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Monday, January 5, 2015



                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                         CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                         CIVIL APPEAL No.7696 OF 2009

STATE OF UTTARANCHAL & ORS.                        ......APPELLANTS




                        CIVIL APPEAL No.972 OF 2010

                        CIVIL APPEAL No.974 OF 2010
                        CIVIL APPEAL No.975 OF 2010
                        CIVIL APPEAL No.973 OF 2010

                               J U D G M E N T


      1.         Heard learned counsel for the parties.
2.          The applications for impleadment are dismissed as no ground  for
impleadment is made out.
      3.         The State of Uttaranchal (now  Uttarakhand)  is  in  appeal
against a number of orders passed in a bunch of  cases  on  04.03.2006.  The
issue which was the subject matter of consideration before  the  High  Court
pertains to the criterion for promotion from   Group  `D'  service,  to  the
lowest ranks of ministerial  posts  in  Group  `C'  service.   Even  though,
various Rules were framed from time  to  time  delineating  the  manner  and
method for onward promotion from Group `D' service to the  lowest  ranks  of
ministerial posts, yet  we  are  satisfied,  that  insofar  as  the  present
controversy is concerned, the same would be  regulated  by  the  Uttaranchal
Government Servants (Criterion for Recruitment  by  Promotion)  Rules,  2004
(hereinafter referred to as the `2004 Rules'). The  aforestated  Rules  were
notified on 15.06.2004.  Rule 1 of the 2004 Rules reads as under:
      “1.  Short title  Commencement  and  Extent-(1)  These  rules  may  be
called, the Uttaranchal Government Servants (Criterion  for  Recruitment  by
Promotion) Rules, 2004.

                 (2)   They shall come into force at once.
      (3) They shall apply to a  recruitment  by  promotion  to  a  post  or
service for which no consultation with  the  Public  Service  Commission  is
required on the principles to be followed in  making  promotions  under  the
Uttaranchal   Public   Service   Commission   (Limitation   of    Functions)
Regulations, 2003, as amended from time to time.”

4.          A perusal of Sub-rule (3) of Rule  1  explicitly  mandates  that
the 2004 Rules would regulate promotion to  such  posts  with  reference  to
which consultation with the Public Service Commission is  not  required.  It
is not a matter of dispute, that the promotional posts under  consideration,
do not require consultation with  the  Public  Service  Commission,  and  as
such,  the  2004  Rules  would  apply  to  the  promotional  avenues   under
5.        Rule 2 of the 2004 Rules is also  of  material  relevance.  During
the course of hearing, learned counsel for the  rival  parties  invited  our
attention to different Rules framed under Article 309  of  the  Constitution
of India, promulgated in the years 1985, 1994 and  2004  (besides  the  2004
Rules).   It  is,  therefore,  that  Rule  2  of  the  2004  Rules   assumes
significance.  The same is being extracted hereunder:
“2.  Overriding  effect-  These  rules  shall  have  effect  notwithstanding
anything to the contrary contained in any other service rules  made  by  the
Governor under the proviso to Article 309 of the  Constitution,  or  Orders,
for the time being in force.”

      A perusal of Rule 2 of the 2004 Rules leaves no room  for  any  doubt,
that the 2004 Rules have an overriding effect, notwithstanding  anything  to
the contrary  contained,  in  any  other  Service  Rules  promulgated  under
Article 309 of the Constitution of India.  Suffice it  to  state,  that  all
the other Rules brought to our  notice,  had  been  notified  prior  to  the
Notification of the 2004 Rules (notified on 15.06.2014).   Thus  viewed,  it
is imperative for us to conclude, that the 2004  Rules  have  an  overriding
effect on the other Rules, to which our attention was  invited,  during  the
course of hearing.
      6.         Insofar as the present controversy is concerned,  the  same
shall have to be determined with reference to Rule  4  of  the  2004  Rules.
The above Rule, was also the only Rule relied upon by the High Court,  while
adjudicating  upon  the  controversy.  Rule  4   aforementioned   is   being
reproduced below:
“4. Criterion for Recruitment by Promotion- Recruitment by promotion to  the
post of Head of Department, to a post  just  one  rank  below  the  Head  of
Department and to a post in any service carrying the pay scale  the  maximum
of which is Rs.18,300 or above shall be made on the basis of merit,  and  to
the rest of the posts in all services to be filled by  promotion,  including
a post where promotion is made from a Non-gazetted post to a  Gazetted  post
or from one service to another service,  shall  be  made  on  the  basis  of
seniority to the rejection of the unfit.”

      7.         There can be no doubt whatsoever that  inter  se  merit  is
inconsequential for promotions under Rule 4 of the 2004  Rules,  insofar  as
promotions from Group `D' service, to the lowest ranks of ministerial  posts
in Group `C' service, are concerned.  This is for  the  reason  because  the
promotions under reference are neither to the post  of  Head  of  Department
nor to a post just one rank below the post of Head  of  Department.   It  is
also not the case of either of the parties  that  the  scale  of  the  posts
concerned bring the same out of the purview of Rule 4  of  the  2004  Rules.
The real mandate of the said Rule is, that for  the  posts  under  reference
seniority  would  regulate  onward  promotion,  however,  subject   to   the
condition of suitability. Inasmuch as, promotions are  to  be  made  on  the
basis of seniority, subject to the “rejection of the unfit”. It  is  in  the
aforesaid  background,  that  we  shall  determine  the  validity   of   two
Government Orders. Firstly, the order dated 17.07.2004 was  assailed  before
the High Court, in Special  Appeal  No.10  of  2006  (arising  out  of  Writ
Petition No.945 of 2004). The aforesaid Government Order  dated  17.07.2004,
is the subject matter of consideration in Civil Appeal No.975 of  2010.  The
aforesaid Government Order dated 17.07.2004 is being extracted hereunder:
                 Joint Director(Education)
                 Kumaon Division
                    District                Education                Officer
Nainital/Almora/Pithoragarh/Udhamsingh     Nagar/Bageshwar/Champawat

            Letter No.Pra-3/4006-25/04-05   Dated 17.07.04

Subject: Regarding Promotion of Class-IV Employees (Group-`D’) on  the  Post
of Junior Clerks in Subordinate offices Ministerial Staff Class-III  (Group-

            With reference to above, and in pursuance  of  the  instructions
issued by the Director of Education, Uttaranchal, Dehradun vide  his  letter
No.Pra-1/5302-03/04-05    dated    07.06.2004     and     letter     No.Pra-
1/Pri.Promotion/5496-97/04-05 dated  08.06.2004  and  the  Government  Order
No./885/Karmik-02/03  dated  02.09.2003,  the  Schedule  and  programme  for
taking necessary action for promotion of Class-IV employee of your  division
on the post of Junior Clerk, is being forwarded herewith.
            You are requested to get the forms duly filled up and  submitted
by the eligible  Class-IV  employees  of  your  district  so  that  all  the
eligible class-IV employees may  submit  relevant  information  as  per  the
 Only those Class-IV employees shall be eligible to apply who  have  minimum
qualification of high school or equivalent and have regularly worked  for  5
years in the Education Department and is substantively appointed.
The  time  schedule  for  holding  examination  for  promotion  of  Class-IV
employees on the post of Junior Clerk is being forwarded herewith to  enable
you to take further necessary action accordingly.
Date of submission of certified copy
of the confidential report of the past
5 years submitted before the District
Education Officer.                                 08.08.2004
Date of submission of list (in
triplicate) compiled at District
Level of the forms received and the
Confidential Reports with details
After Verification in respect of
High School pass Candidates separately
In the Office of Joint Director,
Education, Kumaon Mandal Office.             14.08.2004

(C) Date and place to hold examination.            22.08.2004
      Government Inter College, Nainital
      (There will be one question paper in
       Written Examination with two parts
       1 – Hindi Essay, 2. General Knowledge.
       Each question paper will consist of 15
       Marks).         Total 30 marks.

        You are requested to inform to all concerned  in  your  District  in
all offices/colleges.  The notice may be  pasted  on  the  notice  board  to
ensure that no eligible employee is  deprived  of  the  opportunity  of  the
            The information to be  compiled  at  District  Level  should  be
prepared in A5 paper in the Computer and a  floppy  may  also  be  forwarded
with this information.
            It may be ensured that while compiling information  that  serial
number of the compiled information and  the  compiled  format  are  in  same

                                     Dan Singh Rautela
                                     Joint Director(Education)
                                    Kumaon Division, Nainital”

8.          The second order, assailed  before  the  High  Court  was  dated
08.11.2004. The same came up for consideration  before  the  High  Court  in
Civil Appeal No.9 of 2006 (arising out of Writ Petition No.78 of 2005).  The
above Government Order dated 08.11.2004 is being extracted hereunder:

                       Additional Director
                       Medical & Health
                       Kumaon Mandal, Nainital.
                       The Chief Medical Officer/
                       Chief Medical Superintendent
                       Almora, Pithoragarh, Udhamsingh Nagar/

                 No.E-4/2004/1770-22 dated 8.11.2004.
Sub: To provide opportunity to appear in typing  test  to  those  candidates
who did not appear earlier in the typing test  in  the  written  examination
conducted for promotion from class IV to the post of junior clerk.


As per direction of Director General, Medical  Health  and  Family  Welfare,
Uttaranchal, Dehradun vide his  letter  no.IV  category/37/2002/26233  dated
25.10.2004, those class IV employees who appeared in written examination  of
captioned mentioned promotion and who could not appear in  the  typing  test
conducted earlier, are being given another opportunity to appear  in  typing

Therefore, a  list  of  such  candidates  is  enclosed  herewith.   You  are
requested to inform  intimation  to  this  effect  to  all  those  employees
mentioned in the said list of your district wherever they are posted that  a
typing test is being conducted on 4.12.2004 at 11.00 a.m. in the  office  of
Additional Director, Medical Health and  Family  Welfare,  Kumaon  Division,
Nainital. The concerned  candidate  should  appear  at  10.00  a.m.  in  the
concerned division alongwith an identity card or  a  certificate  issued  by
the Medical Incharge.

A notice to this effect may be published in Dainik  Jagran  and  Amar  Ujala
also so that no candidate is deprived of such opportunity.

                                         H B Bhatt
                                    Additional Director”

      9.         The High Court while disposing of the  bunch  of  cases  on
04.03.2006, set aside  both  the  Government  Orders  dated  17.07.2004  and
08.11.2004, by holding that they violated the mandate contained  in  Rule  4
of the 2004 Rules.  The question to be determined  by  us  is,  whether  the
mandate of Rule 4 of the 2004 Rules, was indeed breached by the  aforestated
two Government Orders.
10.         In its determination, the High Court was of the view, that  Rule
4 of the 2004 Rules postulates only one  criterion  for  promotion,  namely,
seniority. And that, seniority was the only relevant factor for  determining
onward promotion from Group `D’ service to the lowest ministerial  posts  of
Group `C’ service.  Keeping in view  the  facts  and  circumstances  of  the
present controversy, we are of  the  view  that  the  High  Court  erred  in
recording the aforesaid determination.  Whilst there can be  no  doubt  that
Rule 4 postulates seniority as the basis for onward promotion, but the  Rule
also provides, that promotions would be made subject to  the  “rejection  of
the unfit”. If the Government Orders dated 17.07.2004  and  08.11.2004  were
the basis of determining the  fitness  of  concerned  employees  for  onward
promotion and for adopting measures for “rejection of the  unfit”  then  the
two Government Orders would squarely fall within the purview of  Rule  4  of
the 2004 Rules. Otherwise, they would be in conflict therewith.
11.         We have extracted hereinabove both the  Government  Orders.   We
are satisfied that it was the  endeavour  of  the  Government  to  determine
fitness of Group `D’ employees, for onward promotion to the lowest  rank  of
ministerial posts in Group `C’ service. We say so because,  it  is  apparent
to us, that Group `D’ posts comprise  of  posts  in  the  nature  of  Peons,
Messengers,  Chaukidars,  Malis,  Farrashes,  Sweepers,  Watermen,  Bhistis,
Tindals,  Thelamen,  Recordfilters,  Peon-Jamadars,  Daftris,  Book-binders,
Cyclostyle Operators, Farrash-Jamadars,  Sweeper-Jamadars  and  Head  Malis.
The nature of duties of the posts referred to  hereinabove,  are  too  well-
known. Merely because an employee while holding a Group `D’  post  has  been
discharging the duties, of the  nature  referred  to  above,  it  cannot  be
presumed that he/she is suitable  for  onward  promotion  to  a  ministerial
post.  It  is,  therefore,  that  while  determining  the  issue  of  onward
promotion to ministerial posts, the State Government issued inter  alia  the
above two Government Orders extracted hereinabove.   Thereby,  it  would  be
possible to determine the fitness of those who fulfilled the  conditions  of
eligibility  for  promotion.  We  are  satisfied  that  the  aforesaid   two
Government Orders squarely fall  within  the  ambit  of  competence  of  the
appointing authority, to determine the minimum fitness standards  postulated
under Rule 4 of the 2004 Rules.
12.         In view of the above, we are satisfied that the impugned  orders
passed by the High Court, whereby, the  above  two  Government  Orders  were
quashed,  deserve  to  be  set  aside.   The  two  Government  Orders  dated
17.07.2004 and 08.11.2004  are  hereby  upheld.   The  instant  appeals  are
accordingly allowed. The impugned  orders  passed  by  the  High  Court  are
therefore set aside.



                                                          (ARUN MISHRA)
OCTOBER 16, 2014.

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