MAHANAGAR TELEPHONE NIGAM LIMITED Vs. S.M. LAL AND ORS.
LAWS(SC)-2016-9-107
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on September 29,2016

MAHANAGAR TELEPHONE NIGAM LIMITED Appellant
VERSUS
S.M. Lal And Ors. Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (for brevity 'MTNL')has preferred this appeal by leave against the judgment and order dated 25.02.2011 rendered by the High Court of Delhi in W.P.(C) No. 4936 of 2010 and also against the judgment and order of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench at New Delhi (for brevity 'the Tribunal') dated 20th January, 2010 passed in T.A. No. 220 of 2009 (entitled Sh. S.M. Lal & Ors. v. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.). Although it is not necessary to go into the particulars but the TA Case mentioned above was in fact a Writ Petition initially filed in Delhi High Court but subsequently transferred to the Tribunal on account of creation of the Tribunal by law. The Tribunal allowed the claim of the petitioners (respondents herein) by holding that they shall be considered to be promoted to ITS 'Group A' service in Senior Time Scale (STS) at the time of their absorption on 1st October, 2000 in the service of MTNL and held them entitled to all the consequential benefits. Appellant's challenge to the order of the Tribunal has been repelled by the impugned judgment of the Delhi High Court.
(2.) Mr. V. Shekhar, learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant persuaded us to go deeper into the merits of the impugned judgment on the plea that there may be similar other claims pending at different fora and hence MTNL is interested in laying down of correct law although all these seven respondents in this appeal have admittedly superannuated from service after completing their tenure successfully not only on the post on which they were absorbed but also on higher posts as a consequence of subsequent promotions.
(3.) After taking us through the judgment of the Tribunal and the High Court, learned senior counsel for the appellant drew our attention to the fact that the Tribunal had extracted in extenso from a judgment in the case of N.S.K. Nayar & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. (1992) 2 Suppl. SCC 508 and without noticing that in that judgment relief had been granted to the concerned officials because they had put in long 10 to 15 years of continuous officiating service in the higher grade, ratio of that judgment was mechanically applied to the case of the respondents herein without reference to the relevant facts and the length of continuous service rendered on officiating basis by these officials. According to the appellant, and the fact is not disputed by the other side, only one of the respondents began officiating on the post of Divisional Engineer (DE) on 23.01.1996. The others got officiating promotions either in 1997 or 1998. The submission is that had the Tribunal applied its mind to the fact that respondents herein had such little officiating service to their credit, it would not have committed the error of applying the law laid down in the case of N.S.K. Nayar (supra). The same error, as per submissions, has crept in the impugned judgment of the High Court which has simply reiterated the views taken by the Tribunal.;


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