1. In this Original Application, Doordarshan Cameramen Welfare Association is challenging the vires of Indian Broadcasting (Programme) Services. [IB (P) S for short] Rules, 1990, which have been made by the President of India in exercise of powers conferred by proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India and which have been published in the Gazette of India on 5.11.1990. The following specific provisions of the aforesaid IB(P)S Rules have been challenged : 2. As per the applicants, the aforesaid provisions under the Rules are void and unconstitutional on account of being in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution in so far as Cameramen Grade II (CMG-II for short). Cameramen Grade I (CMG-I for short) and Video Executives (VEs for short) are concerned. The grievance of the persons holding the posts of CMG-II. CMG-I and VEs is that they form the inseparable part of Doordarshan (DD for short) Organisation but are being treated with indifference and arbitrarily in the matter of their induction in the IB (P) S and the manner of their induction has been highly prejudicial and discriminatory.
3. The Association and the applicant have challenged the vires of the Rules on the basis of a variety of reasons. We, however, bring out for sharp focus only those important ones. Thus, there is no rationale to leave out the CMG-II from their inclusion in the category of feeder post for promotion to Programme Officers in Junior Time Scale (JTS for short) particularly when 10 other categories namely-Producer (Selection Grade), Producer, Producer Grade II, Translator, Editor, Editor (Scripts), Reference Officer, Programme Executives, Farm Radio Officers and Extension Officers etc.) forming Group-B officers like CMG-II have been made feeder posts for promotion to the post of Programme Officers in JTS. CMG-I cannot be inferior to the post of Programme Officer. As such they should not have been placed at par with the 10 categories of posts mentioned above and should have been placed parallel to Programme Officers of JTS and CMG-II should have been kept at par with the posts mentioned in the aforesaid 10 categories since the scale of CMG-II and those meant for 10 categories is the same excepting that the maximum of the scale of pay of CMG-II ends at Rs. 3200 whereas the maximum of the scale of pay of the posts falling in other 10 categories ends at Rs. 3500.
4. Yet another reason quoted by the Association justifying invalidity of the Rules is the absence of any right of option to the officials belonging to Cameramen category. But the officers either falling in the constitution of service or in the field of promotion to JTS of Programme Management Cadre of All India Radio (AIR for short) or DD have been given right of option to convey their choice in the order of preference for working in the Programme Management Cadre or in the Programme Production Cadre of either of the two media i.e. AIR and DD but neither CMG-I nor the VE have been conferred any such right of expressing their option. The denial of right of option to the persons holding the posts of Cameramen and VEs is arbitrary and discriminatory.
This is intended to adversely affect the career prospects of both Cameramen and VEs.
5. Again, the provision of keeping separate entity of posts of VE till they are merged at the stage of Rs. 3700-5000 is irrational and arbitrary. That apart the applicants would argue that there are bound to be anomalies in the operation of the Rules. Note (ii) in Schedule VII reads as follows: "The posts added against the Column No. 5 and 7 under 'Doordarshan' above and shown separately(*) will maintain their separate entity had will be filled up from the respective feeder grade till they are merged at the stage of Rs. 3700-5000." The operation of the above Scheme, so far as it relates to VEs will reach the point of absurdity. This is because CMG-I is to be promoted to the post of JTS and on promotion he is designated as Programme Officer (Cameraman). No, CMG-I would be available for being promoted to the post of VE and therefore after promotion of all the VEs to the promotion post provided under the Rules the cadre of VE will become a dead cadre.
6. The allegation of anomalies is also evident in the note (iii) in Schedule VII which reads as under: "The number of posts of Cameraman to be included in the Junior Time Scale of Programme Production Cadre of Doordarshan will be decided separately" The postponement of the decision with regard to the number of posts mentioned in Note (iii) above will operate as a postponement of the implementation of the Rules in so far as the Cameramen are concerned and such a postponement will be disadvantageous to the entire cadre of Cameramen as a whole.
7. The respondents have opposed the pleas of the applicants with reference to the formation of IB (P) S Rules, 1990. A new organised Central Group "A" service by the name of Indian Broadcasting (Programme) Service has been constituted under the proviso of Article 309 of the Constitution and notified on 5.11.90. The service comprises of four independent cadres of Group "A" posts of AIR/DD. The post of CMG-II and CMG-I are group "B" posts and as such cannot be included in the new Service thus constituted. VEs being group 'A' have been included in the new service, Accordingly, there is no arbitrariness or discrimination against any section/category of employees as regards constitution of IB (P) S.8. The posts of Programme Executive, Farm Radio Officer, Extension Officer etc. i.e. those 10 categories as aforesaid carrying pay scale of Rs. 2000-3200 are group "B" officers and form the feeder cadres to JTS of IB (P) S. Likewise the posts of CMG-I (Group B gazetted) in the pay scale of Rs. 2375-3500 also form the feeder grade for posts earmarked as Programme Officer (Cameraman) in the JTS of the service, However the posts of CMG-II in the scale of Rs. 2000-3200 cannot be equated with the posts either in the scale of Rs. 2000-3500 or Rs. 2375-3500. The posts of CMG-II presently form the feeder grade for promotion to the post of CMG-I. It will lead to an anomalous situation if the posts of CMG-II and CMG-I with different pay scales are formed as the feeder grades for the same post of Programme Officer (Cameraman) in JTS of the service. That apart the heirarchy and the classification of the posts are decided by the maximum of the pay scales which the posts carry. Since there is a difference in the maximum of the pay scale of the posts which have been included as a feeder grade for the posts of Programme Officer in IB (P) S and the maximum of the scale of CMG-II these posts cannot be treated as similar. As per the guiding principles for classifying the posts only those central civil posts which carry a pay or a scale of pay with a maximum of not less than Rs. 4000 can be classified as a group "A" post. The posts with less than Rs. 4000 as pay or where the maximum of the scale of the post is less than Rs. 4000 have no claim for group "A" status. As such there is no question of treating the posts of CMG-I in the pay scale of Rs. 2375-3500 at par with Programme Officer in the pay scale of Rs. 2200-4000.
9. The right of option for any of the four cadres of IB (P)S has not been given to the VEs because the posts are sanctioned for Directorate General. DD and also the nature of their duties has no similarly with any of the posts included in IB (P) S. Keeping in view the specialised nature of job of VEs. their professional services will not be of any use in Management and Production Cadre of DD. Therefore the posts of VE are included in the Programme Production Cadre of DD and have been separated from Management cadre.
10. In the maze of the aforesaid rival contentions we are required to determine the following issues. They are: (i) Whether the provisions of the impugned sub-rules of the Rules as mentioned in para 1 aforesaid will operate to block promotional prospects of persons holding the posts of Cameramen in the channel of promotion after JTS? (ii) Whether the status of the post of CMG-I can be equated with that of JTS keeping in view the pay duties and responsibilities of these categories of posts? (iii) Whether the classification between CMG-II and those holding posts falling in the 10 categories as mentioned in para 3 is irrational? And (iv) Whether the operation of the Rules will result in extinction of the cadre of VE? 11. Article 16 of the Constitution which ensures to all citizens equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment is but an instance or incident of guarantee of equality contained in Article 14.
Since constitutional code of equality and equal opportunity is a charter for equals. Equality of opportunity in matters of promotion means equal promotional opportunity for persons who fall substantially within the same class. A classification of the employees can therefore be made for first identifying and then distinguishing the members of one class from those another. Classification must be truely unfounded on substantial differences which distinguishes persons grouped together from those left out of the group and such differentia] attitude must bear a just and rational relation to the object sought to be achieved, (see judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of State of J&K v. Triloki Nath Khosa, (1974) 1 SCC 19. It is in the context of law laid down in the aforesaid case we have to see.
If the classification between CMG-II and those of 10 categories as per the provisions under the Rules are rational or not. The same criteria will also determine the validity of the classification between CMG-I and those of the officials holding the posts of JTS. We find that the entire gamut of staffing pattern of group "A" officers of the Programme Cadre of AIR and DD were examined in 1984 by the Cadre Review Committee consisting of (a) Cabinet Secretary, (b) Secretary. Department of Personnel, (c) Secretary, Ministry of Defence, (d) Secretary, Ministry of I&B and (e) Joint Secretary (Pers), Department of Expenditure. On the recommendation of this Committee. IB (P)S Rules, 1990 were notified after approval of the competent authority. IB (P)S Rules inter alia provided for promotion of Programme Executives to JTS of IB (P) S and promotion of VEs to JAG of Programme Production Cadre of DD. The Government have already promoted 12 VEs to JAG of Programme Production Cadre of DD of IB (P) S vide order dated 29.1.1997 and hence the apprehension of the applicants that the Government is against them is baseless.
12. CMG-I and CMG-II have separate promotional avenues and the VEs form one of the feeder cadres for promotion to JAG of IB (P) S. The existing structure appears to have been framed after taking into account the professional and administrative requirements and the Cameramen have been provided with reasonable promotional avenues.
13. We find that the category of Cameramen belongs to a quite different stream of class. By mere separation based on professional requirement no discrimination can be alleged to have been caused. Applicants have not claimed any relief in terms of enhancement of salary of CMG-II or CMG-I. In the absence of any such reliefs, they cannot be equated with others in the feeder grade. It is only because of special professional expertise that the Cameramen area separate stream and special position assigned to them in IB (P) S Rules cannot be faulted. Cameramen stream do have promotional channel in the heirarchy i.e. category of CMG-II are eligible for promotion to CMG-I (Rs 2375-3500) who, in turn, gets promoted to VE (3000-4500). One more grade i.e. Cameramen Grade III has now been created this stream. Recruitment to the post of CMG-II is made 50% by promotion from Lighting Assistant (Rs. 1400-2300). Thus Cameramen stream now starts from the level of CMG-III with promotional avenues right upto VEs whose encadrement at this stage in the IB (P) S has opened further promotional avenues to the Cameramen stream. Mere inclusion or non inclusion of a particular post or group of posts or indeed a service in a set of RRs does not per se make those RRs illegal or arbitrary. Nor can the problem of stagnation in a cadre be solved by challenging the Rules above.
14. We also find that DD Programme (Technical/Commercial) Group 'A' and Group 'B' Recruitment Rules, 1987 are still in force. The posts of VE will maintain their separate entity till those already inducted into the Senior Time Scale (STS for short) or Programme Production Cadre of DD are merged on their promotion to JAG of DD Programme Production Cadre. In the event any post of VE falls vacant. It will be filled from CMG-I as per 1987 Rules till such time as the post of Programme Officer (Cameraman) in ITS are identified and created. Once this category is created it will continue to have promotional avenues to the post of VE as per IB (P) S Rules. CMG-I and CMG-II have been separated and would continue to be governed by 1987 Rules as the duties and functions of Cameramen are different from that of other posts in the Programme category. IB (P) S rules provide that even after creation of the post of Programme Officer (Cameraman) they will have to be kept separately as the posts of Cameramen are not interchangeable with that of other posts in the Programme category. Administrative requirement is the basic criteria for creating the post. We do not find anything arbitrary and unfair in this. CMG-I with two years regular service have been made eligible for consideration of promotion to the post of Programme Officer specifically earmarked for Cameramen category whereas other category of officers can be considered for promotion to the post of Programme Officer only after completing three years of regular service.
This indicates that a conscious decision has been taken to fix a lesser qualifying service to CMG-I taking into account their higher pay scale compared to other posts which have been made as feeder cadres to the post of Programme Officer. Cameramen are still governed by 1987 Rules till they get promotion from the post of VE to JTS. We find that posts in the stream of Cameramen are not inter-changeable with other posts in the programme category and hence their identify has been kept separate upto the stage of VE. It is only after reaching the stage of JAG that these posts are merged with other posts of Programme category. There are some posts in Programme category which can opt for Programme Production cadre. As such we do not find anything irrational in the promotional avenues provided under the Rules. The DD Programme (Technical/Camera) Group 'A' and Group 'B' Recruitment Rules, 1987 have now been replaced by IB (P) S Rules and as such CMG-I will continue to get their promotions to the post of VEs on the basis of 1987 Rules, From the perusal of records. It is seen that Cameramen stream of posts have been treated differently and classified separately as per functional requirements. Promotions are being made as per requirements and there is nothing arbitrary in keeping the posts of Cameramen as a separate stream upto VE and others merging them with IB (P) S (Production Cadre of DD) at JAG.15. Judicial scrutiny can therefore be extended only to the consideration whether the classification rests on a reasonable basis and if there is a nexus with the objectives in view. We do not find any irrationality in classifying CMG-I separately from those programme officers having two different scales of pay based on the professional requirements. Judged from this point of view we are not in a position to accept the applicants contentions that separate classifications of Cameramen vis-a-vis Programme Officers are arbitrary and are on unreasonable basis. Based on a careful consideration of expertise of VEs a separate stream of Video Executives has been formed in the IB(P)S. According to respondents, maintenance of such a separate stream is with a view to achieving administrative efficiency in the service.
Respondents also admit that necessary steps for rectifying the anomalies if any will be taken at the appropriate stage. In any case, anomalies are not illegalities. In the background of detailed reasons aforesaid, our answers to all the issues raised in para 11 will be in the negative.
16. Under these circumstances, it may not be proper for the Court/Tribunal to assume to itself a supervisory role over the Rule-making powers of the Executives under Article 309 of the Constitution. We find a direct support in this respect from the judgment of the apex Court in the case of Mallikarjun Rao and Ors. etc.
v. State of A.P. and Ors. etc. JT 1990(3) SC 34. When we find that there are specific posts in the feeder cadre and corresponding promotional posts in higher grades, we do not find any ground much less convincing ones to declare the sub-rules as mentioned in para 8 of the OA as void and unconstitutional being in breach of provisions under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.
17. For the reasons aforementioned the OA is devoid of any merit and is accordingly dismissed. Our orders, however, will not stand in the way of respondents in providing further promotional opportunities to maintain motivation and morale of its employees, if they are otherwise advised to do so because of inadequate career prospects, if any, No costs.