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Vidya Sagar Vs. Board of Revenue - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 79 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1964All356
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 14, 16, 226, 309 and 311(2); Uttar Pradesh Subordinate Revenue Executive Service (Naih Tahsildars) Rules, 1944 - Rule 17 and 17(1)
AppellantVidya Sagar
RespondentBoard of Revenue
Appellant AdvocateH.D. Srivastava and ;Umesh Chandra, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateUma Shanker Srivastava, Standing Counsel
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....to rule 17 be given retrospective effect - held, article 309 empowers such retrospective effect of rules. (ii) reversion to substantive post - article 311(2) of constitution of india - whether reversion to substantive post amount to reduction in rank - also alleged that refusal to select for a post and losing place in seniority list will amount to reduction in rank - held, reversion or refusal to select or losing place in seniority list does not amount to reduction in rank. (iii) discriminatory order - articles 14 and 16 of constitution of india and rule 17 of u.p. subordinate revenue executive service (naib tahsildars) rules, 1944 - order given by selecting authority alleged to be discriminatory - authorities acting in bona fide manner while conducting selections - order cannot be held..........supervisor kanungo who had put in not less than seven years service- could be promoted to the post of naib tahsildar. it is a fact that the lists prepared according to annexures 1 and, 2 did include the names of certain persons who did not fulfill the above condition.the case of the opposite party, however is that the said rule was amended1 on the 8th of january, 1963. ac-carding to the amended rule in order to entitle one to hold the post of naib tahsildar, it was enough if he had put in not less than seven years service either as a supervisor kanungo or 'in an equivalent or higher post in a subordinate or officiating capacity on the first day of january of the year in which the selection is made.'this rule was given retrospective effect, from the 15th of march, 1962. all the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

N.U. Beg, J.

1. The Petitioner in this Writ Petition Vidya Sagar was confirmed on the post of Supervisor Kanungo from the 1st of April, 1952. On the 24th of October, 1958, he was appointed as an officiating Naib Tahsildar. On the 12th of December, 1962, the Board of Revenue which is the opposite party in this writ petition issused a list of 81 officiating Naib Tahsildars who were reverted to their substantive post of Supervisor Kanungos, and, in their place, appointed 82 Supervisor Kaungos who were declared eligible for appointment as officiating Naib Tahsildars. The petitioner was one of the persons who was reverted to the substantive post of Supervisor Kanumgo, and was not put in the list of those Supervisor Kanungos who were declared eligible for appointment as officiating Naib Tahsidars. A copy of the said order is Annexure 1.

On the 13th of December, 1962, the opposite party Issued another order giving a list of 54 Supervisor Kanungos who were declared as permanent Naib Tahsildars. The petitioner's name was absent from this list also. A copy of this order is filed as Annexure 2 to the writ petition. Thereafter the petitioner filed the present writ petition for the Issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the orders contained in Annexures 1 and 2, and the issue of a writ of mandamus or other writ, order or direction directing the opposite party to act in accordance with Rules 17 (1) and (2) and 31 (i) (iii) and other rules of the Subordinate Revenue Executive Service (Naib Tahsildars) Rules framed by the Government of Uttar Pradesh In exercise of the powers conferred on him under the proviso to Art. 309 of the Constitution of India.

2. The first contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the lists were not prepared in accordance with Rule 17 (1) (a) and (b) of the Subordinate Revenue Executive Service (Naib Tahsildars) Rules as they existed on the 12th and 13th of December, 1962, the dates of the issue of orders contained in Annexures 1 and 2. Under Rule 17 (1) (a) as it existed on the said dates only a permanent Supervisor Kanungo who had put in not less than seven years service- could be promoted to the post of Naib Tahsildar. It is a fact that the lists prepared according to Annexures 1 and, 2 did include the names of certain persons who did not fulfill the above condition.

The case of the opposite party, however is that the said rule was amended1 on the 8th of January, 1963. Ac-carding to the amended rule in order to entitle one to hold the post of Naib Tahsildar, it was enough if he had put in not less than seven years service either as a Supervisor Kanungo or

'in an equivalent or higher post in a subordinate or officiating capacity on the first day of January of the year in which the selection is made.'

This rule was given retrospective effect, from the 15th of March, 1962. All the persons whose names are contained in Annexures 1 and 2 were either Supervisor Kanungos or had held an equivalent or higher post in a substantive or officiating capacity on the first day of January, 1962, the year in which the selection was made.

On behalf of the petitioner it is argued that the rule could not be thus amended with retrospective effect Reliance on behalf of the opposite party is, however, placed on the majority view in the. decision of the Full! Bench case of Ram Autar Pandey v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1962 All U 31 : (AIR 1962 All 328). According to the view taken by Srivastava and Dwivedi, JJ. in the; said Full Bench case, a retrospective amendment of rules framed under Art. 309 of the Constitution of India can be made. In view of this decision the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner in this regard must fail.

3. Learned counsel for the petitioner then argued that two of the selected candidates viz, those whose names appeared at Nos. 23 and 76 had not been confirmed as Supervisors Kanungos on the 1st January, 1952, and therefore, even the amended rule was not complied with. This fact has not been stated by the petitioner in his writ petition or the affidavit accompanying it, nor has this plea been taken in them. For the first time it is stated in the rejoinder affidavit. The petitioner has to be confined to the pleas taken by him in the writ petition. The opposite party filed a counter-affidavit in| reply to the allegations contained in the affidavit filed with the writ petition or the supplementary affidavit filed with the amended writ petition. No amendment of the writ petition was applied for in the present case nor was any supplementary affidavit filed on this point. The opposite party, therefore, had no opportunity to meet this case. In fact the opposite party has stated in its counter-affidavit that all the selected candidates have complied with the condition imposed by the amended rule. The petitioner has not tried to summon any papers or to file any document to substantiate his allegation in the rejoinder affidavit that persons whose names appear at Nos. 23 and 76 of the list had not been confirmed as Supervisor Kanungos on the 1st of January, 1962. This part of his rejoinder affidavit is verified as true merely to his belief and information. Thus there is also not enough material provided even by the petitioner to prove the truth of this allegation. Under the circumstances this point must also fait.

4. The third point urged by the learned counsel for the petitioner is that Artical 311 of the Constitution of India applies to the present case. Therefore, the petitioner should have been given an opportunity to represent his case. This argument is based on the contention that reversion of the petitioner amounted to reduction in rank within the meaning of Artical 311 of the Constitution of India. On the other hand, on behalf of the opposite party it is argued that reversion of an officiating incumbent to his substantive post does not amount to reduction in rank. The contention of the opposite party is supported by a decision of this Court in Full Bench case of Jai Shanker Hajela v. State of Uttar Pradesh 1959 All LJ 213 : (AIR 1958 All 741) (FB). In this case it was held that

'reversion from a temporary or officiating higher grade to the substantive post in the lower grade is not reduction in rank' within the meaning of Artical 311 even though the reversion is ordered on account of unsatisfactory work or conduct of the civil servant provided it is ordered by the State in exercise of its power of reverting him under the contract, express or implied, or under the rules of service.'

The contention advanced on behalf of the opposite party must, therefore, be accepted.

5. Strong reliance was also placed on behalf of the petitioner on the case of P. C. Wadhwa v. Union of India (civil Appeal No. 720 of 1962) decided by the Supreme Court of India on the 27th of August, 1963 : (AIR 1994 SC 423). In this case an officiating Additional Superintendent of Police was charged for not carrying out the orders of his superior officers. A copy of this charge-sheet was served on him with a notice to submit his defence. The papers of his personal file indicated that his reversion was ordered on account of his unsatisfactory record and in order to enable the departmental inquiry to go on against him. In that case the contention of the reverted officer who was the appellant in the Supreme Court was that

'he has really been reverted by way of punishment though the order of reversion is expressed in Innocuous terms'.

The Supreme Court accepted the said contention and held:

'A matter of this kind has to be looked at from the point of view of substance rather than of form.'

Finally it concluded as follows:--

'Our conclusion is that In the present case the appellant was reverted by way of punishment, but he was given no opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken against him. Therefore, the orderof reversion dated November 3, 1958 was In violation of the provisions of Artical 311 of the Constitution.'

This case is clearly distinguishable from the present one. No charge was levelled against the petitioner in the present case nor was any notice to show cause against any alleged misconduct served on him. No departmental Inquiry was instituted against him. In the present case, therefore, it cannot be said that the reversion of the petitioner was by way of punishment. Here we have a simple order of reversion under the rules. Moreover, In the case cited the apparently innoncuous order of reversion was merely a cloak for what was in fact a penal order passed by way of punishment. In the present case it is not the petitioner's case that the order of reversion' was passed for the oblique purpose of concealing the real nature of the order. The case cited has, therefore, no application to the circumstances of the present case.

6. The next contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner was that refusal to select a person for a particular post amounts to reduction in rank. A similar contention advanced before a Bench of this Court in the case of Krishna Lal v. Director of Education, U. P. Lucknow, 1960 All U 50 : (AIR 1961 All 315) was rejected, and the same contention advanced in this case must, therefore, meet the same fate.

7. Another argument advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner was that the petitioner having lost his seniority as a result of the promotion of his juniors, his case must be held to be one of reduction in rank. This contention also cannot be accepted in view of the obsarvations of their Lordships of the Supreme Court In case of High Court Calcutta v. Amal Kumar Roy, AIR 1962 SC 1704. In this case it was laid down by their Lordships that the expression 'rank'' in Artical 311(2) has reference to a person's classification and not to his particular place In the same cadre it the hierarchy of the service to which he belonged. Therefore losing some place in the seniority list in the same cadre does not amount to reduction in rank within the meaning of Artical 311(2).

8. The last argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner was that the orders contained in Annexures 1 and 2 are discriminatory and are, therefore, hit by Articles 16 and 14 of the Constitution of India. A perusal of Rule 17 (1) (a) and (b) of the U. P. Subordinate Revenue Executive Service (Naib Tahsildars) Rules, 1944 shows that selection for the post of Naib Tahsildars is to be made 'strictly on merits', and not on the basis of seniority alone vide Rule 17 [1) (a). Rule 17 (1) (b) shows that In making the selection regard is had to a number of factors including personality, character, intelligence, tact, energy, capacity for supervision, drive, integrity and previous record of service. The above considerations apply to all the candidates equally. No question of discrimination arises. If the selecting authority acts in an honest manner, and, applying the above tests, selects some officers out of a large number of candidates, its conclusions cannot be characterised as discriminatory. The petitioner had an equal right to his case being considered along with others, and so long as his case is considered and the authorities act in an honest manner, the decisions taken by them cannot be challenged by means of a writ petition on the ground that they were incorrect All that Artical 16 guarantees Is an equality of opportunity and nothing more. It Is not the allegation of the petitioner that Us case, was not considered by the selecting authority nor IS it his case that the higher authorities acted In a mala fide fashion. On the other hand, paragraph 9 of the counter-affidavit shows that the petitioner's case was considered and ha was not found fit for appointment as Naib Tahsildar bearing in mind the provisions of Rule 17 and the tests of merit laid down therein. The authorities, therefore, have fully complied with the provisions of Rule 17.

9. In the case of AIR 1962 SC 1704 it has been laid down by their Lordships of the Supreme Court that In a case where a person's case for promotion is considered, and, after considering his case, he is not promoted to a higher grade, although such a person is senior to sons of the persons who have been selected for promotion, the action of the authorities cannot be struck down as discriminatory within the meaning of Articals 14 and 16(1) of the Constitution of India. It was further laid down in the same case as follows:

'Equal opportunity contemplated by Article 16(1) does not mean getting the particular post for which a number of persons may have been considered. So long as the plaintiff, along with others under consideration, had been given his chance, it cannot be said that he had not equal opportunity along with others, who may have been selected In preference to him. Where the number of posts to be filled is less than the number of persons under consideration for those posts, it would be a case of many being called and few being chosen.'

In Rudraradhya v. State of Mysore, AIR 1961 Mys 247 It was held by a Bench of the Mysore High Court that quality of opportunity does not prevent the State from laying down qualifications or standards to enable it to get the best service. It was further observed that it is for the State or the1 promoing authority to determine the suitability of a person for promotion after an assessment of all relevant considerations, such as seniority, competence, rectitude and antecedent official records, none of which to loss Important than the other for the preservation of purify and efficiency in public service.

10. For the above reasons I am unable to hold that the action of the authorities in holding the petitioner to be unfit for promotion was violative of Articals 14 or 16 of the Constitution of India.

11 On behalf of the opposite parties it was also argued that the impugned orders were of an administrative nature and do not create any legal right so as to entitle a party to file a writ petition. Reliance in this connection was place on the case of 1960 All U 50 : (AIR 1961 All 315) and AIR 1961 Mys 247. 1 do not think It necessary to go into this aspect of the matter as I am of the opinion that the petition must fail on the ground that the contentions raised therein appear to be devoid of merit.

12. I accordingly dismiss this writ petition withcosts.


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