PRAVEEN KUMAR BABBAR Vs. HIGH COURT OF DELHI
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
PRAVEEN KUMAR BABBAR
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
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A.K.Sikri, J. -
(1.) The petitioners are the employees of the High Court of Delhi. They are working in various capacities such as Personal Assistant, Judicial Assistant, Junior Judicial Assistant, Translator, etc. All these posts are feeder cadre for promotion to the next higher grade, namely, Senior Judicial Assistant (hereinafter referred to as 'SJA'). They had earlier appeared in a written test, which was conducted in the year 2006. Though they were declared successful in the said test, Office Order dated 25.11.2006 was issued appointing 16 candidates to the post of SJA on the premise that there were 16 vacancies at the time when selection process was initiated. Further, 7 more posts fell vacant after the holding of the test and before orders for appointment of 16 candidates were issued. The High Court, therefore, started fresh process of holding test to fill these 7 posts and fixed 8.7.2007 as the date of written examination for this purpose. The petitioners want to be appointed as SJA on the basis of the competitive test already held in which they had qualified. In these circumstances, they filed the present writ petition in May 2007 seeking mandamus to the effect that they be appointed as SJA without the process of fresh examination. In order to appreciate this prayer, we shall have to take stock of the necessary facts and the submissions of the petitioners in support of their aforesaid plea.
(2.) For appointment to various posts in the Registry of Delhi High Court, rules have been framed, which also specify conditions of service governing appointments to various posts. These are called the Delhi High Court Establishment (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 1972. Rule
7 deals with appointment to the post of SJA. Though it is the officials of the High Court occupying certain specified post, who are entitled to be appointed as SJA, Rule 7 prescribes two modes of appointment. 50% of the vacancies are to be filled up on the basis of seniority-cum-suitability from amongst the eligible employees and remaining 50% posts are to be filled up on the basis of competitive test. The exact terminology which is contained in Rule 7 is reproduced below :- 7. Mode of Appointment Except for appointment on officiating, temporary or ad-hoc basis, the mode of and qualifications for appointment to the post specified in Schedule-II to these rules shall be as stated therein. Schedule-II 8. Senior Judicial Assistant including Court Officer and Reader (Promotion/ Selection post) a. For members of the Establishment of this court: Graduate with 5 years service in any of the posts of the categories 15 (including service rendered as Judicial Assistant) and 17, mentioned in Schedule-I. a. 50% of the vacant posts by promotion on the basis of seniority-cum-suitability from categories specified in column-3 b(i) For members of the Establishment of this court: Graduate with 5 years or Matric/Higher Secondary with 8 years service on the establishment of this court; and for members of the Establishment of Courts subordinate to this Court : Graduate with 5 years service in a post carrying pay scale of not less than Rs. 4000-6000 (Revised). b(i) 50% of the vacant posts by selection on merit from the categories specified in column No. 3 on the basis of written test and interview, failing which; b(ii) For direct recruits; Graduate b(ii) By direct recruitment on the basis of written test and interview. A reading of the aforesaid Rule makes it clear that 50% posts are to be filled by promotion on the basis of seniority-cum-suitability. In the instant petition, we are not concerned with the promotions under this category inasmuch as the petitioners aspire for appointment to the post of SJA through other channel, namely, "selection on merit", which is to be done on the basis of written test and interview.
(3.) In the year 2006, when the selection process to this post was initiated, Circular dated 14.3.2006 was issued, inter alia, mentioning that it was proposed to hold an examination for filling up "vacant posts" of SJ As against this quota. The exact number of posts, which were to be filled, was not specified in this circular. The eligible candidates were asked to apply by 25.3.2006 in case they desire to appear in the test. It was also mentioned in the circular that those candidates who obtained 40% marks in each of the written papers (two written papers were to be held) were to be called for interview and only those candidates obtaining 40% marks in aggregate of the marks in the written paper and interview were to be considered qualified. The petitioners being eligible as per the norms laid down in the Recruitment Rules submitted their applicants and were allowed to appear in the written test. The written test was conducted on 16.4.2006. Results thereof were declared on 23.8.2006. 35 candidates were successful in the said exam, which included all these petitioners who are 15 in number. All the 35 candidates were interviewed by the Selection Committee from 28.8.2006 to 28.9.2006. Thereafter, Office Order dated 25.11.2006 was issued giving appointment to 16 candidates to the post of SJA. By this order, 20 persons were also promoted against 50% vacancies to be filled on the basis of seniority-cum-suitability. Insofar as the Selection Quota is concerned, 16 candidates out of 35 candidates, who were successful in the written examination, were appointed to this post. All these petitioners could not be accommodated at that time. Admittedly, on the date when the Circular dated 14.3.2006 inviting applications for the post of SJA was issued under the Selection Quota, there were 16 vacancies under this quota. Again, there is no dispute that between 14.3.2006 and 25.11.2006, 7 more vacancies meant for this quota became available.;
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