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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Service matter - Diploma Holder - Degree Holder - Engineers - acquisition of AMIE qualification - promotion - challenged against the orders of High court - Apex court held that we find merit in these appeals and they are accordingly allowed to the extent of reversing the views of the High Court in respect of Question no.2 as noted by the Division Bench in the common judgment under appeal. We hold that the Project Engineers (Junior) recruited on the basis of diploma, upon their acquiring the qualification of ‘AMIE’, are not entitled to count their experience of service prior to acquisition of such qualification for the purpose of eligibility for promotion to the post of Project Engineer (Senior) against the 20% quota fixed for promotion of degree holder Project Engineers (Junior). In order to claim promotion against such 20% quota the three years’ experience of service must be acquired after obtaining the qualification or degree of AMIE. We direct the Board and its authorities to treat the writ petitions filed in the High Court as disposed of in the light of our aforesaid views and to determine the controversies raised in the writ petitions in that light by granting relief to the eligible persons expeditiously and preferably within 4 months, without upsetting the transactions which had taken place earlier and were not under challenge in the writ petitions. In other words, the regular promotions made in the past prior to 1992, which were not subject matter of writ petitions filed in 1992 will not be re-opened on account of views expressed in this judgment. In the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs.=CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 8479-8482 OF 2014 [Arising out of S.L.P.(C)Nos.19220-19223 of 2007] K.K. Dixit & Ors. etc. …..Appellants Versus Rajasthan Housing Board & Anr. etc. …..Respondents = 2014 - Sept. Month - http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41882

Service matter - Diploma Holder - Degree Holder - Engineers - acquisition of AMIE qualification - promotion - challenged against the orders of High court - Apex court held that we find merit in  these  appeals  and they are accordingly allowed to the extent of reversing  the  views  of  the
High Court in respect of  Question no.2 as noted by  the  Division  Bench  in the common judgment under  appeal.   We  hold  that  the  Project  Engineers (Junior) recruited on  the  basis  of  diploma,  upon  their  acquiring  the qualification of ‘AMIE’, are not  entitled  to  count  their  experience  of service prior to acquisition  of  such  qualification  for  the  purpose  of
eligibility for promotion to the post of Project Engineer  (Senior)  against the 20% quota  fixed  for  promotion  of  degree  holder  Project  Engineers (Junior).   In order to claim promotion against  such  20%  quota  the  three years’  experience  of  service  must  be  acquired  after   obtaining   the qualification or degree of AMIE. We direct the Board and its authorities to treat the  writ  petitions  filed in the High Court as disposed of in the light of our aforesaid views and  to
determine the controversies raised in the writ petitions in  that  light  by granting relief to the eligible persons expeditiously and preferably  within 4 months, without upsetting the transactions which had taken  place  earlier and were not under challenge in the writ petitions.   In  other  words,  the regular promotions made in the past prior to 1992, which  were  not  subject matter of writ petitions filed in 1992 will not be re-opened on  account  of views expressed in this judgment. In the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no  order  as  to costs.=

“Diploma
Holder” and “Degree Holder” Engineers  in  the  matter  of  eligibility  for
further promotion.
All the appellants belonged to  the  category  of  degree
holder engineers appointed as Project  Engineers  (Junior)  in  the  service
of  Rajasthan  Housing  Board (for  sake  of  brevity  referred  to  as  ‘the  Board’).  
The   contesting
respondents also held the same post but initially  only  as  diploma  holder
who later acquired qualification of AMIE which is admittedly  equivalent  to
degree in Engineering.
Since all the appeals arise out of a common judgment passed  by  a  Division
Bench of the Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur Bench and the facts as  well  as
issues of law are common, all the appeals have been heard together  and  are
being disposed of by this common judgment. =

Whether the Division Bench of the High Court has erred in holding  that  the
Diploma  Holder  Project  Engineers  (Junior)  upon   acquiring   degree   /
qualification of ‘AMIE’ would be  entitled  to  count  their  experience  of
service prior to acquisition  of  such  qualification  for  the  purpose  of
eligibility of 3 years total experience of  service  for  promotion  to  the
post of Project Engineer (Sr.) in the quota fixed for Degree Holders?

Whether the Division Bench has erred in setting aside the direction  of  the
learned Single Judge for preparing two separate seniority lists for  Diploma
Holders and Degree Holders for the purpose of promotion in their  respective
quotas?=

we find merit in  these  appeals  and
they are accordingly allowed to the extent of reversing  the  views  of  the
High Court in respect of
Question no.2 as noted by  the  Division  Bench  in
the common judgment under  appeal.  
We  hold  that  the  Project  Engineers
(Junior) recruited on  the  basis  of  diploma,  upon  their  acquiring  the
qualification of ‘AMIE’, are not  entitled  to  count  their  experience  of
service prior to acquisition  of  such  qualification  for  the  purpose  of
eligibility for promotion to the post of Project Engineer  (Senior)  against
the 20% quota  fixed  for  promotion  of  degree  holder  Project  Engineers
(Junior).  
In order to claim promotion against  such  20%  quota  the  three
years’  experience  of  service  must  be  acquired  after   obtaining   the
qualification or degree of AMIE.
We direct the Board and its authorities to treat the  writ  petitions  filed
in the High Court as disposed of in the light of our aforesaid views and  to
determine the controversies raised in the writ petitions in  that  light  by
granting relief to the eligible persons expeditiously and preferably  within
4 months, without upsetting the transactions which had taken  place  earlier
and were not under challenge in the writ petitions.   In  other  words,  the
regular promotions made in the past prior to 1992, which  were  not  subject
matter of writ petitions filed in 1992 will not be re-opened on  account  of
views expressed in this judgment.
In the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no  order  as  to
costs.

2014 - Sept. Month - http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41882
                                                          REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                     CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 8479-8482 OF 2014
              [Arising out of S.L.P.(C)Nos.19220-19223 of 2007]

K.K. Dixit & Ors. etc.                             …..Appellants

      Versus

Rajasthan Housing Board & Anr. etc.                      …..Respondents


                               J U D G M E N T


SHIVA KIRTI SINGH, J.

Leave granted.
These appeals are further additions to the  long  list  of  service  matters
decided by High Courts and this Court resolving  disputes  between  “Diploma
Holder” and “Degree Holder” Engineers  in  the  matter  of  eligibility  for
further promotion. All the appellants belonged to  the  category  of  degree
holder engineers appointed as Project  Engineers  (Junior)  in  the  service
of  Rajasthan  Housing  Board 
(for  sake  of  brevity  referred  to  as  ‘the  Board’).   The   contesting
respondents also held the same post but initially  only  as  diploma  holder
who later acquired qualification of AMIE which is admittedly  equivalent  to
degree in Engineering.
Since all the appeals arise out of a common judgment passed  by  a  Division
Bench of the Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur Bench and the facts as  well  as
issues of law are common, all the appeals have been heard together  and  are
being disposed of by this common judgment.
At the outset, two important issues raised by way of  questions  of  law  in
these appeals need to be noticed so that subsequent discussion of facts  and
law may be of help in answering both the  issues/questions  in  controversy.
The issues are :
Whether the Division Bench of the High Court has erred in holding  that  the
Diploma  Holder  Project  Engineers  (Junior)  upon   acquiring   degree   /
qualification of ‘AMIE’ would be  entitled  to  count  their  experience  of
service prior to acquisition  of  such  qualification  for  the  purpose  of
eligibility of 3 years total experience of  service  for  promotion  to  the
post of Project Engineer (Sr.) in the quota fixed for Degree Holders?
Whether the Division Bench has erred in setting aside the direction  of  the
learned Single Judge for preparing two separate seniority lists for  Diploma
Holders and Degree Holders for the purpose of promotion in their  respective
quotas?

In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 53 of the  Rajasthan  Housing
Board Act, the Board made Rajasthan Housing Board  Employees  Conditions  of
Recruitment and Promotion Regulations,  1976  (hereinafter  referred  to  as
‘the Regulations’).  Chapter II of the Regulations contains Clauses  (6)  to
(10) providing for Conditions of  Recruitment  and  Promotion.   Clause  (6)
provides the manner of filling up the posts created from time to  time.   In
the context of absorption of employees working in the Board  on  deputation,
the word ‘category’ has been used  in  the  context  of  posts  created  and
vacant.  Clause (7) provides as follows :
“(7)  The ratio of direct recruitment and  promotion  of  employees  in  the
service of the Board and qualification and experience required  for  various
posts  will  be  in  accordance  with  the  ‘Schedule’  appended  to   these
Regulations.”

Clause (9)(A) of the Regulations  pertains  to  promotion  and  provides  as
under :
“(9)(A) Promotion
In respect of first promotion to higher post, promotion of  eligible  person
shall be made on the basis of seniority-cum-merit.  Second  promotion  shall
be made on the basis of merit and seniority-cum-merit in  the  promotion  of
50:50.”

Clause (9)(B) provides that “seniority lists for each category of  employees
will be prepared and maintained.”  Clause (10) pertains to  ‘seniority’  and
reads thus:
“(10) Seniority :

Amongst the persons recruited in the same  year,  the  promotees  will  rank
senior to those who will be appointed by direct  recruitment.   Amongst  the
promotees those who are appointed on the basis of seniority cum  merit  with
rank senior to those who are appointed  on  the  basis  of  merit  with  due
regard to seniority.  The inter se  seniority  of  those  appointed  on  the
basis of merit will be in accordance with their relative  seniority  in  the
lower cadre.”

6.    Chapter III of the Regulations contains Miscellaneous  Provisions  and
includes Clause (12) which empowers the Board to issue general  instructions
not inconsistent with the Act and the Rules and Regulations made  thereunder
for the purpose of removing doubt, lacuna, inconsistency  or  anomaly  which
may arise in interpreting the Regulations or in giving effect to them or  in
putting them to application. The Regulations contain  various  schedules  as
appendices.   In  the  case  at  hand  “Schedule  Technical”  alone  is   of
significance and that shows the post of Project  Engineer  (Junior)  at  the
entry level.  97% of this post is to be filled by direct recruitment and  3%
by Board employees. The basic qualification required is a Degree or  Diploma
in Civil Engineering.  The next post in hierarchy,  promotion  to  which  is
under issue, is Project Engineer (Senior).  The source  of  recruitment  for
this post is 50% by direct recruitment, 20% by promotion  of  degree  holder
and 30% by  promotion  of  diploma  holder.   For  direct  recruitment,  the
essential qualification is a Degree in Civil Engineering in  First  Division
with at least one year’s experience in design and construction of  building.
The 50% posts to be filled up by  promotion  of  Project  Engineer  (Junior)
require further minimum experience and qualification as laid down in  Column
6 of the Schedule Technical.  Since the contesting respondents have  laid  a
great  amount  of  emphasis  on  several  words  prescribing   the   minimum
experience and qualification  required  for  promotion,  the  provisions  of
relevant Column No.6 are extracted hereinbelow :
”Post to be filled in by  promotion  from  amongst  the  P.E.Jr.’s  who  are
degree holders with 3 years total experience of service.

Post to be filled in by promotion from P.E.Jr.’s  who  are  diploma  holders
with 7 years total experience of service. (137.20)
Govt. approved Dt.25.2.2000 w.e.f. 9.12.87
Or
Qualification recognized by the State Govt. to be equivalent  to  Degree  in
Civil Engineering.”

7.    There are four higher  posts  in  the  hierarchy  above  the  post  of
Project Engineer (Senior).  All of them are required to be  filled  up  only
by promotion and require a Degree in Engineering in Civil, except  the  post
of Resident Engineer just above that  of  Project  Engineer  (Senior)  which
requires filling up “75% by degree holder  and  25%  by  diploma  holder  by
granting promotion to eligible Project Engineer (Senior)”.  Column 6 of  the
Schedule  Technical  provides  minimum  experience  and  qualification   for
promotion to the post of Resident Engineer  as  (i)  Degree  Holder  with  5
years’ experience and (ii) Diploma  Holder  with  13  years  experience.   A
diploma holder, as  noticed  earlier,  is  not  qualified  for  any  further
promotion.
8.    From the facts available on record  it  appears  that  initially  only
diploma holders were appointed under the Regulations to the post of  Project
Engineer (Junior) and on their acquiring the certificate of  AMIE  while  in
service they were to be given benefit  of  their  past  service  as  diploma
holders in the ratio of 3:7, i.e., 3 years of their service  with  AMIE  was
treated as 7  years  of  service  as  diploma  holder  for  the  purpose  of
eligibility for promotion.  This benefit of past service in  the  prescribed
ratio was on account of a Resolution of  the  Board  dated  17.4.1979  which
records that “the present practice of placing the Diploma  Holder  Engineers
who have cleared AMIE examination in  the  bottom  of  the  list  of  Degree
Holders,  is  appropriate.    But  it  has  also  been  decided  that  their
experience should be determinant  in  the  ratio  of  3:7  (3  years  degree
holders equal to 7 years diploma holders)”.  Some diploma holders  who  were
initially appointed as Project Engineers (Junior)  purely  on  ad-hoc  basis
were not only regularized by the Board vide Order dated 18.5.1987  but  they
were also given benefit of their past service like the  regularly  appointed
diploma holders and together with the latter category they also  gained  ad-
hoc promotion to the post of Project Engineer (Senior)  in  the  year  1992.
In the meantime, pursuant to an advertisement of March 1988  issued  by  the
Board, the appellants as degree  holders  applied  and  on  selection,  were
appointed to the  post  of  Project  Engineer  (Junior)  on  18.3.1989.   It
appears that  a  common  Provisional  Seniority  List  of  Project  Engineer
(Junior) including diploma, AMIE and  degree  holders  had  been  issued  on
11.8.1989 and although appellants had objected to the said  seniority  list,
promotions were granted by the Board to few diploma holders on ad-hoc  basis
in January and February 1992, as noted above.
9.    Appellants – K.K.  Dixit  and  some  others  preferred  writ  petition
challenging  the  Resolution  of  the  Board  dated  17.4.1979,  the   joint
Provisional Seniority List dated  11.8.1989  and  ad-hoc  promotion  of  the
Diploma Holders with AMIE.  The writ  petition  was  allowed  by  a  learned
Single Judge on 7.7.1993 after deciding only the issue relating to  counting
of  experience  and  holding  that  only  such  service  could   count   for
eligibility for promotion which was rendered by the ad-hoc Project  Engineer
(Junior) after regularization.  It was held that their experience as  ad-hoc
appointees shall not be taken into consideration.
10.   The writ petitioners preferred a review petition praying  for  passing
of judgment on the other two grievances raised in the  writ  petition.   The
first grievance was that  seniority  list  of  degree  holders  and  diploma
holders on  the  post  of  Project  Engineer  (Junior)  should  be  prepared
separately.  The other grievance was that in view  of  the  Resolution  No.6
dated 17.4.1979 those diploma holders who passed AMIE examination  while  in
service, should be placed below the degree holders of that year.   Both  the
aforesaid claims or  grievances  were  based  upon  the  plea  that  as  per
recruitment rules there is separate quota for the degree holders and also  a
separate quota for diploma holders.  The  learned  Single  Judge,  by  Order
dated 21.9.1993, allowed the review petition  to  the  extent  of  directing
that the Board shall prepare separate seniority  lists  for  degree  holders
and diploma holders  Project Engineer  (Junior)  and  such  of  the  Project
Engineers (Junior) who have passed AMIE examination while in service,  shall
be placed lowest in that  year  in  the  seniority  list  of  degree  holder
Project Engineers (Junior).
11.   Aggrieved by the judgment  dated  07.07.1993  passed  by  the  learned
Single Judge in the writ petition and also  against  order  dated  21.9.1993
passed by the learned Single Judge in Review Petition, some of the  affected
diploma holders preferred D.B. Spl. Appeal (C) No.67 of 1993 and 64 of  1993
respectively.  Five other matters including D.B. Civil Writ Petition  Nos.20
of 1993 and 7063 of 1993 were also tagged with the  Special  Appeals.   They
were heard together and partly allowed by a common judgment dated  25.5.2007
which is under challenge  in  these  appeals  preferred  by  those  who  had
entered Board’s service as degree holders on the post of  Project  Engineers
(Junior).  Since these appeals arise from only four  out  of  seven  matters
decided by the Division Bench of the High Court,  it  is  not  necessary  to
indicate details of the remaining three matters which were also disposed  of
by the common order under appeal.
12.   By the judgment  under  appeal,  the  High  Court  has  decided  three
questions under  controversy  between  the  parties.   The  High  Court  has
summarized the three questions thus :
“1. Whether the Project Engineer (Junior) who were  initially  appointed  on
ad-hoc/officiating/urgent temporary basis,  upon  being  screened  and  made
members of service with reference to clause 3 of the  Note  below  ‘Schedule
Technical’  of  the  Rajasthan  Housing   Board   Employees   Condition   of
Recruitment and Promotion  Regulations,  1976  are  entitled  to  count  the
period of service rendered in that capacity for  the  purpose  of  seniority
and experience for eligibility of promotion to the post of Project  Engineer
(Senior) as provided for in  column  No.6  of  Sr.  No.2  in  the  ‘Schedule
Technical’ of Regulations of 1976?

2. Whether  the  Project  Engineers  (Junior)  recruited  on  the  basis  of
diploma, upon their acquiring the qualification of ‘AMIE’, are  entitled  to
count  their  experience  of  service   prior   to   acquisition   of   such
qualification  for  the  purpose  of  eligibility  of  ‘three  years   total
experience of service’  for  promotion  to  the  post  of  Project  Engineer
(Senior) as provided for in column No.6 of Sr. No.2 of ‘Schedule  Technical’
of Regulations of 1976?

3. Whether according to the Regulations of 1976 the diploma holders  Project
Engineers (Junior) on acquiring the qualification of ‘AMIE’  are  liable  to
be placed in the seniority list of Project Engineers (Junior)  below  degree
holders available as on the date of their acquiring such  qualification  and
further whether according to the Regulations of 1976, a  separate  seniority
list  of   Project   Engineers   (Junior)   based   on   their   educational
qualification, viz.-degree and diploma, is required to be maintained?”

On behalf of the appellants, learned counsel Ms. Shobha led  the  arguments.
It was categorical stand of the appellants  that  since  Question  no.1  was
decided  against  the  ad-hoc/officiating  category  of   Project   Engineer
(Junior) and no one from that  category  has  preferred  any  appeal,  hence
answer to that question has attained  finality.   Learned  counsel  for  the
appellants has seriously assailed the findings given against the  appellants
in respect of Question nos.2 and 3.
According to the High Court the Resolution of  the  Board  dated  17.04.1979
affirming the alleged practice of placing the diploma holder  engineers  who
have cleared AMIE examination in the bottom of the list  of  degree  holders
and giving them benefit of their experience in service  as  diploma  holders
only in the ratio of 3:7 is neither justified by past practice  nor  by  the
Regulations.  It was also held  that  the  learned  Single  Judge  erred  in
directing the Board to prepare  two  separate  seniority  lists.   Thus  the
Division Bench answered Questions nos.2 and  3  against  the  appellants  by
reversing the effect of order passed by the learned Single Judge  in  review
and also by granting the benefit of  entire  past  service  once  a  diploma
holder cleared AMIE examination.
Before deciding the two main issues raised on behalf of  the  appellants  as
noticed earlier, it may be useful to note  certain  subsequent  developments
which are not in dispute.  Pursuant to the impugned order of the High  Court
the Board issued a provisional  common  seniority  list  on  30.06.2007  and
withdrew the Resolution dated 17.04.1979  on  06.07.2007.   A  final  common
seniority list was issued on 27.08.2007 and according to appellants  it  was
prepared without deciding their  objections.   Provisional  promotions  have
been granted to several persons to the post  of  Project  Engineer  (Senior)
who cleared AMIE examination  while  in  service  and  were  allegedly  much
junior to the appellants with respect to the date of  acquiring  eligibility
for such promotions.   The  Special  Leave  Petitions  giving  rise  to  the
present  appeals  were  preferred  in  this  Court  on  25.09.2007  or  soon
thereafter.  While issuing notice in one such  matter,  on  26.10.2007  this
Court directed that no coercive steps shall be taken in  the  meantime.   On
19.07.2010, 200 posts of Project Engineer  (Junior)  were  upgraded  to  the
post of Project Engineer (Senior) and 31 such posts were  abolished.   As  a
consequence of upgradation, on 12.08.2010, 168 persons holding the  post  of
Project Engineer (Junior) came to  acquire  the  upgraded  post  of  Project
Engineer (Senior).
On account of the present dispute raised by appellants K.K. Dixit  and  some
others through writ petitions filed in the year 1992,  inter  alia,  against
ad-hoc promotions,  the  Board  has  granted  only  ad-hoc  promotions  even
subsequently and hence resolution of the dispute appears to be necessary  to
enable regularization of those promotions in accordance  with  law  and  the
Regulations and also for making regular promotions to the next  higher  post
of Resident  Engineer.   The  issues  under  consideration  relate  only  to
eligibility  for  promotion  against  respective  quotas  and  not  to   the
Regulations providing for seniority and promotion.
The issues relating to Question no.3 decided by the High Court are not  very
contentious and hence those are taken up first.  The  learned  Single  Judge
directed for preparation of two seniority lists, one for the degree  holders
and another for diploma holders only with a  view  to  give  effect  to  the
Resolution of the Board dated 17.04.1979 without undertaking  the  necessary
exercise for finding out whether the Resolution  was  in  consonance  or  in
conflict  with  the  Regulations.   Such  exercise  was  undertaken  by  the
Division Bench of the High Court which did not  approve  of  the  Resolution
and held that it was contrary to the Regulations.  It also  rightly  noticed
that the earlier seniority list was only a common seniority list  and  there
was no past practice of having any seniority lists.
Learned counsel for the  appellants  did  not  dispute  the  relevant  facts
noticed by the High Court on  this  issue.   The  High  Court  noticed  that
Schedule Technical and the  Regulations  provide  for  only  one  source  of
recruitment for the post of Project Engineer  (Junior)  that  is  by  direct
recruitment and the same selection  process  was  applicable  to  both,  the
degree holders and the diploma holders and, therefore, only  on  account  of
difference in their academic qualification they could not be treated  to  be
belonging to two different cadres in  absence  of  any  provision  for  this
purpose in the Regulations.  They were to be treated  as  two  channels  for
next promotion because of separate quota  for  each  channel  and  different
eligibility criteria.
On behalf of appellants, a submission was advanced that in Clause (9)(B)  of
the Regulations there is a mandate that seniority lists for  each  “category
of employees” will be prepared and maintained and  hence  the  Board  should
treat degree holders and diploma holders as separate category  of  employees
for preparation of separate seniority lists for each  of  these  categories.
We do not find any  merit  in  this  submission.   The  words  “category  of
employees” used in Clause (9)(B) in the context of the Regulations can  only
mean category of posts held by the employees.  The word “category” has  been
used in the context  of  posts  only  in  Clause  (6)  of  the  Regulations,
although in the matter of absorption of employees working in  the  Board  on
deputation.  Clause (9)(A) which provides for promotion when  read  together
with the Schedule Technical leaves no manner of doubt  that  in  respect  of
first promotion to  higher  post,  i.e.,  promotion  from  post  of  Project
Engineer (Junior)  to  Project  Engineer  (Senior),  promotion  of  eligible
person is required to be made on  the  basis  of  seniority-cum-merit.   The
High Court has rightly held that the  cadre  of  Project  Engineer  (Junior)
cannot be bifurcated for the purpose of seniority alone, only on the  ground
that for promotion to the  cadre  of  Project  Engineer  (Senior)  there  is
provision for 20% quota  for  degree  holders  and  30%  quota  for  diploma
holders.  The practical view of the High Court cannot be  faulted  that  the
Board  can  legitimately  prepare  separate  eligibility  lists  of  Project
Engineer  (Junior)  holding  degree  and  those   holding   diploma.    Such
eligibility list could not be mistaken for seniority list which must  remain
common based upon merit assessed at the time of selection  for  recruitment.
Only if the selection process had been different, there could have been  any
scope to argue for separate  seniority  lists.   In  absence  of  any  legal
stipulation for altering the initial seniority, pre-determined on the  basis
of merit at the time of initial selection and date of  regular  appointment,
the seniority list cannot  be  altered  only  because  some  diploma  holder
Project Engineers (Junior) acquired the qualification of AMIE equivalent  to
a degree.  The three years’ or  seven  years’  experience  of  service  will
entitle the degree holders and the diploma  holders  respectively  only  for
inclusion of their names in the eligibility lists for  promotion  so  as  to
work out satisfactorily the provision for different  quota  for  the  degree
holders and  the  diploma  holders.   Hence,  we  find  no  good  ground  to
interfere with the decision of the High Court in respect of Question no.3.
Further dispute between the parties is in respect of issues arising  out  of
Question no.2.  The  primal  question  which  requires  to  be  answered  is
whether the diploma holders who acquired the qualification  of  AMIE  during
service should be given the benefit of experience  of  service  rendered  by
them as diploma holders for  promotion  to  the  post  of  Project  Engineer
(Senior) against the 20% quota for  the  degree  holders  or  they  need  to
acquire further three years’  experience  of  service  after  acquiring  the
qualification of AMIE for availing such benefit.
In the context of issue noticed above, the stand of the appellants  is  that
there is qualitative difference in the service rendered by a  degree  holder
and that rendered by  a  diploma  holder  and,  therefore,  the  Regulations
provide that the degree holder Project Engineers (Junior) with three  years’
service and diploma holder Project  Engineers  (Junior)  with  seven  years’
service shall be eligible for  promotion  to  the  higher  post  of  Project
Engineer (Senior).  Their further case is that by providing 20% and  30%  of
the posts as quota for the degree holders and diploma holders  respectively,
the Regulations have created a water-tight compartment for the  two  classes
because they are entitled for promotion  in  their  respective  quota  only.
The fact that separate quota for promotion has been fixed for two  different
channels of degree holders and diploma holders, according to appellants,  is
a clear indication that the service of three years must  be  rendered  as  a
degree holder in order to acquire the eligibility for promotion  as  is  the
case with a diploma holder who  acquires  eligibility  only  upon  rendering
seven years’ service as a  diploma  holder.  The  eligibility  criterion  of
service experience cannot be read differently when the claim  for  promotion
is made against a fixed quota.  The aforesaid stand  of  the  appellants  is
based squarely upon judgment of this Court rendered by a three Judges  Bench
in the case of Shailendra Dania & Ors. v. S.P. Dubey &  Ors.  (2007)  5  SCC
535.  For providing further support  to  the  conclusions  in  the  case  of
Shailendra Dania (supra), reliance has been placed also  upon  judgments  in
the case of N. Suresh Nathan & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.  1992  Supp.(1)
SCC 584; Indian Airlines Ltd. & Ors. v. S. Gopalakrishnan (2001) 2 SCC  362;
Challa Jaya Bhaskar & Ors. v. Thungathurthi Surender & Ors.  (2010)  13  SCC
348; Chandravathi P.K. & Ors. v. C.K. Saji &  Ors.  (2004)  3  SCC  734  and
Vijay Singh Deora & Ors. v. State of Rajasthan & Anr. (1997) 3 SCC 118.
On the other hand, counsels appearing for the respondents  and  representing
the  interest  of  the  diploma  holders  who  subsequently   acquired   the
qualification of AMIE while in service, have  made  a  spirited  attempt  to
distinguish the facts of Shailendra  Dania’s  case  (supra).   According  to
learned counsel appearing for the diploma holders there was a difference  in
the qualification required of degree holders  and  diploma  holders  at  the
time of very entry into  the  service  in  Shailendra  Dania’s  case;  while
degree  holders  were  eligible  to  apply  only  with   their   educational
qualification for the entry post, the diploma holders were required to  have
additional two years’ experience and  hence  the  two  were  treated  to  be
qualitatively different in the  matter  of  service  experience.   In  other
words, the submission is that the qualitative  difference  in  the  services
rendered by degree holders and diploma holders in  Shailendra  Dania’s  case
was primarily on account of their having  different  birthmarks  which  does
not exist in the present case.  It is also the case of diploma holders  that
the words used in the Regulations laying down eligibility for promotion  are
different in the present case because of use of the word ‘total’ before  the
clause ‘experience of service’ and hence on a literal interpretation, as  is
warranted in the present case, the appellants cannot  derive  any  advantage
from the judgment in the case of Shailendra Dania  (supra).   Much  emphasis
has also been laid on the word, ‘with’ used in  the  Schedule  Technical  to
contend that it be read as ‘and’ which will then not permit  the  cumulative
eligibility criteria to be read as three years’ total experience of  service
with degree but  only  as  degree  and  three  years’  total  experience  of
service.  It is further case of the diploma holders  that  the  use  of  the
word ‘total’ clearly indicates the intent of counting  not  only  experience
of service with degree but also experience of service  already  gained  with
diploma.  Mr. Manu Mridul, learned Advocate for some of the respondents,  in
support of the aforesaid contentions placed reliance upon judgments of  this
Court in the case of Anil Kumar Gupta & Ors.  v.  Municipal  Corporation  of
Delhi & Ors. (2000) 1 SCC 128; M.B.  Joshi  &  Ors.  etc.  v.  Satish  Kumar
Pandey & Ors. etc. 1993 Supp.(2) SCC 419 and A.K. Raghumani Singh & Ors.  v.
Gopal Chandra Nath & Ors. (2000) 4 SCC 30.  Appearing on behalf  of  another
set of respondents in one of  the  appeals,  Mr.  Abhishek  Gupta,  Advocate
placed reliance upon case of Roop Chand Adlakha & Ors. v. Delhi  Development
Authority & Ors. 1989 Supp.(1) SCC 116.
Mr. Vijay Hansaria, learned Senior  Advocate  appeared  for  the  Board  and
supported the case of diploma holders  by  taking  a  stand  that  different
service experience of three  years  and  seven  years  for  the  purpose  of
eligibility have been prescribed for  degree  holders  and  diploma  holders
respectively not upon any qualitative difference  in  their  experience  but
upon difference in the educational qualification alone.  Thus, the stand  of
the Board before this Court which is diametrically  opposite  to  its  stand
before the High Court is that a diploma holder who  has  service  experience
of three years and acquires the qualification of  AMIE  is  qualified  under
the Regulations  to  claim  eligibility  for  promotion  in  the  20%  quota
reserved for degree holders with three years’ experience.  Learned  advocate
appearing for some of the proforma respondents made it clear that  the  case
of such proforma respondents who were degree holders is same as that of  the
appellants.
Before adverting to the rival submissions on the main issue noted above,  in
view of submissions advanced on behalf of some of the respondents as if  the
issue arising in these appeals relates to seniority position of  individuals
in the seniority list, it is necessary to clarify that the  High  Court  was
neither called upon to decide nor it actually  decided  any  issue  directly
relating to inter se seniority of  Project  Engineers  (Junior)  or  Project
Engineers (Senior) and this Court is  also  not  required  to  go  into  the
correctness of any seniority  list  published  by  the  Board.   As  noticed
earlier, the main issue falling for  determination  in  these  appeals  only
relates to what value, if any, is to be given to the service  experience  of
a diploma  holder  -  turned  degree  holder  -  Project  Engineer  (Junior)
rendered by him as a diploma holder for the purpose of claiming  eligibility
for promotion as a degree  holder  Project  Engineer  (Junior)  against  20%
quota allotted for the degree holders.
Initially there was  a  serious  dispute  raised  on  behalf  of  appellants
whether the word ‘total’ before the clause ‘experience of  service’  in  the
context of minimum experience and qualification required  for  promotion  of
Project  Engineer  (Junior)  mentioned  in  the  Schedule  Technical  is  an
illegitimate insertion in this Schedule or whether it was actually  existing
in the draft of the Schedule which was approved by the Board and  the  State
Government.  Learned senior counsel appearing for the  Board  placed  before
us the original records and made it clear  that  the  word  ‘total’  in  the
relevant clauses existed in the original draft of Schedule  Technical  which
was duly approved.  Matter has come to rest at that.
Coming to the  rival  contentions,  it  will  be  useful  to  refer  to  the
concerned paragraphs from  the  judgment  in  the  Shailendra  Dania’s  case
(supra) along with the relevant facts in order to appreciate the  contention
of the appellants that even in absence of the birthmark on  account  of  two
years’ experience for diploma holders to enter into the service,  which  was
peculiar to the facts of that case, the relevant  facts  and  rule  position
are materially similar and hence the law laid down in that case is  apt  for
deciding the present appeals on the same lines.  In Shailendra Dania’s  case
the rules provided for filling up 50% of total  vacancies  in  the  post  of
Assistant Engineer by direct  recruitment  and  the  remaining  were  to  be
filled up by promotion by providing specific quota  for  a  graduate  Junior
Engineer and a diploma holder Junior  Engineer.   The  eligibility  criteria
for  promotion  of  diploma  holders  Junior  Engineers  was  eight   years’
qualifying service and for graduate Engineering degree holders three  years’
qualifying service.  Further promotion from the post of  Assistant  Engineer
was to  the  post  of  Executive  Engineer.   For  this  post,  the  minimum
qualifying experience for graduate engineers was eight  years  as  Assistant
Engineer and for diploma holders it was ten years in the grade of  Assistant
Engineer.  However, for the initial post in the hierarchy, that is, post  of
Junior Engineer, the selection was only through direct recruitment  and  the
qualification prescribed was “diploma holders in civil engineering with  two
years’ experience”.  But there was no  bar  for  persons  having  degree  in
engineering in applying for the post of Junior Engineer and  they  were  not
required to have any prior experience.
In Shailendra Dania’s case this Court placed strong reliance  upon  judgment
in the case of N. Suresh Nathan (supra) and explained that the three  Judges
Bench decided that case essentially on the interpretation of  the  rule  and
merely found support to that interpretation from the past practice  followed
in the Department.  In N. Suresh Nathan (supra), the question  involved  was
similar as in the case of Shailendra Dania (supra)  and  the  present  case.
The relevant rule provided for recruitment by promotion from  the  grade  of
Junior Engineers which consisted of two  categories,  viz.,  one  of  degree
holder Junior Engineers with three years’  service  in  the  grade  and  the
other of diploma holder Junior Engineers with  six  years’  service  in  the
grade.  There, the quota was 50% from each category.  The Court  interpreted
the rule in the light of entire scheme to conclude that the period of  three
years can commence only from the  date  of  obtaining  the  degree  and  not
earlier.  The service in the grade as a diploma holder  prior  to  obtaining
degree cannot be counted as service in the  grade  with  a  degree  for  the
purpose of three years’ service as a degree holder.  Besides explaining  and
following the judgment in N. Suresh Nathan’s case  (supra), the judgment  in
Shailendra Dania’s case  (supra)  also  considered  and  distinguished  some
later judgments on the basis of difference in facts and  rules  such  as  in
the case of M.B. Joshi (supra); D. Stephen Joseph v. Union of India  &  Ors.
(1997) 4 SCC 753; Anil Kumar Gupta  (supra) and A.K. Raghumani  (supra).
In the case of Shailendra Dania  (supra),  this  Court  also  took  note  of
judgment  in  the  case  of  Indian  Airlines  Ltd.  (supra)  on  which  the
appellants have also placed reliance.  Para 5 of the judgment  in  the  case
of Indian Airlines Ltd. (supra) begins by holding that “when in addition  to
qualification, experience  is  prescribed,  it  would  only  mean  acquiring
experience after  obtaining  the  necessary  qualification  and  not  before
obtaining such qualification”.  No doubt, in that case  there  was  specific
general information/instruction that experience will be computed  after  the
date of acquiring the necessary qualifications.   Instead  of  dilating  the
point further it will be useful to  extract  paragraphs  43  to  45  of  the
judgment in the case of Shailendra Dania (supra) which are as follows :
“43. Taking into consideration the entire scheme of the relevant  Rules,  it
is obvious that the diploma-holders would not be eligible for  promotion  to
the post of Assistant Engineer in their quota unless they have eight  years’
service, whereas the graduate Engineers would  be  required  to  have  three
years’ service experience apart from their degree. If the effect and  intent
of the Rules were such to treat the diploma as equivalent to  a  degree  for
the purpose of promotion to the higher post, then induction to the cadre  of
Junior Engineers from  two  different  channels  would  be  required  to  be
considered similar, without subjecting the diploma-holders  to  any  further
requirement of having a further qualification of two  years’  service.    At
the time of induction into service to the post of Junior  Engineers,  degree
in Engineering is a sufficient qualification without there being  any  prior
experience, whereas diploma-holders should have two years’ experience  apart
from their diploma for their induction in the service.  As per  the  service
rules, on the post of Assistant Engineer, 50% of total  vacancies  would  be
filled up by direct recruitment, whereas for the  promotion  specific  quota
is prescribed for a graduate Junior Engineer  and  a  diploma-holder  Junior
Engineer.  When the quota is prescribed under the Rules,  the  promotion  of
graduate Junior Engineers to the higher post  is  restricted  to  25%  quota
fixed.  So far as the diploma-holders are concerned, their promotion to  the
higher post is confined to 25%.  As an eligibility criterion,  a  degree  is
further qualified by three years’ service for the Junior Engineers,  whereas
eight years’ service is  required  for  the  diploma-holders.   Degree  with
three years’ service  experience  and  diploma  with  eight  years’  service
experience itself indicates qualitative difference in the  service  rendered
as degree-holder Junior Engineer and diploma-holder Junior Engineer.   Three
years’ service experience as a graduate Junior  Engineer  and  eight  years’
service experience  as  a  diploma-holder  Junior  Engineer,  which  is  the
eligibility criterion for promotion, is an indication of  different  quality
of service rendered.  In the given case, can it  be  said  that  a  diploma-
holder who acquired a degree during the tenure of his  service,  has  gained
experience as  an  Engineer  just  because  he  has  acquired  a  degree  in
Engineering.  That would amount to say that the experience gained by him  in
his service as a diploma-holder is qualitatively the same  as  that  of  the
experience of a graduate Engineer.  The Rule  specifically  made  difference
of service rendered as a  graduate  Junior  Engineer  and  a  diploma-holder
Junior Engineer.  Degree-holder Engineer’s experience cannot be  substituted
with diploma-holder’s experience.  The distinction  between  the  experience
of degree-holders and diploma holders  is  maintained  under  the  Rules  in
further promotion to the post of Executive Engineer also, wherein  there  is
no separate quota assigned to degree-holders or to diploma-holders  and  the
promotion is to be made from the cadre of Assistant  Engineers.   The  Rules
provide for different service experience  for  degree-holders  and  diploma-
holders.  Degree-holder Assistant Engineers having eight  years  of  service
experience would  be  eligible  for  promotion  to  the  post  of  Executive
Engineer, whereas diploma-holder Assistant Engineers would  be  required  to
have ten years’ service experience on the  post  of  Assistant  Engineer  to
become eligible for promotion to the higher post.  This indicates  that  the
Rule itself makes differentia in the qualifying service of eight  years  for
degree-holders and ten years’ service experience for  diploma-holders.   The
Rule itself makes qualitative difference in  the  service  rendered  on  the
same post.  It is a  clear  indication  of  qualitative  difference  of  the
service on the same  post  by  a  graduate  Engineer  and  a  diploma-holder
Engineer.  It appears to us that different period  of  service  attached  to
qualification  as  an  essential  criterion  for  promotion  is   based   on
administrative  interest  in  the  service.   Different  period  of  service
experience for degree-holder  Junior  Engineers  and  diploma-holder  Junior
Engineers for promotion to the higher post is conducive to the  post  manned
by the Engineers.  There can be no manner of  doubt  that  higher  technical
knowledge would give better thrust to administrative efficiency and  quality
output.  To carry out technical specialized  job  more  efficiently,  higher
technical  knowledge  would  be   the   requirement.    Higher   educational
qualifications develop broader perspective and  therefore  service  rendered
on  the  same  post  by  more  qualifying  person  would  be   qualitatively
different.

44. After having an overall consideration of the relevant Rules, we  are  of
the view that the service experience required for promotion  from  the  post
of Junior Engineer to the post of Assistant Engineer by a  degree-holder  in
the limited quota of degree-holder Junior Engineers cannot be  equated  with
the service rendered as a diploma-holder nor can be substituted for  service
rendered as a degree-holder.  When the claim is made  from  a  fixed  quota,
the condition necessary for  becoming  eligible  for  promotion  has  to  be
complied with.  The 25% specific quota is  fixed  for  degree-holder  Junior
Engineers with the experience of three years.  Thus,  on  a  plain  reading,
the experience so required would be  as  a  degree-holder  Junior  Engineer.
25% quota for promotion under the rule is assigned to  degree-holder  Junior
Engineers with three years’ experience, whereas  for  diploma-holder  Junior
Engineers eight years’ experience is the requirement  in  their  25%  quota.
Educational  qualification  along  with  number  of  years  of  service  was
recognized as conferring eligibility for promotion in the  respective  quota
fixed for graduates and diploma-holders.  There  is  watertight  compartment
for graduate Junior Engineers and  diploma-holder  Junior  Engineers.   They
are entitled for promotion in their respective quotas.  Neither  a  diploma-
holder Junior Engineer could claim promotion in the quota of  degree-holders
because he has completed three years of  service  nor  can  a  degree-holder
Junior Engineer make any claim for promotion quota fixed for  diploma-holder
Junior Engineers.  Fixation of different quota for promotion from  different
channels  of  degree-holders  and  diploma-holders  itself  indicates   that
service required for promotion is an essential eligibility  criterion  along
with degree or diploma, which is service rendered as a degree-holder in  the
present  case.   The  particular  years  of  service  being  the  cumulative
requirement   with   certain   educational   qualification   providing   for
promotional avenue within the specified quota, cannot be  anything  but  the
service rendered as a  degree-holder  and  not  as  a  diploma-holder.   The
service experience as an eligibility criterion cannot  be  read  to  be  any
other thing because this quota is specifically made  for  the  degree-holder
Junior Engineers.

45. As a necessary corollary, we are of the  view  that  the  diploma-holder
Junior Engineers who have  obtained  a  degree  in  Engineering  during  the
tenure of service, would be required to complete  three  years’  service  on
the post after having obtained a degree to become eligible for promotion  to
the higher post if they claim the promotion in the channel of  degree-holder
Junior Engineer, there being a quota fixed  for  graduate  Junior  Engineers
and diploma-holder Junior Engineers for promotion to the post  of  Assistant
Engineers.”

On behalf of respondents the difference in  qualification  at  the  time  of
induction into the service to the post of Junior Engineers as  indicated  in
paragraph 43 was highlighted to distinguish the present case on  the  ground
that for induction  into  the  service  on  the  post  of  Project  Engineer
(Junior) there is no requirement that the diploma holders  should  have  two
years’ experience apart from their diploma.  Literally, that distinction  is
valid but in  our  considered  view  the  other  considerations  which  were
discussed in paragraph 43 are of  much  greater  significance,  particularly
there  being  specific  quota  prescribed  for  graduate  Project  Engineers
(Junior) and diploma holder Project  Engineers  (Junior).   In  the  present
case also, as an eligibility criterion, a degree  is  further  qualified  by
three years’ service whereas a diploma is further qualified by seven  years’
service.  These distinctions are of much more vital  significance  than  the
birthmark at the time of induction into service.  Absence of such  birthmark
in the present case is not material.  Such birthmark was only an  additional
ground available in the case of Shailendra Dania (supra) but  that,  in  our
considered view, would not make any material difference  in  coming  to  the
same conclusion  that  degree  with  three  years’  service  experience  and
diploma  with  seven  years’  service   experience   by   itself   indicates
qualitative difference in the service rendered as a degree holder  and  that
rendered as a diploma holder.
As held in paragraph 36 of Shailendra Dania’s case (supra) we  are  required
to decide the matter on the basis of the entire scheme  of  the  rules,  the
facts and circumstances at  the  relevant  time  and  the  rules  called  in
question, for independently giving  meaning  to  the  words,  the  principle
involved and the past practice, if any.  In that view  of  the  matter,  the
word ‘with’ occurring before the words, “three  years’  service”  or  “seven
years’ service” has to be given a  natural  meaning  as  understood  in  the
common parlance and in the light of two  water  tight  compartments  created
for the two classes for promotion with respective quotas of 20% and 30%,  it
must be held that three years’ total experience of service must  be  service
as a degree holder.   This  view  is  fortified  by  the  provision  in  the
Regulations that for similar promotion a diploma holder has  to  have  seven
years’ total experience  of  service.   The  relevant  regulation  does  not
contemplate any reduced total experience for promotion for a diploma  holder
who may acquire degree or AMIE qualification  while  in  service.   Even  on
acquiring such higher qualification the concerned diploma holder is  neither
given any advantage vis-à-vis other diploma holders nor is  he  ousted  from
the right of consideration against 30% quota provided for  diploma  holders.
In such a situation in order to enter into the  water-tight  compartment  of
20% quota for the degree holders with three years’ experience of service,  a
diploma holder with AMIE  qualification  must  show  that  he  fulfills  the
entire eligibility criterion, i.e., he is a degree holder with three  years’
experience of service as a degree holder.  Such water-tight compartment  and
separate quotas cannot be rendered meaningless so as to affect the  prospect
of promotion of the  degree  holders  by  inducting  into  that  category  a
diploma holder who does not have three years’ experience  of  service  as  a
degree holder.  In the absence of any such provision in the Regulations,  no
equivalence can be permitted in such a  situation  because  even  a  diploma
holder with seven years’ experience of service is confined to a prospect  or
chance of promotion only against 30% quota for the diploma holders.
So far as the  word  ‘total’  occurring  before  the  words  ‘experience  of
service’ is concerned, from the circumstances and past history  relating  to
the service, it must be understood in the context  of  service  rendered  in
regular capacity along with service rendered on  ad-hoc  or  officiating  or
temporary basis.  The word ‘total’  cannot  be  construed  to  mean  service
rendered either as diploma holder or degree holder.  If this  had  been  the
intention, the word ‘total’ would have been included only in the context  of
three years’ total experience of service of degree holders and  not  in  the
context of seven  years’  experience  of  service  as  diploma  holders.   A
diploma holder in any case is required to have seven  years’  experience  of
service for being eligible for promotion and hence the  word  ‘total’  would
be otiose or redundant in the aforesaid context.  No doubt, the  High  Court
has now clarified and held that service rendered on  ad-hoc  or  officiating
basis prior to regularization cannot be counted  for  acquiring  eligibility
for promotion and that aspect is no longer  under  controversy.   Hence  the
use of the word ‘with’ or ‘total’ in the relevant regulation does  not  make
any difference and the judgment in the  case  of  Shailendra  Dania  (supra)
applies to the present  case,  as  contended  by  learned  counsel  for  the
appellants.
The other judgments of this  Court  in  the  case  of  Challa  Jaya  Bhaskar
(supra); Chandravathi P.K.  (supra)  and  Vijay  Singh  Deora  (supra)  also
support the view which we have taken on  the  basis  of  Shailendra  Dania’s
case (supra).  Para 29 of the judgment in the case of  Challa  Jaya  Bhaskar
(supra) clearly shows that in the said case this Court  followed  the  views
expressed in N. Suresh Nathan’s case (supra)  and  Shailendra  Dania’s  case
(supra).  In the case of Chandravathi P.K. (supra)  rules  for  shifting  by
exercise of option from the category of diploma holders to  that  of  degree
holders on acquiring AMIE qualification was in place.  In that  context,  in
paragraph 30 this Court  held  that  diploma  holder  officer  on  acquiring
higher qualification during service could opt for promotion from the  degree
holders’ quota  or  from  diploma  holders’  quota  but  once  he  opts  for
promotion in the degree holders’ quota, rule of seniority would apply as  he
acquired the qualification therefor subsequently.  He  would  be  placed  at
the bottom of the seniority list and  his  case  could  be  considered  only
after the cases of promotion of those  who  had  been  holding  such  degree
qualification had been  considered.   In  the  case  of  Vijay  Singh  Deora
(supra) the rule position was  different  but  in  paragraph  9  this  Court
permitted only a limited recognition of service rendered as  diploma  holder
Junior Engineers for purposes of eligibility  and  justified  the  permitted
procedure on the ground that it would do justice to  all  the  three  groups
(as existed in that case) and no one would jump over  the  other  and  would
not illegitimately steal a march over the legitimate  right  of  the  other,
“otherwise, in effect the qualified graduates would be pushed downwards  and
unqualified late entrants on acquisition  of  qualification  would  steal  a
march over the qualified.”
The judgments relied upon by learned advocate for the respondents have  been
noticed above.  All those cases were noticed and distinguished or  explained
in the case of Shailendra Dania (supra) and  we  find  that  none  of  those
cases are of any help to the respondents.  In those cases, either there  was
no water-tight compartment and fixed quota for different categories  or  the
advertisement and rules related only to initial recruitment or  the  contest
was only between two groups of diploma holders.  The judgment  in  the  case
of Roop Chand Adlakha (supra) in fact  helps  the  case  of  the  appellants
because in that case this  Court  held  that  different  service  experience
could be prescribed for conferring eligibility for promotion to  the  degree
holders and  diploma  holders  and  such  classification  on  the  basis  of
educational qualification is permissible under Articles 14  and  16  of  the
Constitution of India.
In the light of aforesaid discussions, we find merit in  these  appeals  and
they are accordingly allowed to the extent of reversing  the  views  of  the
High Court in respect of Question no.2 as noted by  the  Division  Bench  in
the common judgment under  appeal.   We  hold  that  the  Project  Engineers
(Junior) recruited on  the  basis  of  diploma,  upon  their  acquiring  the
qualification of ‘AMIE’, are not  entitled  to  count  their  experience  of
service prior to acquisition  of  such  qualification  for  the  purpose  of
eligibility for promotion to the post of Project Engineer  (Senior)  against
the 20% quota  fixed  for  promotion  of  degree  holder  Project  Engineers
(Junior).  In order to claim promotion against  such  20%  quota  the  three
years’  experience  of  service  must  be  acquired  after   obtaining   the
qualification or degree of AMIE.
We direct the Board and its authorities to treat the  writ  petitions  filed
in the High Court as disposed of in the light of our aforesaid views and  to
determine the controversies raised in the writ petitions in  that  light  by
granting relief to the eligible persons expeditiously and preferably  within
4 months, without upsetting the transactions which had taken  place  earlier
and were not under challenge in the writ petitions.   In  other  words,  the
regular promotions made in the past prior to 1992, which  were  not  subject
matter of writ petitions filed in 1992 will not be re-opened on  account  of
views expressed in this judgment.
In the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no  order  as  to
costs.


       ………………….…………………………………...J.
       [FAKKIR MOHAMED IBRAHIM KALIFULLA]



       ………………….…………………………………...J.
       [SHIVA KIRTI SINGH]

New Delhi.
September 05, 2014.
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