ALL ASSAM PANCHAYAT AND WOMEN AND CHILDREN EXTENSION OFFICERS ASSOCIATION AND 20 ORS Vs. STATE OF ASSAM AND 51 ORS
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
All Assam Panchayat And Women And Children Extension Officers Association And 20 Ors
State Of Assam And 51 Ors
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Suman Shyam, J. -
(1.) Heard Mr. P. K. Roy Choudhury as well as Mr. S. U. Ahmed, learned counsel appearing for the writ petitioners. I have also heard Mr. D. Saikia, learned Senior Additional Advocate General, Assam appearing for the official respondents as well as Mr. A. D. Choudhury, learned counsel representing the private respondents.
(2.) In both these writ petitions, the Notification dated 20.07.2018, by means of which 47 Officers in the rank of Extension Officer (Fishery) and Extension Officer (Credit) have been allowed to temporarily hold the charge of the Block Development Officer (BDO) under the Department of Panchayat & Rural Development, has been put to challenge.
(3.) The facts of the cases, briefly stated, are that writ petitioners herein are holding the substantive post of Extension Officer (Panchayat) and Extension Officer (Women and Children).The service conditions of the Extension Officers in the Department of Panchayat & Rural Development is governed by the Assam Panchayat and Rural Development Officers Service Rules, 2013 (for short Rules of 2013"). As per the Rules of 2013, there are four different categories of Extension Officers in the department viz. Extension Officer (Fishery), Extension Officer (Credit), Extension Officer (Panchayat) and Extension Officer (Women and Children).The post of BDO are required to be filled up 40% by direct recruitment to be conducted through the Public Service Commission and the remaining 60% by promoting departmental candidates belonging to the cadre of Extension Officer (Credit), Extension Officer (Panchayat) and Extension Officer (Women and Children) at the equal ratio of 20% from each category. In so far as the cadre of Extension Officer (Fishery) is concerned, the Rules mandate that those officers are to be considered for promotion to the post of Assistant Development Commissioner (P & RD), which is a post enjoying higher pay scale than the post of BDO. By the impugned order dated 20.07.2018 the department has decided to temporarily promote 44 Extension Officer (Fishery) and 3 Extension Officer (Credit) to hold the post of BDO, which according to the writ petitioners, was in clear violation of the mandate of the Rules. Hence, these writ petitions.
3. Citing the provisions contained in Rule 3(g) of the Rules of 2013, Mr. Roy Choudhury has strenuously argued that the Extension Officer (Fishery) is the feeder post for the cadre of Assistant Development Commissioner and the Rules do not permit their promotion to the post of BDO. As such, the question of allowing the Extension Officer (Fishery) to hold the temporary charge of BDO cannot arise under the Rules. Referring to the plea of locus raised by the respondents, Mr. Roy Choudhury has argued that the writ petitioners herein who are holding the temporary charge of BDO in many of the Blocks included in the impugned order dated 20.07.2018 cannot be displaced, even as an ad hoc measure, so as to accommodate such departmental candidates who cannot be promoted to such posts under the Rules. Therefore, submits Mr Roy Choudhury, it is a clear case of replacing one set of ad hoc employees by another which runs counter to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of State of Haryana and others v. Piara Singh and others, 1992 4 SCC 118.;
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