BARIN GHOSH, C.J. -
(1.) THE Uttar Pradesh Water Supply and Sewerage Act, 1975 authorizes establishment of Jal Sansthans as Body Corporates having perpetual succession. The said Act authorizes Jal Sansthans, with the previous approval of the Government, to create posts and give appointments to such posts. The Act authorizes the Government to make Centralized Service of those employees, who are employees, amongst others, of Jal Sansthans. On 23rd November 1996, the Government of Uttar Pradesh made the Uttar Pradesh Palika and Jal Sansthans Water Works Engineering (Centralized) Service Rules, 1996. While making said Rules, only General Managers of Jal Sansthans, Executive Engineers of Jal Sansthans and Assistant Engineers of Jal Sansthans, belonging to Uttar Pradesh Palika and Jal Sansthans Water Works Engineering (Centralized) Service were brought within Centralized Service. As a result Superintending Engineers, even if working in Jal Sansthans, were not brought within the purview of Centralized Service.
(2.) RULE 21 of the said Rules provided that recruitment by promotion shall be made through a Selection Committee on the basis of seniority subject to rejection of unfit from amongst all eligible officers of the next lower grade of the same Centralized Service and for that purpose an eligibility list of officers shall be prepared in the manner as prescribed in sub-Rule (2) thereof. Sub-Rule (2) directed preparation of a list of twice the number of vacancies subject to a minimum of 5, when the vacancies are for 1 to 5 and, for over 5 vacancies one and half time the number of vacancies subject to a minimum of 10.
On 9th November 2000, the State of Uttar Pradesh was bifurcated to create the State of Uttarakhand by the Uttar Pradesh Re-organization Act, 2000, when the concept of Centralized Service in terms of the said Rules to a great extent came to an end as the people attached to Jal Sansthans, situate in both the said States, became permanently attached to those States.
It appears that 13 posts of Superintending Engineer in Jal Sansthans situate within the State of Uttarakhand were created. It also appears that the State of Uttarakhand adopted the said Centralized Service Rules in order to bring the employees working in the Jal Sansthans situate within the State of Uttarakhand within the purview of the said Rules. In that view of the matter, the officers of the State of Uttarakhand as well as the officers of the Jal Sansthans, situate in the State of Uttarakhand, proceeded on the basis that in the matter of supplying vacancies in those posts of Superintending Engineer recourse to promotion shall be taken and, existing Executive Engineers shall alone be entitled to be promoted to those posts on the basis of seniority subject to rejection of unfit.
(3.) INASMUCH as, the said Rules did not deal with Superintending Engineers, the said Rules did not deal with the eligibility of people to be appointed as Superintending Engineers. However, on 24th May 1979, an administrative order was issued, whereby and under, it was held out to all Local Bodies, including Jal Sansthans, that an Executive Engineer, who has served over 15 years as Assistant Engineer and Executive Engineer shall alone be entitled to be promoted to the post of Superintending Engineer. Therefore, in the matter of giving promotion to the posts of Superintending Engineer available in the Jal Sansthans situate within the State of Uttarakhand, the State and the Jal Sansthans proceeded on the basis that, while the criteria for promotion shall be seniority subject to rejection of unfit of all eligible Executive Engineers; an Executive Engineer would be eligible for being considered for promotion to the post of Superintending Engineer when he has served for 15 years as Assistant Engineer and Executive Engineer. Proceeding on that basis, on 18th September 2004, 10 Executive Engineers were promoted to available 13 posts of Superintending Engineers. The remaining 03 posts of Superintending Engineer could not be supplied, inasmuch as, those 03 posts were reserved in accordance with the reservation policy of the State Government for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities and as no member of such community was eligible on the yardstick of 15 years service as Assistant Engineer and Executive Engineer. Private respondents herein belong to Scheduled Caste community. They were the senior most amongst the Scheduled Caste Executive Engineers working in Jal Sansthans situate within the State of Uttarakhand. They felt that they could have been promoted to the reserved posts of Superintending Engineer. They, accordingly, made representation not only to the Jal Sansthans, but also to the Government. Those yielded no result. They, accordingly, made representation before the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commission, Uttarakhand. Accepting the contentions of the private respondents to be of some substance, the said Commission called upon the Government to take into account the claim of the private respondents. The Government rejected the claim of the private respondents holding out that they did not have the basic minimum required eligibility for being promoted.
On 18th September 2004, while the private respondents did not have the basic minimum eligibility of being promoted to the post of Superintending Engineer, the petitioners also did not have such basic eligibility, for none of them had served for 15 years as Assistant Engineer and Executive Engineer. In 2006 petitioners became eligible, for in that year, they completed 15 years of service as Assistant Engineers and Executive Engineers.;