held that reserved

promoted category candidates are entitled to seniority, in the promoted

posts and not as per the feeder cadre. Subsequently, a Constitution

Bench of this Court in the case of Ajit Singh & Ors. (II) v. State of

Punjab & Ors.4 has overruled the judgment in the case of Jagdish Lal3

and upheld the principle, viz., “Catch Up Rule”, as mentioned in the

judgment in the case of Virpal Singh Chauhan2.

5. In view of the ”Catch Up Rule” evolved by this Court in the case of

Virpal Singh Chauhan2, which is approved by this Court, subsequently

in the case of Ajit Singh (II) 4, the seniority list dated 16.05.2001, of

officers of OAS-I(JB Cadre) has been prepared. In such list, the roster

point promotees belonging to SC/ST category, who were given

promotion to OAS-I(JB) against reserved vacancies earlier, irrespective

of their original seniority in the feeder cadre, were shown below the

respondent-writ petitioners. It is not in dispute that after 85 th Constitution

Amendment amending Article 16(4A) of the Constitution, the State of

Orissa has neither issued any executive order nor enacted any

legislation for conferring benefit of seniority for officers belonging to

SC/ST category who are promoted against reserved vacancies.

3 (1997) 6 SCC 538
4 (1999) 7 SCC 209
5
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

Referring to instructions issued by the Government of India, the State of

Orissa has issued Resolution dated 20.03.2002 issuing instructions to all

the departments of the Government to extend the benefit of seniority for

scheduled caste and scheduled tribe government servants on promotion

by virtue of rule of reservation. Pursuant to such Government

Resolution dated 20.03.2002, Gradation List dated 03.03.2008 was

prepared by altering the seniority of the respondent-writ petitioners,

contrary to the list dated 16.05.2001.

6. At first instance, the respondent-writ petitioners approached the

Orissa Administrative Tribunal by filing Original Application, but the said

application was dismissed on the ground that it was premature.

Thereafter, respondent-writ petitioners have approached the High Court

questioning the orders of the Tribunal and sought further reliefs for

quashment of Government Resolution and the consequential Gradation

List. The writ petition is allowed by a common order in a batch of cases

by the High Court mainly on the ground that, the Government Resolution

dated 20.03.2002 can neither be termed as a law in exercise of enabling

power of the State under Article 16(4A), nor does it satisfy the

parameters laid down by this Court. The High Court further held that

there is no legal basis for such Resolution and accordingly quashed the

Government Resolution and consequential Gradation List.

7. We have heard Sri A. Subba Rao, learned counsel appearing for

the appellants; learned counsel for the State of Orissa; and the learned

counsel representing one of the writ petitioners.
6
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

8. Sri Subba Rao, learned counsel appearing for the appellants has

primarily contended that as per the judgment of this Court in the case of

M. Nagaraj1 this Court has upheld the amendment to Article 16(4A) of

the Constitution by 85th Constitution Amendment and held that it is

always open for the State to extend the benefit of reservation with

consequential seniority, either by executive order or by way of

legislation. When the Government has taken decision by way of

Resolution dated 20.03.2002, same is quashed by the High Court

without assigning any valid reasons. It is further submitted that the

Orissa Act 38 of 1975, i.e., The Orissa Reservation of Vacancies in Post

and Services (For Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Act, 1975 is

in force, in the State and by the said Act, benefit of reservation has been

extended to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, in promotions also.

The learned counsel has placed reliance on Section 10 of the said Act,

to buttress his submission that as per the same, the promoted SC/ST

candidates are entitled for benefit of seniority.

9. The learned counsel appearing for the State of Orissa has fairly

submitted that after 85th Constitution Amendment by which Article 16(4A)

was amended, there is neither any legislation in the State of Orissa nor

any executive order by the Government, to extend the benefit of

promotion to the reserved vacancies with consequential seniority.

10. Having heard the learned counsels on both sides we have

perused the impugned order and other material on record.

7
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

11. It is clear from the material placed on record that the seniority for

general category officers was restored in the Gradation List of OAS-I(JB)

which was prepared on 16.05.2001, by extending the benefit of “Catch

Up Rule”, evolved by this Court in the case of Virpal Singh Chauhan2

which is subsequently accepted in the case of Ajit Singh (II) 4. After

Constitution (Eighty-Fifth) Amendment Act, 2001, Article 16(4A) reads as

under :

“16. Equality of opportunity in matters of public
employment.-(1) …. …. ….
(2) …. …. ….

(3) …. …. ….

(4) …. …. ….

(4A) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from
making any provision for reservation in matters of promotion,
with consequential seniority, to any class or classes of posts
in the services under the State in favour of the Scheduled
Castes and the Scheduled Tribes which, in the opinion of the
State, are not adequately represented in the services under
the State.”
The above said amended constitutional provision makes it clear that in

case the State is of opinion, SC & STs are not adequately represented,

State is empowered to make a provision for reservation in matters of

promotion with consequential seniority, to any class. When the validity

of the constitutional amendment was questioned, same was upheld by

this Court in the case of M. Nagaraj1. In the aforesaid judgment, a

Constitution Bench of this Court has held that the State is not bound to

make reservation for SCs/STs in matters of promotion. However, if they

wish to exercise their discretion and make reservations in promotion, the

States have to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the
8
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public

employment, keeping in mind maintenance of efficiency, as indicated by

Article 335 of the Constitution of India. It is further held that such

exercise depends on availability of data. In the case of Suraj Bhan

Meena & Anr. V. State of Rajasthan & Ors.5 a two-Judge Bench of this

Court has considered the validity of notifications, providing for promotion

of members of SC/ST with consequential seniority, issued by the State

Government. In the aforesaid judgment, it is held by this Court that the

need for collecting quantifiable data and ascertaining inadequacy of

representation of members belonging to SC/STs is a condition precedent

for issuing notifications providing benefit of reservation with

consequential seniority. Further, in the case of B.K. Pavitra & Ors. v.

Union of India & Ors.6 this Court has held that the determination of

‘inadequacy of representation’, ‘backwardness’ and ‘overall efficiency’ is

mandatory for exercising power under Article 16(4A). It is further held in

the said case that the mere fact that there is no proportionate

representation in promotional posts for reserved category candidates, by

itself is not sufficient to extend the benefit of consequential seniority to

promotees who are otherwise juniors. It is held that in absence of such

mandatory exercise by the State the “Catch Up Rule” fully applies. In

the case of Jarnail Singh & Ors. v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta & Ors. 7

while answering the reference a Constitution Bench of this Court has

held that the judgment in the case of M. Nagaraj1 need not be revisited
5 (2011) 1 SCC 467
6 (2017) 4 SCC 620
7 (2018) 10 SCC 396
9
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

by referring to a seven-Judge Bench. At the same time it held that the

conclusion in M. Nagaraj1 that the State has to collect quantifiable data

showing backwardness of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes is held

to be invalid on the ground that the same runs contrary to 9-Judge

Bench judgment of this Court in the case of Indra Sawhney & Ors. v.

Union of India & Ors.8. It is also held in the said judgment that Article

16(4A) has been couched in language which would leave it to the States

to determine adequate representation depending upon the promotional

post in question. Further in the case of B.K. Pavitra & Ors. v. Union of

India & Ors.9 this Court while considering the validity of Karnataka

Determination of Seniority of the Government Servants Promoted on the

Basis of Reservation (to the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Act,

2002 has upheld the Act on the ground that same was enacted by

making study regarding inadequacy of representation, and overall

administrative efficiency.

12. In view of the judgments as referred above, in this case, it is to be

noticed that after Constitution (Eighty-Fifth) Amendment Act, 2001,

amending Article 16(4A) of the Constitution which enabled the State to

extend the benefit of promotion with consequential seniority by

examining the adequacy of representation to scheduled castes and

scheduled tribes in the State services, the State of Orissa has not made

any provision, either by way of legislation or by an executive order, to

extend such benefit in the Class-I Services. The advocate for State

8 1992 Supp. (3) SCC 217
9 2019 SCC OnLine SC 694
10
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

specifically admitted that the Govt. has not issued any executive order or

has passed any legislation. The Government Resolution dated

20.03.2002 is issued merely based on the instructions issued by the

Government of India, without examining the adequacy of representation

in posts. As is evident from the order of the High Court, the State in its

counter affidavit has taken the stand that there is no necessity for

bringing out any law to extend the benefit of seniority for those who are

promoted in reserved vacancies. Government Resolution dated

20.03.2002 can neither be termed as law made in exercise of enabling

power of the State under Article 16(4A), nor does it satisfy the

parameters laid down in the various decisions of this Court. The

Resolution has no legal basis. The Seniority/Gradation List dated

16.05.2001 of OAS-I (JB) was prepared correctly by following the ratio

laid down by this Court and in absence of any law or decision by way of

executive order based on acceptable material for conferring additional

benefit of consequential seniority, the Gradation List dated 03.03.2008

was prepared by altering the positions which were maintained in the List

dated 16.05.2001. While it is open for the State to confer benefit even

through an executive order by applying mandatory requirements as

contemplated under Article 16(4A) but the Resolution dated 20.03.2002

is merely issued by referring to the instructions of the Union of India

without examining the adequacy of representation in promotional posts,

as held by this Court.

11
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

13. Further, the submission of the learned counsel – Sri A. Subba Rao

– that the benefit of reservation in promotion is given in the services of

OAS-I for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe officers as per Section

10 of Orissa Act 38 of 1975, but same cannot be countenanced for the

reason that such Act was enacted by the State of Orissa in the year

1975 but no provision is brought to our notice in such Act for giving the

benefit of seniority for the promotees who were promoted in reserved

vacancies. In absence of any provision in the said Act for conferring the

benefit of seniority, and in absence of any amendment after Constitution

(Eighty-Fifth) Amendment Act of 2001, by which Article 16(4A) was

amended, benefit of seniority cannot be extended relying on Section 10

of the Act. In view of the stand of the respondent-State in the counter

affidavit filed in the writ petition and further in view of the submission

made by the learned counsel for the State of Orissa that no benefit of

seniority was extended by any State Act or by any executive order by

examining adequate representation in terms of Article 16(4A) of the

Constitution, we do not find any merit in this appeal so as to interfere

with the well reasoned judgment of the High Court. The judgment of this

Court rendered in the case of Jarnail Singh7 relied on by the learned

counsel for the appellants also would not take any further the case of the

appellants. In the said judgment also for giving the benefit of promotion

with consequential seniority, the need to examine adequate

representation in posts in terms of the judgment of this Court in the case

12
C.A.Nos.3240 of 2011 etc.

of M. Nagaraj1 is maintained. As such, the said judgment would not

render any assistance for the case of appellants.

14. For the aforesaid reasons, the appeal is dismissed with no order

as to costs.

Civil Appeal No.4421 of 2011

15. The appellants in this appeal, who were not parties before the

High Court, have also sought the same relief as has been sought in Civil

Appeal No.3240 of 2011. In view of dismissal of Civil Appeal No.3240 of

2011, this appeal also stands dismissed.

………….…………………………………J.

[MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR]

….…………………………………………J.

[R. SUBHASH REDDY]

New Delhi.

April 17, 2020.

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