Kumarayya, J. -
(1.)This appeal is from the order of Chinnappa Reddy J., directing (1) The State of Andhra Pradesh, (2) The Board of Revenue and (3) The District Collector Krishna District (appellants herein), not to implement G.O. Ms, No. 1272 dated 2-11-1966 and all orders issued in pursuance thereof in so far as they relate to the petitioner Koka Subrahmanyeswara Rao (respondent herein) and to treat him as Tahsildar whose services were duly regularised with effect from 17-6-1957.
(2.)The facts leading to this proceeding may be briefly stated. Koka Subrahmanyeswara Rao was a Deputy Tahsildar working in Krishna District at the time of formation of the Andhra State. He was an approved candidate for the post of Tahsildar. He was promoted before long, though temporarily, as Tahsildar on 17-6-1957. His service in that category was not continuous as he was being reverted from time to time for want of vacancy and was eventually promoted as Tahsildar on 1-5-1961, which office he held ever since for a considerable time till he was made a Deputy Collector. His services as Tahsildar were regularised on 4-12-1957 by the District Collector with effect from 17-6-1957, which was the date of commencement of his probation. It is worthy of note that the posts of Tahsildars in the Andhra area were non-gazetted at the time of the reorganisation of the States and they continued to be so even later. The posts of Tahsildars in the Telangana area on the other hand were gazetted from the very beginning. This difference in status was sought to be removed under G.O. Ms. No. 2099, Revenue, dated 21-10-1960, whereby the posts of non-gazetted Tahsildars in the State were declared to be gazetted with effect from 1-11-1958. The persons who were working from, and appointed since, that day, in the category of Tahsildars, viz., Tahsildars, Settlement Tahsildars, Land Record Assistants, Revenue Assistants, Huzur Sheristadars, District Welfare Officers and Block Development Officers, were under the terms of the G.O, deemed to have been appointed to gazetted posts.
This notification was modified later by another G.O. Ms. No. 849, Revenue, dated 20th May, 1961, owing to the hardship and difficulties pointed out by the Accountant-General in giving retrospective effect to the-gazetted status given to the Tahsildars. The Government, in partial modification of the earlier notification, declared the posts of Tahsildars gazetted only with effect from 1-6-1961 and made it clear that all persons who were working in the category of Tahsildars shall be deemed to have been appointed to the gazetted posts only with effect from 1-6-1961. About two years later, instructions were given by way of Memo. No, 1701/Z/62-9 dated 4-5-1963 that inasmuch as the Government became the only competent authority to declare the probation of Tahsildars by virtue of the gazetted status given to the posts, the Board of Revenue should submit all such cases to the Government for orders. However, in a case where the dates of commencement and completion of probation of an individual fell on dates prior to 1-6-1961, if the probation of the Tahsildar had not been declared by the Collector prior to 1-6-1961, his probation may be declared to have been satisfactorily completed by an order after 1-6-1961 of the Collector. The Board of Revenue also in its Proceedings No. 1673/65 dated 17-5-1965 made this clear. Now that the posts of Tahsildars in Andhra area were declared gazetted from 1-6-1961, it became necessary to prepare a: common gradation list of all Tahsildars, both in the Andhra and Telangana regions: as on 1-6-1961. Accordingly, instructions were given by the Government for preparing such a list taking the Andhra region as one unit and the Telangana region as another unit for purposes of uniform test that may be made applicable for determining their probation and seniority. In 1963 the Board of Revenue prepared tentative common gradation list of Tahsildars.
As per this list, the rank of the petitioner who was working as Tahsildar in Krishna District was No. 40 and the date of commencement of his probation was 17-5-1957. While this list was pending finalisation, the-petitioner was promoted temporarily to the-post of Deputy Collector in 1965. While-so, he received in 1966 a communication from the Board of Revenue dated 14-5-1966 informing him that as a result of revising the dates of commencement of probation, by the Revenue Board in consultation with the Collectors concerned, in accordance-with G.O. Ms. No. 1432, Revenue, dated 10-9-1964, of all the Tahsildars appointed during the period between 1-11-1956 and 31-5-1961, the date of commencement of probation of the petitioner was determined as 4-10-1961 as against 17-6-1957 originally fixed by the Collector. This revision, as stated in that communication, became necessary as the services of the Block Development officers who were in the approved panel of Tahsildars were not counted consistent with the Government Orders as originally issued but only in accordance with G.O. Ms. No. 230 dated 15-2-1962, as a result of which G.O. Ms. No. 1432, Revenue dated 10-9-1964, had to be issued cancelling G,0. Ms. No. 230 dated 15-2-1962. The posts of Block Development Officers were non-gazetted and constituted a distinct class in the Andhra General Subordinate Service. They were temporary posts under the Community Development Programme and the appointment to these posts was by transfer from any class of service as a result of selection by the Development Commissioner or a committee constituted by the Government for the purpose. Certain appointees by transfer were also persons working as Deputy Tahsildars.
The Government under G.O. Ms. No. 979, Planning and Development Department, dated 19th Oct., 1959, had made certain rules in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to Art. 309 of the Constitution of India, in relation to these temporary posts giving retrospective effect to them as from the 1st July, 1952. Under Rule 10 it was provided that the service of a person in that post shall count for service in the post which he would have held but for his appointment as Block Development Officer. This was subject to the proviso that nothing contained in that rule shall be construed as exempting a member of the Revenue Subordinate Service from serving as Tahsildar in charge of a taluk or as estate manager for the minimum period of one year for purpose of probation and full membership in the category of Tahsildars and for eligibility for promotion as Deputy Collector. In fact, under G.O. Ms. No. 1093, Revenue, dated 14-6-1958, by way of amendment in Rule 8 of the Andhra Pradesh Revenue Subordinate Service Rules and addition of clause (f), it was provided that "the service rendered by an officer as Block Development Officer or Assistant Project Officer, for any period during which he would have held a post of Tahsildar but for his appointment as Block Development Officer or Assistant Project Officer, shall count for probation as Tahsildar."
(3.)In Rule 11, Explanation (4) was added to the following effect:-
"An Officer who has discharged the duties of a Block Development Officer or Assistant Project Officer, for any period during which he would have held a post of Tahsildar but for his appointment as Block Development Officer or Assistant Project Officer shall be deemed to have discharged the duties of Taluk Tahsildar."