CAT quashes final seniority list of SIs, directs for redrawing seniority

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: In a petition challenging final seniority list of Sub-Inspector of 2010 batch in Executive Wing of J&K Police issued by Director General of Police vide order no. PHQ order No. 2678 of 2019 dated July 12, 2019 to the extent that respondent no. 4 to 208, who were lower in the merit and juniors to the petitioners are placed over and above petitioners in seniority list besides seeking direction to the respondents to prepare fresh seniority list after considering induction merit obtained by petitioners in the selection process as the same induction merit has been followed by the respondents while preparing seniority of sub-inspectors of batch of 2000 & 2002, a Bench of Central Administration Tribunal Comprising Judicial Member Rakesh Sagar Jain and Administrative Member Anand Mathur, quashed the final seniority list of Sub-Inspectors in Executive Wing of J&K Police.
CAT further ordered that seniority of applicants and private respondents in the instant case be re-drawn and fixed by assigning seniority based on merit as assessed in written test as well as viva voce test and not on the merit obtained in the training course.
Pertinent to mention here that stay was given by High Court on promotion given by Police Deptt for Sub Inspector batch 2010 on basis of Academy merit. Accordingly, the case was transferred to CAT as service matter and now CAT has given final verdict, directing for making promotions on basis of selection merit and not on academy merit.
While allowing the petition, CAT after hearing Sr. Adv P N Raina with Adv Jasbir Singh Jasrotia observed that in the instant case, there is no record to show that the applicants and the private respondents did not complete their probation successfully on the same date. Mere averment of either party that they completed their probation prior to each other is not supported by any record. Had it been otherwise, official respondents should have placed the record before the Tribunal showing different date on which the applicants and private respondents passed the training within the probation period. The conclusion, therefore to be drawn is that all candidates passed their training within the probation period and are deemed to be confirmed on the same date, their seniority as amongst themselves shall remain the same as during their probation period.
The CAT further observed that they notice that the malaise of lack of steadfast and continuity in having in place fixed systems in its administration has plagued the police organisation in J&K. Over the decades, the administrators have been unable to evolve and put in place, systems/procedures which have continuity in their applications to recruitment/ seniority/promotions. It seems, successive Administrations and at times, different wings of the police have applied different rules, procedures, interpretations etc leading to uncertainty and multiplicity of litigation which has adversely affected the efficacy of the organization at the administrative level. This, uncertainty and lack of systematic procedures as well as frequent and different interpretation of rules needs to be addressed by the concerned Administration to reduce the level of litigation being faced by organisation.
With these observations, CAT holds that the non obstante clause of Rule 111(2) of the Police Rules, is to be applied to fix seniority of the applicants and they shall be given seniority during the probation period i.e., seniority based on the merit as assessed in written test as well as viva voce test and not on the merit obtained in the training course. Accordingly, CAT quashed final seniority list of Sub-Inspectors in Executive Wing of J&K Police issued by respondent No. 2 vide order No. PHQ order No. 2678 of 2019 dated July 12, 2019 to the extent respondents No. 4 to 208 were placed over and above the applicants. With these observations, CAT directed that seniority of applicants and private respondents in the instant case be re-drawn and fixed by assigning seniority based on the merit as assessed in written test as well as viva voce test and not on the merit obtained in training course.

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