LAIRENLAKPAM POIREITON MEITEI Vs. STATE OF MANIPUR
LAWS(MANIP)-2021-2-2
HIGH COURT OF MANIPUR
Decided on February 05,2021

Lairenlakpam Poireiton Meitei Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF MANIPUR Respondents

JUDGEMENT

KH.NOBIN SINGH,J. - (1.) Heard Shri M.Hemchandra, learned Senior Advocateappearing for the petitioners; Shri N. Kumarjit, learned AG for the State respondents; Shri H.S. Paonam, learned Senior Advocatefor some ofthe private respondents and ShriKh. Samarjit, learned Advocate for some of the respondents.
(2.) Since the above writ petitions have arisen out of similar set of facts, the same are considered and disposed of by thiscommon judgment and order. WP(C) No.559 of 2020
(3.) *** 3.1. By the instant writ petition, the petitioners have prayed for issuing a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ to direct the respondents to execute/ implement Clause 5(9)(d) of the Manipur State Electricity Reforms Transfer Scheme, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as "the Transfer Scheme, 2013") and also to direct the respondents to frame/ formulate Rules and Regulations on service conditions focusing on promotional avenues to the next higher post of the Deputy General Manager (Elect.), General Manager (Elect.), Executive Director etc. in MSPCL/ MSPDCL in accordance with law. 3.2. Facts and circumstances as narrated in the writ petition, in short, are that the Addl. Secretary, Manipur Public Service Commission (hereinafter referred to as "the MPSC") issued an advertisement dated 02.12.2015 inviting applications for direct recruitment to some posts of Engineer in the Engineering Departments, Government of Manipur. The petitioners applied for 10 (ten) posts of the Manager (Elect.) which is equivalent to the post of Assistant Engineer in the ElectricityDepartment, Manipur. A merit list of 24 candidates for the direct recruitment to the post of Manager (Elect.) in the MSPDCL/MSPDL, Manipur dated 01.05.2016 was issued by the MPSC on the basis of the written examination held from 05.01.2016 to 07.01.2016 and the personality test held on 01.05.2016. The petitioners were appointed as the Managers(Elect.) in MSPDCL vide order dated 04.06.2016 pursuant to the approval conveyed by the State Government vide its letter dated 01.06.2016. On the recommendation of the MPSC in its meeting held on 01.05.2016, Shri Nakambam Pritam Singh, one of the petitioners herein, was appointed as the Manager (Elect.) vide order dated 08.02.2019 issued by the Executive Director (HR/Admn/IT/Legal), theMSPDCL. 3.3. A Memorandum dated 23.12.2013 was placed before the Cabinet for consideration and approval as regards the unbundling and corporatization of the Electricity Department, Government of Manipur through a Transfer Scheme and related matters thereto. As per the decision of the Government of Manipur to unbundle and corporatize the Electricity Department, Government of Manipur into two State owned functionally independent entities viz. (a) Manipur State Power Company Limited (hereinafter referred as "the MSPCL") as the Holding Company to discharge the functions of the State Transmission and Generation Utility and (b) Manipur State Power Distribution Company Limited (hereinafter referred to as "the MSPDCL") as the deemeddistribution licensee/ Distribution Company with effect from the 01.02.2014 in terms of Section 131 and 133 and other applicable provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003. The Transfer Scheme, 2013 came to be notified on 31.12.2013and pursuant thereto, all the employees of the Electricity Department,Manipur were placed on deputation en mass either at the MSPCL or the MSPDCL with effect from 01.02.2014 except for the two employees/officersposted specifically vide an order of the State Government retaining inthe Electricity Department, Manipur. The Commissioner (Power), Government of Manipur issued an order dated 11.09.2014 by which 686 employees of the Electricity department, Manipurwere deputed to the MSPCL while 1918 employees were deputed to the MSPDCL on the terms and conditions as laid down in the Transfer Scheme, 2013. Clause 5(9)(d) of the Transfer Scheme, 2013 provides that upon completion of three years from the effective date, the State Government shall provide options to the personnel to be permanently absorbed in the services of the Transferees, whereupon such personnel who choose to exercise such option, shall be permanently absorbed in the Transferees. 3.4. It is worthwhile to mention here that the Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms (Personnel Division), Government of Manipur issued a notification dated 23.06.1986 making the rules regulating the method of recruitment to the post of Executive Engineer, in Engineering Departments, called "the P.W.D/ I.F.C.D.(including MI Department)/ PHED/ Electricity Department, Manipur [Executive Engineer (Elec/ Mech)/ (Civil/Mech)] Recruitment Rules, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as "the Recruitment Rules, 1986"). The qualifying period of service for promotion to the post of Executive Engineer (Elect) are: (i) In the case of Degree Holders, 6 years (ii) In the case of Diploma Holders, 9 years iii)................. iv)...................... etc. 3.5. Instead of executing Clause 5(9)(d) of the Transfer Scheme, 2013 formulated under Section 131 and 133 and other applicable provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003, the State Government issued a Notification dated 08.01.2018 ordering the relaxation of the provisions contained in Column 11 of the Recruitment Rules, 1986 with respect toqualifying period of service for promotion to the post of the Executive Engineer (Elect) as one time relaxation whichwas valid till 31.03.2018. Immediately thereafter, the Under Secretary (Power), Government of Manipur issued an order dated 30.01.2018 appointing twenty-two Assistant Engineers (Elect) on promotion to the post of the Executive Engineer (Elect), Electricity Department, Manipur on the basis of one time relaxation. Consequent upon their promotion, the Managing Director, the MSPDCL issued an order dt. 24.4.2018 designating thirteen personnel who are on deputation from theElectricity Department, Manipur, as the Deputy General Manager, MSPDCL with immediate effect until further orders and in public interest.Similarly, the Departmentof Personnel and Administrative Reforms (Personnel Division), Government of Manipur issued a notification dated 25.02.2019 thereby relaxing the provisions contained in Column 11 of the Recruitment Rules, 1986 with respect toqualifying period of service forpromotion to the post of Executive Engineer (Elect) as onetime relaxation which was valid upto3(three) months from the date of notification. Thereafter, the Under Secretary (Power), Government of Manipur issued an order dated 27.02.2019 appointing four Assistant Engineers(Elect) on promotion to the post of the Executive Engineer (Elect), Electricity Department, Manipur. 3.6. The Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (Personnel Division), Government of Manipur issued a Notification dated 24.02.2018 relaxing the provisions contained in Column 10 of the Recruitment Rules, 1986 regarding the method of recruitment for the post of Assistant Engineer (Civil/Elect) as "100% by promotion" in place of "60% by promotion" as one-time relaxation which was valid till 31.03.2018. The Under Secretary, Government of Manipur issued an order dated 27.02.2018 appointing forty-two Section Officer Grade-I (Elect) onpromotion to the post of the Assistant Engineer (Elect) in the Electricity Department, Manipur with immediate effect on one-time measure. In this manner, instead of implementing Clause 5(9)(d)of the Transfer Scheme, 2013 formulated under Section 131 and 133 and other applicable provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003 to the effect of absorption or rationalization or repatriation of the employees of the Electricity Department,Manipur deputed to MSPCL/MSPDCL, the State Government issued notification after notification thereby giving promotion to the employees of the Electricity Department,Manipur deputed to the MSPCL/MSPDCLfrom Section officer Grade-I(Elect) to the Assistant Engineers (Elect) and also from the Assistant Engineers (Elect) to the Executive Engineer (Elect) by granting relaxation of the provisions contained in Column 11 of the Recruitment Rules, 1986 with respect to qualifying period of service for promotion to the post oftheExecutive Engineer (Elect) as one-time measure and also with respect to method of recruitment for promotion to the post of the Assistant Engineer (Civil/Elect) thereby giving preferential treatment to the staffs of theElectricity Department, Manipur working on deputation in MSPDCL which is, prima facie, arbitrary, mala fide, ulterior motives, colourable exercise of power, extraneous consideration, non application of mind, unequal treatment amongst the equals being violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India, thereby continuously obstructing the service up-gradation/ promotion of the Managers (Elect) who are appointed directly in the MSPDCL, to the post of the Deputy General Manager (Elect),to the General Manager (Elect), to the Executive Director etc. in theMSPDCL. The State Government has not framed till date, Rules and Regulations with regard to service conditionsfor promotion of the petitionersto the next higher post of the Deputy General Manager (Elect), the General Manager (Elect), the Executive Director etc. in the MSPCL/MSPDCL.The total number of sanctioned posts are seven posts in respect of the General Manager (Elect), twenty eight posts in respect of the Deputy General Manager (Elect) and eighty two posts in respect oftheManager (Elect) created for the MSPCL/MSPDCL and the aforesaid sanctioned posts on different capacities are being filled up from amongst the employees of the Electricity Department, Manipur, who are now working in MSPDCL on deputation, by giving relaxation of the provisions contained in Column 11 of the Recruitment Rules, 1986 with respect to qualifying period of service for promotion to the post of the Executive Engineer (Elect) and also with respect to method of recruitment for promotion to the post of the Assistant Engineer (Civil/Elect) as "100% by promotion" in place of "60% by promotion" as one-time measures arbitrarily by the State Government, ignoring/ overlooking the cases of the employees appointed directly in the MSPCL/MSPDCL 3.7. Being aggrieved by the aforesaid actions of the State respondents, the instant writ petitions have been filed by the petitioners on the inter-alia grounds that the actions of the State respondents granting promotion to the employees of the Electricity Department, Manipur by way of relaxation of the Recruitment Rules, 1986 are arbitrary, illegal, malafide, preferential treatment, extraneous consideration, unequal treatment amongst the equals being violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India; that the rights of the petitioners to be considered for promotion to next higher posts which are fundamental rights enshrined under the Constitution of India, have been curtailed and shall become doom for ever, whenthe State Governmenthas considered the appointment by promotion to the post of the Deputy General Manager (Elect), MSPDCL from amongst the Assistant Engineers of the Electricity Department, Manipur who are now working in the MSPDCL on deputation. The State Government keeps on making appointments on promotion by way of relaxation of the Recruitment Ruleto the employees of the Electricity Department, Manipur on one-time relaxation basiswithout showing any concern towards the employees of the MSPCL/MSPDCL. Since none of the 23 Managers (Elect) who were directly appointed vide orders dated 30.10.2014,was given promotion to the post of Deputy General Manager (Elect), the same fate wouldbe faced by the petitioners.;


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