SREECHARAN MOHANTY & OTHERS Vs. UNION OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
UNION OF INDIA
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Biswanath Rath, J. -
(1.) This Writ Petition has been filed by the petitioners seeking a direction to the opposite parties to regularize the service period of the petitioners as Ad-hoc SIPF under the establishment and further to declare their seniority and empanelment to be eligible to get further promotion to IPF after statutory period of eight years of service as SIPF on regular basis taking into consideration that similar benefit has been granted to the batch mates of the petitioners in South East Central Railways who were retained by the said zone after such restructure is made.
(2.) Short background involved in this case is that while the petitioners were posted as A.S.Is. in the erstwhile South Eastern Railways, the South Eastern Railways was trifurcated into three zones as South Eastern Railways, South East Central Railways and East Coast Railways. The petitioners were however retained in the East Coast Railways, which have three divisions namely Khurda, Waltair and Sambalpur. This East Coast Railway started its functioning w.e.f. 1.03.2003 after trifurcation of erstwhile South Eastern Railway. As per the Joint Director (Estt.) Railway Board s letter dated 8.08.2002, all manpower and resources of undivided South Eastern Railways were distributed amongst the three zones. Such as, 37.5% was allotted to East Coast Railway, 37.5% was allotted to South Eastern Railway and 25% share was allotted to South East Central Railway. Petitioners alleged that to the misfortune of the petitioners due shares of the South Eastern Railway and East Coast Railways could not be transferred to East Coast Railway. It is further urged that initially vide letter No.RPF/EA-Prop./New Zones/3-78/9415 dated 17.09.2002 the orders were issued for transfer of 892 RPF staffs of various rank to East Coast Railway. As a consequence of non-transfer of the share of 37.5% the strength of RPF staff was unilaterally reduced to 222. As a result of which areas under the control of the truncated South Eastern Railways got a staff strength of 62% of total strength of undivided South Eastern Railways, while the areas under East Coast Railway received 21% and South East Central Railway received 17% of the total strength respectively. While the matter stood thus, the Government of India in the Ministry of Railways vide resolution dated 19.11.2003 reviewed the cadre strength as a result on the basis of functional, operational and administrative requirement, it was therein decided that the Group C and Group D staff of RPF restructured according to certain percentage indicated therein and allotted 6.25 % for the post of Sub-Inspector. As the number of staff was reduced, the Railway Board vide letter dated 15.09.2004 revised such percentage of staff and accordingly reduced the percentage of Sub-Inspector to 4.5% and after such restructure and revised percentage the vacancy position was to be filled up. It is alleged that for the unequal distribution of Manpower, reduction in the staff strength retained by the East Coast Railways and also for the revised percentage of the staff and consequent vacancies thereto, the petitioners were deprived of promotion under cadre restructuring.
(3.) It is under the premises of unequal transfer taking place in different Railways more particularly the establishment under the petitioners are employees and referring to the differential treatment demonstrated from table 1 & 2 in the Writ Petition learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners contended that the petitioners are suffering to get their regular promotion to the post of Sub-Inspector for no fault of them and on the other hand, for the ineffective manpower system being followed by the Railway authority, learned counsel for the petitioner contended that finding the newly created zones under whom the petitioners are employees felt handicapped in dealing with challenges arising out of PWG/ Naxality activities and for facing serious manpower problem and further finding that a large number of direct quota vacancies in the rank of SubInspectors are not filled up, it is in the circumstance at the Railway Board s level vide letter dated 2.12.2005 it was directed for consideration of the case of suitable and eligible ASIs for their temporary absorption as Sub-Inspector. In the meantime, for the further development at the Railway Board level it was decided to give the petitioners adhoc promotion for a period of three months against the direct recruitment quota of Sub-Inspector with a condition that they will be reverted to their substantive grade on completion of three months and may be again placed on adhoc basis so long as the vacancies through direct quota remains unfulfilled. In the process vide communication dated 4.09.2006 the petitioners were empanelled for promotion to the rank of S.I/RPF purely on a stopgap adhoc arrangement for a period of three months. But however for the conditions imposed therein the petitioners were reverted to their original post on the expiry of 89 days to the rank A.S.I and again re-promoted to SIPF purely on adhoc basis with a gap of one day, which system was continuing as on the date of filing of the Writ Petition. A process continued nearly about 5 years and in the meantime there was no Departmental Promotion Committee formed from 2003 to 2009 for selection of Sub-Inspector Cadre. Petitioners alleged that the arrangement made by the Railway authority remains improper and urged that the length of continuance of service on adhoc basis in the post of SubInspector may be treated under stopgap measure. The petitioners are thus deprived of their promotion in the side of promotional quota. It is also alleged that taking into consideration the requirement of promotion to the post of Sub-Inspector requiring a person completing 5 years of regular service as A.S.I and for all the petitioners having such requisite experience and further for considering the long continuance of the petitioners as A.S.I against direct recruit quota, vide order dated 28.04.2011 case of the petitioners were considered against the vacancies in the rank of Sub-Inspector/R.P.F. on 28.04.2011 and on successful completion of S.I. promotion course training all the petitioners are provisionally empanelled to the rank of Sub-Inspector. It is at this stage of the matter, learned counsel for the petitioners prays for the actual treatment amongst similarly situated persons involving the Railways establishment. It is further submitted that though the counter part of the petitioners joined together but for their joining in other Railway establishment for the effective manpower managed therein they have got promotion earlier and for the petitioners continuing under the East Coast Railway with lower manpower mechanism, they have all suffered for their delay in the matter of promotion to the post of Sub-Inspector as well as to the next higher post. Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners further submitted to this Court that in the meantime, all the petitioners have been promoted to the rank of Inspector vide order dated 25.01.2012 but they are all suffering in the matter of seniority for their delayed promotion to both the post of A.S.I and S.I. Taking into account the delay in conducting the recruitment in the A.S.I & S.I. cadre and for no initiative being taken by the Board at appropriate time, learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners contended that all the petitioners have suffered for no latches on their part. Thus finding no other way all the petitioners approached the authorities to regularize the adhoc promotion period, so that they can get seniority from the date of adhoc promotion to the rank of S.I. and finally to the rank of Inspector. Ultimately the petitioners claimed that there should be equal treatment to all such employees working under one establishment. In the process ultimately it is prayed for counting the period of working of the petitioners as contractual A.S.I. in the other Railway establishment for the purpose of promotion to the post of Inspector and maintenance of their seniority accordingly.;
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