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The Government Securities Act, 2006
Article 309 in The Constitution Of India 1949
The Bihar Reorganisation Act, 2000
A. K. Subraman & Ors. Etc vs Union Of India And Ors on 11 December, 1974
Ganga Ram & Ors vs Union Of India & Ors on 2 February, 1970
Citedby 82 docs - [View All]
A. Yegneswarudu And Ors. vs Andhra Pradesh State Road ... on 19 March, 1993
Direct Recruit Class Ii ... vs State Of Maharashtra And Ors on 2 May, 1990
O.P. Singla & Anr. Etc vs Union Of India & Ors on 14 August, 1984
Pran Krishna Goswami & Ors vs State Of West Bengal And Ors on 24 April, 1985
Ashok Gulati & Ors vs B.S. Jain & Ors on 17 December, 1986

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Supreme Court of India
S.B. Patwardhan & Others Etc. Etc vs State Of Maharashtra & Others on 4 May, 1977
Equivalent citations: 1977 AIR 2051, 1977 SCR (3) 775
Author: Y Chandrachud
Bench: Chandrachud, Y.V.
           PETITIONER:
S.B. PATWARDHAN & OTHERS ETC. ETC.

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
STATE OF MAHARASHTRA & OTHERS

DATE OF JUDGMENT04/05/1977

BENCH:
CHANDRACHUD, Y.V.
BENCH:
CHANDRACHUD, Y.V.
GOSWAMI, P.K.
FAZALALI, SYED MURTAZA

CITATION:
 1977 AIR 2051		  1977 SCR  (3) 775
 1977 SCC  (3) 399
 CITATOR INFO :
 RF	    1979 SC 228	 (13,14,16)
 R	    1979 SC 979	 (9,17)
 RF	    1979 SC1073	 (11,13,15)
 F	    1979 SC1136	 (3)
 D	    1980 SC  42	 (8)
 F	    1980 SC1246	 (2,7)
 RF	    1981 SC  41	 (29,30)
 F	    1983 SC 769	 (23)
 F	    1983 SC 881	 (3,56)
 RF	    1984 SC 885	 (26)
 R	    1984 SC1291	 (19)
 R	    1984 SC1595	 (34,70)
 D	    1985 SC 774	 (21)
 RF	    1985 SC1558	 (25)
 F	    1985 SC1605	 (12)
 RF	    1986 SC 638	 (12)
 E&D	    1987 SC 424	 (12,13,24)
 RF	    1987 SC1676	 (18)
 RF	    1988 SC 268	 (18)
 RF	    1988 SC 654	 (10,13)
 R	    1988 SC1673	 (7)
 R	    1989 SC 278	 (21)
 F	    1990 SC1607	 (24,27,29)
 RF	    1991 SC1202	 (26)


ACT:
	    Service matter--Promotees and direct recruits--Rule that
	"the probationer recruited directly to the service of  Engi-
	neer Class II cadre in any year shall, in a bunch, be placed
	senior	to promotees confirmed during  that  year"--Validity
	of--If	quota  rule applicable for  recruitments  should  be
	applicable at the time of confirmation in the same cadre.



HEADNOTE:
	    In	exercise of the power conferred by s.  241(2)(b)  of
	the  Government	 of India Act, 1935 the Governor  of  Bombay
	framed rules called Recruitment Rules of the Bombay  Service
	of  Engineers (Class I and Class II 1939), Rule 2 laid	down
	the  method  of	 recruitment to Class I of  the	 Service  by
	direct recruitment and by promotion from the existing Bombay
	Service of Engineers or from the Bombay Service of Engineers
	Class  II.   Rule 10 provided that recruitment to  Class  II
	service	 shall be either by direct recruitment or by  promo-
	tion  from  (i) the Bombay Subordinate	Engineering  Service
	(ii)  permanent	 or  temporary supervisors and (iii)  tempo-
	rary engineers.
	    In	1941  the Government of.Bombay passed  a  resolution
	directing  that	 in the case of	 direct	 recruits  appointed
	substantively  on probation, seniority should be  determined
	with  reference	 to the date of	 appointment  on  probation,
	while in the case of officers promoted to substantive vacan-
	cies,  seniority should be determined with reference to	 the
	date of their promotion to the substantive vacancies provid-
	ed  there had been no break in their service prior to  their
	confirmation in these vacancies.
	    In 1949 the Chief Secretary to the Government of  Bombay
	in  reply   to	a representation made by  the  Bombay  Civil
	Service	 Association regarding emergency recruitment to	 the
	I.A.S.	and "other matters"  stated  that   promotees  could
	have  no  grievance  in the matter of  seniority  since	 the
	seniority   of	 a  direct recruit to the  cadre  of  Deputy
	Collector  vis a vis a promoted officer was  determined	 not
	according  to the date of confirmation but according to	 the
	principles laid down in the Rules of 1941, i.e., with refer-
	ence  to the date of  first appointment on probation in	 the
	case of direct recruits and of continuous officiation in the
	case of promoted officers.
	     In	 April	1960, a resolution embodying  the  rules  of
	recruitment to Bombay Service of Engineers Class I and Class
	II  was	 passed by the Government  and signed by  the  Under
	Secretary to the Government "by order and in the name of the
	Governor  of Bombay".  They provided for direct	 recruitment
	through	 common	 competitive examination  conducted  by	 the
	State Public Service Commission for both classes of  service
	as  well as by promotion.  Direct  recruits were to be	con-
	firmed	after  two. years in their respective  cadets.	 The
	rules also provided that the ratio of appointments by  nomi-
	nation and promotion to both classes shall, as far as  prac-
	ticable, be 75:25.  Rule 8(i) says that the various  catego-
	ries  which  manned the Class II sub-divisional	 posts	were
	being  compiled	 into two lists: (i) of	 Bombay	 Service  of
	Engineers, Class 11 cadre of permanent Deputy Engineers	 and
	(ii)  of officiating Deputy Engineers.	The future  recruit-
	ment  to Class II cadre was to be made by (a) nomination  of
	candidates recruited directly by competitive examination and
	(b) promotion from the list of officiating Deputy  Engineers
	in  the	 ratio of 2: 1.	 Rule 8(ii)  provides  that  further
	officiating  vacancies	would be manned from the  ranks	  of
	the  Subordinate Service of Engineers.	For this purpose  of
	state-wise  Select  Seniority List was to be  maintained  of
	members of the Subordinate Service of Engineers,  considered
	fit  to hold sub-divisional charge.  For inclusion  in	this
	list  graduates. diploma holders and  non-qualified  persons
	had  to have to their credit service of not less than  3,  8
	and 13 years respectively.  For confirmation as	 a  Deputy
	776
	Engineer  the officer was expected to have put in  not	less
	than  three  years' service as officiating Deputy  Engineer.
	Rule  8(iii) provides that the	probationers  recruited	 di-
	rectly to the Bombay Service of Engineers, Class II cadre in
	any  year shall, in a bunch, be placed senior  to  promotees
	confirmed during that year.
	 On  July 29, 1963 the Government of  Maharashtra  passed  a
	resolution	  superseding the 1941 rules and framing new
	rules for determining inter se	seniority of direct recruits
	and promotees.
	    On	December  19,  1970 the State  Government  passed  a
	resolution  superseding the resolution of 1960.	 Rule 33  of
	the  1970 rules provides that the seniority list in  respect
	of  each of Class I and Class II shall consist	of: Part   A
	confirmed officers and Part B, not confirmed officers,	that
	Part   A  shall	 be arranged with reference to the  year  of
	confirmation  and  confirmed officers shall  be	 treated  as
	senior	to  the	 unconfirmed officers  in   the	  respective
	cadre  and Part B, names shall be arranged with reference to
	the date of continuous officiation except where a  promotion
	in an officiating capacity was by way of purely temporary or
	local arrangement.
	    Immediately	 after the 1960 rules  were  made   by	 the
	Government   of	 Bombay the State of Bombay  was  bifurcated
	into  the State of Maharashtra and Gujarat.  The  Government
	of  Gujarat passed a resolution on May	1,   1960  providing
	that  all rules, regulations, circulars etc., prevailing  in
	the  former State of Bombay will continue to operate in	 the
	new State  of  Gujarat	until changed or modified.  In	1965
	the  Government of Gujarat modified the 1960 rules in  exer-
	cise of the powers conferred by the proviso to Art.  309  of
	the Constitution and introduced a new clause 10 in the	1960
	rules.
	    On	the  bifurcation certain  permanent  and   temporary
	posts	of  Deputy Engineers were allocated to the State  of
	Gujarat.   Some	 of the promotee Deputy Engineers  from	 the
	lower ranks were also allocated to the State of Gujarat	 and
	several	 of  them having completed three  years'  qualifying
	service had become eligible for confirmation under r.  8(ii)
	of the 1960 rules but were not confirmed.
	    The	 two appellants who were recruited as  Overseers  in
	1953  were  promoted temporarily as Deputy Engineers in 1959
	and  1957  and were confirmed as Deputy Engineers  in  1970.
	Respondents  Nos.  2 and 3, who were direct  recruits,	were
	appointed  as  Deputy Engineers in 1963 and  1959  and	were
	confirmed in 1965 and 1961.
	    The two appellants alleged that though they had been  in
	continuous service as Deputy Engineers since 1959 and  1957,
	respondents 2 and  3,  who  were appointed in 1963 and	1959
	were  shown  as senior to them and that	 their	(the  appel-
	lants')	 seniority  should have been fixed  under  the	1941
	rules.	 In any case the 1960 rules could not take away	 the
	right  accrued to them under the rules existing at the	time
	of  their promotion in 1959 and 1957 and that r.  8(iii)  of
	the  1960 rules and r. 33 of the 1970 rules were ultra vires
	Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution.
	    The respondents on the other hand contended that neither
	the  1941 rules nor 1963 rules had any application  to	them
	and  that  under the 1960 rules which  superseded  the	1939
	rules, posts of Deputy Engineers were required to be  filled
	in  by direct recruits and promotees in the ratio  of  75:25
	and  the question of seniority of the appellants  could	 not
	arise  until they were confirmed and their  seniority  fixed
	from  the date of confirmation in terms of r. 8(iii) of	 the
	1960 rules.
	    HELD:I  (a)	 Except	 the Bombay Rules of  1939  and	 the
	Gujarat	 notification dated August 21, 1965 the rest of	 the
	rules  are in the nature of executive  instructions,  which,
	unlike rules regulating recruitment and conditions of  serv-
	ice framed under the proviso of Art. 309 of the Constitution
	or s. 241(2)(b) of the Government of India Act, 1935  cannot
	have  any  retrospective effect.  The rules of	1941,  1960,
	1963, 1965 and 1970 were not framed by the State  Government
	in  the exercise of constitutional or statutory power.	 The
	rules of 1960 and 1970 were issued "By order and in the name
	of the Governor" but  that
	777
	does  not mean that the two sets of rules must be deemed  to
	have  been  made under Art. 309 of  the	 Constitution.	 All
	executive action of the Government of a State is required by
	Art. 166 to be taken in the name of the Governor.
	[790 B-E]
	    (b)	 The  1939 rules have constitutional  authority	 but
	being  rules made "to regulate the methods  of	recruitment"
	they  afford  no  assistance in finding a  solution  to	 the
	problem.  They neither fix a quota for recruitment from	 the
	two avenues nor do they provide in any other manner a  guide
	line  for  fixation of seniority as between  appointees	 re-
	cruited from different sources.	 Rule 10 is beside the point
	because	 the  crux of the promotees' grievance is  not	that
	they are denied opportunities of promotion but that they are
	discriminated against in the matter of seniority in compari-
	son with the direct recruits. [790 E-G]
	    (c)	 The  departmental promotees are being	treated	 un-
	equally	 in the matter of seniority because whereas,  promo-
	tees rank for seniority from the date of their confirmation,
	seniority  of direct recruits is reckoned from the  date  of
	their initial appointment.  The disparity is so glaring that
	though	direct recruits have to successfully complete a	 two
	year  probationary  period before  confirmation,  even	that
	period	is not excluded while counting their  seniority.   A
	promotee  ranks	 below	the direct recruit even	 if  be	 has
	officiated  continuously  as  a Deputy	Engineer  for  years
	before	the  appointment of the direct recruit is  made	 and
	even if the promotees could have been confirmed in an avail-
	able  substantive  vacancy  before the	appointment  of	 the
	direct recruit. [789 B-D]
	    2(a) The 1941 resolution expressly. governed the senior-
	ity of direct recruits and promoted officers in all  provin-
	cial services except the Bombay Service	   Engineers,  Class
	I.  Since Deputy Engineers do  not belong to  Class service,
	their seniority was governed by the Resolution. [791 A]
	    (b)	 The wording of the Resolution leaves no doubt	that
	the  Government of Bombay applied  two different   standards
	for fixing  inter se seniority of direct recruits and promo-
	tees  appointed as Deputy Engineers,  The former were  enti-
	tled to reckon their seniority with  effect from the date of
	their  initial appointment on probation while the  seniority
	of  the	 latter had to be determined with reference  to	 the
	date of their promotion to substantive vacancies subject  to
	the  further qualification that there was no break in  their
	service	 prior	to their confirmation  in  those  vacancies.
	Thus,  for the purposes of seniority, the promotees  had  to
	depend firstly on the availability of substantive  vacancies
	and  secondly on the arbitrary discretion of the  Government
	to  confirm or not to confirm them in those vacancies.	 The
	fact that a substantive vacancy had arisen and was available
	did not proprio vigore, confer any right on the promotee  to
	be confirmed in that vacancy.  The 1941 rules contained	 the
	real  germ  of discrimination because the promotees  had  to
	depend	upon  the unguided pleasure of	the  Government	 for
	orders	of confirmation.  In the pre-Constitution era,	such
	hostile treatment had to be suffered silently as a necessary
	incident of government service. [791 B-D]
	    (c) It is difficult to uphold the claim of the promotees
	that the 1941 rules were modified by the letter dated  Janu-
	ary  11, 1949.	The Chief Secretary's letter cannot  improve
	the promotees' case. [791 G]
	    (d)	 The part of the letter on which the promotees	rely
	deals exclusively with the case of Deputy Collectors   which
	makes  it  difficult to extend the benefit of what  is	said
	therein to Deputy Engineers, working in an entirely  differ-
	ent  branch  of	 government service.   The  Association	 had
	addressed   its	 letter, not to the Ministry  which  handled
	problems  of  Engineering Services, but to the	Ministry  of
	Home  and  Revenue,  the latter of which  was  concerned  to
	consider  the grievance of Deputy Collectors.	The  opening
	sentence   of  paragraph 2 of the  Chief  Secretary's  reply
	shows that he was referring to a class of service in which a
	quota system was then operating, which did not apply  either
	under the 1939 or under the 1941 rules to Engineering  Serv-
	ices. [792 A-C]
	778
	    3(a)  Clause  8(iii) is  highly  discriminatory  against
	promotees  and	accords	 preferential  treatment  to  direct
	recruits and must be struck down as unconstitutional.
	    (b)	 There	is  no Universal rule either  that  a  cadre
	cannot consist of both permanent and temporary employees  or
	that it must consist of both.  That is primarily a matter of
	rules  and regulations governing the particular	 service  in
	relation to which the question regarding the composition  of
	a cadre arises. [793 E]
	    Bishan Sarup Gupta v. Union	 of  India, [1973] 3  S.C.C.
	1  and A. K. Subraman v. Union of India, [1975] 2 S.C.R. 979
	referred to.
	Ganga  Ram  & Ors. v. Union of India, [1970]  3	 S.C.R.	 481
	distinguished.
	    (c) It is difficult to  hold that the officiating Deputy
	Engineers  do	not  belong to Class II of  the	 Bombay	 and
	Gujarat Service of Engineers. [794 A]
	    (d) The contention that in view of cll. (i) and (ii)  of
	r.  8 of the 1960 rules officiating Deputy Engineers do	 not
	belong	to Class Ii cadre of the Bombay and Gujarat  Service
	of  Engineers must be rejected since the point is  concluded
	by  the	 decision of this Court in P.Y. Joshi  v.  State  of
	Maharashtra  [1970]  2 SCR, 615.  It was held in  that	case
	that  the list referred to in cl. (ii) of r. 8 is  the	same
	list  which is referred to in the latter part of cl. (i)  of
	that rule which speaks of "future recruitment".	 Consequent-
	ly  a promoted officiating Deputy Engineer, who belonged  to
	Class  II  cadre,  was held entitled to	 be  considered	 for
	promotion  under r. 7 to the post of  officiating  Executive
	Engineer if he had put in 7 years'  qualifying service.	 The
	eligibility  for promotion did not require that the  offici-
	ating  Deputy  Engineer must have put in  7  years'  service
	after the date of confirmation. [795 B-E]
	    (e) It must necessarily follow that "promotion" with the
	latter part of r. 8(i) relating to future recruitment speaks
	of  means promotion as an officiating Deputy  Engineer	from
	the   Select List prepared  under r.  8(ii).  A person	thus
	promoted  from	the  Select List as  an	 officiating  Deputy
	Engineer  is as full and complete a member of the  Class  II
	cadre  as a person directly appointed as a Deputy  Engineer.
	In  this view of the matter, the prescription contained	  in
	the  closing sentence of r.  8(i)  that "the  number of such
	promotions  shall  be about 1/3rd the number of	 direct	 re-
	cruits	appointed in that year" would apply to	initial	 ap-
	pointments  and cannot govern the confirmation of those	 who
	have  already  been appointed to Class II cadre.   In  other
	words, direct recruits and promotees have to be appointed in
	the  proportion of 75: 25 to Class II cadre, the former	 as,
	Deputy Engineers and the latter as officiating Deputy  Engi-
	neers, but once that is done, the quota rule would cease  to
	apply  with  the result that confirmations in  the  post  of
	Deputy Engineers are not required to be made in the  propor-
	tion in which the initial appointments had to be made.	Thus
	r.  8(i) only requires that for every three direct  recruits
	appointed  as  Deputy. Engineers only one promotee  can	  he
	appointed  as officiating Deputy Engineer.  The rule  cannot
	be  construed to mean that for every three confirmations  of
	Deputy Engineers not more than one promotee can be confirmed
	as Deputy Engineer. [795 F-H, 796 A]
	A.  K. Subraman v. Union of India [1975] 2 S.C.R.  979	fol-
	lowed.
	    (f) Though drawn from two different sources, the  direct
	recruits  and  promotees constitute in the  instant  case  a
	single	integrated cadre.   They discharge  identical  func-
	tions,	bear similar responsibilities and acquire  an  equal
	amount	of experience in their respective assignments.	 Yet
	clause	(iii) of r. 8 provides that  probationers  recruited
	during	any  year shall in a bunch be treated as  senior  to
	promotees confirmed in that year.  This formula gives to the
	direct recruit even the benefit of his one year's period  of
	training  and  another year's period of	 probation  for	 the
	purposes of seniority and denies to promotees the benefit of
	their  long  and  valuable experience.	If  there  was	some
	intelligible  ground for this differentiation bearing  nexus
	with  efficiency in public services, it might  perhaps	have
	been possible to sustain such  a
	779
	  classification.   Instead  of	 adopting  an	intelligible
	differentia,  r. 8 (iii) leaves	 seniority to be  determined
	on the sole touchstone of confirmation. Confirmation is	 one
	of  the inglorious uncertainties of government	service	 de-
	pending	 neither.on efficiency of the incumbent nor  on	 the
	availability of substantive vacancies.
	  In the instant case officiating Deputy Engineers were	 not
	confirmed  even though substantive vacancies were  available
	in which they could have been confirmed. [796 C-G]
	  (g) There is no substance in the plea that direct recruits
	must be given  weightage on the ground that the	 engineering
	services  require  the infusion of new blood since it  is  a
	highly	specialised  service.  Were it	so,  the  Government
	would  not have itself reduced the proportional	 representa-
	tion  gradually	 so  as	  to tilt the scales  in  favour  of
	promotees.  Besides, the plea that engineering	 service  is
	a  specialised service is made not by the Government but  by
	recruits   who are interested in so contending.	 Nor is	 the
	apprehension  justified that  the higher echelons  of  engi-
	neering service will in course of time be manned    predomi-
	nantly by promotees.  Those recruited directly as  Assistant
	Engineers    in Class I can, under the rules,  officiate  as
	Executive  Engineers  after  four  years'  service  and	 are
	eligible  for confirmation as Executive Engineers after	   a
	total  service of 9 years.  Promotees can hardly ever  match
	with that class	 in terms of seniority. [797 A-C]
	B.S.  Gupta v. Union of India [1975] 1 S.C.R. 104  and	V.B.
	Badami	v.   State  of Mysore [1976] 1	S.C.R.	815  distin-
	guished.
	  In the instant case rule 8(ii) adopts seniority-cure-merit
	test for preparing  the state-wise Select List of  seniority
	and  yet cl. (iii) rejects the test  of	  merit	 altogether.
	The vice of that clause is that it leaves the valuable right
	of  seniority to depend upon the mere accident of  confirma-
	tion.	That under  Arts. 14 and 16, is	 impermissible	and,
	therefore,  r. 8(iii) must be	struck	down as	 unconstitu-
	tional. [797 G-H]
	  4. The High Court was right in rejecting the contention of
	the promotees  that the 1963 rules superseded the 1960 rules
	by  implication and, that, therefore, the  State  Government
	had no power or authority to apply the criterion of seniori-
	ty  fixed under the 1960 rules, after their repeal  by	1963
	rules.	The  quota system was the very essence of 1960 rules
	and  if it was desired to   abrogate that system it  is	 un-
	likely that the 1963 rules will not even refer	 to those of
	1960.	The rules of 1941 having been  expressly  superseded
	by   1963 rules, it is difficult to accept that	 along	with
	the  1941  rules the resolution of 1963 would not  have	 re-
	ferred to the 1960 rules also.	Secondly, the  resolution of
	1970 of the Government of Maharashtra expressly	 superseded-
	the  1960  rules which shows that the latter were  in  force
	until 1970 and were  not superseded by the 1963 rules.	 The
	resolution of 1970 refers to all previous resolutions except
	the resolution of 1963 which shows that the latter  was	 not
	applicable to engineering services. [798 C-E]
	      5.  Rules 33 of the 1970 rules in so far as  it  makes
	seniority   dependent  upon the fortuitous  circumstance  of
	confirmation, is open to the same objection as r. 8(iii)  of
	the 1960 rules and must be struck down for identical rea
	sons. [800 A-B]
	     6. The circulars dated January 12, 1961, March 15, 1963
	and October 18, 1968 which the promotees want to be enforced
	were  issued  by  the Finance Department and  being  in	 the
	nature	of  inter-departmental	communications	they  cannot
	confer any right on the promotees. [800 A-B]
	     7.	 The  High Courts were right on the  view  that	 the
	rules  under consideration do not in any manner violate	 the
	provisions  of	the Bombay Reorganisation Act. 11  of  1966.
	[800-B]
	     8.	 The  argument in the Gujarat  Writ  Petitions	that
	though	originally  the	 1960 rules were in  the  nature  of
	executive instructions they have acquired a statutory  force
	and character by reason of their amendment by the rules of
	780
	1965  was  rightly rejected by the High Court,	because	 all
	that was done by the 1965 rules was to introduce a new rule,
	r.  10, in the 1960 rules.  The rules of 1960  were  neither
	reiterated  nor reenacted by the rules of 1965; and the	 new
	rule  introduced  into the rules of 1960 is not	 of  such  a
	character  as to compel the inference that  the	 rule-making
	authority  had applied its mind to the rules of 1960 with  a
	view to adopting them. [798 G-H, 799 A]
	Bachan	Singh v. Union of India, A.I.R. 1973 S.C. 441  inap-
	plicable.



JUDGMENT:

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: C.A. No. 1113 of 1974. (From the Judgment and Order dated the 15/16/17-1-1974 of the Bombay High Court in S.C.A. No. 815 of 1972) AND CA No. 242 of 1974 (From the Judgment and order dated the 14-7-1973 of the Gujarat High Court in S.C.A. No. 1418 of 1971). C. As. Nos. 285-287 of 1974.

(From the Judgment and Order dated the 14-7-1973 of the Gujarat High Court in S.C.A. No. 1418/71, 422/70 & 1099/69 respectively).

K. K Singhvi in CA 1113/74, ,4. K. Garg, S.C. Agarwal and V.J. Francis for the appellants in CAs 1113/and 242/74 & for respondents Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6-13 in CA No. 285, Rr. 2-18 in CA 286 and for Rr. 3, 7, 16-23, 28 and 33, 35-39, 41-43 and 45 in CA 287/74.

M.C. Bhandare and M.N. Shroff, for respondent's 1 and 2 in CA 1113/74.

M.V. Paranjpe, M.K. Joshi, K. Rajendra Choudhary and Mrs. Veena Devi, for respondent No. 3 in CA No. 1113/74. M.K. Ramamurthi, Vimal Dave and Miss Kailash Mehta, for the appellants in CAs 285 to 287774 and for the respondents No. 2 and 3 in CA 242/74.

D.V. Patel, in CA 285 to 287/74, P.H. Parekh and M.N. Shroff for the respondent No. 1 in CAs Nos. 242/74 and 285 to 287 of 1974.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by CHANDRACHUD, J.--This is a group of five appeals, one from Maharashtra and four from Gujarat. They involve substantially identical questions and since the appeal from the judgment of the Bombay High Court was argued as the main appeal, we will refer 'to the facts of that appeal and indicate at appropriate places if there is any material difference between those facts and the facts leading to the Gujarat appeals. Civil Appeal No. 1113 of 1974 from Maha- rashtra is by certificate granted by the High Court of Bombay under Art. 133(1) (a) & (b) of the Constitution. Civil Appeals Nos. 242 and 285-287 of 1974 from Gujarat are also by certificate granted by the Gujarat High Court under art. 133(1) of the Constitution.

Special Civil Application No. 815 of 1972 which has given rise to Civil Appeal No. 1113 of 1974 was disposed of by a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court by its judg- ment dated 15th, 16th and 17th January, 1974. The four Gujarat appeals arise out of 781 Special Civil Applications Nos. 1099 of 1969, 422 of 1970 and 1418 of 1971 which were disposed of by a Full Bench of the Gujarat High Court by its judgment dated July 14, 1973.

The complexity of the questions involved in these ap- peals has been expressed by the Bombay High Court by saying that the writ petitions before it involved "ticklish and complicated questions" and by the Gujarat High Court by saying that though it had many occasions to consider complex problems pertaining to service laws, there was "no case comparable" to the writ petitions filed before it in the instant case. The learned Chief Justice (Bhagwati, J.) who delivered the judgment of the Full Bench obserVes that these questions of "unrivailed complexity" had caused considerable anxiety to the Court in reaching a satisfactory conclusion. We share this anxiety which is further heightened by the diametrically opposite and entirely inconsistent stands taken by the State governments from time to time. Evidently, the State governments did not know their own mind and being unable to take up a firm and consistent stand, they defended the various Writ petitions filed against them by their employees according to the mood of the passing moment. That must be deprecated.

The appeals raise the familiar question of seniority in service, the competing groups being promotees on the one hand and direct recruits on the other, to the posts of Deputy Engineers. The writ petitions were filed and de- fended by the rival groups in a representative capacity so that, our decision will bind not only the parties thereto but all others whom, under the relevant provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, they were permitted to represent. Taking the facts of the Maharashtra case, the two appel- lants therein were. initially recruited as Overseers in 1953 and were promoted temporarily as Deputy Engineers, in Janu- ary 1959 and October 1957 respectively. They were con- firmed as Deputy Engineers after the coming into force of certain rules framed on February 19, 1970. The 1st respondent to the appeal is the State of Maharashtra. The 2nd and 3rd respondents were appointed directly on probation as Deputy Engineers. They are Engineering Graduates but so are the appellants. Respondents 2 and 3 qualified for direct appointment after passing a competitive examination in 1963 and 1959 respectively. They were confirmed two years later, in 1965 and 1961 respectively.

The grievance of the appellants is that notwithstanding the length of their continuous service as Deputy Engineers since 1959 and 1957, respondents 2 and 3 were shown as senior to them in the Cadre of Deputy Engineers though they were appointed later in 1963 and 1959 respectively. 'The appellants claim that their seniority should have been fixed under the rules framed by the then Government of Bombay on November 21, 1941 as clarified by the Chief Secretary to that Government by his letter dated January 11, 1949. According to them, the rules flamed by the Maharashtra Government on April 29, 1960 cannot take away the right which had accrued to them under the rules existing fat the time of their promotion in 1959 and 1957. They challenge the validity of rule 8(iii) of the 1960 rules and of rule 33 of the 1970 rules aS being violative of Arts. 14 and 16 of the 782 Constitution. They also challenge the 1970 rules on the ground that they lack approval of the Central Government, thereby violating the proviso to s.81 (6) of the Bombay State Reorganisation Act of 1960. According to the appel- lants, the 1960 rules were superseded by the rules dated July 29, 1963 and still the State Government continued to apply the defunct rules of 1960. On these grounds, broad- ly, the appellants filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court on behalf of themselves and all those promoted as Deputy Engineers in Class II of the Maharashtra Engineering Service.

Putting it as briefly as one may, the, sum and substance of the stand taken by respondents 2 and 3 is that neither the 1941 rules nor the 1963 rules are applicable to employ- ees in Maharashtra Engineering Service. The posts of Deputy Engineers, according to them and according to the State of Maharashtra, were required to be filled in by direct recruits and promotees in the ratio of 75 : 25 under the 1960 rules which had super-

seded the earlier rules of 1939. Therefore, ac- cording to them, the question of seniority of the appellants could not possibly arise until they were con- firmed, and seniority has to be fixed from the respective dates of confirmation in terms of rule 8(iii) of the 1960 rules. The Government of Maharashtra contended that the confirmation of appellants depended necessarily on the availability of vacancies allotable to them within the quota of 25% of the total vacancies, and delay in passing orders of confirmation was inevitably caused by the fact that the number of officiating Deputy Engineers was much too large. In order to rectify the somewhat unsatisfactory position, the State Government, according to its contention, framed the 1970 rules, altering the ratio of direct recruits and promotees from 75: 25 to 34: 66, as a result of which sever- al promotees were confirmed. Even prior to that, according to the State Government, whenever vacancies occurred in the substantive posts which were required to be filled is ac- cording to the prescribed ratio, those vacancies were duly filled in from amongst the officiating Deputy Engineers and they were given anterior dates of, confirmation with effect from the dates when the vacancies had actually occurred. The respondents disputed that rule 8(iii) of the 1960 rules and rule 33 of 1970 rules were unconstitutional or otherwise invalid.

Before examining the merits of these contentions it would be necessary, for a proper understanding of the issues involved in the case, to set out briefly the history of the Engineering Service and the background in which the various rules came to be framed.

The Engineering Service in the then province 'of Bombay consisted, prior to 1937, of (i) the Indian Engineering Service which was an All India Service, (ii) the Bombay Subordinate Service of Engineers, (iii)Supervisors, both permanent and temporary, and (iv) temporary Engineers, appointed annually. The Bombay Subordinate Service of Engineers consisted of non-gazetted Class III employees, in which 2 posts used to be filled in annually by direct re- cruitment on the basis of the results of the examination held for Diploma in Civil Engineering. The remaining posts used to be filled in by promotion from the 783 rank of temporary Overseers. On March 22, 1937 the Govern- ment of Bombay in the Public Works Department passed a resolution reorganizing the Engineering Service. This resolution contemplated the creation of two new Provincial Engineering Services to be designated as Bombay Engineering Service Class I and Bombay Engineering Service Class 1I. The cadre strength of Class I Service was fixed initially at 36 while that of Class II Service was fixed at 80. Class I Service comprised the apex posts of Chief Engineer, Superin- tending Engineer and Executive Engineer, and the junior posts of Assistant Engineers. Class II Service consisted of Deputy Engineers only.

On September 21, 1939 the Government of Bombay passed a resolution adopting rules for regulating the methods of recruitment to the posts of Assistant Engineers and Execu- tive Engineers in Class I Service and the posts of Deputy Engineers in Class II Service. These rules were made by the Governor of Bombay in exercise of the powers conferred by s. 241(2) (b) of the Government of India Act 1935 and were called: "Recruitment Rules of the Bombay Service of Engi- neers (Class 1 and Class II)." The rules appear at Item 53 is Section V of A endix C to the Bombay Civil Services Classification and Recruitment Rules under the heading "Bombay Service of Engineers."

Rule 2 of the 1939 Rules laid down the method of re- cruitment to the Bombay Service. of Engineers, Class I, by providing that such recruitment was to be made either (a) by nomination under the guarantee given to the College of Engineering, Poona, or (b) by promotion from the existing Bombay Service of Engineers or from the Bombay Service of Engineers Class II. Rule 3 provided that as regards the recruitment from source (a), such number of appointments as may be fixed by the Government from time to. time would be made from amongst the students of the College of Engineer- ing, Poona, who had passed the examination for the Degree of B.E. (Civil) in First Class. The candidates. so recruited by nomination were to be appointed in the first instance as Assistant Engineers on probation for two years and on completion of the probationary period, they Were to be confirmed as Assistant Engineers.

Rule 10 of the 1939 Rules prescribed the method of recruitment to the Bombay Service of Engineers Class II. It provided that recruitment of Class II service shall be made either (a) by nomination under rule 11 under the guar- antee given to the College of Engineering, Poona, or (b) by promotion from any of the three prescribed sources. Those sources were (1 ) the Bombay Subordinate Engineering Serv- ice, ( 2 ) Permanent or temporary Supervisors and ( 3 ) Temporary Engineers appointed on annual sanction. Rule 11 provided that such number of appointments as may be fixed by the Government from time to time shall be made annually from amongst the students of the College of Engineering, Poona, who have passed the examination for the Degree of B.E. (Civil). Every such candidate recruited by nomination was required by rule 14 to serve intially as a "candidate" for one year on the expiry of which period he would be appointed as a Deputy Engineer on probation for one year. On the satisfactory completion of the probationary period, the candidate would be eligible for confirmation as a Deputy Engineer.

784

The guarantee envisaged by rules 2(a) and 10(a) of the 1939 rules was given by the Government to the students of the College of Engineering, Poona, under a resolution dated July 12, 1940. The guarantee operated in different measures until it was finally withdrawn by a resolution dated May 27, 1947. The last batch of students who obtained the benefit of the guarantee were those that passed the examination for the Degree of B.E. (Civil) in 1949.

By a resolution dated November 25, 1950 the Government of Bombay appointed a Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri Gurjar to examine the, question of future recruitment to Engineering Services, Classes I and II. That Committee submitted its recommendations to the Government after prolonged deliberations but since the implementation of the recommendations had to be deferred, the Government started making appointments to both classes of services by direct recruitment through the Public Service Commission. Such appointments were made from the year 1950. As stated earli- er, the cadre strength of Class I and Class II Services was fixed initially at 36 and 80 permanent posts respectively. But with the launching of new development projects, the strength of both cadres had to be expanded from time to time by addition to the permanent posts. In fact, for an early and effective achievement of the target it became necessary to make appointments of several temporary Execu- tive Engineers and Deputy Engineers. On November 1, 1956 there were 360 temporary posts of Deputy Engineers as against 200 permanent posts. By April 29, 1960 these numbers had risen respectively to 600 and 400. One of, the bones of contention between the parties is whether these temporary posts of Deputy Engineers were additions to Class II cadre, even if temporary, or whether the temporary posts were wholly outside the cadre of Class II Service. It is neces- sary to mention at this stage that appointments as officiat- ing Deputy Engineers to such temporary posts were made by promotion from amongst the members of the Bombay Subordinate Service of Engineers as also from amongst permanent and temporary Supervisors. But no direct appointments were made by the Government to these temporary posts of officiat- ing Deputy Engineers. The direct appointments were made only to permanent posts because such appointees were prom- ised confirmation after two years from the date of appoint- ment, during which period they were expected to complete their probation.

On April 29, 1960 the Government of Bombay in the Public Works Department passed a resolution embodying rules of recruitment to Bombay Service of Engineers Class I and Class II. These rules continued the existing division of Engineering Services into Class I and Class II and they provided that appointments to both classes of service should be made by nomination as well as by promotion. As regards appointments by nomination it was provided that they should be made through competitive examination held by the Public Service Commission and that for both the classes of service there should be a common examination. Candidates recruited directly were to be confirmed after two years in their respective cadres, if otherwise found fit. The resolution of 1960 was signed by Under Secretary to the Government, "By order and in the name of the 'Governor of Bombay."

785

The rules regarding recruitment to Class I and Class II Engineering Service were set out in the Appendix to the 1960 Resolution. Rule 1 of those rules provided that appointments to both classes of services shall be made either by nomina- tion after a competitive examination held by the Public Service Commission or by promotion from amongst the members of the lower cadres concerned, provided however that the ratio of appointments by nomination and promotion shall, as far as practicable, be 75: 25. By rule 2, candidates ap- pointed to either of the services by nomination were to be on probation for two years. They were to serve, in the first instance, as Trainees for a period not exceeding one year and thereafter they were to be placed in a probationary capacity in charge of a sub-division for a period of not less than one year. On the expiry of the aforesaid period of two years they were to be confirmed as Assistant Engi- neers in Class I or as Deputy Engineers in Class II, as the case may be, if favourably reported upon by their superiors. Rule 2 further provided that Assistant Engineer would be confirmed as Executive Engineer after 9 years' service unless the period was extended by the Government. Under rule 3, candidates securing higher places in the competi- tive examinations were to be appointed in Class I service according to the number of vacancies declared for such recruitment in that cadre while candidates securing the next higher places were to be offered appointments to Class II service. Rule 6 of the 1960 Rules read thus:

"6. (i) The number of posts to be filled in the Bombay Service of Engineers, Class I, by promotion of officers from the Bombay Service of Engineers Class II shall be about 25 per cent of the total number of superior posts, in the Bombay Service of Engineers, Class I cadre. This percentage 'should be aimed at for confirmations made after 1st November, 1956, subject of course, to Class II officers of the requisite fitness and length. of serv- ice being available.
(ii) For absorption into Class I, a Class II officer must be in the permanent Bombay Service of Engineers, Class II cadre, should have at least 15 years' service to his credit in Class II in temporary and permanent capacities, and should be holding an officiat- ing divisional rank, at the time of such absorption. On such absorption, the Class II officer shall be confirmed as an Executive Engineer.
(iii) The seniority of the Class II promo- tees shall be fixed below the bunch of the Assistant Engineers, any one of whom is duo for confirmation as Executive Engineer during the calendar year, provided that an Class II promotee shall be placed senior to a direct recruit to Class I Assistant Engineer who has been officiating as Executive Engineer from a date earlier than the class II promo- tee. In the latter ease, the Class II promo- tee though holding a post and lien as a confirmed Executive Engineer shall be 786 shown both under Permanent Executive Engineers and also along with the directly recruited Class I Assistant Engineers, with a suitable remark under the permanent Executive Engi- neers list. This is also subject to further conditions as in paragraph 7 below."

In spite of the provisions contained in rules 2 and 6, sufficient number of direct recruits ,to Class I service were not available, which caused the apprehension that for the next few years it may not be possible to fill 75% of the superior posts from amongst direct recruits to Class I. In order to meet this. situation, it was provided by rule 7 that, as far as possible, promotions as officiating Execu- tive Engineers shall be so made that the promotee under consideration from Class II has to his credit at least 6 years' longer service than a promotee under consideration from Class I, subject, generally, to the condition that a Class I officer shall not hold a divisional rank at less than 4, and a Class II officer at less than 7 years' serv- ice. Clause (iii) of rule 7 emphasised that if any promo- tions were made from Class. II to Class I service to the confirmed posts of Executive Engineers beyond the quota available to Class II service personnel, there, would have to be a consequent reduction in the promotion of Class II employee.s to Class I appointments in the following years in order to work up the overall percentage of 75:25. Clause

(iv) of rule 7 provided that if any confirmation is made from the bunch of temporary Executive Engineers. who had no lien on any cadre, such confirmation shah be counted against the quota of 25% which was meant for the non-direct recruits to Class I service.

Since the challenge to the vires of rule 8(iii) has occupied the best part of the arguments and since the High Court of Bombay and Gujarat have differed on that question it would be necessary to set out the whole of rule 8.

"8. (i) The Sub-Divisional posts in the Department are at present manned by direct recruits. to Bombay Service of Engineers, Class II cadre, Deputy Engineers confirmed from subordinate Service of Engineers, the temporary Deputy Engineers recruited by the Bombay Public Service Commission, Officiating Deputy Engineers and similar other categories.. These various categories are being compiled into two lists only, viz. Bombay Service of Engineers Class 11 cadre of permanent Deputy Engineers and a list of officiating Deputy Engineers. The future recruitment to Bombay Service of Engineers, Class II cadre, shall be made by nomination of candidates recruited direct by competitive examination, held by the Commission and by promotion from the list of officiating Deputy Engineers. The number of such promotions shall be about one third the number of direct recruits appointed in that year.
(ii) All direct recruitment, of temporary Deputy Engineers having been stopped, further officiating vacancies will be 787 manned from the ranks of the subordinate Service of Engineers. For this purpose, a State wide Select Seniority list will be maintained of members of the Subordinate Service of Engineers cadre, considered fit to hold sub-divisional charges. The list shall be compiled as on 30th June each year. For inclusion in this list, a graduate shall have to, his credit not less than 3, a Diploma holder not less than 8, and a non-qualified person not less than 13 years' service as Overseer.
For confirmation as a Deputy Engineer, the officer would be expected to have put in not less than 3 years' service as officiating Deputy Engineer.
(iii). The probationers recruited directly to the Bombay Service of Engineers, Class II cadre in any year shall, in a bunch, be placed senior to promotees confirmed during that year."

The Rules of 1960 were made by the Government of Bombay on April 29, 1960 and within two days thereafter, that is, on May 1, 1960 State of Bombay was bifurcated into the States of Maharashtra and Gujarat. With a view to avoiding any administrative difficulty, the Government of Gujarat passed a resolution on May 1, 1960 providing that all rules, regulations, circulars, etc. prevailing in the former State of Bombay will continue to operate in the new State of Gujarat until changed or modified by that Government. The Rules of 1960 were amended by the Government of Gujarat by a notification dated August 21, 1965 issued in the exer- cise of powers conferred by the proviso to art. 309 of the Constitution. By that notification, the Government of Gujarat introduced a new clause, clause 10, in the Rules of 1960 providing that candidates selected through the competi- tive examination and appointed to posts in the Gujarat Service of Engineers, Class I and Class II, shall if so required, be liable to serve in any Defence Service or post connected with the defence of India, provided that such a candidate shall not be required to serve as aforesaid after the expiry of ten years from the date of his appointment or after attaining the age of 40 years. The terms of this Gujarat amendment are not the subject of controversy but it became necessary to refer to the amendment since it is argued that even if the Rules of 1960, being in the nature of executive instructions, did not have statutory force, those rules acquired a statutory character by being recognised and amended by the notification of August 21, 1965 which was issued under the proviso to art, 309 of the Constitution.

On the bifurcation of the State of Bombay, 181 permanent and 220 temporary posts of Deputy Engineers were allocated to the state of Gujarat. In practice however, 99 permanent posts of Deputy Engineers were vacant in the State of Guja- rat against which confirmation had to be made by that Gov- ernment. Some of the Deputy Engineers who were promoted to those posts from lower ranks were also allocated to the Stare of Gujarat and several of them having 788 completed three years' qualifying service had become eligi- ble for confirmation under rule 8(ii) of the 1960 Rules. But they were denied confirmation in spite of their long service and in spite of the existence of clear vacancies in substantive posts of Deputy Engineers. Since the quantum of pension also depended in those days on the average substan- tive pay, the denial of confirmations to the promotee Deputy Engineers led to great dissatisfaction amongst them. Some, who had officiated in those appointments for several years, had to retire without being confirmed. On March 28, 1961 the Government of Gujarat passed an order provisionally confirming 37 officiating Deputy Engineers with effect from May 1, 1960. On August 7 1968 it confirmed another batch of 26 officiating Deputy Engineers with retrospective effect from May 1, 1960 and directed that the order of provisional confirmation dated March 28, 1961 shall be treated as final.

In so far as the Gujarat appeals are concerned there are no further rules or resolutions to be considered. But the Government of Maharashtra issued two. resolutions after the bifurcation of the State of Bombay. On July 29, 1963 it passed a resolution laying down principles of seniority and on December 19, 1970 it passed a resolution superseding the resolution passed by the Government of Bombay on April 29, 1960. Rule 33 of the 1970 rules provides:

"Seniority
33. There shall be two parts of the seniority list in each cadre in Class I and Class 11 viz. Part A of confirmed officers and Part B of those who are not confirmed.
(a) In Part A the names shall be arranged with reference to the year of confirmation.
(b) The confirmed officers shall be treated as senior to the unconfirmed Officers in the respective cadre.
(c) In Part B of the seniority list of any cadre, the names shall be arranged with refer- ence to the date of continuous officiation except where a promotion in an officiating capacity was by way of purely temporary or local arrangement."

In Gujarat, there are no resolutions corresponding to, those of 1963 and 1970 issued by the Maharashtra Government. Civil Appeal No. 1113 of 1974 by the promotees arises court of the judgment dated January 17, 1974 of the Bombay High Court dismissing SpeCial Civil Application No. 815, of 1972 filed by them against the State and the direct re- cruits. Four Special Civil Applications were filed in the Gujarat High Court which were disposed of by it by a common judgment dated July14, 1973. S.C. As. Nos. 1099 of 1969. 422 of1970 and 957 of 1970 were filed by the direct recruits while S.C.A. No. 1480 of 1971 was filed by the promotees.' The promotees failed in the Bombay High Court but succeeded in the Gujarat High Court. Both the High Courts have granted certificates of fitness for filing appeals in tiffs Court.

789

Before us, Mr. K.K. Singhvi and Mr. R.K. Garg appeared for the promotees while Mr. M.V. Paranjpe and Mr. M.K. Ramamurti appeared for the direct recruits. Mr. M.C. Bhandare appeared for the State of Maharashtra and Mr. D.V. Patel for the State of Gujarat. Mr. Patel took a non- contentious attitude, which highlights how difficult it was for the State counsel to support any particular cause in view of the shifting stand taken up by both the State Gov- ernments from time to time.

Several points were raised be,fore us and a large number of decisions were cited in support thereof, but the main question for decision in these appeals is whether departmen- tal promotees and direct recruits appointed as Deputy Engi- neers in the Engineering Services of the Governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat belong to the same class so that they must be treated with an even hand or whether they belong to different classes or categories and can justifia- bly be treated unequally. Concededly, they are being treated unequally in the matter of seniority because whereas, promo- tees rank for seniority from the date of their confirmation the seniority of direct recruits is reckoned from the date of their initial appointment. The disparity is indeed so glaring that though direct recruits have to successfully complete a two years' probationary period before confirma- tion, even that period is not excluded while counting their seniority. A promotee ranks below the direct recruit even if he has officiated continuously as Deputy Engineer for years before the appointment of the direct recruit is made and even if he, the promotee, could have been confirmed in an available substantive vacancy before the appointment of the direct recruit.

Learned counsel for the direct recruits have stoutly defended the preferential treatment accorded to them by contending, inter alia, that since the promotees do. not belong to Class II service until they are confirmed, they have no fight to. rank for seniority along with the direct recruits who enter that class or cadre on the very date of their initial appointment. The fact that the Government did not confirm a particular promotee even though a substan- tive vacancy was available in which he could have been confirmed cannot, according to the direct recruits, make any difference to that position.

For facilitating a proper understanding of this problem it is necessary to take bird's eye-view of the various rules and resolutions which were passed by the two State Govern- ments, most of which we have already noticed. In this be- half, attention has to be called particularly to: (1) The rules framed by the Government of Bombay on September 21, 1939 under s. 241 (2)(b).of the Government of India Act, 1935; (2) The rules framed by the Government of Bombay on November 21, 1941 regarding fixation of seniority (3) The letter dated January 11, 1949 written by the Chief Secra- tary, Government of Bombay, to the Honorary Secretary, Bombay Civil Service Association: (4) The Resolution of the Government Of Bombay dated April 29, 1960 containing Rules regarding recruitment of Class I and Class II Engineering Services and regarding fixation of seniority; (5) The 790 Resolution of the Government of Maharashtra dated July 29, 1963 laying down principles of seniority; (6) The Notifi- cation dated August 21, 1965 issued by the Government of Gujarat under the proviso to. art. 309 of the Constitu- tion, introducing clause 10 in the Rules of 1960; (7) The Resolution of the Government of Maharashtra dated December 19, 1970 superseding the Resolution of April 29, 1950 and framing new rules of seniority; and (8) The Circulars dated January 12, 1961, March 15, 1963 and October 18, 1968 issued by the Government of Maharashtra, converting a cer- tain number of temporary posts into permanent posts from time to time.

It is common ground that except the Bombay Rules dated September 21, 1939 and the Gujarat Notification dated August 21, 1965 the rest of the rules are in the nature of execu- tive instructions. The Rules of 1941, 1960, 1963, 1965 and 1970 were not framed by the State Government concerned in the exercise of constitutional or statutory power. The Rules of 1960 and 1970 were issued "By order and in the name of the Governor," but that does not lend support to the construction faintly suggested on behalf of the direct recruits that the two sets of rules must be deemed to have been made under art. 309 of the Constitution. All execu- tive action of the Government of a Stale is required by art. 166 of the Constitution to be taken in the name of the Governor. The appeals have therefore to be disposed of on the basis that except for the Bombay rules dated September 21, 1939 and the Gujarat Notification dated August 21, 1965 the remaining rules, whether of recruitment or of seniority, are in the nature of executive instructions. These in- structions, unlike rules regulating recruitment and condi- tions of service framed under the proviso to art. 309 of the Constitution or s. 241(2)(b) of the Government of India Act, 1936, cannot have any retrospective effect. The 1939 rules called "Recruitment Rules of the Bombay Service of Engineers (Class I and Class II)" have constitu- tional authority but being rules made to regulate the methods of recruitment", they afford no assistance in finding a solution to the rival claims to seniority laid by the promotees and direct recruits. The rules neither fix a quota for recruitment from the two, avenues nor do they provide, in any other manner, a guideline for fixation of seniority as between appointees recruited from different sources. Rule 10 on which the promotees rely as affording to them a guarantee in the matter of promotion is also beside the point because the crux of their grievance is not that they are denied opportunities of promotion but that they are discriminated against in the matter of seniority in comparison with the direct recruits.

By its resolution dated November 21, 1941 the Government of Bombay, Political and services Department, directed that in the case of direct recruits appointed substantively on probation, the seniority should be determined with reference to the date of appointment on probation while in the case of officers promoted to "substantive vacancies", the seniority should be determined with reference to the date of their promotion to the substantive vacancies, pro- vided there has been no break in their service prior to their confirmation in those vacancies. This Reso- lution expressly 791 governed the seniority of direct recruits and promoted officers in all provincial services except the Bombay Serv- ice of Engineers, Class I Since Deputy Engineers do not belong to Class I Service, their seniority was governed by the Resolution. The wording of the Resolution leaves no doubt that the Government of Bombay applied: two different standards for fixing inter se seniority of direct recruits and promotees appointed as Deputy Engineers. The former were entitled to reckon their seniority with effect from the. date of their initial appointment on probation while the seniority of the latter had to be determined with reference to the date of their promotion to, substantive vacancies, subject to the further qualification that there was no break in their service prior to their confirmation in those vacancies. Thus, for purposes of seniority, the promo- tees had to depend firstly on the availability of substan- tive vacancies and secondly on the arbitrary discretion of the Government to confirm or not to confirm them in those vacancies. The fact that a substantive vacancy had arisen and was available did not, proprio vigore, confer any right on the promotee to be confirmed in that vacancy. The 1941 Rules contained the real germ of discrimination because the promotees had to depend upon the unguided pleasure of the Government for orders of confirmation. In the pre-Consti- tution era, such hostile treatment had to be suffered si- lently as a necessary incident of government service. It is curious that though the 1941 rules expressly recite that the principles contained therein should be observed in determining the seniority of direct recruits and promoted officers in the provincial Services except the Class I Bombay Service of Engineers, Shri L.M. Ajgaonkar, Deputy Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra says in his affidavit dated July 25, 1973 that in practice the Rules of 1941 were never applied to Class II officers in the Engineering Service and that their seniority used to be determined by the same rules by which the seniority of Class I officers was determined. It is difficult to accept this bare statement which is not even supported by a proper verification. Shri Ajgaonkar's affidavit contains an omni- bus and rolled-up clause of verification at the end, which detracts from the weight of his assertion.

Turning next to the letter dated January 11, 1949 writ- ten by the Chief Secretary, Government of Bombay, to the Honorary Secretary, Bombay Civil Service Association, we find it difficult to uphold the claim of the _promotees that the Rules of 1941 were modified by that letter. The letter was written in answer to, the representation dated July 28, 1948 made by the Bombay Civil Service Association to, the Government of Bombay regarding emergency recruitment to the Indian Administrative service and "other matters". Paragraph 2 of the letter says that promotees can have no grievance in the matter of seniority since the seniority of a direct recruit to the cadre of "Deputy Collectors" vis-a- vis a promoted officer is determined not according to the date of confirmation but according to the principles laid down in the Rules of 1941, i.e. with reference to the date of first appointment on probation in the case of direct recruits and of continious officiation in the ease of pro- moted officers. In the first place, 792 this part of the letter on which the promotees rely deals expressly and exclusively with the case of Deputy Collectors which makes it difficult, without any further data, to extend the benefit of what is said therein to Deputy Engi- neers, working in an entirely different branch of govern- ment service. The Chief Secretary's letter is a reply to the Association's letter which the promotees did not pro- duce. The Association had addressed its letter not to the Ministry which handled problems of Engineering Services but to the Ministry of Home and Revenue, the latter of which was concerned to consider the grievance of Deputy Collectors. Lastly the opening sentence of paragraph 2 of the Chief Secretary's reply shows that he was referring to a class of service in which a quota system was then operating. Admit- tedly, the quota system properly so-called, did not apply either under the 1939 or under the 1941 rules to Engineering Services. The Chief Secretary's reply cannot, therefore improve the promotees' case. But we disapprove that instead of explaining the circumstances in which the reply was sent, the State Government should merely say through Shri Ajgaon- kar's affidavit that it craves "leave to refer" to the reply for its "true effect". The Government could surely have produced the letter of the Association which would have set this part of the controversy at rest.

That takes us to the 1960 Rules which are the meat of the matter. We have already extracted rules 6 and 8 fully but it will be necessary to recapitulate briefly the scheme of the 1960 rules. Under these rules, the,ratio of ap- pointment by nomination and promotion of both Class I and Class II Engineering Services was fixed, as far as practica- ble, at 75: 25. Candidates appointed by nomination, i.e. direct recruits, were to be on probation for two years out of which, normally, one year was to be spent on training. On satisfactory completion of probation, the direct recruits were to be confirmed as Assistant Engineers in Class I or as Deputy Engineers in Class II, as the case may be. For ab- sorption in Class I, a Class II officer had to be in the permanent Bombay Service of Engineers, Class II cadre. He was further required to have at least 15 years' service to his credit in Class II in temporary and permanent capaci- ties. In addition to these qualifications, he has to be holding, at the time of his absorption in Class 1, an offi- ciating divisional rank. On such absorption the Class II officer was to be confirmed as an Executive Engineer. The Rules of 1960 show that the seniority of Class II promotees was to be fixed below the bunch of Assistant Engineers, any one of whom was due for confirmation as an Executive Engi- neer during the calendar year. But no Class II promotee could be placed above a direct recruit recruited to Class I, who was officiating as Executive Engineer from a date earlier than the Class II promotee, Rule 8(1) says that the various categories which manned the Class I sub-divisional posts were being compiled into. two lists: (i) One list of Bombay Service of Engineers Class 1I cadre of permanent Deputy Engineers and (ii) the other list of officiating Deputy Engineers. The future recruit- ment to Class II cadre was to be made by (a) nomination of candidates recruited directly by competitive examination and

(b) promotion from the list of officiating Deputy Engineers, 793 in the ratio of 2/3rd and 1/3rd respectively. After recit- ing that direct recruitment of temporary Deputy Engineers was stopped, rule 8(ii) provides that further officiating vacancies would be manned from the ranks of the Subordi- nate Service of Engineers. For this purpose a statewise Select Seniority List was to be maintained of members to the Subordinate Service of Engineers, considered fit to hold subdivisional charge. For inclusion in this list graduates, diploma holders and non-qualified persons had to have to their credit Service of not less than 3, 8 and 13 years respectively. For confirmation as a Deputy Engineer the officer was expected to have put in not less than three years' service as officiating Deputy Engineer. Then comes the much-debated clause (iii) of rule 8:

"(iii) The probationers recruited directly to the Bombay Service of Engineers, Class II cadre in any year shall, in a bunch, be placed senior to promotees con- firmed during that year.

It is patent that this clause is highly discriminatory against promotees and accords a preferential treatment to direct recruits. Its principal justification is said to be that persons who are promoted as officiating Deputy Engi- neers do not belong to Class II cadre so long as they are not confirmed as Deputy Engineers, whereas direct recruits appointed on probation as Deputy Engineers enter that class or cadre on the very date of their appointment since, on satisfactory completion of probation, confirmation is gua- ranteed to them. This contention needs careful examination. There is no universal rule, either that a cadre cannot consist of both permanent and temporary employees or that it must consist of both.' That is primarily a matter of rules and regulations governing the particular service in relation to which the question regarding the composition of a cadre arises. For example, in Bishan Sarup Gupta v. Union of India(1) the cadre of Income Tax officers Class I, Grade II was held by this Court to consist of both permanent and temporary pests. Similarly, in A.K. Subraman v. Union of India, (2) while holding that the cadre of Executive Engi- neers in Class I Central Engineering Service consisted both of permanent and temporary posts, it was pointed out by this Court that a cadre may consist of permanent posts only or "sometimes, as is quite common these days, also of temporary posts". Counsel for direct recruits relied upon a decision of this Court in Ganga Ram & Others v. Union of India(3) for showing that a cadre cannot consist of temporary posts but that decision rested on the finding, arising out of the rules contained in the Indian Railway Establishment Manual, that direct recruits and promotees constitute different classes. The question which we have to consider at this stage is not whether direct recruits and promotees appointed as Deputy Engineers in the Bombay and Gujarat service of Engineers belong to different classes but Whether officiat- ing Deputy Engineers belong to class II cadre at all. (1) [1973] 3 S.C.C. 1 (2) [1975] 2 S.C.R. 979 (3) [1970] 3 S.C.R. 481 794 On the state of the record in the Bombay and Gujarat appeals, such as it is, we find it difficult to hold that officiating Deputy Engineers do not belong to Class 1I cadre of the Bombay and Gujarat Service of Engineers. In the Maharashtra writ petition, 815 of 1972, as many as four affidavits. were filed on behalf of the State Government by Shri L.M. Ajgaonkar. These are dated July 25, December 17, December 21, 1973 and January 17, 1974. The question whether officiating Deputy Engineers belong to Class II cadre was of the essence of the dispute in the High Court and was squarely raised by the promotees. Yet, in none of the affidavits did the State Government say that they did not belong to Class II cadre. The last affidavit dated January 17, 1974 was filed after the High Court had dictated its judgment in open Court for three days, and even then the affidavit is significantly silent on the question. The only explanation of this can be that according to the State Government, officiating Deputy Engineers belong to Class II cadre. The resolution dated November 8, 1962 issued by the Government of Maharashtra. Buildings and Communications Department, shows unmistakably that even temporary posts of Deputy Engineers were treated as temporary additions to Class II cadre. An additional Division with four subdivi- sions was sanctioned by that resolution for construction of a section of National Highway No. 8. Temporary posts had therefore to be created for that project for a period of one year. The resolution says that "The posts of Executive Engineers and Deputy Engineers should be treated as tempo- rary additions to their respective cadres."

In so far as the Gujarat appeals are concerned, Shri N.S. Nagrani, Under Secretary to the Government of Gujarat, P.W.D., filed an affidavit dated April 28, 1970 in one of the writ petitions, 422 of 1970. He says in that affidavit that "temporary posts are to be treated as temporary additions to the respective cadres of B.S.E. Class I and Class II", that "permanent posts are not created anew but come into existence by the conversion of the existing tempo- rary posts into permanent posts" and that "both the tempo- rary posts and permanent posts are two categories of posts belonging to the same cadre". To the similar effect is the affidavit dated June 22, 1970 made in another writ petition, 1099 of1969, by Shri A.R. Bhatt, Under Secretary to, the Government of Gujarat, P.W.D. He says therein that "there are no separate categories of permanent and temporary posts of Deputy Engineers. Temporary post of Deputy Engineers are treated as temporary additions to the G.S.E. Class II cadre." Pleading on behalf of the Gujarat Government, Shri Bhatt stoutly resisted the claim of direct recruits that they had prior claim for consideration for promotion to the posts of Executive Engineers on the ground that they belong to the Class II cadre while the officiating Deputy Engineers do not.

We cannot ignore these sworn assertions made solemnly by officers of the Maharashtra and Gujarat Governments. The fact that the permanent strength of the. cadre was deter- mined on the basis of permanent posts at any given time, as for example when the Bombay 795 Government passed resolutions on March 22, 1937 and April 13, 1945 cannot detract from the position that even tempo- rary posts of Deputy Engineers were treated as additions, though temporary, to Class II cadre. The government offi- cers who swore the affidavits knew of these resolutions and yet they were instructed to state, a position Which they contended for more then once, that officiating Deputy Engineers belonged to Class II cadre.

The learned counsel for the direct recruits laid great emphasis on the lists referred to in clauses (i) and (ii) o[ rule 8 for showing that officiating Deputy Engineers do not belong to Class 11 cadre of Engineering Service. This contention has to be rejected since the point is concluded by a decision of this Court in P.Y. Joshi v. State of Maharashtra. (1) It was contended in that case on behalf of direct recruits that officiating Deputy Engineers could only be considered as promoted to the grade of Deputy Engi- neers on confirmation and therefore the 7 years' qualifying service which they had to put in before being promoted as officiating Executive Engineers must be reckoned from the' date of their confirmation as Deputy Engineers in support of this contention reliance was placed in that case on clause (ii) of rule 8 and it was argued that no person could be "promoted" as a Deputy Engineer unless he was first put in the list of officiating Deputy Engineers. This argument was squarely dealt with and repelled by this Court by hold- ing that the list referred to in clause (ii) of rule 8 is the same list which is referred to in the latter part of clause (i) of that rule which speaks of "future recruitment". Consequently, a promoted officiating Deputy Engineer, who belonged to Class II cadre, was held entitled to be considered for promotion under rule 7 to the post of officiating Executive Engineer if he had put in 7 years' qualifying service. The eligiblity for promotion did not require that the officiating Deputy Engineer must have put in 7 years' service after the date of his confirmation. It must necessarily follow that "promotion" which the latter part of rule 8(i) relating to future recruitment speaks of means promotion as an officiating Deputy Engineer from the Select List prepared under clause (ii) of rule 8. A person thus promoted from the Select List as an officiat- ing Deputy Engineer is as full and complete a member of the Class II cadre as a person directly appointed as a Deputy Engineer. In tiffs view of the matter, the prescription contained in the closing sentence of rule 8(i) that "the number of such promotions shall be about 1/3rd the number of direct recruits appointed in that year" would apply to initial appointments and cannot govern the confirmation of those who have already been appointed to Class II cadre. In other words, direct recruits and promotees have to. be appointed in the proportion of 75: 25 to Class II cadre, the former as Deputy Engineers and the latter as officiating Deputy Engineers, but once that is done, the quota rule would cease to apply with the result that confirmations in the posts of Deputy Engineers are not required to be made in the proportion in which the initial appointments had (1) [1970] 2 S.C.R. 615 796 to be made. Thus rule 8(i) only requires that for every three direct recruits appointed as Deputy Engineers only one promotee can be appointed as officiating Deputy Engineer. The rule cannot be construed to mean that. for every three confirmations, of Deputy Engineers, not more than one promo- tee can be confirmed as Deputy Engineer. In A. K. Subraman (supra) it was held by this Court, while interpreting rules relating to Central Engineering Service Class I, that though in cases where recruitment is made from different sources the quota system can be validly applied, the quota rule was to be enforced at the time of initial recruitment to the posts of officiating Executive Engineers and not at the time of their confirmation. The Court further observed that there was a well recognised distinction between promotion and confirmation and that the tests to be applied for the purposes of promotion are entirely different from those that had to be applied at the time of confirmation. If officiating Deputy Engineers belong to Class II cadre as much as direct recruits do and if the quota system cannot operate upon their respective confirmation in that cadre, is there any valid basis for applying different standards to the members of the two group for determining their seniori- ty? Though drawn from two different sources, the direct recruits and promotees constitute in the instant case a single integrated cadre. They discharge identical functions, bear similar responsibilities and acquire an equal amount of experience in their respective assignments. And yet clause

(iii) of rule 8 provides that probationers recruited during any year shall in a bunch be 'treated as senior to promo- tees confirmed in that year. The plain arithmetic of this formula is that a direct recruit appointed on probation say in 1966, is to be regarded as senior to a promotee who was appointed as an officiating Deputy Engineer, say in 1956, but was confirmed in 1966 after continuous officiation till then. This formula gives to the direct recruit even the benefit of his one year's period of training and another year's period of probation for the purposes of seniority and denies to promotees the benefit of their long and valuable experience. If there was some intelligible ground for this differentiation bearing nexus with efficiency in public services, if might perhaps have been possible to sustain such a classification. It is interesting that time and again the State Governments themselves found it difficult to justify the hostile treatment accorded to the promotees. In various affidavits filed on their behalf, entirely contra- dictory contentions were taken, sometimes in favour of the promotees and sometimes in favour of direct recruits. In- stead of adopting an intelligible differentia, rule 8 (iii) leaves seniority to be determined on the sole touchstone of confirmation which Seems to us indefensible. Confirmation is one of the inglorious uncertainities of government serv- ice depending neither on efficiency. of the incumbent nor on the availability of substantive vacancies. A glaring in- stance widely known in a part of our country is of a distin- guished member of the judiciary who was confirmed as a District Judge years after he was confirmed as a Judge of the High Court. It is on the record of these writ petitions that officiating Deputy Engineers were not confirmed even though substantive vacancies were available in which they could have been confirmed. It shows that confirmation does not have to conform to any set rules and whether an employee should be confirmed or not depends on the sweet will and pleasure of the government.

797

There is no substance in the plea that direct recruits must be given weightage on the ground that the engineering services require the infusion of new blood since it is a highly specialised service. Were it so, the Government would not have itself reduced the proportional representa- tion gradually so as to tilt the scales in favour of promo- tees. Besides, the plea that engineering service is a spe- cialised service is made not by the Government but by direct recruits who, obviously, are interested in so contending. Nor indeed is the apprehension justified that the higher echelons of engineering services will in course of time be manned predominantly by promotees. Those recruited directly as Assistant Engineers in Class I can, under the rules, officiate as Executive Engineers after 4 years' service and are eligible for confirmation as Executive Engineers after a total service of 9 years. Promotees can hardly ever match with that class in terms of seniority. Learned counsel for direct recruits relied on the deci- sion of this Court in B.S. Gupta v. Union of India(1) where it was observed that when recruitment is made from several sources, it may be necessary in the public interest to depart from the normal rule of seniority and to provide that dates other than the dates of appointment will determine inter se seniority of officers. These observations have to be understood in the context which the Court itself clari- fied by saying that the, problem before it was not of dis- crimination in the matter of promotion from an integrated service constituted from two sources but the problem was of integrating two sources in one service by adjusting inter se seniority (p. 115). Besides, the rule of seniority pre- scribed in that case was not shown to suffer from the in- firmity from which rule 8 (iii), suffers.

Reliance was also placed by the direct recruits on another decision of this Court in V.B. Badami v. State of Mysore,(2) in which it was held that in cases where rules prescribe a quota between direct recruits and promotees, confirmations for substantive-appointments can only be made in clear vacancies occurring in the permanent strength of the cadre and that confirmed persons have to be treated as senior to those who are officiating. This decision is distinguishable because it is based on the consideration that rule 9 of the Probation Rules of 1957 provided for confirmation of a probationer as a full member of the serv- ice in any substantive vacancy in the permanent cadre and that rule established the exclusion of temporary posts from the cadre (p.822). Since the cadre consisted of permanent posts only, confirmation in permanent posts necessarily determined the inter se seniority of officers.

Rule 8(ii) in the instant case adopts the seniority-cum-merit test for preparing the statewise Select List of seniority. And yet clause (iii) rejects the test of merit altogether. The vice of that clause is that it leaves the valuable right of seniority to depend upon the mere accident of confirmation. That, under Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution, is impermissible and therefore we.must strike down rule g(iii) as being unconstitutional. (1) [1975] 1 S.C.R. 104 (2) [1976]1 S.C.R. 815 798 On July 29, 1963 the Government of Maharashtra in its General Administration Department passed a resolution super- seding the rules of November 21, 1941 and framing new rules for determining the inter se seniority of direct recruits and promotees. Paragraph A of the 1963 resolution provides that the seniority of direct recruits and promoted officers should be determined according to the date of appointment on probation in the case of direct recruits and according to the date of promotion to officiate continuously in the case of those appointed by promotion, irrespective of whether the appointments are made in temporary or in permanent vacan- cies. Paragraph B of the resolution says that a list of services in respect of which special orders for fixation of seniority are in force and to which the resolution will not apply would be issued in due course.

It is contended on behalf of the Maharashtra promotees that the rules of 1963 superseded the 1960 rules by neces- sary implication and therefore the State Government had no power or authority to apply the criterion of seniority fixed under the 1960 rules after their repeal by the 1963 rules. This contention has not only the merit of plausibility but is apparently supported by an observation in P. Y. Joshi (supra) case. We are however satisfied that the Bombay High Court was right in rejecting the contention. The quota system was the very essence of 1960 rules and if it was desired to abrogate that system it is unlikely that the 1963 rules will not even refer to those of 1960. The rules of 1941 having been expressly superseded by the 1963 rules, it is difficult to accept that along with the 1941 rules the resolution of 1963 would not have referred to the 1960 rules also. Secondly, the resolution dated December 19, 1970 of the Government of Maharashtra expressly superseded the 1960 rules which shows that the latter were in force until 1970 and were not superseded by the 1963 rules. In fact, the resolution of 1970 refers to all previous resolutions except the resolution of 1963 which shows that the latter was not applicable to engineering services. It is true that in P.Y. Joshi's case (supra) it was observed that the 1963 rules repealed those of 1960 but that is a mere passing observa- tion. The question in regard to such repeal did not arise for decision in that case and it appears that no argument whatsoever was addressed to the Court on this question. None of the considerations mentioned by us were placed before the Court in that case. We therefore agree with the High Court that the 1960 rules were not superseded by those of 1963. We have already indicated that in Gujarat there is no resolution corresponding to that of 1963. In the Gujarat writ petitions it was argued that the 1960 rules, though originally in the nature of executive instructions, acquired a statutory force and character by reason of their amendment by the rules of 1965 which were made by the Governor of Gujarat in exercise of the power under the proviso to Art. 309 of the Constitution. This argument was rightly rejected by the High Court because all that was done by the rules of 1965 was to introduce a new rule, rule 10, in the 1960 rules. The rules of 1960 were neither reiterated nor re-enacted by the rules of 1965 and the new rule introduced into the rules of 1960 is not of such a character as to compel the inference that the rule- making authority had applied its mind to be rules of 1960 with a view to 799 adopting them. In Bachan Singh v. Union of India(1), on which the direct recruits rely, the amendment made vital changes in the main fabric of the original rules which led this Court to the conclusion that the original rules became statutory rules by incorporation. This question is not relevant in the Maharashtra appeal since there are no rules in Maharashtra corresponding to those of 1965 in Gujarat. The challenge to rule 33 of the rules dated December 19, 1970 framed by the Government of Maharashtra is based on grounds identical with those on which the validity of rule 8(iii) of the 1960 rules was assailed. The rules of 1970, which supersede the rules of 1960, were framed in order (i) to alter the ratio between direct recruits and promotees which was "causing hardship" to promotees; (ii) to correct the manifest error resulting from the fact that "A large number of temporarily promoted officers both in Class I and Class II could not be confirmed in spite of permanent vacan- cies being available"; and (iii) to ensure the efficiency of the engineering services as a whole. Rule 6 provides briefly that officers who are confirmed in or who have a lien on a post will be members of the Maharashtra Service of Engineers Class I or Class II as the case may be- Those who do not have such a lien and who may be officiating in any one of the cadres of Class I or Class II will be treated as temporary members of their respective cadres. Rules 7 to 11 deal with direct appointments to the posts of Assistant Engineers Class I and Assistant Engineers Class II. By rule 11, such appointees are to be confirmed after a training of one year and a further probation for a period of not less than one year in their respective cadres. Rules 12 to 23 deal with appointments by promotion to Class 11 service. Rule 12(a) as amended by the Government resolution dated January 20, 1972 provides that the cadre of Deputy Engineers will consist of (i) all officers confirmed upto the date of commencement of the rules as Deputy Engineers, whether actually working in or only having a lien on the posts; (ii) all direct recruits who have been appointed upto the date of commencement of the rules on probation against permanent posts of Deputy Engineers (iii) all officers who were offi- ciating as Deputy Engineers on 30th April, 1960, provided their promotions prior to 30th April, 1960 are not deemed to be fortuitous; and (iv) those who were not promoted prior to 30th April, 1960, but who have been included in the Select Lists for the period prior to 30th April 1900 of Overseers fit to be Deputy Engineers. RuIe 12(c) fixes the ratio between direct recruits and promotees at 34: 66 instead of 75: 25 as under the 1960 rules. Rule 33 called "Seniority", which we have extracted already, provides that there shall be two parts of the seniority list in each cadre in Class I and Class Ii, part A of confirmed officers and part B of those who are not confirmed. In part A the names are to be arranged with reference to the year of confirmation. Con- firmed officers are to be treated as senior to the uncon- firmed officers in the respective cadres. In part B the names are to be arranged with reference to the date of continuous officiation except where promotion in an offici- ating capacity is by way of a purely temporary or local arrangement.

(1) A.I.R. [1973] S.C. 441 800 Rule 33, in so far as it makes seniority dependent upon the fortuitous circumstance of confirmation, is open to the same objection as rule 8(iii) of the 1960 rules and must be struck down for identical reasons.

The circulars dated January 12, 1961, March 15, 1963 and October 18, 1969 which the promotees want to be enforced are issued by the Finance Department and being in the nature of inter-departmental communications, they cannot confer any right on the promotees. The Bombay High Court was therefore right in not accepting this part of the promo- tees' case.

We also agree with the view taken by the High Courts of Bombay and Gujarat, for the reasons mentioned by them, that the rules under consideration do not in any manner violate the provisions of the Bombay Reorganisation Act, 11 of 1960. The proviso to s. 81 (6) of that Act says that the condi- tions of service applicable to any person allotted to the States of Maharashtra or Gujarat shall not be varied to his disadvantage except with the previous approval of the Cen- tral Government. Neither the rules of 1960 and much less the rules of 1970 alter the conditions of service of Deputy Engineers to their disadvantage within the meaning of the proviso.

We are not unmindful of the administrative difficulties in evolving a code of seniority which will satisfy all conflicting claims. But care ought to be taken to avoid a clear transgression of the equality clauses of the Constitu- tion. The rules framed by the State Governments were con- stitutionally so vulnerable that the administration was compelled to adopt inconsistent postures from time to time leaving the employees no option save to resort to courts for vindication of their rights. In this process, courts, high and low, had to discharge functions which are best left to the expertise of the appropriate departments of the Govern- ment. Having struck down certain rules, we do not want to take upon ourselves the task of framing rules of seniority. That is not the function of this Court and frankly it lacks the expertise and the data to do so. We how. ever hope that the Government will bear in mind the basic principle that if a cadre consists of both permanent and temporary employees, the accident of confirmation cannot be an intelligible criterion for determining seniority as between direct re- cruits and promotees. All other factors being equal, con- tinuous officiation in a non-fortuitous vacancy ought to receive due recognition in determining rules of seniority as between persons recruited from different sources, so long as they belong to the same cadre, discharge similar functions and bear similar responsibilities. Saying anything beyond this will be trespassing on a field which does not belong to the courts.

We would like to clarify that the list of seniority, for the period till November 1, 1956, prepared by the Maharash- tra Government by its resolution dated April 10, 1970 has been approved by the Government of India. That list would therefore govern the seniority of direct recruits and promo- tees as on November 1, 1956. Secondly, it seems to us difficult to uphold the direction given by the Gujarat High Court that interim promotions made during the pendency of writ petitions should not be disturbed until the expiration of one month from the date of the seniority as finally fixed by the Government and intimated to the con-

801

cerned parties. Interim promotions which do not comply with the constitutional requirements and which under the judgment of the Gujarat High Court are bad cannot be permitted to stand. We accordingly set aside that direction. These then are our reasons in support of the order which we passed on January 31, 1977. That order reads thus:

"Civil Appeal No. 1113 of 1974 is filed by the promo- tees and it arises out of special Civil Application No. 815 of 1972 filed by them in the Bombay High Court. We set aside the judgment of the High Court and allow the appeal.

Civil Appeal No. 286 of 1974 is filed by direct re- cruits and it arises out of Special Civil Application No. 1099 of 1969 filed by them in the High Court of Gujarat. We confirm the judgment of the High Court and dismiss the appeal.

Civil Appeal No. 287 of 1974 is filed by direct re- cruits and it arises out of Special Civil Application No. 422 of 1970 filed by them in the High Court of Gujarat. We confirm the judgment of the High Court and dismiss the appeal.

Civil Appeal No. 242 of 1974 and Civil Appeal No. 285 of 1974 are cross appeals. Both of these appeals arise out of Special Civil Application No. 1418 of 1971 which was field by the promotees in the High Court of Gujarat. Civil Appeal No. 242 of 1974 is filed by the promotees in this Court challenging the decision of the Gujarat High Court to the extent to which they failed. Civil Appeal No. 285 of 1974 is filed by the direct recruits challenging the afore- said decision to the extent to which the High Court allowed the reliefs claimed by the promotees. We allow Civil Appeal No. 242 of 1974 partly and dismiss Civil Appeal No. 285 of 1974.

The reasons in support of the conclusions to which we have come in these appeals will be given later. The extent to which the appeals are allowed or dismissed will become clear from those reasons.

There will be no order as to costs in any of the appeals." P.B.R.

707SCI/77--2500-1-12-77--GIPF.

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[1977] 3 S.C.R.