Decided on December 05,2003

SREEDHARAN Respondents


- (1.) WAS the action of the appellant authorities in withdrawing the benefit of higher grade granted to the respondent legal and valid? The learned Single Judge having answered this question in the negative and allowed the claim of the respondent, the State of Kerala and its officers have filed the present appeal. Relevant facts may be briefly noticed.
(2.) THE respondent had worked in the Indian Army for a period of about six years and eleven months. After discharge from the Army he was appointed as a Sergant in the Medical Education Service of the State on July 1, 1982. He was granted the benefit of the Army Service and was deemed to have been appointed on September 16, 1975. According to the orders issued by the State Government an employee is entitled to the grant of a higher grade on completion of ten years of service. Thereafter a second higher grade is granted on completion of either ten years of service in the first promoted post or a total service of twenty years. Since the respondent was deemed to have joined service in September, 1975, he was granted the first higher grade from September, 1985. The second higher grade was granted to him with effect from September 16, 1995. Thereafter vide order dated April, 1998 he was granted his promotion in the usual course as a Security Assistant. He ultimately retired from service as a Security Officer on May 31, 2001. However, just three days before the date of his retirement, the Government issued an order by which his promotion to the second higher grade which had been granted vide order dated December 28, 1996 was cancelled. The reason assigned was that the benefit of military service could not have been given for a second time. Resultantly his retiral benefits were reduced and the pay already drawn by him was ordered to be recovered. Aggrieved by this order a copy of which was produced as Ext. P9 the respondent had represented. Having failed to achieve anything, he had approached this Court through a petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution. The matter was considered by the learned Single Judge. It was found that the second higher grade had been granted to him on actual completion of ten years of service in the first grade. The promotion being valid, the cancellation was illegal. Thus, the Writ Petition was allowed and the impugned order was quashed. The authorities were directed to give consequential benefits. Hence, the present appeal.
(3.) MR. Rahim has placed before us a complete copy of the order issued by the Government vide letter dated December 8, 1993. Learned counsel has referred to two provisions in this order. The first one relates to the grant of benefit of military service and the second to grant of higher grade. These two provisions provide as under:- " (vi) War/military Service which counts for Civil Pension will be reckoned for computing the qualifying service for the grant of the first higher grade. Civilian Service under military will not however, count for higher grade". " (b) The second higher grade on completion of either 10 years of service in the first promoted post or a total service of 20 years in the entry post and the first regular promotion post/time bound higher grade, together, whichever is earlier". It may be mentioned that the above are the extracts from the letters issued by the Government at different times. However, it is contended by the counsel that the matter has to be decided in the light of the above conditions.;

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