B MALLAIAH Vs. ELECTRONICS CORPORATION OF INDIA LIMITED
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
ELECTRONICS CORPORATION OF INDIA LTD.
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(1.)This Writ Petition is filed by the petitioners, who are working as Senior Purchase Officers in the 1st respondent's office at Hyderabad. The petitioners are Non-Engineering Graduates. They were originally appointed in the Purchase Department and promoted from time to time. The next promotion post to the petitioners is the Purchase Manager. The 1st respondent-Corporation has got a promotional policy. In case of Engineering Graduates the requirement to get promotion is five years' service as Senior Purchase Officer, whereas for the non-engineering graduate Senior Purchase Officers the requirement is five years' service plus Post Graduation Degree. Apart from the petitioners, who are non-engineering graduates, there are also Engineering Graduates, working in the Purchase Department. They were recruited directly to the post of the Purchase Officer (Trainees). The functions performed in the Purchaser Department by the Petitioners as well as the Engineering Graduates are one and the same. As such, there cannot be, according to the learned counsel, any differentiation between the same category of employees in the matter of promotion. Earlier also the 1st respondent-Corporation had a rule fixing seven years' experience to the Non-Engineering Graduates and five years' experience to the Engineering Graduates for promotion to the post of Senior Purchase Officer. That rule was challenged in this Court in W.P. No. 6265/82 as discriminatory. This Court by its judgment dated 9/04/1987 directed the 1st respondent-Corporation to promote the non-Engineering Graduates on par with the Engineering Graduates without insisting on the formality of putting in a minimum service of seven years' in the lower grade, and struck down that rule of the 1st respondent-Corporation. Further the petitioners were also directed to be given the benefit of promotion with retrospective effect from the date they became eligible for being promoted. The appeal filed by the Corporation was admitted but no stay was granted. Thus, the Non-Engineering Graduates were promoted without insisting on the formality of putting in seven years' service in the lower grade. Now, when the petitioners' further promotion to the post of Purchase Manager is due, the 1st respondent-Corporation has once again declined to promote them on the ground that they do not possess the qualification of Post Graduation, which according to the petitioners, is discriminatory, arbitrary and has no nexus to the nature of duties to be performed. The petitioners further submit that the said rule is in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India and is, therefore, liable to be struck down and consequently the petitioners seek a direction to the respondents to promote them as Purchaser Managers without insisting on the formality of Post Graduation Qualification.
(2.)The 1st respondent-Corporation filed a counter contending, inter alia, that it is open to the Corporation to prescribe educational qualifications for various posts, depending upon the exigencies and the requirements of the concerned posts. The requirement of the qualification, viz., Post-Graduation, for promotion to the post of Purchaser Manager from the post of Senior Purchase Officer is prescribed by the Corporation in the best interest of the Corporation to have able persons. Therefore, the same is not in violation of any rule or regulation. The petitioners cannot question the power of the Management in prescribing the Post Graduation qualification for promotion to the post of Purchase Manager. The qualification for the post of Purchase Manager is a degree in B.E., or its equivalent or any Post Graduation in any Non-Engineering Faculties. The Corporation deals in manufacture of highly technical equipment of sophisticated nature in electronic goods. So, the petitioners herein cannot compare themselves to be equivalent with the persons possessing B.E., degree or its equivalent qualification. The knowledge of Engineering Graduates about the subject and the goods manufactured by the 1st respondent-Corporation is superior than the knowledge of Non-Engineering Graduates. The judgment referred to in W.P. No. 6265/82 dated 9/04/1987 has no application to the facts of this case. This Court had only dealt with the length of the service for promotion by the Engineering Graduates and Non-Engineering Graduates in the earlier Writ Petition, whereas, the present case deals with the prescription of higher educational qualification for the next promotion. In another W.P. No. 15438/86 this Court upheld the Corporation's contention that the requirement of A.M.I.E., degree for promotion is quite proper. The Corporation, therefore, is perfectly justified in insisting on the Post Graduation qualification for Non-Engineering Graduates for purposes of promotion to the Post of Purchase Manager and that it is neither violative of Article 14 or Article 16 of the Constitution of India nor arbitrary. Promotion is not a matter of fundamental right. No doubt, consideration for promotion is a right available to the petitioners, subject again to the satisfaction of the qualifications. Accordingly, the counter seeks dismissal of the Writ Petition.
(3.)A reply affidavit is filed by the petitioners stating therein that the allegations made in counter-affidavit which are not admitted, are not correct. There cannot be any classification between Engineering and Non-Engineering Graduates for promotion to the post of Purchase Manager from the post of Senior Purchase Officer. The facts in W.P. No. 15430/86 are not applicable to the facts of the present case. In that case the requirement of B.E./A.M.I.E. was upheld by the Court since those qualifications are directly related to the promotional posts of Senior Technical Officer. In the present case the insistence on Post Graduation Qualification has got no relevance. It is further stated that the 1st respondent-Corporation has been adopting different standards for different people in the matter of promotion to suit their convenience. It is stated that the 6th Petitioner, R. Bhaskaran, has been working from the beginning in the Purchase Department along with other petitioners and he is a Diploma Holder. He has been promoted as a Purchase Manager by order dt. 14/10/1991, after filing the Writ Petition. He is neither an Engineering Graduate nor has a Post Graduate qualification. Similarly some three or four persons also have been promoted, who are neither Engineering Graduates nor Post Graduates in non-engineering faculties. Thus, the Corporation itself is not following the said rule invariably and promoting the non-engineering graduates if it so chooses without insisting on Post Graduation qualification. Therefore, the impugned rule prescribing Post Graduation qualification for consideration for promotion to the post of Purchase Manager, is arbitrary, illegal and against the principle enshrined in Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India and is liable to be struck down.
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