Decided on October 12,2007

UNION OF INDIA Respondents


REKHA SHARMA, J. - (1.) The petitioners are erstwhile employees of the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) and presently of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL). They joined the DOT on various dates between "July 1986 to November 1993 as Group D stenographers after qualifying the examination conducted by the Staff Selection Commission.
(2.) It so happened that the Government of India took a decision to corporatise the telecommunication network in the country and consequently two companies, namely, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) came into existence w.e.f October 1, 2000. On bifurcation of DOT, officials were allotted to BSNL initially on "as is where is basis", and were treated on "deemed deputation". The process of permanent absorption of DOT employees in BSNL was undertaken sometime between August- September 2001 by calling options from various categories of Central Secretariat Staff borne on the cadres of DOT including Grade D Stenographers. The petitioners are those Grade D Stenographers who opted for absorption in BSNL. Their options were accepted and they were placed at the disposal of BSNL w.e.f January 1, 2002 while the absorption was given effect from January 1, 2000 the day the BSNL had come into existence.
(3.) The next promotion for a Grade D Stenographer is to the post of Personal Assistant or Grade C Stenographer. On July 4, 2003 the BSNL framed and published Recruitment Rules for appointment/ promotion to the post of Personal Assistants together with that of other Secretarial cadre. The said Rules provide that appointment to the post of Personal Assistant shall be 50% by promotion from Grade D Stenographer with 5 years regular service in the grade on the basis of 'limited internal competitive examination.' Pursuant thereto, on February 23, 2006, a notification was issued proposing to hold the aforesaid examination for promotion to the posts of Personal Assistants. The facts noticed above are not in dispute.;

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