Somnath Ayyar, J.
1. The petitioner V. H. Kulkarni was at one stage an assistant station-master. When a selection was made to the post of a section controller, he was appointed to that post on 6 March, 1955 and confirmed in that post on 29 May 1955. The pay-scale applicable to that post was Rs. 250 - 380. After his confirmation, it transpired that Kulkarni by reason of his physical condition was not able to carry on the duties of a section controller and so, he was given an alternative post as an assistant station-master in the same pay-scale, namely, Rs. 250 - 380. This was done on 2 November, 1961.
2. On 10 June, 1965, he was promoted as a station-master in the pay-scale of Rs. 355 - 425. From the chronology of events which we have stated, it is clear that even when the alternative appointment of an assistant station-master was made available to Kulkarni in place of the post of section controller, the two posts were regarded as equivalent posts especially since the pay-scale with respect to both the posts was Rs. 250 - 380 and that pay-scale was not altered. There was a further recognition of this equivalence when there was a promotion of the petitioner on 10 June 1965 to the higher post of a station-master on the higher pay-scale of Rs. 335 - 425.
3. But, quite surprisingly, on 27 May, 1966, the Divisional Superintendent substituted for the pay-scale of Rs. 335 - 425 which was applicable to the post of a station-master held by Kulkarni, a lower pay-scale of Rs. 205 - 280. On the same day, he made an order reverting the petitioner from the post of a station-master to his 'parent post' which is explained to us as the post of an assistant station-master. Kulkarni who is the petitioner before us asks us to quash both these orders made by the Divisional Superintendent, and, there can be little doubt that they should be quashed. The first of the two impugned orders reads :
(No. H/P 612/III/1. Vol. 3 Divisional Office, Personnel Branch),
dated 27 May, 1966
Office Order No. T/82/66
[Sub. - Absorption of V. H. Kulkarni, section controller in the cadre of S.M.S./T.I.S./Yms. cadre. Ref. - This office O.O. No. T/255/65 H/P. 612/III/1. Vol. 3 of 12 October, 1965.]
This office O.O. No. T/255/65 H/P. 612/III/1. Vol. 3 of 12 October, 1965 in regard to assignment of seniority to V. H. Kulkarni is here by cancelled.
2. It has been decided that V. H. Kulkarni should be filled in grade Rs. 205 - 280 the grade which he would have got in the station-masters/assistant station-masters cadre but for his promotion as section controller is grade Rs. 250 - 380. Besides, he cannot be ranked higher to his erstwhile seniors in the station-masters' cadre in the grade of absorption. Accordingly, V. H. Kulkarni is assigned seniority position between N. G. Kulkarni SM/DAD and L. G. Marathe, S.M./B.V.N.R. in grade Rs. 205 - 280.
3. Further posting orders in his favour will follow. [Authority. - G.M. (P)-/M.A.S. No. P. (S1)-676/II/6 of 4 April, 1966.]
for Divisional Superintendent.'
4. The basic misconception which impelled this order was that Kulkarni had been promoted as a section controller. Sri Nanjundayya appearing for the railway administration had to admit that Kulkarni became a section controller not by reason of any promotion but by reason of his selection to the post of a section controller on 6 March, 1965. However that may be, after that selection was made and when he was confirmed in that post on 29 May, 1955, he gained an ascendency over all his erstwhile seniors in the parent post of an assistant station-master. The fact that he was a junior to those persons as an assistant station-master could have no relevance after Kulkarni by the process of selection became entitled to the higher post of a section controller. In that situation, it was impossible for the Divisional Superintendent to think that when an alternative equivalent appointment as an assistant station-master was made available to Kulkarni by reason of his physical condition at that point of time, his rank in the higher position which he earned by reason of his selection had to be subordinated to the rank of his erstwhile seniors in the parent post.
5. What was overlooked by the Divisional Superintendent was that once Kulkarni attained the higher post of a section controller, the fact that he was a junior in the parent post to some other persons, ceased to have any materially, Kulkarni not only became than senior to them but also became the holder of a higher post, namely, the post of a section controller.
6. That being so, the adventitious fact that by reason of his physical condition not enabling him to perform the duties of a section controller he was given the post of an assistant station-master in the pay-scale applicable to a section controller, could not revive the seniority of certain others in the post of assistant station-master which had perished as between them and Kulkarni when Kulkarni became a section controller.
7. So we quash the first order made by the Divisional Superintendent by which the seniority of Kulkarni was brought down along with his pay-scale.
8. The second order is equally unsupportable. By that second order, Kulkarni, who had attained promotion to the post of a station-master, was sent down as assistant station-master on the basis of the first order which we have quashed.
9. So, we quash the second order also. In consequence, Kulkarni who is the petitioner before us will remain in the station-masters' post and in the same pay-scale which was applicable to that post before the impugned orders which we have quashed by our judgment were made. No costs.