Decided on March 27,2003

ALTHAF Appellant


- (1.) BOTH these Original Petitions had been filed by the very same person, who is an officer in the Agricultural Income Tax and Sales tax Department of the State. There is certain amount of overlapping, in that in o. P. No. 5009 of 1996 the relief prayed for was for assignment of seniority to him with effect from 25. 8. 1976, the date of his appointment and for grant of consequential reliefs. The original seniority assigned to him had been changed on a subsequent development taking note of the objections of his colleagues in the department. O. P. No. 11183 of 1999 had been filed for quashing the seniority list that had come in the meanwhile and here also the basic relief prayed for was for assignment of seniority from the date of his appointment by the Government. We have to examine the actual date from which the petitioner can count his service.
(2.) I will refer to the facts stated in O. P. No. 5009 of 1996 for the purpose of dealing with the contentions. Ext. P1 shows that the Government had appointed the petitioner on 25. 8. 1976 as Assistant Sales Tax Officer (ASTO) on compassionate grounds, under the Dying-in-harness Scheme. The Board of Revenue, by proceedings dated 5. 10. 1976 had given him a posting as Assistant Sales Tax Officer. Ext. P1 showed that he was to be accommodated against the quota earmarked for direct recruitment candidates. The petitioner had joined duty on 9. 10. 1976. It so happened that 20 persons had been advised for appointment by the Public Service Commission as ASTOs on 30. 8. 1976. They had joined duty on different dates. Initially, though the petitioner was considered as senior to these candidates, by subsequent proceedings such privilege has been taken away and this in fact led to the prolonged legal battle.
(3.) THE petitioner relies on Ext. P3 Government Letter no. 10598/d2/85/td dated 13. 9. 1985 which advised him that for the purpose of seniority his date of appointment is 25. 8. 1976. THE text of the letter is extracted herein below: "i am directed to invite reference to the letter cited and to inform you that Government Order appointing a person under dying harness scheme is to be reckoned as the instrument for fixing seniority and seniority will be fixed as per General R. 27 (a) instead of General r. 29 (c ). " It was given as an answer to the query of Board of revenue. On the above said basis, as could be seen from Ext. P5 seniority list, for the period from 1. 4. 1974 to 31. 3. 1987, the petitioner had been ranked as serial No. 129. THE additional third respondent Sri. M. Sherif was the first candidate advised by the Public Service Commission on 30. 8. 1976. He had been shown as rank No. 130. THEreafter, when seniority list had been published for the period from 1. 4. 1974 to 31. 3. 1993 it was seen that the petitioner had lost his position. Requests had come from the officers after Ext. P5 for re-assignment or their ranks, as according to them, the petitioner did not deserve a rank on the basis of his date of appointment order as claimed. His rank was shown as 172, but Shri. M. Sherif, referred to earlier, had been assigned rank No. 48 and other PSC recruits had been given a position above the petitioner. THE petitioner points out that even in Ext. P6 his date of appointment had been shown as 25. 8. 1976 whereas the advice date of Sri. Sherif is shown as 30. 8. 1976. His submission is that consequent to this position, though he had been promoted as Sales Tax Officer and conferred with senior grade, he had been ordered to be reverted. THE representations are seen rejected. Thus the question as to whether the petitioner is entitled to a position of seniority on the basis of Ext. P1 appointment order arises. A counter affidavit has been filed by the Government in O. P. No. 11183 of 1999 and there is a request to adopt the averments with reference to the earlier O. P. filed. Though it runs to several pages, only one point is seen to be highlighted. The petitioner had represented about his fail in seniority, and the Government had by order dated 25. 1. 1999 (Ext. P9 in O. P. No. 11183/99) rejected the claims by referring to a decision of this Court in state of Kerala v. Sreekantan (1993 (1) KLT 107-FB ).;

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