BHAGWANDAS TIWARI Vs. DEWAS SHAJAPUR KSHETRIYA GRAMIN BANK
LAWS(SC)-2006-11-23
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: MADHYA PRADESH)
Decided on November 08,2006

BHAGWANDAS TIWARI Appellant
VERSUS
DEWAS SHAJAPUR KSHETRIYA GRAMIN BANK Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

K.SAMANTARAY V. NATIONAL INSURANCE CO. LTD. [REFERRED TO]
SANT RAM SHARMA VS. STATE OF RAJASTHAN [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF MYSORE VS. SYED MAHMOOD [REFERRED TO]
UNION OF INDIA STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH VS. MOHAN LAL KAPOOR:K N MISRA [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF KERALA VS. N M THOMAS [REFERRED TO]
JAGATHIGOWDA C N VS. CHAIRMAN CAUVERY GRAMINA BANK [REFERRED TO]
B V SIVAIAH VS. K ADDANKT BABU [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF U P VS. JALAL UDDIN [REFERRED TO]



Cited Judgements :-

ANIL KUMAR VS. GORAKHPUR KSHETRIYA GRAMIN BANK [LAWS(ALL)-2009-4-244] [REFERRED TO]
TEJ BAHADUR MANI TRIPATHI VS. STATE OF UP [LAWS(ALL)-2010-7-10] [REFERRED TO]
KONTHOUJAM PAKA SINGH VS. STATE OF MANIPUR [LAWS(GAU)-2012-1-12] [REFERRED TO]
SAMSUL HAQUE VS. NADIA GRAMIN BANK [LAWS(CAL)-2008-5-33] [REFERRED TO]
RAJESH KUMAR MATHUR VS. CHAIRMAN MADHYA BHARAT GRAMIN BANK [LAWS(MPH)-2010-10-61] [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF MAHARASHTRA VS. PRATIBHA [LAWS(BOM)-2011-10-33] [REFERRED TO]
RAJENDRA KUMAR SRIVASTAVA VS. SAMYUT KSHETRIYA GRAMIN BANK [LAWS(SC)-2009-11-35] [REFERRED TO]
M B GRAMIN BANK VS. RAJESH KUMAR MATHUR [LAWS(MPH)-2013-10-105] [REFERRED TO]
DEEPAK RANJAN MOHANTY VS. STATE ELECTION COMMISSION ORISSA [LAWS(ORI)-2009-9-27] [REFERRED TO]
MADHYA BHARAT GRAMIN BANK VS. VIKRAM SINGH RAJPUT [LAWS(MPH)-2014-9-40] [REFERRED TO]
MADHYA BHARAT GRAMIN BANK VS. BRIJESH KUMAR SHARMA [LAWS(MPH)-2014-9-41] [REFERRED TO]
PRAVEEN KUMAR JAGGI VS. CHAIRMAN, MAHAKAUSHAL KSHETRIYA GRAMIN BANK AND OTHERS [LAWS(MPH)-2007-8-118] [REFERRED TO]
ALTAF HUSSAIN MALI VS. ELLAQUI DEHATI BANK [LAWS(J&K)-2009-8-27] [REFERRED TO]
POONAM VERMA VS. CANTONMENT BOARD, DEHRADUN [LAWS(UTN)-2015-5-69] [REFERRED TO]
COAL INDIA LTD VS. SAROJ KUMAR MISHRA [LAWS(SC)-2007-4-95] [REFERRED TO]
RAJ VARDHAN VS. UNION OF INDIA [LAWS(ALL)-2010-10-57] [REFERRED TO]
BALBIR SINGH BEDI VS. STATE OF PUNJAB [LAWS(SC)-2013-2-26] [REFERRED TO]
RANJIT KUMAR ROY VS. TRIPURA GRAMIN BANK [LAWS(GAU)-2012-4-95] [REFERRED TO]
RABINDRA KUMAR SINHA VS. NAVEEN KUMAR [LAWS(JHAR)-2012-8-115] [REFERRED TO]
CHAIRMAN, RUSHIKULYA GRAMYA BANK VS. BISAWAMBER PATRO [LAWS(SC)-2013-4-13] [REFERRED TO]
SRIKANTH R BIRAJDAR VS. CHAIRMAN [LAWS(KAR)-2015-4-404] [REFERRED TO]
P K DUBEY S/O LATE SHRI B P DUBEY AND ORS VS. SHARDA GRAMEEN BANK THROUGH ITS CHAIRMAN AND ORS [LAWS(MPH)-2007-9-162] [REFERRED]
AJIT CHOUBEY VS. SHARDA GRAMEEN BANK [LAWS(MPH)-2007-9-163] [REFERRED]
S S RAMRAIKA AND OTHERS VS. P K DUBEY AND OTHERS [LAWS(MPH)-2014-3-153] [REFERRED]
RABINDRA NATH TRIPATHY VS. UNION OF INDIA & ORS [LAWS(DLH)-2013-2-491] [REFERRED]
UNION OF INDIA VS. MILAP CHAND [LAWS(P&H)-2008-9-208] [REFERRED]
NATIONAL HYDRO ELECTRIC POWER CORPORATION OFFICERS ASSOCIATION, VS. NHPC LIMITED AND ANOTHER [LAWS(P&H)-2010-3-395] [REFERRED]
PITAMBAR PATRA VS. REGISTRAR GENERAL HIGH COURT OF ORISSA, CUTTACK & ORS. [LAWS(ORI)-2017-8-120] [REFERRED TO]
HAREN KUMAR HAZARIKA VS. STATE OF ASSAM [LAWS(GAU)-2018-8-133] [REFERRED TO]
UNIVERSITY OF KERALA VS. V.SOBHA [LAWS(KER)-2020-2-360] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

ARIJIT PASAYAT, J. - (1.)LEAVE granted.
(2.)APPELLANTS call in question legality of the judgment rendered by a Division Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore Bench. By the impugned judgment the view taken by the learned Single Judge in Writ Petition No.799 of 2000 decided on 25.6.2001 was upheld.
Factual position is almost undisputed and essentially is as follows:

1]. The aforesaid writ petition was filed by ten persons who at the relevant point of time were employees of the Dewas Shajapur Kshetriya Gramin Bank (hereinafter referred to as the 'Bank'). Challenge in the writ petition was to the order of promotion issued by respondent no. 1- Bank and to the promotion granted to, respondents 2 to 8. The writ petitioners and respondents 2 to 8 were at the relevant point of time were working as officers in Junior Management Grade I. On 26.11.1999, the bank issued a promotion policy whereby applications were invited from the officers working in Junior Management Grade I for being considered to the next promotional post known as Middle Management II. In terms of the policy, the promotion was to be made on the basis of seniority-cum-merit and the policy also provided criteria for consideration of cases for promotion. The relevant clause is clause 7 of the second schedule of the Regional Rural Banks (Appointment and Promotion of Officers and others Employees) Rules, 1988 (in short the 'Rules'). The said rule came into operation with effect from 28.9.1988 and it was framed by the Central Government. Respondent no. 1 -bank has been established under the provisions of Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976 (in short the 'Act'). Under Section 29 of the Act the Central Government is empowered to make rules after consultation with the National Bank for carrying out the provisions of the bank. Clause (b)(a) of sub-section (2) of Section 29 was inserted by Regional Rural Bank's (Amendment) Act,1987 (in short the 'Amendment Act') empowering the Central Government to make rules relating to the manner in which the officers and employees of Regional Rural Bank shall be appointed in exercise of power conferred under Section 29 read with Section 17 of the Act. As per Rule 5 of the rules all vacancies are to be filled up on deputation, promotion or direct recruitment in accordance with the provisions contained in the second schedule. Clause 7 of the schedule deals with the promotion as area manager or senior managers. Clause 7 reads as follows: "Area Managers or Senior Managers:
JUDGEMENT_258_JT10_2006Html1.htm
2]. Standard prescribed as per Circular is as follows: "(7) Standard: Standard of selection in promotion procedure shall be as under:- JUDGEMENT_258_JT10_2006Html2.htm In order to be selected for promotion, obtaining minimum 45 marks shall be compulsory."

3]. Grievance of the writ petitioners was that the principle of promotion on the basis of seniority-cum-merit was given a go-by and the respondent no. 1 -bank adopted the policy of merit-cum-seniority by fixing criteria that only those employees who have secured 45 marks out of 60 in respect of criterion (a) and (c) i.e. Performance of work and interview shall be selected for promotion.

4]. According to the appellants there was no such requirement in the Circular and only requirement was obtaining minimum 45 marks in order to be selected for promotion. By prescribing minimum of 45 marks out of 60, basis shifted from seniority-cum-merit to merit-cum-seniority.

5]. Learned Single Judge did not accept this contention and dismissed the writ petition. It was held that in view what has been stated by this Court in B.V. Sivaiah and Ors. v. K. Addanki Babu and Ors., the stand adopted by the bank was in order. Reference was made to paragraphs 16,18 and 37 of B.V. Sivaiah case (supra) to hold that criterion of seniority-cum-merit was really applied. While applying the said criterion, seniority alone is not to be considered, and merit cannot be ignored. A reference was also made to the decision in Jagathigowda, C.N. v. Chairman, Cauvery Gramina Bank.

6]. The Division Bench upheld the judgment of learned single Judge by observing that the doctrine has been rightly applied in the present case. Though there was no mention in the Circular that the employee has to secure more than 45 marks out of 60, that appears to be the intention.

Stand of the appellants before the High Court was reiterated at the time of hearing of this appeal.

(3.)LEARNED counsel for the respondents on the other hand submitted that there was no departure from the criterion of seniority- cum-merit. A candidate was required to obtain 45 marks out of 60 because there was no question of obtaining marks so far as service is concerned, that was only a conclusion.
The principle of "rnerit-cum-seniority" lays greater emphasis on merit and ability and seniority plays a less significant role. Seniority is to be given weight only when merit and ability are approximately equal. In the context of Rule 5(2) of the Indian Administrative Service/Indian Police Service (Appointment by Promotion) Regulations, 1955 which prescribed that "selection for inclusion in such list shall be based on merit and suitability in all respects with due regard to seniority" Mathew J. in Union of India v. Mohan Lal Capoor and Ors., has said:-

"For inclusion in the list, merit and suitability in all respects should be the governing consideration and that seniority should play a secondary role. It is only when merit and suitability are roughly equal that seniority will be a determining factor, or if it is not fairly pospossible to make an assessment inter se of the merit and suitability of two eligible candidates and come to a firm conclusion, seniority would till the scale".
Similarly, Beg J. (as the learned Chief Justice then was) has said :
"22. Thus, we think that the correct view, in conformity with the plain meaning of words used in the relevant rules, is that the entrance" or "inclusion" test, for a place on the select list, is competitive and comparative applied to all eligible candidates and not minimal like pass marks in an examination. The Selection Committee has an unrestricted choice of the best available talent, from amongst eligible candidates, determined by reference to a reasonable criteria applied in assessing the facts revealed by service records of all eligible candidates so that merit and not mere seniority is the governing factor;"

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