Decided on April 17,2007

UOI Respondents


P.K.BHASIN, J. - (1.) Order dated 10.02.2005 passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi (hereinafter to be referred as 'the Tribunal') passed in OA No.1973/2004 is being assailed by the petitioner since the Tribunal has dismissed his application under Section 19 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 wherein he had claimed the relief of counting of his seniority as Assistant Director (Exhibition Cell) in the National Museum, New Delhi from the date of his ad-hoc appointment on deputation for the said post.
(2.) The facts leading to the filing of the OA by the petitioner before the Tribunal and filing of this writ petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India consequent upon the rejection of the OA are as follows:- 'The petitioner was working as a Keeper (Publications) in the National Museum w.e.f. 12.12.1989. That was a group 'A' Gazetted post in the pre-revised scale of Rs.3000-4500. The National Museum was at that time under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. The next higher post in the National Museum for the Keepers was that of Assistant Director having the pay scale of Rs.3700-125-4700-150-5000. As per the relevant rules applicable to the post of Assistant Director the said post could be filled by transfer on deputation basis failing which by direct recruitment. Although the petitioner was eligible for regular appointment to the post of Assistant Director he was appointed on deputation basis but that appointment was termed as 'ad-hoc' for a period of six months till that post was filled on regular basis, whichever was earlier. The petitioner accepted that appointment which was offered to him vide office order dated 01.01.1996 and he assumed the charge w.e.f. 02.01.1996 before the expiry of six months period of ad-hoc appointment of the petitioner the respondent no.3 who was the Assistant Director (Administration) in the National Museum vide his letter dated 03.06.1996 requested the Department of Culture for extension of the ad-hoc appointment of the petitioner for another six months. Same request was repeated by the respondent no.3 vide his letter dated 17.07.1996. Since the Department of Culture did not respond to the said two requests the Director General of the National Museum wrote another letter dated 23.08.1996 requesting for extension of ad-hoc promotion of the petitioner. In that letter it was mentioned that the petitioner had been looking after the duties and responsibility of the Assistant Director (Exhibition) in addition to his normal duties of Keeper (Publication). Vide office memorandum dated 26.5.1998 the Department of Culture informed the petitioner that he had not been given extension as an Assistant Director after the expiry of his deputation period on 02.07.1996 but still he was writing his designation as Assistant Director (Exhibition Cell). He would, therefore, remain a Keeper which was his substantive appointment. It appears that before the issuance of the said office memorandum dated 28.05.1998 the petitioner had filed OA No.459/1998 before the Tribunal on 18.02.1998 alleging that the posts of Assistant Director (Exhibition) and Assistant Director (Administration) in National Museum were lying vacant for over five years and, therefore, the Govt. should be directed to complete the process of selection to the said posts in accordance with law and also to pay him the salary of the posts of Assistant Director (Exhibition) w.e.f. 01.01.1996. It appears that during the pendency of that petition in the Tribunal the Government issued a notification dated 28.10.1998 extending the ad-hoc appointment of the petitioner to the post of Assistant Director (Exhibition Cell) in the revised pay scale of Rs.12000-16500 w.e.f. 01.07.1996 to 28.05.1998 and that notification also stated that the petitioner would stand reverted to his substantive post of Keeper (Publication) w.e.f. 28.05.1998. It was also stated therein that the extension of deputation of the petitioner would not confer any right on him for appointment as Assistant Director on regular basis. Earlier to the issuance of the said OM dated 28.10.1998 the Tribunal had vide its order dated 28.05.1998 stayed its operation and had ordered that status-quo ante would continue till further orders. Since the petitioner had been called for interview for selection to the post of Assistant Director (Exhibition Cell) and he had been interviewed too and he claimed to have been selected the OA was disposed of on 12.11.1998 without any direction to the Government to complete the selection process within a particular period. The Tribunal, however, observed that the petitioner could not have been treated as reverted to the post of Keeper retrospectively w.e.f. 28.05.1998 vide notification dated 28.10.1998 and consequently he would be considered as continuing in the higher post till 28.10.1998. He was also given the consequential benefits of difference of salary between the posts of Keeper and Assistant Director. In pursuance of that order of the Tribunal the Government issued a notification on 08.01.1999 extending the ad-hoc deputation of the petitioner in the post of Assistant Director (Exhibition Cell) from 29.05.1998 to 28.10.1998. In that notification also it was stated that the said ad-hoc extension would not confer any right on the petitioner for appointment to the said post on a regular basis. Thereafter, UPSC recommended the appointment of the petitioner as Assistant Director (Exhibition Cell) on 16.09.1998 and he joined as Assistant Director on 03.12.1998 after the Government sent him the offer vide letter dated 24.11.1998. That appointment was also on deputation basis for a period of four years. It appears that after assuming the charge of the post of Assistant Director on 03.12.1998 the petitioner felt that he should not have been offered the appointment on deputation basis and should have been treated as promoted to that post as a departmental candidate and so he made representations to the Government for his absorption as Assistant Director on regular basis. However, the department did not take any decision on his representations for absorption and according to the petitioner the department intentionally slept over the matter because it wanted to promote his junior Keeper Sh. U.Das, the respondent No.3 herein so as to make him senior to the petitioner as Assistant Director (Administration) and respondent No.3 was appointed as Assistant Director (Administration) vide letter dated 21.07.2000. The petitioner was thereafter asked vide OM dated 25.07.2000 to give his willingness for his absorption as Assistant Director (Exhibition Cell) and the petitioner gave his willingness for his permanent absorption w.e.f. 02.01.1996 when he was for the first time appointed on ad-hoc basis. The Government, however, vide OM dated 13.12.2000 asked the petitioner to give his unconditional willingness for absorption as Assistant Director. The petitioner claims that thereafter he was left with no other option except to give his unconditional consent which he accordingly gave vide his letter dated 15.12.2000. Thereafter, the Department of Culture issued notification on 14.06.2001 for his absorption on regular basis w.e.f. 29.05.2001. The petitioner made representations for giving him seniority w.e.f. 02.01.1996 but that request was turned down by the Department of Culture vide letter dated 09.08.2001. Thereafter also the petitioner kept on representing to the Department of Culture for giving him seniority as Assistant Director w.e.f. 02.01.1996. The Department rejected the same also vide its letter dated 11.08.2003.
(3.) Feeling aggrieved, the petitioner approached the Tribunal by filing OA No.1973/2004 which, as has been noticed already, came to be rejected by the Tribunal vide the impugned order dated 10.02.2005. Challenging the correctness of that decision of the Tribunal the petitioner has now approached this Court invoking Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India and has while praying for the reversal of the said order of the Tribunal prayed for following directions in his writ petition and which he had made before the Tribunal also:- (a) direct and order the Respondents to give the petitioner seniority on the post of Assistant Director(Exhibition Cell) for the period from 2.1.1996 to 2.12.1998 as continuous ad-hoc ?Deputation?. (b) direct and order the Respondents to declare and treat his services w.e.f. 3.12.1998 as regular on the post of Assistant Director (Exhibition Cell) and accordingly the Respondent no. 1 be directed to give the petitioner seniority w.e.f. 16.9.1998 or 3.12.1998 on regular basis on the post of Assistant Director (Exhibition Cell) and quash the impugned order dated 10.2.2005.;

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