Decided on December 14,1972



- (1.) This writ petition is brought by two Assistant Directors of Fisheries in the service of the Government of Andhra Pradesh. They joined the Department even in the composite State of Madras in the years 1949 and 1952. In 1966 they were promoted to the selection post of Assistant Director of Fisheries. They were selected by the Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission to that post and the State Government accepting that recommendation issued orders in G.O. Ms. No. 2893, Food and Agriculture (Fisheries) Department, dated 14th October, 1966 and gave the two petitioners loth and nth ranks in the panel of selected candidates. In or about 1968 their probation was completed and declared as per the rules. However, by G.O. MS. No. 422, Food and Agriculture (Fisheries) Department, dated 25th of March, 1972 the State Government proposed to review the panel of selection of Assistant Directors made not only in the year 1966 but also earlier in the year 1962 by including five persons in the panel and giving them higher ranks with retrospective effect. They are respondents 4 to 8, who came on record subsequent to the filing of the writ petition. The petitioners, therefore, s ek a writ of certiorari to quash the said G.O. Ms. No. 422, 25th of March, 1972.
(2.) The proposed action of the State Government, who are the first respondent in the petition, is questioned by the petitioners saying that the post of Assistant Director of Fisheries is a selection one and nobody is entitled to it by virtue of his seniority. The appropriate authority made selections to this post in 1962 and 1966. On both the occasions all the available candidates, who were by then Inspectors of Fisheries including respondents 4 to 8 were considered. While the respondents were adjudged by the Public Service Commission not to be fit for selection the two petitioners were selected in 1966 and consequently the first respondent issued G.O. Ms. No. 2898 on 14th October, 1966, approving the panel recommended by the Public Service Commission and giving the two petitioners Nos. 10 and 11 ranks. The attempt to review that panel is wholly illegal. Indeed, the first respondent did not stop with merely issuing G.O.Ms. No. 422. The petitioners have filed their writ petition on 18th April, 1972 and this Court granted them an interim order directing the respondents that the petitioners should not be reverted. On 18th August, 1972 the first respondent issued another order in G.O. Ms. No. 1221 appointing respondents 4 to 8 to the post of Assistant Directors creating some supernumerary posts. The petitioners consequently filed W.P. M.P. No. 8052 of 1972 to amend the original prayer by adding "to call for the records relating to G.O. Ms. No. 1221, dated 18th August, 1972 of the first respondent herein and quash the same," which has been granted by me. As I have pointed out, the Government of Andhra Pradesh are the first respondent and the Director of Fisheries and the Secretary, Public Service Commission are respondents 2 and 3, and respondents 4 to 8 are the candidates in whose favour the panel is now proposed to be reviewed. Both the Official respondents as well as respondents 4 to 8 oppose this writ petition. According to them respondents 4 to 8 came from the fisheries service of the erstwhile Hyderabad State. While the two petitioners were promoted as Inspectors on1st May, 1956 and 26th July, 1958 respectively, respondents 4 to 8 were promoted as Inspectors from 1950 to 1955. Thus as Inspectors the respondents were definitely seniors to the petitioners. The next promotion from the post of Inspector of Fisheries was to the post of Assistant Director of Fisheries. As per G.O.Ms. No. 497, dated 7th April, 1960 the former Hyderabad Service personnel, who came over to the State of Andhra Pradesh are entitled to the benefit of the Hyderabad Cadre Rules for their first stage promotion. The same safeguard is given to them under rule 42 (h) of the State and Subordinate Service Rules, Andhra Pradesh. Under the Hyderabad Rules the post of Assistant Director was not a selection post 50 per cent of the posts were required to be filled up by direct recruitment and the balance of 50 per cent, of the posts have to be filled up by promotion from the lower ranks like Inspectors. Consequently, respondents 4 to 8 were entitled to be promoted to the post of Assistant Director of Fisheries to the extent of 50 per cent, of the posts by virtue of their seniority, provided they were found fit. As far as this is concerned, which was first stage promotion for them, they should have been included in the panel and appointed as Assistant Directors on the basis of seniority-cum-fitness as per the Hyderabad Rules. But, when common gradation lists were prepared in the year 1962 and 1966, this position was ignored by the authorities that be and the panel was prepared entirely on the basis of selection and merit. When due representations were made to respondents 2 and 3, they realised the mistake and the injustice done to the respondents and hence the proposed revision of the panel. The revision is fully justified.
(3.) It is at this juncture necessary to notice the different ranks that existed in the two fisheries departments of erstwhile Andhra and Hyderabad States. So far as it is relevant for the purposes of the present discussion there were two posts in the State of Andhra the first being Inspector of Fisheries in the scale of pay Rs. 120-220 and the other Assistant Director of Fisheries i n the scale of pay of Rs. 230-500. In the Hyderabad Service there were the three following posts. 1. Inspector with the scale of pay of I.G. Rs. 140-300. 2. Pisciculturists with the scale of pay of I.G. Rs. 190-340. These two posts belonged to subordinate services. Then the third is ; 3. Assistant Fisheries Officer, with the scale of pay of Rs. 250-450. I.G. This belongs to State Services, It is now common ground that the post of Assistant Director of Fisheries of Andhra is equated after the formation of the State of Andhra Pradesh with the post of Assistant Fisheries Officer of Hyderabad Services. According to the Cadres and Recruitment Rules of the Fisheries Branch of the Hyderabad General Service, 50 per cent, of the vacancies in the posts of Assistant Fisheries officers were to be filled up by "direct recruitment by selection" and 50 per cent, by "promotion" from among Pisciculturists and Inspectors, who were Graduates in Biology. After the State of Andhra Pradesh has come into being the rule, as it now ob ains, is that the post of Assistant Director of Fisheries, which is said to be a gazetted one, has to be filled in by selection from Inspectors of Fisheries.;

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