Subodh Kumar vs Commissioner Of Police on 17 March, 2020


Supreme Court of India

Subodh Kumar vs Commissioner Of Police on 17 March, 2020

Author: Hon’Ble Ms. Malhotra

Bench: Hon’Ble Ms. Malhotra, Ajay Rastogi

                                                         NON-REPORTABLE
                                   IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                    CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                  CIVIL APPEAL NO(S). 2047 OF 2020
                           (ARISING OUT OF SLP(CIVIL) NO(S). 30192 OF 2017)


           SUBODH KUMAR & ORS.                                ….APPELLANT(S)


                                  VERSUS


           COMMISSIONER OF POLICE & ORS.                     ….RESPONDENT(S)


                                           JUDGMENT

Ajay Rastogi, J.

1. The appellants are the Constables/Head Constables(Male)

serving in Delhi Police and are members of the Delhi Police

(Appointment & Recruitment) Rules, 1980 (hereinafter being

referred to as Rules, 1980). Some of them later got promoted to

the post of Assistant Sub-Inspector during pendency of the
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by

appeal.

GULSHAN KUMAR
ARORA
Date: 2020.03.17
16:50:39 IST
Reason:

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2. The grievance of the appellants is that the amendments

which has been made under Rule 7 and Rule 27A of the Rules,

1980 vide notification dated 13th March, 2013 have deprived and

made them ineligible to participate against 10% out of the 50%

quota reserved for direct recruitment to be filled up from the

serving personnel(constables, head constables and ASI) is

arbitrary and violative of Article 14 & 16 of the Constitution.

3. The controversy was raised in reference to the amendment

made under Rule 7 and Rule 27A of the Rules, 1980 against 10%

out of 50% quota reserved for direct recruitment to the post of

Sub-Inspectors (Executive)-Male. Indisputedly, either of the

appellant was not eligible to participate in the selection process

which was initiated by the respondents pursuant to an

advertisement dated 16th March, 2013 followed with Corrigendum

dated 9th April, 2013 held for the post of Sub-Inspector(Executive)

but few of them were permitted to participate under the interim

order of the Tribunal.

4. Rule 7 and Rule 27A of the Rules, 1980 as in force prior to

the amendment dated 13th March, 2013 are as under:-

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“7. Recruitment of Sub-Inspectors (Executives).

– Fifty per cent of vacancies in the rank of Sub-
Inspector (Executive) shall be filled by direct
recruitment and 50% by promotion out of 50% direct
quota, 10% of the post shall be filled by limited
department competitive tests from amongst
constables, Head Constable, and Asstt. Sub-
Inspectors with minimum 5 years of service who shall
not be more than 35 years (40 years of Scheduled
Castes/Scheduled Tribes candidates) of age on the
first day of January of the year if the examination is
held in the first half of the year and on the first day
of July of the year if the examination is held in the
later half of the year. The educational qualifications
and other physical standards for the test shall be the
same as prescribed in the Rules for direct
recruitment to such posts. The unfilled vacancies
reserved for the department candidates will be
carried forward for 3 recruitment years as in the case
of vacancies for the scheduled tribe candidates
whether the unfilled vacancies will be filled by direct
recruitment.

27-A. Relaxation of upper age limit for
departmental candidate- Relaxation of upper age
limit of all departmental candidates for direct
recruitment against Group C and D posts of Police
Department shall be as follows:-

40 years in the case of general candidate and 45
years in the case of candidates belonging to
Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes Candidates.”

5. Rule 7 and Rule 27A of the Rules, 1980 post amendment

dated 13th March, 2013 are as under:-

“7. Recruitment of Sub-Inspectors (Executive) –
Male.- 50% of vacancies in the rank of Sub-Inspector
(Exe.) – Male shall be filled by direct recruitment and
50% by promotion. Out of 50% direct quota, 10% of
the post shall be filled from amongst serving
Constables, Head Constables, and Asstt. Sub-

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Inspectors enlisted in Delhi Police with a minimum of
3 years continuous service, who shall not be more
than 30 years (33 years of OBC and 35 years for
SC/ST candidates) of age on the first day of January
of the year, if the examination is held in the first half
of the year and on the first day of August of that
year, if the examination is held in the later half of the
year. The educational qualifications, physical
standards and other requirements for the post shall
be the same as prescribed in the rules for direct
recruitments to such posts.

27-A. Relaxation of upper age limit for all
departmental candidates: Relaxation of upper age
limit of all departmental candidates for direct
recruitment against Group C and Multi Tasking Staff
(Formerly group D employees) enlisted in Delhi Police
with a minimum of 3 years continuous service shall
be as follows:-

30 years for general category candidates, 33 years
for OBC category candidates and 35 years in case of
candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled
Tribes.”

6. The amended rules had made four significant changes which

are referred to as under:-

(i) The words “Limited Departmental Competitive
Test” (LDCE) for 10% reserved posts for
departmental candidates under the 50% direct
recruitment quota were deleted.

(ii) It was stipulated that in addition to the
educational qualifications and physical standards,
“other requirements” as prescribed for direct recruits
shall be fulfilled by the serving personnel.

(iii) Qualifying years of service for serving personnel
was reduced from 5 years to 3 years.

(iv) Upper age limit for appointment of Sub-Inspector
(Executive) was reduced from 40 years to 30 years

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for general candidates, for OBC from 43 years to 33
years and from 45 years to 35 years for SC/ST
candidates.

7. Staff Selection Commission issued employment notification

on behalf of Delhi Police to fill up various posts including the post

of Sub-Inspector (Exe.) Male vide its advertisement dated 16 th

March, 2013. Thereafter, it revealed that the amendment which

has come into force vide notification dated 13 th March, 2013

remain unnoticed, a further Corrigendum came to be notified on

9th April, 2013 incorporating necessary changes giving effect to

the amendment notification dated 13th March, 2013. It

specifically notified the changes in the upper age limit for general,

OBC and SC/ST serving candidates and provisions for relaxation

towards physical test. The result of the aforesaid Corrigendum

dated 9th April, 2013 was that the appellants stood excluded from

consideration as they were indisputedly above the upper age limit

from participating in the selection process.

8. This came to be challenged by the appellants by filing of an

Original Application before the Central Administrative

Tribunal(hereinafter being referred to as the “Tribunal”) seeking

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quashing of the notification dated 13 th March, 2013 and

advertisement dated 16th March, 2013 read with Corrigendum

dated 9th April, 2013 and by an interim order dated 29 th May, 2013

and 7th October, 2013, the Tribunal allowed the appellants to

participate in the process of selection held pursuant to an

advertisement dated 16th March, 2013.

9. The learned Tribunal on 18th July, 2014 disposed of the OA

No. 1650/2013 filed by the appellants holding that it was not open

for the Tribunal to interfere with the amendment and

modifications made to the recruitment rules by the executive or

legislature in their wisdom unless the same were unconstitutional

or shockingly arbitrary. It further observed that it was for the

recruiting authorities to prescribe and fix age limits and also to

what extent relaxation should be granted. The appellants’

contention that the amendments to the recruitment rules were

made after the selection process had already been set into

motion was rejected, pointing out that the amendments to the

recruitment rules were notified on 13 th March, 2013 and

advertisement for recruitment to the said posts was published on

16th March, 2013, i.e., post amendment to the Rules, 1980. The

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challenge to the corrigendum dated 9 th April, 2013, revising the

terms of advertisement being in conformity with the amendment

rules was repelled holding that no vested right had accrued to the

serving candidates under the pre-amended rules. While

concluding, it directed the Delhi Administration to refer the matter

to the Committee which was formed to re-examine the

amendments keeping in view the grievances raised by the

appellants. The Committee also in compliance of the Tribunal’s

order revisited the amendments made under the notification

dated 13th March, 2013 which did not find favour. The conclusion

of the minutes of the meeting held on 18 th December, 2014 has

been placed on record by the respondents along with the counter

affidavit at page 76 of the paper book. The same are extracted

hereunder:-

“1. The existing age limits as modified relating to
the departmental candidates has due rationale and
to remain and continue. Increase in age will lead to
shortage of young officers at the level of Sub-
Inspectors which is the dire need of the day where
Police duties have become highly arduous and also
because the departmental candidates are getting
opportunity in promotion quota etc as explained by
Delhi Police.

2. Keeping in view the recruitment policy of the
Delhi Police, the Committee is of the opinion that the
demand is not justified as existing changed policy is

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working well for the promotion of sports and sports
curricular/physical fitness in Delhi Police. Therefore,
there seems to be no need to modify Rule-5 of Delhi
Police (Appointment & Recruitment) Rules-1980
meant for implementing the direction of the Govt.
relating to SC/ST, Ex-servicemen, outstanding
sportsmen, departmental candidates, etc.

3. The issue of ground for amending the
recruitment rules was examined by the Committee at
length and it got emerged that it is not only the
alignment of examination with CAPF but the major
issue here is to have young officers at middle level of
the force and also to have pan India representation in
the Delhi Police force through SSC recruitment. It was
also felt that since 50% of the total vacancies are
already allocated to the promotee employees, there
chance of promotion is nowhere compromised.

4. In view of the clarification provided by Delhi
Police regarding the Post of Sub Inspector in CAPF
being Group “B” while Sub Inspector (Exe.) in Delhi
Police being Group “C” posts, the Committee is of the
view that the contention of the applicants does not
hold ground.”

10. The order of the Tribunal came to be challenged by the

appellants before the Division Bench of the High Court and that

came to be dismissed vide judgment dated 20 th April, 2017 which

is a subject matter of challenge before us.

11. Mr. M.N. Rao, learned senior counsel for the appellants

submits that the amendment which has been made under

notification dated 13th March, 2013 practically is unworkable and

arbitrary. When the serving personnel is promoted to the post of

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ASI, he indeed by that time cross the age of 30 years and this is

indirect way of elimination of serving Head Constable/ASI to

participate against 10% quota reserved for serving personnel

under the Rules, 1980 and to buttress further submits that there

cannot be a rule which is impossible of compliance and is

suggestive of arbitrariness and lack of application of mind of the

authority in making such amendments under the notification

dated 13th March, 2013 and is in violation of Article 14 and 16 of

the Constitution and deserves to be interfered with by this Court.

12. Learned counsel further submits that an apparent error has

been committed by the High Court in holding that the amended

rules give equal opportunity to in-service candidates to compete

with open market candidates against 50% of direct recruitment

quota. According to the learned counsel, the High Court has

completely misdirected both in facts and law. In-service

candidates cannot compete with open market candidates for the

reason that the upper age for open market direct recruits is 25

years whereas for in-service candidates, it is 30 years. It is not

possible for serving Constables, Head Constables or ASI to

compete for the direct recruitment quota before the age of 25

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years. Both the categories are distinct and different. The

amendment which has been made in the upper age limit for the

candidates to participate for the post of Sub-Inspector (Exe.) Male

under notification dated 13th March, 2013 is indirect way of

elimination of the serving candidates in the process of selection.

Such an amendment being irrational and has no nexus with the

object to the achieved. The very purpose as projected attract

meritorious persons in the rank of Constable, Head Constable and

ASI’s to shoulder higher responsibilities is not going to be

achieved under the impugned amendment notification dated 13 th

March, 2013.

13. Ms. Madhavi Divan, learned ASG, appearing for the

respondents, on the other hand, while supporting the judgment of

the Tribunal confirmed by the High Court submits that it is a not a

fast track promotion of the serving personnel to the post of Sub-

Inspector(Executive). For serving personnel, 50% quota is

reserved for promotion in their respective channel and after

qualifying the minimum service as Assistant Sub-Inspector, one

could be considered for promotion against 50% of promotion

quota but so far as 50% quota reserved by direct recruitment is

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concerned, it is an open selection and 10% out of 50% quota of

direct recruitment is carved out for the serving personnel whose

suitability has to be adjudged on the same standards and

yardsticks prevalent for open selection under the scheme of

Rules, 1980 and that is the reason for which an amendment has

been made under notification dated 13 th March, 2013. The upper

age limit which has been modified relating to the departmental

candidates has a reasonable nexus and pre-existing upper age

limit would lead to shortage of young officers at the level of Sub-

Inspectors which is dire need of the day where police duties have

become highly arduous and also for the reason the departmental

candidates are awaiting their opportunity in promotion quota and

were desirous that selection under direct recruitment quota be

brought not only in alignment with CAPF but the object was to

have young officers at middle level of the force and also to have

pan India representation in Delhi Police through SSC recruitment.

14. Learned counsel further submits that eligibility qualifications

for recruitment or promotion in service are ordinarily the matters

to be considered by the appropriate authority and not by the

Courts. It is the employer who is best suited to decide the

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requirements a candidate must possess according to the needs of

the employer and the nature of work. Prescribing of any age limit

for a given post, as also deciding the extent to which any

relaxation given if an age limit is prescribed, are essentially

matters of policy and as long as its competence in making such

amendments would serve a public purpose, it is not open to be

interfered with by this Court under limited scope of judicial review

after it has been examined by the Tribunal and confirmed by the

High Court.

15. It is a settled law that prescribing of any age limit for a given

post, as also deciding the extent to which any relaxation can be

given if an age limit is prescribed, are essentially the matters of

policy. It is always open for the Government or the appointing

authority while framing rules, to prescribe such age limits or to

prescribe the extent to which any relaxation can be given.

Prescription of such limit or the extent of relaxation to be given,

cannot ordinarily be termed as arbitrary or unreasonable. Just

because the amendment under notification dated 13 th March,

2013 has curtailed the chances of the appellants to take part in

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the selection process, it cannot lead to an inference that the rule

is arbitrary or unreasonable as prayed for.

16. It is equally a settled proposition of law that a candidate has

a right to be considered under the existing rules, which implies

the ‘rule in force’ on the date the consideration took place. There

is no rule of universal or absolute application that vacancies are

to be filled invariably by the law existing on the date when the

vacancy arises. The requirement of filling up earlier year

vacancies under the old rules is interlinked with the candidate

having acquired a right to be considered for promotion.

17. The four significant changes which have been made under

the amendment notification dated 13th March, 2013 envisage that

while giving due opportunity to the in-service candidates for

participating against 10% out of the 50% quota reserved for

direct recruitment to compete in the self-same selection process

on the same standards and yardsticks except giving some

advantage in relaxation of upper age limit for a fair consideration

in the process of selection and scaling the upper age limit indeed

may reduce the number of serving personnel holding the post of

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Constable/Head Constable/ASI in competing with the candidates

in the open selection but that in itself cannot be regarded as

unconstitutional or arbitrary as prayed for by the appellants and

at the same time, it may not be construed to be a fast track

promotion to the serving personnel reserving right of in-service

personnel for their promotion against 50% quota separately

reserved under the scheme of Rules, 1980.

18. We find no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment.

The appeal is accordingly dismissed. No costs.

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

.…….…………………………………….J.

[Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud]

………………………………………….J.

[Ajay Rastogi]
New Delhi
March 17, 2020

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