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Friday, October 31, 2014

Service Matter - Direct Recruitment - Backward Class - Creamy Layer - High court taking into consideration of the income of the respondent held that he is not entitled to claim as B.C. - Apex court held that Individual income should not be calculated for upholding whether he comes under Creamy Layer or not, his parents income has to be consider - as such set aside the High court order and allowed the appeal and While allowing the instant appeal, we restore the appointment of the appellant Surinder Singh to the post of Accounts Officer.=CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6957 OF 2009 Surinder Singh ..Appellant versus Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala and Ors. ..Respondents =2014 - Sept. Month - http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=41999

Service Matter - Direct Recruitment - Backward Class - Creamy Layer - High court taking into consideration of the income of the respondent held that he is not entitled to claim as B.C. - Apex court held that Individual income should not be calculated for upholding whether he comes under Creamy Layer or not, his parents income has to be consider - as such set aside the High court order and allowed the appeal and While allowing the  instant appeal, we restore the appointment of the appellant Surinder  Singh  to  the post of Accounts Officer.=

 The High Court, while disposing of Writ Petition  No.  7660  of  2004,
vide the impugned order dated 2.3.2009, arrived at the conclusion, that  the
appellant actually belonged to the “creamy layer”, and  as  such,  was  dis-
entitled to be considered as a “backward class” candidate.  In  arriving  at
the aforesaid conclusion, the High Court took into consideration the  income
of the appellant himself,  to  declare  that  he  belonged  to  the  “creamy
layer”.  The aforesaid  determination  was  rendered  by  reading  down  the
policy instructions issued by the State Government, on  the  basis  whereof,
the backwardness of a candidate had to be adjudged.   The  aforesaid  policy
instructions were read down, to include the income of the person  concerned,
along with the income of the parents of  the  person,  contemplated  by  the
policy instructions.=

           whether it was open  to  the  High
Court, to include the individual's income  in  determining  his  eligibility
for  being  declared  as  backward  class,  by  reading  down   the   policy
instructions on the subject.=

whether or not the individual's income is to be  taken  into  consideration,
while  computing  the  total  income  relevant  to  determine   whether   an
individual belongs to the “creamy layer”.  The above clarification  reveals,
that  it  is  only  the  parents  income,  which  has  to  be   taken   into
consideration.=
Thus viewed, we are satisfied that  the
individual's income was not required to be clubbed with the  income  of  his
parents, while determining whether or not he was eligible to  be  granted  a
backward class certificate.   The determination to the contrary by the  High
Court is liable to be set aside.  The same is accordingly hereby set aside.
The instant appeal is accordingly allowed. While allowing the  instant
appeal, we restore the appointment of the appellant Surinder  Singh  to  the
post of Accounts Officer.

2014 - Sept. Month - http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=41999
                                            REPORTABLE
                 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6957 OF 2009

Surinder Singh                                          ..Appellant

                       versus

Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala and Ors.  ..Respondents


                            J U D G M E N T


J.S. KHEHAR, J.


1.     On  16.07.2002,  the  Punjab  State  Electricity  Board  (hereinafter
referred to as the 'Board') took a decision to fill up 21 posts of  Accounts
Officer.   The  above  posts  were  to  be  filled  up  by  way  of   direct
recruitment.  The appellant earned 164 marks in the  process  of  selection.
He  made  the  grade,  by  way  of  merit,  from  amongst  “backward  class”
candidates.  It is therefore, that he  came  to  be  appointed  as  Accounts
Officer, by direct recruitment.
2.    Respondent No.4-Anil Kumar Uppal, had also applied for appointment  by
way of direct  recruitment,  in  response  to  the  same  advertisement  (in
furtherance  whereof,  the  appellant  was  selected  and  appointed).   His
candidature was, however, not accepted.  It is  therefore,  that  respondent
no.4  approached  the  Punjab  and  Haryana   High   Court   at   Chandigarh
(hereinafter referred  to  as  the  'High  Court')  seeking  an  appropriate
direction to the Board, requiring it  to  allow  him  (respondent  no.4)  to
participate in the process of selection.  By an interim order passed by  the
High Court, respondent no.4 was allowed to participate  in  the  process  of
selection.
3.    On considering the  candidature  of  respondent  no.4,  the  Selection
Committee awarded him 146 marks.  It is therefore apparent,  that  in  terms
of merit, respondent no.4 could not march over the  superior  claim  of  the
appellant. This was so because, whilst the appellant had  been  awarded  164
marks in the process of selection, respondent no.4  had  been  awarded  only
146 marks.
4.    Respondent no.4, in order to claim appointment, chose  to  assail  the
claim of the appellant by asserting, that the appellant  did  not  factually
belong to the “backward  class”,  and  as  such,  his  merit  could  not  be
determined with  reference  to  the  posts  reserved  for  “backward  class”
candidates.   If he could succeed in establishing  the  aforesaid  position,
he would fall in the zone of selection, being possessed of the next  highest
marks (after the appellant) from the category of backward class  candidates.
Insofar as the instant aspect  of  the  matter  is  concerned,  the  pointed
contention of respondent no.4  was,  that  the  appellant  belonged  to  the
“creamy layer”, and as such, he was dis-entitled for being  considered  from
amongst “backward class” candidates.
5.    The High Court, while disposing of Writ Petition  No.  7660  of  2004,
vide the impugned order dated 2.3.2009, arrived at the conclusion, that  the
appellant actually belonged to the “creamy layer”, and  as  such,  was  dis-
entitled to be considered as a “backward class” candidate.  In  arriving  at
the aforesaid conclusion, the High Court took into consideration the  income
of the appellant himself,  to  declare  that  he  belonged  to  the  “creamy
layer”.  The aforesaid  determination  was  rendered  by  reading  down  the
policy instructions issued by the State Government, on  the  basis  whereof,
the backwardness of a candidate had to be adjudged.   The  aforesaid  policy
instructions were read down, to include the income of the person  concerned,
along with the income of the parents of  the  person,  contemplated  by  the
policy instructions.
6.    In the present appeal, the appellant seeks  to  assail  the  aforesaid
determination rendered by the High Court.  It was  the  vehement  contention
of the learned counsel for the appellant, that the judgment referred  to  by
the High Court, for arriving at the conclusion, that the personal income  of
the  concerned  individual  had  to  be  taken  into  consideration,  was  a
misreading of the judgment rendered by this Court. It was in  the  aforesaid
background, that we shall  endeavour  to  examine  the  policy  instructions
regulating  the  determination  of  backwardness  of  candidates,  and   the
judgments relied upon by the High Court.
7.    First  and  foremost,  reference  needs  to  be  made  to  the  office
memorandum dated 8.9.1993 issued by the Government  of  India,  Ministry  of
Personnel,  Public  Grievances  &  Pension  (Department   of   Personnel   &
Training).  It is not a matter of  dispute between the rival  parties,  that
the  aforesaid  office  memorandum  is  applicable  to  the  present
controversy.  Under the office memorandum dated 8.9.1993, the claim  of  the
appellant for grant of a backward class certificate was  determinable  under
category IV thereof, since it is not a matter of dispute that the  appellant
is a qualified Chartered Accountant.  However, in column 3 to  the  schedule
relating to category  IV,  it  is  mentioned  that  the  criteria  specified
against category VI would be applicable to those  who  fall  under  category
IV.  In the above view of the matter, our interpretation on the  eligibility
of the appellant for being declared as  belonging  to  the  backward  class,
would be determinable on the basis of the description relatable to  category
VI. Category VI and the depiction to whom the same would be applicable,  are
being extracted hereunder:
|Sl.No.    |Description of category     |To whom rule of exclusion will   |
|          |                            |apply                            |
|1         |2                           |3                                |
|VI        |Income/Wealth Test          |Son(s) and daughter(s) of        |
|          |                            |                                 |
|          |                            |(a) persons having gross annual  |
|          |                            |income of Rs.1 lakh or above or  |
|          |                            |possessing wealth above the      |
|          |                            |exemption limit as prescribed in |
|          |                            |the Wealth Tax Act for a period  |
|          |                            |of three consecutive years;      |
|          |                            |                                 |
|          |                            |(b)  persons in Categories I, II,|
|          |                            |III and V-A who are not          |
|          |                            |disentitled to the benefit of    |
|          |                            |reservation but have income from |
|          |                            |other sources of wealth which    |
|          |                            |will bring them within the       |
|          |                            |income/wealth criteria mentioned |
|          |                            |in (a) above.                    |
|          |                            |                                 |
|          |                            |Explanation:                     |
|          |                            |                                 |
|          |                            |(i) income from salaries or      |
|          |                            |agricultural land shall not be   |
|          |                            |clubbed;                         |
|          |                            |                                 |
|          |                            |(ii)the income criteria in terms |
|          |                            |of rupee will be modified taking |
|          |                            |into account the change in its   |
|          |                            |value every three years. If the  |
|          |                            |situation, however, so demands,  |
|          |                            |the interregnum may be less.     |
|          |                            |                                 |
|          |                            |Explanation: wherever the        |
|          |                            |expression 'permanent            |
|          |                            |incapacitation' occurs in this   |
|          |                            |Schedule, it shall mean          |
|          |                            |incapacitation which results in  |
|          |                            |putting an officer out of        |
|          |                            |service.                         |



                                             (emphasis is ours)
Having minutely examined category VI, as also the description  contained  in
the schedule, to whom the same would apply, there is really no room for  any
doubt, that in clauses (a) and (b) thereof, it is the income/wealth  of  the
parents  of  the  individual  concerned,  which  is   of   relevance.    The
description is clearly silent about the individual's own income.  It is  not
possible for us to accept, that the individual's own income could have  been
taken  into  consideration.   The  above  determination  of  ours,  is  with
reference to categories  IV  and  VI.  Therefore,  even  with  reference  to
category IV, which includes professional's, the income of the  professional,
has not been included.  Thus viewed, we are satisfied,  that  on  the  plain
reading of category VI of the office memorandum dated 8.9.1993, that it  was
not the income of the individual concerned, but that of  his  parents,  that
would determine whether he would fall within the creamy layer or not.
8.    The question which still arises is, whether it was open  to  the  High
Court, to include the individual's income  in  determining  his  eligibility
for  being  declared  as  backward  class,  by  reading  down   the   policy
instructions on the subject. Insofar as the instant aspect of the matter  is
concerned, there can be no  doubt,  that  the  issue  is  determinable  with
reference to the decision rendered by this Court in Indra Sawhney vs.  Union
of India 1992 Supp. (3) SCC 217.  But for the determination of  the  present
controversy, we need not travel to the  decision  in  Indra  Sawhney's  case
(supra).  It will  be  sufficient  to  make  a  reference  to  the  decision
rendered by this Court in Ashok Kumar Thakur vs. State  of  Bihar  (1995)  5
SCC 403, wherein this Court, having examined  the  Office  Memorandum  dated
8.9.1993, approved the same by observing as under:
“10.  We have carefully examined the criteria for  identifying  the  “creamy
layer” laid down by the Government of India in the Schedule,  quoted  above,
and we are of the view that the same is in  conformity  with  the  law  laid
down by this Court in Mandal case (Indra Sawhney  v.  Union  of  India  1992
Suppl. (3) SCC 217).  We  have  no  hesitation  in  approving  the  rule  of
exclusion framed by the Government of India  in  para  2(c)  read  with  the
Schedule of the office memorandum quoted above.   Learned  counsel  for  the
petitioners have  also  vehemently  commended  that  the  State  Governments
should follow the Government of India and  lay  down  similar  criteria  for
identifying the “creamy layer”.
                                       (emphasis is ours)
It is apparent from the observations recorded by this Court,  as  have  been
extracted hereinabove, that the Office Memorandum dated  8.9.1993  had  been
examined by this Court,specifically with reference to the decision  rendered
in Indra Sawhney's case (supra).   Having  done  so,  this  Court  expressly
approved  and  confirmed  the  Schedule  to  the  Office  Memorandum   dated
8.9.1993.
9.    Based on the aforesaid declaration of law, we are of the view that  it
was not open to the High Court  to  evaluate  the  office  memorandum  dated
8.9.1993 from any other parameters.  It also needs to be noticed,  that  the
issue which came up for determination in Ashok Kumar Thakur's  case  (supra)
came to be re-examined before a Constitution Bench of this  Court  in  Ashok
Kumar Thakur vs. Union of India (2008) 6 SCC 1, wherein on  the  subject  of
identification of the “creamy layer”, the  Constitution  Bench  observed  as
under:
1-B. IDENTIFICATION OF CREAMY LAYER
415.  Income as the criterion for creamy  layer  exclusion  is  insufficient
and runs afoul of Sawhney (I). (See p.724 at para 792).   Identification  of
the creamy layer has been and should be left to the Government,  subject  to
judicial direction.  For a valid  method  of  creamy  layer  exclusion,  the
Government may use its post-Sawhney (I) criteria as a template.  (See OM  of
8.9.1993, Para 2(c)/Column 3),  approved  by  this  Court  in  Ashoka  Kumar
Thakur vs. State of Bihar (1995) 5 SCC 403, para 10.   This  schedule  is  a
comprehensive  attempt  to  exclude  the  creamy  layer  in  which   income,
government posts, occupation and landholdings are taken into account.”
                                       (emphasis is ours)

Here again, this  Court  expressly  approved  the  office  memorandum  dated
8.9.1993. In view of the decisions  rendered by this  Court  in  both  Ashok
Kumar Thakur's cases (supra), we  are  of  the  view  that  the  High  Court
clearly erred in reading down the office memorandum dated  8.9.1993  and  to
include therein the income  of  the  individual  concern  while  determining
whether or not he fall within the “creamy layer”.
10.    Despite  the  declaration  of  law  in  the  judgments,  referred  to
hereinabove,  it  is  also  necessary  to  take   into   consideration   the
clarification issued by the Government  of  India,  Ministry  of  Personnel,
P.G. and Pensions (Department of Personnal and Training)  dated  21.11.2002.
The aforesaid clarification was with  reference  to  the  office  memorandum
dated  8.9.1993.   Relevant  extract  of  the  clarificatory  letter   dated
21.11.2002 is being reproduced below:
“I am directed to refer to your letter No.2/25/2001  RC-1/670  dated  17-10-
2002 on the above noted subject and say that determination of  creamy  layer
for an OBC candidate is done with reference to the income of parents as  per
instructions  contained  in  DOPT's  O.M.   No.36012/22/93-Estt(res)   dated
8.9.93.”

                                       (emphasis is ours)

Based on the aforesaid conclusion, there is really no room  for  any  doubt,
that the exposition  with reference to category VI in the office  memorandum
dated 8.9.1993 related only to the income of the parents of  the  individual
concerned.  And that, the income of the  individual concerned was not to  be
taken into consideration.
11.   The above issue came to be examined yet again  by  the  Government  of
India, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances &  Pensions  (Department  of
Personnel and Training) through its memorandum dated  14.10.;2004.   In  the
above memorandum, a large number of  queries  were  clarified.   Queries  at
serial nos.(vi) and (vii)  of  paragraph  4  are  relevant  to  the  present
controversy, and are accordingly reproduced hereunder:
“4. Following questions have  been  raised  from  time  to  time  about  the
application of the above provisions to determine creamy layer.

(vi) Will a candidate who himself is a directly recruited  Class  I/Group  A
Officer or a directly recruited Class II/Group B officer who got into  Class
I/Group A at the age of 40 or earlier be treated to  be  falling  in  creamy
layer on the basis of his service status?

(vii) will a candidate who has gross annual income of Rs.2.5 lakh  or  above
or possesses wealth above the Exemption limit as prescribed  in  the  Wealth
Tax Act for a period of three  consecutive  years  be  treated  to  fall  in
creamy layer?”

The aforesaid queries came to be answered in paragraph  8  by  observing  as
under:
“8.   In regard to  clauses  (vi),  (vii)  and  (viii)  of  para  4,  it  is
clarified that the creamy layer status of a candidate is determined  on  the
basis of the status of his parents and not on the basis of  his  own  status
or  income  or  on  the  basis  of  status  or  income  of  his/her  spouse.
Therefore, while determining the creamy layer status of a person the  status
or the income of the candidate himself or of his/her  spouse  shall  not  be
taken into account.”

                                       (emphasis is ours)

In view of the above, there  is  no  room  for  any  further  consideration,
whether or not the individual's income is to be  taken  into  consideration,
while  computing  the  total  income  relevant  to  determine   whether   an
individual belongs to the “creamy layer”.  The above clarification  reveals,
that  it  is  only  the  parents  income,  which  has  to  be   taken   into
consideration.
12.   While referring to the  Clarification/Circular  dated  14.10.2007  and
14.10.2004 respectively, we have extracted hereinabove  the  clear  view  of
the Government of India.  It would also be necessary for us to notice,  that
the above determination of the Government  of  India,  was  adopted  by  the
State of Punjab, as is apparent from the letter issued by the Government  of
Punjab, Welfare Department (Reservation Cell) dated 14.10.2007, whereby  the
letter dated 17.08.2005 and the memorandum dated 14.10.2004 were  circulated
by the State Government to all its Deputy Commissioners.  It is also  not  a
matter of dispute, that the aforesaid circulars were  expressly  adopted  by
the Punjab State Electricity Board.  Thus viewed, we are satisfied that  the
individual's income was not required to be clubbed with the  income  of  his
parents, while determining whether or not he was eligible to  be  granted  a
backward class certificate.   The determination to the contrary by the  High
Court is liable to be set aside.  The same is accordingly hereby set aside.
13.   The instant appeal is accordingly allowed. While allowing the  instant
appeal, we restore the appointment of the appellant Surinder  Singh  to  the
post of Accounts Officer.
Special Leave Petition(C) No.17161 of 2009
            The  controversy  in  the  instant  special  leave  petition  is
identical to the one adjudicated upon by this Court in the case of  Surinder
Singh vs. Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala and others  (Civil  Appeal
No. 6957 of 2009, decided on 25.09.2014).
            In the above view of  the  matter,  the  instant  special  leave
petition is also disposed of in terms of the order passed by this  Court  in
Surinder Singh's case(supra).


                                             ….....................J.
                                             [JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR]


NEW DELHI;                             ….....................J.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2014.                          [ARUN MISHRA]
ITEM NO.102               COURT NO.7               SECTION IV
               S U P R E M E  C O U R T  O F  I N D I A
                       RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Civil Appeal  No(s).  6957/2009

SURINDER SINGH                                     Appellant(s)
                                VERSUS

PUNJAB STATE ELECT.BOARD,PATIALA & ORS.            Respondent(s)
(with office report)
WITH
SLP(C) No. 17161/2009
(With appln.(s) for Interim Relief and Office Report)

Date : 25/09/2014 This appeal/petition were called on for
          hearing today.

CORAM :
             HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR
             HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ARUN MISHRA

For Appellant(s) Mr. R.K. Kapoor, Adv.
In CA 6957/2009  Ms. Shiwani Mahipal, Adv.
& respondent in  Ms. Rekha Giri, Adv.
SLP 17161/2009     for Mr. Anis Ahmed Khan,AOR(NP)

For Petitioner(s)      Mrs. Jayshree Anand, Adv.
In SLP 17161/2009      for Mr. Anurag Pandey,AOR(NP)
& for respondent(s)
in CA 6957/2009

For Respondent(s)      Mr. Neeraj Kr. Jain, Sr. Adv.
                       Mr. Pratham Kant, Adv.
                       Mr. Sanjay Singh, Adv.
                    For Mr. Ugra Shankar Prasad,AOR(NP)

          UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following
                             O R D E R

            The appeal is allowed  in  terms  of  the  Reportable  Judgment,
which is placed on the file.

            The special leave petition is disposed of in terms of the  order
passed by this Court in Surinder Singh's case, i.e., Civil Appeal  No.  6957
of 2009.

(Parveen Kr. Chawla)                         (Phoolan Wati Arora)
    Court Master                                   Assistant Registrar


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