Decided on October 21,1974



- (1.) The writ petitioners before us are two employees of the Agricultural Income Tax and Sales Tax Department of the Kerala Government, presently holding the posts of Upper Division Clerks. The first petitioner was appointed as a Lower Division Clerk in the said Department on 23rd March 1961. The second petitioner commenced service as a Lower Division Clerk in the same Department on 27th June 1961. In order that a person should be eligible for promotion from the Lower Division to the Upper Division category in the said Department, he should have passed the Account Test (Lower), the Agricultural Income Tax and Sales tax Test and the Secretariat Manual Test - Test in the Manual of Office Procedure. The two writ petitioners acquired the said qualifications in October, 1964 and March, 1966 respectively.
(2.) Respondents Nos. 3 and 4 were appointed as Lower Division Clerks in the same Department on 15th July 1958 and 2nd September 1958 respectively. By virtue of their prior entry into the service both of them were seniors to the writ petitioners in the Lower Division category. However, it was only on 6th April 1971 that they acquired the test qualifications and till then they were not eligible for promotion to the Upper Division. When vacancies arose in Upper Division category in April, 1969, the writ petitioners were promoted as Upper Division Clerks on 20th April 1969. Respondents 3 and 4, though seniors in relation to the petitioners, were then passed over for promotion, since they did not possess the requisite test qualifications. Subsequently respondents Nos. 3 and 4 were also promoted as Upper Division Clerks on 10th June 1971 after they had acquired the test qualifications. On 12th July 1971 the Board of Revenue (Second respondent) finalised and published a seniority list of Upper Division Clerks after conducting a review of the promotions effected subsequent to 1st November 1956. Ext. P-1 is a copy of the said proceedings of the Board of Revenue, to which the seniority list is annexed as Appendix II. In that list the two writ petitioners were assigned ranks Nos. 575 and 576 respectively. The names of respondents Nos. 3 and 4 were not included at all in the said list, since their promotions were effected only on 10th June 1971.
(3.) Both the writ petitioners were declared to have satisfactorily completed their probation in the Upper Division category on 19th April 1970.;

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