Thursday 25 June 2015


The case is related to the interpretation of some of the paras of Indian Railway Establishment Manual, 1989 namely paras 180, 189 and 320. It pertains to the preparation of seniority lists and promotion of railway employees from one group to another and from one grade to another within the group. Railway services and in any other Government of India services, have been mainly classified in four groups A, B, C & D. The instant case is concerned with services included in different grades in groups C and D. In each group, there are different grades and the employees working in the lowest grade in one group get promotion to the higher grade within the group. When an employee is in the highest grade in a group, he would get promotion to the higher group and the promotion is given on different criteria. The persons working in a particular grade would be having same pay scale, might be working in different departments or different branches with different qualifications and different nature of work. For the purpose of service conditions and for the purpose of higher promotion, persons belonging to one grade are treated equally.

In the instant case, all 3 respondents were initially working in group D. Out of this, respondent nos.2 and 3 were promoted to a higher post of Pointsman ‘B’ in group C, whereas respondent no.1, who was having the longest service in group D, had not been promoted and therefore, he had approached Central Administrative Tribunal with a grievance that he had been denied benefit of promotion. The Tribunal had directed that the applicant should be considered for promotion on the basis of his seniority.

Aggrieved by the order passed by the Tribunal, Union of India approached the High Court of Kerala. Vide judgment dated 27th November, 2007, the High Court dismissed the Petition filed by the Union of India and hence the present appeal was filed before the Supreme Court.
It is an admitted fact that so far as length of service in group D is concerned, respondent no.1 was having longer service than respondent nos.2 and 3. But the question here is whether a person working in one grade of a lower group can get promotion on the basis of his seniority in his group irrespective of the length of service rendered in a particular grade. For example, a person working in the lowest grade i.e. in grade IV would get promotion to grade III, then to grade II and then to grade I. After he has been placed in grade I of group D, he would get promotion to the lowest grade in group C, which is a higher group.

In this case, Respondent no.1 was having longer service in group D but was in a lower grade than respondent nos.2 and 3 in group D service. That is why he was not promoted to a group C post. To be able to get promoted to a post in group C, one must be in the highest grade of group C and admittedly respondent no.1 was not in the highest grade of group C and being in a lower grade than respondent nos.2 and 3, respondent no.1 could not have been promoted along with respondent nos.2 and 3.
Hence the Supreme Court opined that the Tribunal as well as the High Court committed an error while coming to the conclusion that simply because respondent no.1 had a longer service in group D, he should also have been promoted along with respondent nos.2 and 3, who were working in a higher grade in group D.

Therefore, Supreme Court set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court affirming the order of the Tribunal. The Court also directed that according to the provisions of the above stated paras contained in the Manual, the appellants i.e., the Union of India/Railway should prepare different seniority lists for employees working in different grades.

The direction of the Court to the Union of India to prepare different seniority lists for employees working in different grades indicates that the absence of such system created the whole confusion and such a long litigation from Tribunal, High Court, and then to the Supreme court.

(Reference:- SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPEAL NO.2532 OF 2010 Union of India & Ors. ... Appellants V/s V.K. Krishnan & Ors. ... Respondents, Judgement dated, FEBRUARY 17, 2015.)



The controversy was emerged on account of a reconstitution of cadres. In the first instance, a separate cadre was constituted, out of the existing ministerial cadre, for discharging electronic data processing responsibilities. Again the separate cadre so created, was sought to be re-amalgamated with the existing ministerial cadre. The above noticed bifurcation and re-amalgamation, resulted in a coincidental career advancement, for those who had accepted to break away from the original ministerial cadre. Some of those who were originally placed at inferior positions in the seniority list of the original ministerial cadre, acquired superiority over their counterparts, consequent upon their promotion within the cadre of data entry operators, which resulted in their acquiring a higher position in seniority, over and above those who were senior to them in the original ministerial cadre.

The members of the two cadres were originally discharging similar duties. It is only as a consequence of the administrative decision to computerize the functioning of the Customs and Central Excise Department that a separate cadre of Data Entry Operators came to be created. The newly created cadre, exclusively functioned towards giving effect to the decision to computerize the functioning of the department.

Consequent upon the merger of posts, upon the promulgation of the TA Rules, 2003, and the STA Rules, 2003, the nature and duties of the two cadres were combined. Consequent upon their appointment as Tax Assistants and Senior Tax Assistants, members of the erstwhile ministerial cadre, and members of the cadre of Data Entry Operators, were required to perform both procedural duties and duties relating to computer applications. The deficiencies in the two cadres sought to be merged, were sought to be overcome, by subjecting the members of the two cadres to different examinations, whereby, the two cadres were trained for discharging their duties efficiently, on merger, whilst holding the posts of Tax Assistants/Senior Tax Assistants.

In the above premises, it was held that there was no serious difference between the two merged cadres, either on the issue of nature of duties, or on the subject of powers exercised by the officers holding the post, or the extent of territorial or other charge held, or responsibilities discharged by them, or for that matter, the qualifications prescribed for the posts. Hence it was further held that the merger of the cadres, and the determination of the inter se seniority on merger, were justifiably determined, on the basis of the different pay-scales of the cadres merged, under the TA Rules, 2003 and the STA Rules, 2003. By the mandate of the above Rules, all posts in equivalent pay-scales were placed at the same level. Posts in the higher scale of pay, were given superiority on the subject of inter se seniority, with reference to posts in the lower scale of pay.

In the considered view of the court, the above determination, at the hands of the rule framing authority, on the issue canvassed before them, could not be termed either arbitrary or discriminatory.
Therefore, constitutional validity of the provisions of Rule 4 of the TA Rules, 2003 and Rule 5 of the STA Rules, 2003 were upheld. As a consequence, the different orders passed by the Administrative Tribunal, and the common order dated 13.4.2007 passed by the High Court, were set aside and the appeals filed by those who moved to the cadre of Data Entry Operators from the ministerial cadre, and were thereupon amalgamated in the cadre of Tax Assistants/Senior Tax Assistants, are allowed. The connected appeals preferred by the Union of India, are also allowed.
(Reference:- Supreme Court of India CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 2485-2490 OF 2010 in Dhole Govind Sahebrao & others … Appellants V/s Union of India & others … Respondents, decided on  March 26, 2015)

Friday 5 June 2015



The respondent was working as a Scientist E-II in the Central Mining Research Institute. On 29.07.2003, he was appointed for 5 years on deputation to the post of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (‘CGPDTM’). After serving there for one year, he was repatriated to his parent department. The said order was challenged before the central administrative tribunal contending that he could not have been pre-maturely repatriated to his parent department and there had been a violation of the principle of audi altram partem. The said stand of the 1st respondent was contested by the authorities of Union of India proponing that he had no right to continue in the post as he was on deputation. The tribunal accepted the stance put forth by the Union of India and dismissed the Original Application. Then the 1st respondent invoked the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India. The Division Bench of the High Court has overturned the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal and directed that the writ petitioner to be reinstated in the post of CGPDTM on similar terms and conditions with all consequential benefits.Then the Union of India appealed to the Supreme Court.

In the appeal, the Supreme Court of the considered view that there should not be any loss of salary, but at the same time, S.C. was of the view  that, if they direct for his reinstatement as the High Court had done, it would create an anomalous situation. Therefore, in their considered view, the cause of justice would be best subserved, if he was allowed to get the entire salary that was payable to him for the post of CGPDTM for the balance period of five years minus the period he had actually served and drawn salary. Therefore, the Supreme Court directed the Appellants to pay the balance amount with interest @ 9% p.a. within three months. (Reference:  THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA decision in Union of India & Anr. ... Appellants   V/S  S.N. Maity & Anr. ...Respondents in CIVIL APPEAL NO.5983 OF 2007 decided on January 06, 2015)