In all the writ petitions, the Union of India represented by Chief Engineer, Headquarters at Pune and the Commander Works Engineer, Chennai are the petitioners.
W.P.No.10250 of 2008 This writ petition is filed for the issuance of writ of certiorari to set aside the order dated 18.9.2007 passed in O.A.No.680 of 2006 by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Madras Bench.
2. The first respondent in the writ petition joined the services as Mazdoor in the year 1962 and he was promoted as Motor Pump Attendant in the year 1972. There was a merger of 10 skilled categories and consequently, the post was re-designated as Fitter General Mechanic Skilled. The first respondent was promoted as Fitter General Mechanic Highly Skilled Grade II with effect from 31.3.1995 and subsequently promoted as Fitter General Mechanic Highly Skilled Grade I on 13.3.2002. The first respondent retired from service on 31.3.2003. The hierarchy of post available to Industrial Personnel till 20.5.2003 was distributed as Skilled, Highly Skilled Grade II, Highly Skilled Grade I and Master Craftsman respectively. In pursuant to the recommendations of the V Central Pay Commission, there was cadre restructuring of Artisan Staff in Defence Establishment and it came into effect from 1.1.1996. In pursuant to restructuring of the cadre, erstwhile Highly Skilled Grade II (HSG II) and Highly Skilled Grade I (HSG I) had been merged to form a single grade called Highly Skilled Grade (HSG). The post of Master Craftsman is not form part of the said hierarchy as it is not treated as a promotion post for highly skilled grade either under normal promotion rules or under Accelerated Career Programme Scheme (ACP).
19. Mr.G.Nanmaran, learned Additional Central Government Standing Counsel, has submitted that the Tribunal has not properly understood the purport of the order dated 20.5.2003 passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Ernakulam Bench in O.A.Nos.740, 741 and 882 of 2003 dated 17.5.2005, wherein Clause 3(d) of the restructuring of cadre of Artisan staff in Defence Establishment in proceedings No.11(1)2002/(D)(Civil) dated 20.5.2003 came to be quashed. It is further submitted by the learned Additional Central Government Standing Counsel that following the merger, persons who got promotion as HS-I by way of passing trade test between 1.1.1996 and 19.5.2003 would be end block senior to HS-II already promoted from 1.1.1996 and thereafter up to 19.5.2003. Similarly, the persons who got promotion as a result of restructuring of cadre in relaxation of conditions of passing of trade test etc., would also be senior to HS-II. The learned Additional Central Government Standing Counsel also submitted that the findings of the Tribunal that the corrigendum dated 27.3.2006 will have only prospective effect are unsustainable for the reason that when the original order came to be implemented with effect from 1.1.1996, the consequential order in the form of corrigendum cannot be given effect prospectively.
20. The Government of India, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, vide proceedings dated 20.5.2003 had restructured the cadre of Artisan staff in Defence Establishment in terms of the recommendations of the V Central Pay Commission. There was a partial modification to the recommendations made by the V Central Pay Commission made in paras 54.16 -18 and 54.29 of the report and it is extracted as follows:-
"2. The grade structure in the industrial as well as in the non-industrial trades.
i)Skilled Rs. 3050 - 4590 ii) Highly Skilled (HS-I+HS-II) Rs. 4000 - 6000 iii) Master Craftsman Rs. 4500 - 7000 3.(a) Wherever the grade structure in the Industrial as well as in the Non-Industrial trades is already existing in the ratio of 65:20:15, in the erstwhile Skilled : HS-II: HS-I, the merger of HS-II and HS-I shall be treated to have come into effect from 1.1.1996 and the grade structure of skilled and Highly skilled categories shall be in the ratio of 65:35 (20+15). (b) The post of Master Craftsman shall not be part of the Hierarchy and the placement in this grade will not be treated as promotion for Highly Skilled Grade either under normal promotion rules or under ACP Scheme. (c) The selection from Highly Skilled grade to the grade of the Master Craftsman shall be 10% of Highly Skilled cadre (i.e. 10% of 35% of the total) and the placement in this grade shall be w.e.f. 1.1.1996 and upto the date of the issue of these orders. (d) The placement of the individuals in the posts resulting from the restructuring and ratio revision, shall be made w.e.f. 1.1.1996, in relaxation of the conditions, if any i.e. trade test etc., as one time measure. (e) The above provisions may also be made applicable, as a special case, in relaxation of the existing rules/instructions to the employees who have either retired or died after 1.1.1996". Thereafter, the proceedings dated 3.3.2004 was issued by the Director General of Personnel, Military Engineer Services, Engineer-in-Chief's Branch, Army Headquarters, New Delhi, wherein, the grade structure of Industrial cadre has been revised into two phases and the same is extracted below:- "3.The grade structure in the Industrial as well as in the non-industrial trades, wherever already available and the pay scales of the Defence artisan staff shall stand modified wef 1.1.96 as under:- i. Skilled : Rs. 3050-4590 ii. Highly Skilled : Rs. 4000-6000 iii. Master Craftsman : Rs. 4500-7000 (a) The post of HS I and HS II shall be merged retrospectively w.e.f. 01/01/1996 HS I will be en-block senior to HS-II. (b) All existing HS-I and HS-II employees in the strength on 01.01.1996 (including those who were wasted out due to retirement death etc. on or after 1.1.96 but prior to 19.5.03) shall be redesigned as Highly Skilled and placed in the corresponding scale of pay. (c) The above merger shall be effective from 1.1.96 and relaxation of trade test DPC etc., as one time exception. (d) Vacancies arising between 1.1.96 and 19.05.03 in HS post will be filled by promotion to the tune of 35% based on seniority without any trade test as one time measure. (e) A trade wise seniority list of all highly skilled as on 1.1.96 (after merging) should be prepared and circulated to all concerned. (f) Promotions made from HS II to HS I after 1.1.96 shall become infructuous in view of the merger of posts.
29. We have considered the submissions of the learned Additional Central Government Standing counsel and the learned counsel appearing for the first respondent in all the writ petitions.
30. In so far as the first respondent in W.P.No.10250 of 2008 is concerned, he retired on 31.3.2003. It is contended by the learned counsel appearing for the first respondent in W.P.No.10250 of 2008 that in terms of para 3(e) of the order dated 20.5.2003 restructuring the cadre of artisan staff, the order of merger was made retrospective with effect from 1.1.1996 and the benefit of merger is made applicable to the retired person also. Since six of his juniors were conferred Master Craftsman post, he should be conferred with the same benefit and consequential benefits. It is to be noted that in effect the petitioner in W.P.No.10250/08 wants his seniority in the cadre of MCM above six persons namely (1) P.Anburaj, (2) P.Ravichandran, (3) N.Kannaiyan, (4) S.Varghesis, (5) S.Karruppusamy, (6) R.Muralidaran. However, they were not arrayed as respondents before the Tribunal. Therefore, the first respondent herein cannot claim any seniority in the cadre of MCM over and above those six persons. In so far as the claim of the first respondent as only to consider para 3(e) of the proceedings dated 20.5.2003 issued by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, is concerned, a perusal of Clause 3(e) of the said proceedings would state that the benefits of cadre restructuring in relaxation of the existing rules for instructions to employees who were either retired or died after 1.1.1996 are applicable to them also. The first respondent herein had passed the trade test in the year 1995. For promotion from Grade I to MCM, the passing of trade test was mandatory and as per the proceedings dated 3.3.2004 of the Director General of Personnel, Military Engineering Services, merger of HS-I and HS-II was made effective from 1.1.1996 and relaxation of trade test, DPC etc., was granted as one time exception it was also made clear in Clause No.(g) of the said proceedings that since Master Craftsman in the pay scale of Rs.4500-7000 is not a part of the hierarchy and placement in that grade shall not be treated as promotion for highly skilled grade either under normal promotion scheme or ACP scheme. Unless one passes trade test and undergone the selection process through DPC they cannot automatically become MCM. Therefore, the first respondent in W.P.No.10250 of 2008 is entitled to notional benefit from the date of passing of trade test. Since the first respondent has already retired from service on 31.3.2003, the petitioners herein are directed to take necessary steps to fix his seniority in terms of the instructions dated 3.3.2004 issued by the Directorate General of Personnel MEG after taking into consideration the date of passing of the trade test by the first respondent and pass appropriate orders. Writ petition No.10250 of 2008 is disposed of accordingly.