Decided on February 14,2020

Vinod Giri Goswami Appellant


L.NAGESWARA RAO,J. - (1.)The above Appeals relate to the inter se seniority dispute between the direct recruits and the promotee Deputy Collectors in the State of Uttarakhand.
(2.)Civil Writ Petition No.187 of 2010 was filed by 3 promotee Deputy Collectors challenging the final Seniority List dated 09.08.2010. They sought a direction to the Principal Secretary, Department of Appointment and Personnel, Government of Uttarakhand, Dehradun to count the entire period of their continuous service from the dates of their ad hoc appointment for the purpose of seniority in accordance with the proviso to Rule 24(4) of the Uttaranchal Civil Services (Executive Branch) Rules, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as 'the 2005 Rules'). It was averred in the Writ Petition that the Respondents were initially appointed as Naib Tehsildars and thereafter promoted and confirmed as Tehsildars. They pleaded that the vacancies of Deputy Collectors in the promotion quota were not filled up due to the allocation of Provincial Civil Services Officers not being finalised after the formation of the State of Uttarakhand. According to them, a number of vacancies in the promotion quota of Deputy Collectors were available but not filled up. The Writ Petitioners were promoted on ad hoc basis on 11.02.2004, 28.02.2004 and 14.07.2004 and the direct recruits who were appointed in the year 2005 were shown as seniors to them in the final Seniority List that was prepared on 09.08.2010. They relied upon the proviso to Rule 24(4) of the 2005 Rules to claim that the entire continuous officiating service rendered by them should be taken into account for the purpose of determining their seniority as Deputy Collectors. Writ Petition Nos.188 of 2010 and 220 of 2010 were filed by the promotee Deputy Collectors seeking relief similar to the one prayed for in Writ Petition No.187 of 2010. All the three Writ Petitions were heard together. The High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital allowed the Writ Petitions and struck down the seniority list dated 09.08.2010. The State Government was directed to prepare a final seniority list of Deputy Collectors within six months from the date of the judgment while treating the Writ Petitioners as having been appointed on a regular basis with effect from the respective dates of their initial ad hoc appointment in 2004. Relying upon the proviso to sub-rule (2) of Rule 20 of the U.P. Civil Servant (Executive Branch) Rules, 1982 (hereinafter referred to as 'the 1982 Rules'), the High Court held that the Petitioners were entitled to count their seniority from the date of their initial appointments. By referring to the judgment of this Court in Direct Recruit Class II Engineering Officers' Association v. State of Maharashtra & Ors., (1990) 2 SCC 715 the High Court was of the opinion that an ad hoc appointee shall be entitled to count the entire service for seniority from the date of ad hoc appointment to the date of regularisation if he was in continuous service, without any interruption, till the date of his regularisation. The High Court observed that although the initial appointments of the Writ Petitioners were not in accordance with the procedure prescribed for making appointment, they cannot be deprived of the benefit of the service rendered by them on ad hoc basis for the purpose of seniority and promotion. Accordingly, the High Court by its judgment dated 07.09.2011 allowed the Writ Petition Nos.187 of 2010, 188 of 2010 and 220 of 2010. Later, Writ Petition No.58 of 2011 on 30.11.2011 was disposed of in terms of the judgment in Writ Petition No187 of 2010 and other Writ Petitions.
(3.)Civil Appeal @ S.L.P. (Civil) Nos.6847-6848 of 2012, Civil Appeal @ S.L.P. (Civil) Nos.9885-9886 of 2012, Civil Appeal @ S.L.P. (Civil) Nos.9910-9911 of 2012, Civil Appeal @ S.L.P. (Civil) Nos.33762-33763 of 2012, Civil Appeal @ S.L.P. (Civil) Nos.33759-33760 of 2012 and Civil Appeal @ S.L.P. (Civil) Nos.33750-33751 of 2012 and Civil Appeal @ S.L.P. (Civil) No. 2779 of 2012 were filed by the direct recruit Deputy Collectors and the State of Uttarakhand assailing the legality of the judgment dated 07.09.2011 in Writ Petition Nos.187 of 2010, 188 of 2010, 220 of 2010 and the judgment dated 30.11.2011 in Writ Petition No.58 of 2011. During the course of hearing of the above Special Leave Petitions, this Court by an order dated 11.03.2015 directed the State Government to determine the deficiencies in the direct recruit/ promotee quota in the category of Deputy Collectors from year to year since the formation of the State in the year 2000. This Court was of the opinion that the said exercise was necessary for the purpose of deciding the adjustment of the direct recruits/ promotees in the quota earmarked for them. In compliance of the directions issued by this Court on 11.03.2015, the Government of Uttarakhand determined the year-wise vacancies for direct recruits and promotees from 2000 onwards. On the basis of the Office Memorandum dated 21.10.2015, the final Seniority List of Deputy Collectors was prepared by the State Government on 11.01.2017. Thereafter, during the course of the hearing of the Appeals on 25.04.2018, an objection was taken on behalf of the Respondents/ promotees to the Office Memorandum dated 21.10.2015 that the quota earmarked for promotees was shown to have been occupied by officers who continued to work in the State of Uttar Pradesh till their retirement. The promotees contended that the personnel who did not join in the State of Uttarakhand in spite of their allocation cannot be shown to have occupied the quota for promotees to the detriment of the Respondents in the above Appeals. As the dispute relating to the correctness of the Office Memorandum dated 21.10.2015 was raised for the first time by both sides, this Court permitted the promotees to approach the High Court for resolution of their grievances.

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