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Thursday, March 26, 2015

manner and method of determining seniority in the cadre of Sub-Inspectors of Police, in the State of Andhra Pradesh, are regulated by the Andhra Pradesh Police (Civil) Subordinate Service Rules= The judgments cited pertain to the particular rule of seniority, which was subject matter of consideration. None of the seniority rules which were taken into consideration is akin to rule 15 which is to be applied for determining the inter se seniority of Sub- Inspectors of Police, in the present case. Since the validity of rule 15 aforementioned, is not a subject matter of challenge, we have ventured to interpret the same, in consonance with the mandate and intent thereof. We would not like to burden this judgment, with the judgments cited at the Bar, by the rival parties.


                                                                "REPORTABLE"

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5862 OF 2007

A. Raghu, son of Rajaiah                                 ... Appellant
                                   versus
Govt. of Andhra Prdesh & others                          ... Respondents

                                    WITH
                     CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 6002-6005 OF 2007

Vasam Surender, son of Veeraswamy & others               ... Appellants

                                   versus
Govt. of Andhra Prdesh & others                          ... Respondents


                               J U D G M E N T

Jagdish Singh Khehar, J.

1.    It is not  a  matter  of  dispute,  that  the  conditions  of  service
including the manner and method of determining seniority  in  the  cadre  of
Sub-Inspectors of Police, in the State of Andhra Pradesh, are  regulated  by
the Andhra Pradesh Police (Civil)  Subordinate  Service  Rules  (hereinafter
referred to as, the Service Rules), notified on  26.8.1959,  read  with  the
Special Rules  notified  on  14.12.1990.   Learned  counsel  for  the  rival
parties are agreed, that the issue of seniority (which is the pointed  issue
of dispute between the rival parties in  the  present  appeals),  is  to  be
determined under rule 15 of the said rules, which is extracted hereunder:-
"15.  "Seniority:-- (a) The seniority of a person in the class  or  category
or grade shall, unless he has been reduced to lower rank as a punishment  be
determined by the date of his first appointment to such  class  or  category
or grade. If any portion of the  service  of  such  person  does  not  count
towards his probation  under  the  General  Rules  his  seniority  shall  be
determined by the date of commencement of his service which  counts  towards
probation:

Provided that in  the  case  of  Sub-Inspectors,  Sub-Inspectors  of  Police
(Intelligence) and Reserve Sub-Inspectors, the seniority inter se  shall  be
fixed on completion of training in the Police Training College or  with  the
Andhra Pradesh Special Police, as the case may be, instead of  at  the  time
of selection in accordance with the list which shall be  arranged  in  order
of merit, which shall be determined in  accordance  with  the  aggregate  of
marks obtained by each probationer--


(i)   in respect of his record in the Police Training College  or  with  the
Andhra Pradesh Special Police, as the case may be; and


(ii)  at the final examination.


In determining such order of merit, no  account  shall  be  taken  of  marks
awarded to a probationer in any subject in which he  has  failed.  But  such
seniority shall be liable to revision by the  Deputy  Inspector  General  of
Police  concerned  if  he  considers  it  necessary,  before  completion  of
probation.


This sub-rule shall not affect the seniority of any members of  the  service
which may have been fixed  expressly  or  by  implication  before  the  19th
November, 1941 or any orders as to seniority which may have been  passed  by
competent authority before the 19th November, 1941.


Provided that in the case of directly  recruited  Sub-Inspectors  of  Police
(Intelligence) the inter se  seniority  shall  be  fixed  on  completion  of
training the Police Training College/Andhra Pradesh Police Academy,  instead
of at the time of selection, in accordance with  the  list  which  shall  be
arranged in order of merit, which shall be  determined  in  accordance  with
the aggregate of marks  obtained  by  each  probationer  in  the  tests  and
examinations prescribed for them in the training modules conducted at  these
Institutions.


The seniority of the Sub-Inspectors of Police  (Intelligence)  appointed  by
transfer from among Sub-Inspectors of Police (Civil) or equivalent ranks  of
this service carrying the same scale of pay shall not be  treated  as  first
appointment but shall be determined  with  reference  to  the  date  of  his
seniority in the Class or Category from which he was transferred.


Provided also that the inter se seniority  of  the  Sub-Inspectors  selected
from among the Reserve Sub-Inspectors of Armed Reserve  and  Andhra  Pradesh
Special Police Battalions by transfer shall be fixed in the order  of  merit
for each Range (Zone) separately based on the aggregate  marks  obtained  by
them in the final examination conducted at Police Training  College  at  the
end of six months training. In determining such order of  merit,  the  marks
secured in the failed subjects need not be taken into account.


(b)   The appointing  authority  may,  at  the  time  of  passing  an  order
appointing two or more persons simultaneously to a  class  or  category  fix
for any reason the order of preference among them; and where such order  has
been fixed, seniority shall be determined in accordance with it.


(c)   The transfer of a person from one class or category of the service  to
another class or category carrying the same pay or scale of  pay  shall  not
be treated as first appointment to the latter for purposes of seniority  and
the seniority of person so transferred shall be  determined  with  reference
to the date of his first appointment to class or category from which he  was
transferred. Where any difficulty or doubt  arises  in  applying  this  sub-
rule, seniority shall be determined by the appointing authority.

(d)   Where a member of the service in  any  class,  category  or  grade  is
reduced to a lower class, category or grade, he shall be placed at  the  top
of the ladder unless the authority ordering such reduction directs  that  he
shall take rank in such lower  class,  category  or  grade  next  below  any
special member thereof.

(e)   The seniority of qualified special policemen appointed by transfer  as
constables in this service shall be determined by the date  of  their  first
appointment in this service for purposes of  confirmation  in  vacancies  in
this service.

(f)   The seniority of the Prohibition staff absorbed in this service  shall
be determined on the basis of their pay fixed with reference to  Fundamental
Rules 22 and 31, in the service:-

Provided that the inter-se seniority of these at the same stage of the  time
scales of pay of the service will be determined by the dates on  which  they
began to draw pay at that stage; and

Provided further that no member of the  Excise  and  Prohibition  Department
will, on appointment to this  service,  be  senior  to  any  member  of  the
service who has put in the same or more period of service than himself.

In the case  of  members  of  such  ranks  in  the  Excise  and  Prohibition
Department, the scales of pay of which correspond to the scales  of  pay  of
the ranks of this service, the  date  of  their  first  appointment  in  the
Excise and Prohibition Department shall determine the seniority."

Insofar as the above rule is concerned, the further  admitted  position  is,
that the inter se seniority between  the  rival  parties  is  liable  to  be
determined in terms of the first proviso to rule 15(a) extracted above.

2.    Before venturing into the determination  of  the  inter  se  seniority
between the rival parties,  it  is  necessary  in  the  first  instance,  to
delineate the factual position.  We shall accordingly  hereinafter,  in  the
first instance, narrate  the  factual  position,  as  it  emerges  from  the
pleadings, as also, from the different orders appended to the instant  batch
of civil appeals.

3.     The Police Department of the State of Andhra Pradesh decided to  fill
up existing posts of Sub-Inspector of Police by way of  direct  recruitment.
The Andhra Pradesh State Level Recruitment Board  (hereinafter  referred  to
as, the Recruitment Board) undertook the aforesaid  exercise  by  issuing  a
notification dated 22.1.1991.  As per the said notification,  470  posts  of
Sub-Inspector, in 7 different zones  were  sought  to  be  filled  up.   The
process of selection from amongst eligible candidates, was to be based on  a
physical  test  followed  by  a  written  test  and  an  interview.   Having
concluded the aforesaid selection process, lists of  provisionally  selected
candidates were prepared on the  basis  of  their  inter  se  merit  in  the
selection process, for each of the 7 zones.  While disposing of the  present
controversy, we have chosen to pass a common order, wherein  we  shall  take
into consideration  the  vacancies  sought  to  be  filled  up  for  Zone  V
(Warangal range).  In this behalf, it would be  relevant  to  mention  here,
that the office of the Director  General  &  Inspector  General  of  Police,
Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, issued a communication  dated  11.4.1991/7.5.1991
indicating the  names  of  provisionally  selected  candidates  for  Zone  V
(Warangal range).  A list  of  candidates  was  attached  to  the  aforesaid
communication, depicting the provisional list  of  selected  candidates  for
the above range.  This list comprised of 38 names from the open category,  5
names from the backward class 'A' category, 7 names from the backward  class
'B' category, 1 name from the backward class 'C' category, 5 names from  the
backward class 'D' category, 11 names from the scheduled castes category,  4
names from the scheduled tribes category, 2  names  from  the  ex-servicemen
category, 6 names  from  among  the  police  executives,  1  name  from  the
ministerial service, and 1 name from amongst the sportsmen.

4.    On 12.7.1991, the afore-stated candidates were directed to report  for
training.  Only  58  of  the  selected  candidates,  however,  reported  for
training.  The rest of  the  candidates  did  not  join  for  a  variety  of
reasons.  It is not a matter of dispute, that there are two police  training
colleges in the State of Andhra Pradesh, and accordingly,  the  afore-stated
selected candidates were deputed for  training  to  the  said  two  training
colleges.  The order dated 12.7.1991 vide which the short-listed  candidates
were deputed for training  reveals,  that  the  candidates  were  placed  on
probation from the date of joining  the  police  training  college(s).   The
training would continue for a period of nine months  followed  by  practical
training for one  year  and  three  months,  including  holding  independent
charge of a police  station  for  not  less  than  nine  months.   The  said
training was to commence from 16.7.1991.

5.    All the 58 selected  candidates  except  one  Munuswamy,  successfully
completed their training.  Insofar as Munuswamy is  concerned,  he  did  not
participate in the examination at the end of the training, due  to  personal
reasons.  Munuswamy was allowed to enroll himself for training along with  a
batch of candidates who were deputed for training on  14.6.1992.   Munuswamy
also completed his training with the said subsequent  batch  of  candidates,
in 1993.

6.    It is relevant to mention, that in the statutory provision  regulating
appointments against the cadre of  Sub-Inspectors  of  Police,  50%  of  the
posts are earmarked to be filled up by way of  direct  recruitment,  30%  of
the posts are to be filled up by promotion from  Head  Constables,  7%  from
amongst police executives (hereinafter  referred  to  as,  PE)  out  of  the
Constables  and  Head  Constables,  4%   from   police   ministerial   staff
(hereinafter  referred  to,  as  PM),  2%  from  sportspersons  (hereinafter
referred to as, SP), not more than 5% by way of transfer from  Reserve  Sub-
Inspectors (from Armed Reserve/Andhra Pradesh Special Police) and 2% by  way
of appointment under special circumstances, on compassionate grounds.

7.    Original Application no. 29957 of 1991 came to  be  filed  before  the
Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunal at  Hyderabad  (hereinafter  referred
to as,  the  Administrative  Tribunal),  questioning  the  validity  of  the
determination of the different quotas of recruitment in  the  aforementioned
notification dated 22.1.1991.  While determining the above controversy,  the
Administrative Tribunal arrived at the conclusion, that except the quota  of
promotion from Head Constables (30%), by transfer of Reserve  Sub-Inspectors
of  Police  (Armed  Reserve/Andhra  Pradesh   Special   Police)   (5%)   and
appointments under special circumstances on compassionate grounds (2%),  the
remaining 3%  quota  has  to  be  filled  up  by  direct  recruitment.   The
Administrative Tribunal thereupon concluded,  that  the  direct  recruitment
quota, had been incorrectly determined for all the 7 zones,  for  which  the
selection  had  been  made  (in  furtherance  of  the   notification   dated
22.1.1991).  Accordingly, the Administrative Tribunal vide its  order  dated
30.7.1991, directed the authorities to recalculate the vacancies  under  the
PE, PM and SP quotas for  all  the  ranges,  and  to  make  appointments  in
furtherance of the selection  process  initiated  through  the  notification
dated 22.1.1991.

8.    In obedience to the  aforesaid  directions,  after  recalculating  the
vacancies for PE, PM and SP quotas,  additional  names  of  candidates  were
sent for training.  These candidates commenced their training on  14.6.1992.
 They completed their training in 1993.  It is  pertinent  to  record  here,
that the candidate whose training was deferred, namely, Munuswamy,  and  the
candidates whose names were short-listed for training in furtherance of  the
directions issued by the Administrative Tribunal vide order dated  30.7.1991
(passed in Original Application no. 29957 of 1991), commenced the course  of
training simultaneously on 14.6.1992.

9.    We have recorded hereinabove, that out  of  the  names  of  candidates
provisionally selected for Zone V (Warangal range), only 58  candidates  had
reported for training.  The State Government took a  conscious  decision  to
depute for purpose of training, further candidates equal to  the  number  of
candidates who did not join training.  As such, 10 more candidates  who  had
participated  in  the  process   of   selection,   initiated   through   the
notification  dated  22.1.1991,  and  were  placed  immediately  below   the
selected candidates as per the first list (deputed for training vide  letter
dated 11.4.1991/7.5.1991), were sent for training.   These  candidates  were
also sent for training to the two police training colleges in the  State  of
Andhra Pradesh.  These additional  candidates  also  commenced  training  on
14.6.1992, i.e., in the same batch along with the aforementioned  Munuswamy,
as also, the candidates who came to be deputed in furtherance of  the  order
passed by the Administrative Tribunal in Original Application no.  29957  of
1991.

10.   The competent authority,  namely,  the  Deputy  Inspector  General  of
Police, Warangal, vide a memorandum  dated  17.1.1996,  issued  a  seniority
list of Sub-Inspectors  of  Police,  Zone  V  (Warangal  range).   The  said
seniority list included the names  of  the  original  58  Sub-Inspectors  of
Police (out of the 80 selected for the said Zone), who had  completed  their
training in June, 1992.  It  is  also  necessary  to  reflect  the  negative
position, namely, the abovementioned seniority  list  did  not  include  the
name of Munuswamy, who did not complete  the  training  along  with  the  58
candidates who had joined  training  in  furtherance  of  their  provisional
selection vide letter dated 11.4.1991/7.5.1991.  The  above  seniority  list
also  did  not  include  the  names  of  those  selected  and  appointed  in
furtherance  of  the  notification  dated  22.1.1991,  consequent  upon  the
determination of the Administrative Tribunal, that the  quota  of  vacancies
from PE, PM and SP, had wrongly been determined.   The  abovesaid  seniority
list, did not include the names of those candidates, who had  been  selected
in furtherance of the notification dated 22.1.1991,  for  the  sole  reason,
that some of the candidates who  had  been  selected  (and  appointed),  had
failed to join the police  training  college(s)  (in  furtherance  of  their
provisional selection, vide letter dated 11.4.1991/7.5.1991).

11.   It is apparent from the factual  position  noticed  hereinabove,  that
consequent upon the  selection  process  conducted  in  furtherance  of  the
notification dated 22.1.1991,  the  selected  candidates  were  deputed  for
training in two batches.  The training  of  the  first  batch  commenced  on
15.7.1991,  whereas,  the  training  of  the  second  batch   commenced   on
14.6.1992.  Some of  those  candidates,  who  commenced  their  training  on
14.6.1992,  approached  the  Administrative  Tribunal,  by  filing  Original
Application no. 5165 of 2002, assailing the action  of  the  authorities  in
not including their names in the seniority  list  dated  17.1.1996,  wherein
only the names of 58 candidates, who had joined training on  15.7.1991  were
reflected.  In fact, names of none  of  the  candidates  who  had  commenced
training on 14.6.1992 were reflected in the aforesaid seniority  list.   The
Administrative Tribunal disposed of Original Application no.  5165  of  2002
vide an order dated  11.6.2002.   The  ultimate  directions  issued  in  the
aforesaid order are being extracted hereunder:-
"In view of the matter, the applicants  are  directed  to  make  a  detailed
representation to the Director  General  and  Inspector  General  of  Police
putting forth their complete case, and the Director  General  and  Inspector
General of Police is directed  to  dispose  of  the  representation  of  the
applicants preferably, before making promotions to the  posts  of  Inspector
of Police in Zone-IV."

In obedience to the directions issued  by  the  Administrative  Tribunal  on
11.6.2002, those candidates, who  had  been  selected  consequent  upon  the
issuance of the  notification  dated  22.1.1991,  but  had  commenced  their
training at  the  police  training  college(s)  on  14.6.1992,  submitted  a
detailed representation wherein they asserted, that  their  names  ought  to
have been interspersed with the candidates who had commenced their  training
with effect from 15.7.1991.   The  above  claim  was  premised  on  rule  15
(extracted at the beginning of the instant judgment).  The Director  General
& Inspector General of Police, on receipt of the representation, sought  the
following clarification from the Principal Secretary to  the  Government  of
Andhra Pradesh, vide letter dated 21.1.2003:-

"Whether the seniority of SIs (Civil) though selected  on  the  notification
for 1991 batch but appointed and underwent Basic Training  during  1992  can
be fixed alongwith 1991 batch of SIs (Civil) as they were  selected  as  per
the notification issued in the year 1991."

A perusal of the clarification sought reveals, that the real  intent  behind
seeking the aforesaid clarification was, whether the candidates selected  in
furtherance of the notification dated  22.1.1991,  were  to  be  treated  as
candidates belonging to a single batch, or whether, they were to be  treated
as two batches, on the basis of the different dates of  commencing  training
(the first batch on 15.7.1991, and the second batch on  14.6.1992).   Simply
stated,  the  question  posed  was  whether  the  selected  candidates   (in
furtherance of the notification dated 22.1.1991) were to  be  treated  as  a
single batch for the year 1991. Or alternatively, they were  to  be  treated
as two batches, one of  the  year  1991  (i.e.,  in  respect  of  candidates
deputed for training on 15.7.1991) and the second of the  year  1992  (i.e.,
in  respect  of  candidates  deputed  for  training  on   14.6.1992).    The
Government of  Andhra  Pradesh  issued  a  memorandum  dated  17.3.2003,  in
compliance of the  order  dated  11.6.2002  (passed  by  the  Administrative
Tribunal while disposing of Original Application no. 5165 of 2002),  and  in
reply to the letter dated  21.1.2003  (issued  by  the  Director  General  &
Inspector General of Police,  Andhra  Pradesh,  seeking  clarification  with
reference to the inter se seniority of the parties in  dispute).   Vide  its
memorandum dated 17.3.2003, the  State  Government  accepted  delay  at  its
hands, in not deputing the selected  candidates  from  the  PE,  PM  and  SP
quotas for training, due to a wrong calculation of  the  vacancies.   Having
accepted delay at its own hands, the State Government was of the view,  that
the  candidates  sent  for  training  belatedly  (who  had  commenced  their
training  at  the  concerned  police  training  college  with  effect   from
14.6.1992),  were  entitled  to  seniority  along  with  those  deputed  for
training on 15.7.1991.  This, according to the State Government, would  have
to be achieved by interspersing the  candidates  deputed  for  the  training
courses on  15.7.1991  and  14.6.1992,  by  taking  into  consideration  the
aggregate marks obtained by them, at  the  end  of  their  training  at  the
police training college(s).  It  is,  therefore  apparent,  that  the  State
Government accepted the contention of the candidates  deputed  for  training
on 14.6.1992 (namely, the applicants who had approached  the  Administrative
Tribunal by filing Original Application no. 5165 of  2002).   This  position
was adopted by the State  Government  on  account  of  the  fact,  that  the
candidates  were  selected  through  a  common  process  (initiated  by  the
Recruitment Board vide notification dated 22.1.1991).

12.   The claim of the candidates, whose names were included in the list  of
provisionally selected candidates, issued on  11.4.1991/7.5.1991  was,  that
they were higher in the merit list, vis--vis candidates  who  were  deputed
for training on 14.6.1992, and as such,  those  deputed  for  training  vide
letter dated 11.4.1991/7.5.1991 should be treated as a  batch  separate  and
distinct, from the batch of candidates who  were  deputed  for  training  on
14.6.1992.  The 58 candidates, whose  names  were  included  in  the  letter
dated 11.4.1991/7.5.1991, and who were exclusively placed in  the  seniority
list  dated  17.1.1996,  filed  detailed  objections  to  the  determination
rendered by the State Government vide its order/memorandum dated  17.3.2003.
 The  State  Government  vide  its  order  dated  26.12.2003,  rejected  the
objections filed by the candidates deputed for training  on  15.7.1991.   In
sum and substance, the  claim  of  the  candidates,  who  were  deputed  for
training on 15.7.1991,  that  they  should  be  placed  en-masse  above  the
candidates deputed for training on 14.6.1992, in the  seniority  list,  came
to  be  rejected.   Accordingly  vide  order  dated  13.9.2004,  the   State
Government issued a memorandum concluding, that the candidates  deputed  for
training on 14.6.1992 were entitled to  be  interspersed  in  the  seniority
list, along with the candidates who were deputed for training on  15.7.1991.
 In sum and substance, the State Government concluded, that  those  selected
in continuation of the notification  dated  22.1.1991,  by  the  Recruitment
Board, were entitled to be depicted in  a  combined/common  seniority  list,
prepared in consonance with rule 15 reproduced above.

13.   The different orders passed by the State  Government  referred  to  in
the foregoing two paragraphs, whereby it had concluded, that the  candidates
deputed for training on 15.7.1991 were liable to be infused for purposes  of
seniority, with candidates deputed for training on 14.6.1992, were  assailed
by the former, through a bunch of original  applications  filed  before  the
Administrative Tribunal.  The afore-stated batch  of  original  applications
came to be  dismissed  by  the  Administrative  Tribunal  vide  order  dated
24.9.2004.  The applicants before the  Administrative  Tribunal,  therefore,
approached the  High  Court  of  Judicature,  Andhra  Pradesh  at  Hyderabad
(hereinafter referred to as, the High Court), by filing  a  series  of  writ
petitions.  The writ petitions came to be dismissed by the High Court  by  a
common order dated  8.2.2005.   The  determination  by  the  High  Court  in
upholding the orders passed by the State Government,  as  also,  the  orders
passed by the Administrative Tribunal, are subject matter  of  challenge  in
the instant batch of appeals.  Since the issue, which is subject  matter  of
challenge is common, we propose to dispose of the same by a common order  in
the same fashion, as  the  controversy  was  determined  originally  by  the
Administrative Tribunal, and subsequently, by the High Court.

14.   The solitary issue that arises for  consideration  at  our  hands  is,
whether the candidates selected in furtherance  of  the  notification  dated
22.1.1991, issued  by  the  Recruitment  Board,  constitute  one  batch.  Or
whether, they constitute two batches of candidates, based  on  the  separate
dates, when they were deputed for training.  The contention advanced at  the
hands of the learned counsel for the appellants before this Court was,  that
the selected  candidates  are  liable  to  be  treated  as  two  batches  of
candidates.  The first batch, according to the appellants, was the batch  of
candidates deputed  for  training  on  15.7.1991.   And  the  second  batch,
according to the appellants, would comprise of candidates who  were  deputed
for training on 14.6.1992.

15.   As against the challenge  raised  at  the  hands  of  the  appellants,
through their learned counsel, it was the submission of the learned  counsel
for the respondents, that  only  one  selection  process  was  conducted  in
furtherance of the notification dated 22.1.1991, by the  Recruitment  Board.
Out of the  same  selection  list,  candidates  were  deputed  for  training
firstly on 15.7.1991 and thereafter, on 14.6.1992.  It  was  the  submission
of the learned counsel representing the private respondents,  and  supported
by the learned counsel  representing  the  State  of  Andhra  Pradesh,  that
bifurcation of candidates into  two  different  trainee  groups,  would  not
result  in  their  being  described  as  two  batches  of  candidates.   The
submission  was,  that  all  these  candidates  having  been  selected   for
appointment, in furtherance of a common selection process conducted  by  the
Recruitment Board, they were liable to be  treated  as  a  single  batch  of
candidates.

16.   We will venture to determine the controversy in hand,  by  adopting  a
three-step  consideration  process.    We   shall   thereupon   record   our
conclusion.

Consideration, One:

We shall, in the first instance, examine the seniority  position  only  with
respect to Munuswamy.  The name of Munuswamy was included  in  the  list  of
selected candidates issued by the Director General &  Inspector  General  of
Police, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad,  vide  letter  dated  11.4.1991/7.5.1991.
It is not a matter of dispute, that the aforesaid Munuswamy  was  originally
deputed  for  training  at  the  police  training  college   on   15.7.1991.
Munuswamy, however, could not complete his training on account of the  fact,
that he did not participate in the examination conducted at the end  of  the
training, due to personal reasons.  The aforesaid Munuswamy was  allowed  to
complete his training, along  with  the  batch  of  candidates  deputed  for
training  in  the  succeeding  batch,  on  14.6.1992.   The  above   factual
position, which was duly taken  into  consideration  by  the  Administrative
Tribunal, and by the High Court, was  not  disputed  during  the  course  of
hearing before us.  The question which  arises  for  our  consideration  is,
whether Munuswamy would be entitled to be included in  the  seniority  list,
along with the batch of candidates, with whom he was originally deputed  for
training on 15.7.1991, or with the batch of candidates who were deputed  for
training  thereafter,   on   14.6.1992.    Having   given   our   thoughtful
consideration, and keeping  in  mind  the  basic  principle  underlying  the
relevant proviso to rule 15 (extracted at the beginning of  this  judgment),
we are of the considered view, that the mandate  for  the  determination  of
seniority under the aforesaid proviso is to the following  effect.  Firstly,
inter se seniority of Sub-Inspectors of Police is not to  be  determined  in
accordance with the merit list drawn up, "at the time of  their  selection".
And secondly, inter se seniority of  Sub-Inspectors  of  Police  has  to  be
determined on the  basis  of  "the  aggregate  of  marks  obtained  by  each
probationer",  "at  the  final  examination"  on  the  conclusion  of  their
training, at the police  training  college(s).   Insofar  as  the  aforesaid
Munuswamy is concerned, it  is  not  open  to  the  candidates  deputed  for
training in the first instance to contend, that though Munuswamy's name  was
included  in  the  list  of  provisionally  selected  candidates  issued  on
11.4.1991/7.5.1991, his seniority ought to  be  determined  along  with  the
candidates deputed for training later.  It is apparent, that insofar as  the
Munuswamy is concerned, since his name was included  amongst  the  names  of
candidates provisionally selected as Sub-Inspectors of  Police  vide  letter
dated 11.4.1991/7.5.1991, those deputed for training vide  the  same  letter
(dated 11.4.1991/7.5.1991)  can  not  be  permitted  to  contend,  that  his
seniority cannot be determined alongwith them.  The above mentioned  course,
suggested by the learned counsel for the appellants, is  not  open,  because
the same would give primacy to something beyond the purview of  the  proviso
to the rule in question. We have no doubt in our mind, that Munuswamy,  must
figure in the seniority list  along  with  those  deputed  for  training  on
15.7.1991, for the simple reason, that his  name  existed  in  the  list  of
names (including the appellants), deputed for  training  vide  letter  dated
11.4.1991/7.5.1991.  There can,  therefore  be  no  doubt  whatsoever,  that
insofar as Munuswamy is concerned, even though he completed his training  in
the course which commenced from 14.6.1992, his  position  in  the  inter  se
seniority list was bound to be reflected alongwith those with  whom  he  was
deputed for training, according to the aggregate of marks obtained  by  him,
on the completion of his training at the police training college,  in  terms
of rule 15.

Consideration, Two:

Insofar  as  this  step  is  concerned,  we  shall  exclusively  take   into
consideration  the  manner  of  determination  of  seniority  of  candidates
appointed as Sub-Inspectors of Police, against the  vacancies  belonging  to
the PE, PM and SP quotas, consequent  upon  the  directions  issued  by  the
Administrative  Tribunal,  dated  30.7.1991  (while  disposing  of  Original
Application no. 29957 of 1991).  In this behalf, it is relevant to  mention,
that the vacancies falling to each of the aforesaid  quotas,  was  found  to
have been incorrectly determined  by  the  State  Government,  while  making
appointments in  furtherance  of  the  notification  dated  22.1.1991.   The
Administrative Tribunal accordingly, directed the State Government,  to  re-
calculate the strength of the said quotas, and to make appointments.  It  is
not a matter of dispute, that  consequent  upon  the  determination  of  the
Administrative Tribunal, the quotas with reference to the aforesaid  cadres,
which had  wrongly  been  determined,  for  each  of  the  zones,  were  re-
calculated.   The  State  Government  on  re-calculation  of   the   vacancy
position, with reference to the PE, PM and SP quotas,  appointed  candidates
from the aforesaid quotas, out of the selection  process  conducted  by  the
Recruitment Board, in  furtherance  of  the  notification  dated  22.1.1991.
Thereupon, they were deputed for training on 14.6.1992.   It  is,  therefore
apparent, that had  the  quotas  been  correctly  determined  by  the  State
Government, these candidates would  have  been  originally  appointed  along
with others, when the letter dated  11.4.1991/7.5.1991  was  issued  by  the
Director General & Inspector General of Police, Andhra  Pradesh,  Hyderabad.
In the above eventuality, they would have been deputed for training  in  the
very first instance on 15.7.1991.  For no fault  of  theirs,  despite  their
selection  in  the  same  recruitment  process,  which  was   conducted   in
furtherance of the notification  dated  22.1.1991,  they  were  deputed  for
training on 14.6.1992.  The delay in deputing the  candidates  belonging  to
PE, PM and SP quotas, squarely falls on the appointing  authority,  and  not
on the candidates who were subsequently deputed for training  from  the  PE,
PM and SP quotas.  For exactly the same reason, as had been  depicted  under
"Consideration, One" above, we are of  the  view,  that  those  deputed  for
training against the PE, PM and SP quotas on 14.6.1992,  being  not  in  any
manner responsible  for  their  not  having  been  deputed  along  with  the
originally selected candidates on 15.7.1991, are liable  to  a  fixation  in
the seniority list, in exactly  the  same  manner  as  Munuswamy.   This  is
liable to be done in terms of the mandate of the relevant  proviso  to  rule
15 aforementioned, by interspersing them along with those  included  in  the
original seniority list, by determining their position on the basis  of  the
aggregate  marks  obtained  by  them,  in  the  final  examination,  at  the
conclusion of their training at the police training college(s).

Consideration, Three:

In "Consideration, One" and "Consideration, Two" above, we  have  concluded,
that even though the appointees in question were  deputed  for  training  on
14.6.1992, their seniority had to be  determined  alongwith  the  candidates
who had been deputed for training on 15.7.1991.  We shall now  endeavour  to
consider the manner of fixing inter se  seniority  of  the  candidates,  who
were selected in the process of selection conducted in  furtherance  of  the
notification dated 22.1.1991, by the Recruitment Board,  but  had  not  been
appointed on account of the fact, that they did not fall within  the  number
of vacancies advertised.  It is however relevant to notice, that  after  the
issuance of  the  letter  dated  11.4.1991/7.5.1991,  whereby  provisionally
selected candidates were deputed for training  to  fill  up  the  advertised
vacancies for the posts of Sub-Inspector of Police in all the  7  zones,  it
came to be realized, that all the provisionally selected candidates did  not
join the police training college(s) for the said training.  So far  as  Zone
V (Warangal range) is concerned, only 58  candidates  joined  training.   At
that very moment, it was open to the appointing authority to depute  further
candidates for training, out of those whose  names  fell  immediately  below
the  names  of  candidates  deputed   for   training   vide   letter   dated
11.4.1991/7.5.1991,  against   the   balance   vacancies.    The   competent
authority, however, delayed in deputing the names of these  candidates.   It
eventually deputed these candidates for training  on  14.6.1992.   From  the
factual position depicted hereinabove, it is not possible for us to  accept,
that the candidates, who were deputed for training on 15.7.1991,  and  those
deputed for  training  on  14.6.1992  to  fulfill  the  deficiency,  can  be
described as two different  batches.   The  selection  process  having  been
joint, and in furtherance of the same notification dated  22.1.1991  (issued
by the Recruitment Board), it is inevitable for us  to  conclude,  that  the
candidates deputed to the two different courses of  training  (on  15.7.1991
and 14.6.1992) were essentially candidates belonging to  a  singular  batch,
who were selected through a common  process  of  selection.   In  fact,  the
instant inference, insofar as the issue of inter se seniority is  concerned,
is inevitable, as the  dates  on  which  the  candidates  were  deputed  for
training, are inconsequential, so far as rule  15  is  concerned.   Rule  15
leaves no room for any doubt, that even the merit position in the  selection
process is not to be taken into consideration, while determining  the  inter
se seniority of candidates selected from a common process of selection.   If
we were to accept the contention advanced on behalf of the appellants,  that
those deputed in the first batch should be placed above  all  those  deputed
in  the  second  batch,  we  would  necessarily  be  placing  the   selected
candidates in two groups, based on their merit  position  in  the  selection
process.  Those deputed for training in the two batches  (of  15.7.1991  and
14.6.1992), came to be so deputed, only because of  their  respective  merit
position in the selection process.  This determination  would  be  in  clear
breach of the proviso to rule 15, which postulates, that inter se  seniority
of Sub-Inspectors of Police, is not to be determined in accordance with  the
merit list drawn up "at the time  of  their  selection".  The  seniority  of
candidates, who are selected from a common process of selection,  is  to  be
determined on the basis of the  final  aggregate  marks  obtained  by  them,
during the course of their training, at the police  training  college(s)  in
the State of Andhra Pradesh.  That being the mandate of the rule, we are  of
the considered view, that for candidates who had participated  in  a  common
process of selection, irrespective of the dates on which they  were  deputed
for training, their inter se seniority is liable to be  determined,  on  the
basis of the aggregate of marks obtained by them, at the  final  examination
at the concerned police training college.  This interpretation placed by  us
on rule 15 of the Service Rules, satisfies the  underlying  principle  given
effect to in the rule, namely, that the  candidates  appointed  against  the
posts of Sub-Inspector of Police, were  to  be  arranged  in  the  seniority
list, not on the basis of the marks obtained in the  process  of  selection,
but according to the aggregate marks obtained by them,  at  the  culmination
of the training processes.  Additionally, the instant  interpretation  would
result in a uniform  determination  of  the  three  separate  considerations
dealt with by us.  It would be absurd to apply one principle  to  Munuswamy,
another principle to those selected and  appointed  in  furtherance  of  the
directions issued by the Administrative Tribunal on 30.7.1991  (in  Original
Application no. 29957 of 1991), and a  separate  principle  for  determining
seniority of candidates who were deputed for training  later,  because  some
of the selected (and appointed) candidates  did  not  join  training.   This
process of deputing candidates for training, could have been adopted  within
a few days, of the candidates not assuming training, at the police  training
college(s) despite being required  to  do  so.   The  concerned  authorities
delayed the matter, for about a year.  Neither is  it  possible  for  us  to
find fault with the concerned individuals deputed  for  training  belatedly,
nor is it possible for us to interpret a simple and straightforward rule  of
seniority  differently,  just  because,  candidates  were  deputed  to   the
training course belatedly.

17.   The view expressed by  us  upholds  the  order  passed  by  the  State
Government,  and  also  affirms,  the  legal  position  expressed   by   the
Administrative Tribunal in its common order dated 24.9.2004, as well as,  in
the impugned order dated 8.2.2005 passed by the High Court.

18.   Insofar as the conclusions  in  the  "Consideration,  Three"  recorded
hereinabove are concerned, it would be relevant to mention  here,  that  the
learned counsel for the appellants, namely, the candidates who were  deputed
for training on 15.7.1991, had also vehemently  contended,  that  the  first
proviso  to  rule  15(a)  would  not  be  applicable  to   the   facts   and
circumstances of the present case, because the first proviso contemplates  a
joint training process, where those selected and appointed as  Sub-Inspector
of  Police,  are  graded  on  the  basis  of  their  performance  during   a
joint/common training process  at  the  police  training  college.   It  was
submitted, that it would be unfair and unreasonable to  determine  inter  se
seniority of candidates, on the basis of two different  training  processes,
the first which had  commenced  on  15.7.1991,  and  the  second  which  had
commenced on 14.6.1992.

19.   The submission  noticed  in  the  foregoing  paragraph,  seems  to  be
attractive  on  first  blush.   Learned  counsel  for  the  respondent-State
however pointed out, that those selected provisionally  (vide  letter  dated
11.4.1991/7.5.1991), and who were deputed for  training  on  15.7.1991,  had
been sent to undergo training, to two different  police  training  colleges,
in the State of Andhra Pradesh.  If the submission advanced at the hands  of
the learned counsel for the appellants was  to  be  accepted,  according  to
learned counsel for the State Government, even  the  seniority  position  of
the 58 candidates,  who  had  joined  training  on  15.7.1991,  having  been
selected in Zone-V (Warangal range), could not be  validly  determined,  for
the simple reason, that  they  had  undertaken  training  at  two  different
police training colleges.  According to learned  State  counsel,  candidates
who were deputed for training subsequently, on 14.6.1992, were also  deputed
to the same two police training colleges, in the State  of  Andhra  Pradesh,
the curricula for the police training colleges, and the standard  prescribed
being the same, just as the manner  in  which  the  candidates  deputed  for
training to the two different police training colleges,  could  be  compared
with one another on the basis of the aggregate marks obtained by  them,  for
fixing their position in the seniority list,  so  also,  those  deputed  for
training on different dates (on 15.7.1991 and 14.6.1992) could  likewise  be
compared with one another on the basis of the aggregate  marks  obtained  by
them, in the final examination of their police training.  We find  merit  in
the submissions advanced by the learned counsel representing  the  State  of
Andhra Pradesh.  For the above reason, it is not possible for us, to  accept
the above noticed contention, advanced at the hands of the  learned  counsel
for the appellants.

20.   During the course of hearing, some judgments were cited  at  the  Bar,
to  support  the  cause  of  the  appellants,  and  that  of   the   private
respondents.   The  judgments  cited  pertain  to  the  particular  rule  of
seniority,  which  was  subject  matter  of  consideration.   None  of   the
seniority rules which were taken into  consideration  is  akin  to  rule  15
which is to be applied for  determining  the  inter  se  seniority  of  Sub-
Inspectors of Police, in the present case.  Since the validity  of  rule  15
aforementioned, is not a subject matter of challenge, we  have  ventured  to
interpret the same, in consonance with the mandate and intent  thereof.   We
would not like to burden this judgment, with  the  judgments  cited  at  the
Bar, by the rival parties.

21.   For the reasons recorded hereinabove, we find no merit in the  instant
civil appeals.  The same are accordingly dismissed.


.................................J.
                                             (Jagdish Singh Khehar)




.................................J.
                                             (S.A. Bobde)
New Delhi;
March 26, 2015.





ITEM NO.1C               COURT NO.4               SECTION XIIA

               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).  5862/2007

A. RAGHU, SON OF RAJAIAH                           Appellant(s)

                                VERSUS

GOVT. OF A.P. & ORS.                              Respondent(s)

WITH

C.A. No. 6002-6005/2007

[HEARD BY HON'BLE JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR AND HON'BLE S.A.BOBDE,JJ.]

Date : 26/03/2015 These appeals were called on for judgment
 today.

For Appellant(s) Mr. P. Vinay Kumar,Adv.

                    Mr. K. Shivraj Choudhuri,AOR

For Respondent(s)      Mr. Guntur Prabhakar, Adv.

                       Mr. Anil Kumar Tandale,AOR

                    Mr. S. Udaya Kumar Sagar,AOR

            Hon'ble Mr.Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar pronounced the  judgment
of the Bench comprising His Lordship and Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.A. Bobde.

            For the reasons recorded in the Reportable  judgment,  which  is
placed on the file, the appeals are dismissed.



(Parveen Kr. Chawla)                         (Renu Diwan)           Court
Master                                  Court Master

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