Decided on January 03,1972



- (1.)THIS is an appeal from an order made by Mr. Justice d. Basu on 20th May, 1969, making a rule absolute. The petitioners before his Lordship were Assistant Drivers who had come over to the electric Traction section from the Steam Traction Section of the Eastern Railway after they had exercised the option which was given to firemen serving in the Steam Traction section under a circular issued by the chief Personnel Officer on November 13, 1958. The option was given to firemen of both Grades A and B in the steam Section. The appellants who were respondents Nos. 9 to 11 in the rule were in Grade A while the respondents Nos. 1 to 14, the petitioners in the Rule, were in Grade B. Other firemen of Grade A were invited to appear on the record of the proceedings by a notice issued under Order 1 Rule 8 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(2.)THE question is how the seniority among Assistant Drivers is to be determined. By his order, the learned Judge has directed the respondents Nos. 15 to 22 that is to say, the Union of India, the general Manager, the Chief Personnel officer, the Chief Electrical Engineer, the Divisional Superintendent, Sealdah, the Divisional Superintendent, Asansol, the Divisional Superintendent, Dhanbad, and the Divisional Superintendent, danapur, Eastern Railway, to frame and publish a consolidated list of Assistant Drivers in the Electric Section according to the principle laid down in paragraph 12 of the circular being annexure 'a' to the petition and then to regularise all promotions made from the rank of optees to the post of Assistant Drivers since the time when the circular came into force. The appellants are all Assistant Drivers promoted from the rank of Grade A Firemen. They contend that they have been prejudicially affected by the order.
(3.)THE pattern of recruitment and channel of promotion of Firemen in. the transportation Department are dealt with in Rule 129 of Chapter 1, Section 'b' of the Indian Railway Establishment manual. There are two divisions of first Firemen or Leading Firemen, namely, Firemen Grade 'a' and Firemen Grade 'b'. First Firemen Grade 'b' are promoted from the rank of second Firemen Grade 'c' who are promoted from the rank of Engine cleaners, first Firemen Grade 'a' are recruited from direct trainee firemen of matriculation or any equivalent qualification. It appears from Rule 129 that 75% of first Firemen are recruited as First firemen. Grade 'a'. The balance 25% of First Firemen come up by promotion to the rank of First Firemen Grade 'b'. First Firemen Grade 'a' are promoted to the rank of shunters Grade 'a' and first Firemen Grade 'b' are promoted to the rank of shunters Grade 'b'. Thereafter the promotion is from shunters grade 'a' and shunters Grade 'b' to driver Grade 'c'. At that stage, the two divisions coalesce.

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