Union Of India vs Mukesh Kumar Meena on 28 April, 2022


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Supreme Court of India

Union Of India vs Mukesh Kumar Meena on 28 April, 2022

Author: M.R. Shah

Bench: M.R. Shah, B.V. Nagarathna

                                                                        REPORTABLE
                                   IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                    CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                    CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3468 OF 2022



         Union of India and Ors.                                   …Appellants


                                              Versus


         Mukesh Kumar Meena                                       …Respondent




                                             JUDGMENT

M.R. SHAH, J.

1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment

and order dated 20.02.2015 passed by the High Court of Judicature for

Rajasthan at Jodhpur in DBCWP No. 1542 of 2015, by which the High

Court has allowed the said writ petition preferred by the respondent

herein – original writ petitioner and has set aside the judgment and order

passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jodhpur Bench, Jodhpur
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by

(hereinafter referred to as the “Tribunal”) in O.A. No. 155 of 2014 by
NEETU KHAJURIA
Date: 2022.04.28
15:33:54 IST
Reason:

which the learned Tribunal dismissed the said application preferred by

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the respondent herein – original applicant (hereinafter referred to as

“original applicant”) and has directed to extend the grace marks in the

subject of “Other Taxes” by treating him as a person belonging to

general category, Union of India and Others have preferred the present

appeal.

2. That the original applicant belongs to Scheduled Tribes (ST)

category. He entered in services of the Department of Income Tax being

appointed as Lower Division Clerk (LDC). He was promoted to the posts

of Tax Assistant, Sr. Tax Assistant and Office Superintendent. With a

view to regulate the departmental examination for Income Tax

Inspectors, the competent authority introduced modified rules for

Departmental Examination for Income Tax Inspectors – 1998 (hereinafter

referred to as the “Rules, 1998”). The said Rules were made applicable

for the departmental examination to be held in 1998 and onwards. The

departmental examination under the Rules, 1998 consisted of six papers

namely viz. Income Tax Law and Assessment, Other Taxes, Book

Keeping, Office Procedure, Examination of Accounts and Hindi Test. A

candidate securing minimum 45% marks in five subjects except in Hindi

was entitled to be declared as pass. For the members of Scheduled

Castes and Scheduled Tribes the minimum marks required to qualify the

examination was 40% of the maximum marks.

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2.1 For the benefit of those candidates, who marginally failed to

secure minimum marks/percentage irrespective of their category on

falling short of passing, upto five marks, the Central Board of Direct

Taxes introduced policy of awarding grace marks. The original applicant

secured the marks in different subjects as under:-

a. Income Tax Law (I & II) 41 +57=98 49

Combined aggregate of
45% (40% in the case of
SC/ ST candidate)
b. Other Taxes 43 43
c. Book Keeping 45 45
d. Office Procedure 71 71
e. Examination of accounts 83 83
Total 340 56.67

2.2 Thus, the original applicant secured more than 45% marks in each

subject except the subject of “Other Taxes”. According to the original

applicant, he was entitled for grace marks in the subject of “Other

Taxes”, but the same were not given to him as he was treated qualified

in the category of Scheduled Tribes. Therefore, it gave cause to him to

approach the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jodhpur Bench, Jodhpur

by way of filing O.A. No. 155 of 2014.

2.3 Before the Tribunal, it was the case on behalf of the original

applicant that though he belongs to ST category and he passed in the

examination with relaxed standards of marks provided for SCs and STs

category, but he actually got 43 marks in one of the subjects and had he

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been given two grace marks in the “Other Taxes” paper in the

departmental examination, he would have been declared passed in 2007

itself on his own merit and would have been eligible to get the benefit of

promotion against general vacancies.

2.4 The learned Tribunal by a reasoned and detailed judgment and

order dismissed the said application by observing that the CBDT circular

providing grace marks cannot be interpreted to mean that a person, who

has passed in his own category can be given further grace marks to

enable him to move in the general category on his own merit. The

learned Tribunal also considered the object and purpose of introducing

the grace marks policy, namely with the purpose of enabling marginally

failing candidates to pass the examination.

2.5 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and order

passed by the learned Tribunal dismissing the O.A., the respondent

herein – original applicant preferred the writ petition before the High

Court. By the impugned judgment and order, the Division Bench of the

High Court relying upon the decision of this Court in the case of Rajesh

Kumar Daria Vs. Rajasthan Public Service Commission and Ors.,

(2007) 8 SCC 785 has allowed the said writ petition and has quashed

and set aside the judgment and order passed by the learned Tribunal

and has directed the Department to extend grace marks to him in the

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subject of “Other Taxes” by treating him as a person belonging to

general category.

2.6 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment

and order passed by the High Court, the Union of India and others have

preferred the present appeal.

3. Shri Nachiketa Joshi, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the

appellants – Union of India and others has vehemently submitted that

the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is beyond

the grace marks policy declared by the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

3.1 It is submitted that while passing the impugned judgment and

order, the Hon’ble High Court has not at all appreciated the object and

purpose of allowing the grace marks. It is submitted that as rightly

observed by the learned Tribunal, the grace marks were to be provided

only for the purpose of enabling marginally failing candidates to pass the

examination.

3.2 It is submitted that as rightly observed by the learned Tribunal, the

grace marks policy was not applicable in favour of a person, who has

passed in his own category. It is submitted that it was not meant to give

further grace marks to enable a person, who has passed in his own

category to move to the general category on his own merit.

3.3 It is further submitted that the Hon’ble High Court has as such

erred in applying the decision of this Court in the case of Rajesh Kumar

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Daria (supra). It is submitted that the said decision shall not be

applicable to the facts of the case on hand.

3.4 Making above submissions, it is prayed to allow the present

appeal.

4. Present appeal is vehemently opposed by Dr. Sumant Bhardwaj,

learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent – original

applicant.

4.1 It is vehemently submitted that in the facts and circumstances of

the case and relying upon the decision of this Court in the case of

Rajesh Kumar Daria (supra), the Hon’ble High Court has rightly

directed the Department to give grace marks to the original applicant in

the subject of “Other Taxes” so that he may switch over to general

category and/or get the promotion in the general category. It is

submitted that if the grace marks are given to the original applicant, in

that case, he may get the promotion in the general category.

4.2 It is submitted that some other employees belonging to reserved

categories were awarded five grace marks despite the fact that they

were having the requisite minimum passing marks of 40% meant for

SC/ST category.

4.3 Making above submissions and relying upon the decision of this

Court in the case of Rajesh Kumar Daria (supra), it is prayed to dismiss

the present appeal.

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5. We have heard the learned counsel for the respective parties at

length. We have also considered and gone through the grace marks

policy declared by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

6. The CBDT introduced the grace marks policy with the purpose of

enabling marginally failing candidates to pass the examination. At this

stage, it is required to be noted that as per the Rules, 1998, the

minimum marks provided for general category candidate was 45% and

in the case of SC/ST category candidate, it was 40%. In the present

case, the respondent – original applicant secured more than 45% marks

in each subject except the subject of “Other Taxes”. In the subject of

“Other Taxes”, he secured 43% marks. However, the minimum

requirement was 40% so far as the respondent – original applicant is

concerned, as he belonged to ST category and so he passed in his own

category. However, it is the case on behalf of the original applicant that

as the minimum marks required for general category candidate was 45%

and if he would have been awarded two marks by way of grace in the

subject of “Other Taxes”, in that case, he would have secured the

minimum 45% marks required for general category candidate and

therefore, he would have got the promotion in the general category. The

aforesaid was rightly not accepted by the learned Tribunal. The benefit

of the grace marks was not to allow the reserved category candidate to

switch over to general category.

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6.1 At the cost of repetition, it is observed that the CBDT introduced

the grace marks policy with the purpose of enabling the marginally failing

candidates to pass in the examination. Once the respondent – original

applicant passed in his own category, there was no question of

allowing/granting him any further grace marks. If the contention on

behalf of the respondent – original applicant is accepted, in that case,

granting the grace marks in the aforesaid case would be beyond the

object and purpose of granting grace marks and beyond the policy

declared by CBDT. Only in a case where any candidate belonging to

any category is marginally failing to pass the examination, he is/was to

be allowed the grace marks so as to allow him to obtain the minimum

passing marks required and that too by allowing upto five grace marks.

By passing the impugned judgment and order, the High Court has not at

all appreciated and/or considered in its true spirit the object and purpose

of grace marks policy introduced by CBDT. It was never meant for a

person, who has passed in his own category and still to allow him further

grace marks to enable him to move to the general category. That was

not the object and purpose of the grace marks policy.

7. Now, so far as the reliance placed upon the decision of this Court

in the case of Rajesh Kumar Daria (supra) followed by the High Court

is concerned, the said decision is not appliable to the facts of the case

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on hand. The specific grace marks policy was introduced by the CBDT,

which was for marginally failing candidates so as to enable them to pass

the examination. Therefore, the said decision relied upon by the

respondent herein – original applicant is not applicable at all.

8. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the

impugned judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the High

Court is unsustainable and the same deserves to be quashed and set

aside and is accordingly quashed and set aside. The judgment and

order passed by the learned Tribunal dismissing the O.A. stands

restored.

Present appeal is accordingly allowed. However, in the facts and

circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs.

…………………………………..J.

                                               [M.R. SHAH]


NEW DELHI;                                 …………………………………..J.
APRIL 28, 2022.                               [B.V. NAGARATHNA]




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