K. Ramaswamy, J. -
(1.)Since common questions of facts and law arise for decision in these two appeals, they are disposed of by a common judgment. Civil Appeal No. 3221/82 and Civil Appeal No. 3524/ 83 arise out of the common judgment in Civil Writ Petition Nos. 677/79 and 97/79 and a few other petitions dated May 2, 1980 on the file of High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh. The writ petitions were dismissed and the appellants had leave of this Court under Art. 136 of the Constitution. The facts lie on a short compass and reference to the facts on record in Civil Writ, No. 97 of 1979 are sufficient for disposal of these appeals. Writ Petition No. 97 of 1979 relates to Punjab service while Civil Writ Petition No. 677/ 79 relates to Haryana.
(2.)The appellants were direct recruits to the ministerial services in the subordinate offices of the Directorates of Agriculture of the respective States. Admittedly all are governed by Punjab, Subordinate Agricultural Service Rules 1933, for short 'rules'. The respective State Governments upgraded on February 8, 1979 offices of the Directorates as 'A' Class and the Subordinate Offices situated elsewhere remained as 'B' Class. The appellants and others filed writ petitions on February 26, 1976 seeking a writ of mandamus to direct the respondents to upgrade the Subordinate Offices of the Department of Agriculture as 'A' Class; to treat the appellants on par with the similar employees working in the office of the Directorates of Agriculture; treat the ,Directorate of Agriculture and Subordinate Offices as one department for maintaining common seniority of all of them; to upgrade their scales of pay on the basis of the said seniority and to quash the order dated February 8, 1979 declaring the Directorate as 'A' Class as wholly arbitrary and discriminatory. Pending appeals, the respective Governments by proceedings dated March 2, 1982 classified the Directorate and Subordinate Offices as 'A' Class. The Government have also accorded equal pay to the employees similarly situated. Therefore, the only question that survives to be resolved is whether the Subordinate Offices and the Directorate would be treated as one unit and common seniority of all the employees should be maintained.
(3.)Shri P. P. Rao and Shri C. M. Nayyar, learned counsel for the appellants in the respective appeals contended that the appellants were selected along with the persons appointed in the office of the respective Directorates. They possessed the same qualifications; their scales of pay are now the same. Their service conditions are also the same under the rules, and therefore, they are entitied to maintenance of common seniority for the purpose of promotion. It is seen that the appointments were made somewhere in 1973. From the list produced before us in Civil Appeal No. 3221/82 relating to the State of Haryana, among the persons selected by the Recruitment Board, though some of the persons are found to have secured higher ranking in the list prepared by the Selection Board, they were appointed to the Subordinate Offices while persons below them, in ranking were appointed in the Directorate. When we enquired from the counsel for the State Shri Rohtagi, the learned Senior Counsel has produced before us the notings which show that the Director had taken five of them, one of whom had secured first class in Matriculation, two ex-service candidates and two candidates who secured higher percentage of marks at the qualifying matriculation examination. In the view we are taking this solitary circumstance does not militate against the ultimate conclusion that we have reached in the matter. Admittedly, R. 3 of the rules provides that the service shall consist of seven sections and in each section there shall be such number of posts whether permanent or temporary of each grade specified in the appendix as the Local Government from time to time may determine. Under R. 4(l) the Director of Agriculture shall make appointment to all the posts in the service except the post of Junior Clerks, other than those sanctioned for Head Office, Mokadams and the posts shown under S. 7 of the appendix. All other appointments shall be made by the Head Office concerned, vide R. 4(2). Rule 7 prescribes the method of recruitment. Rule 7(l)(I) specifies thus:
"In the case of Superintendent, Office of the Director-
(i) by promotion from amongst the Head Assistants employed in the office, or
(ii) by selection from amongst Superintendents or Head Assistants with at least five years clerical experience in other Government office."
Rule 7(l)(J) reads thus:
"In the case of Head Assistant
(i) by promotion from amongst Assistant and Stenographers with clerical experience who have proved their fitness for the appointment, or
(ii) by selection from amongst clerks employed in the office of Government other than the office of the Director."
"In the case of Superintendent or Head Clerk of a Subordinate Office -.
(i) by promotion from amongst Senior Clerks who have proved their fitness for the post, or
(ii) by selection from amongst clerks employed in Government Office other than the office in which the post / office is to be filled."
"In the case of Assistant-
(i) by promotion from amongst Senior Clerks in their respective offices who have proved their fitness for appointment to the post, or
(ii) by selection from amongst clerks employed in Government Offices other than the office in which the post is to be filled, or
(iii) by direct recruitment-
provided that no graduate not already in Government service shall be appointed to be an Assistant unless he has been recommended as fit for appointment by the Punjab University Appointment Board."
"Appointment to any post by the promotion of officials already in service or by the transfer of officials shall be made strictly by selection and no official shall have any claim to such an appointment as of right."
The candidates have to undergo probation as provided in R. 9, the details of which are not relevant. Rule 10 provides seniority of members of the service. The seniority of the members in the service shall, in each class of appointment shown in the appendix, be determined by the dates of their substantive appointment on probation or otherwise to a permanent vacancy in such class. The other details are not necessary. Hence omitted.