THE CENTRAL Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has directed the Chief Commissioner, Customs and Central Excise, Sector 17, to review promotions of private secretaries for recruitment year 2008-09.
The tribunal told the department to consider the case of the applicant for promotion keeping in view the directions of the Department of Personnel and Training, dated March 25, 1996, and complete the procedure within two months.
The applicant, Bal Ram, 49, working as private secretary, Central Excise Commissionerate, Chandigarh, had sought quashing of the Departmental Promotion Committee proceedings, dated May 28, 2014, as conveyed to the applicant by a letter, dated May 29, 2014, for promotion to the post of private secretary against the vacancies for the years 2008-2009 and 2010-11.
The applicant also sought quashing of the order/memo dated May 29, 2014 as the applicant has been promoted against vacancy for the year 2010-11 and juniors to him have been promoted against vacancies for the years 2008-09 by treating him as a junior to them in feeder cadre which is illegal, arbitrary, discriminatory, violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.
The applicant joined service in the department as Stenographer Grade-III on September 22, 1993 on an officiating basis and was appointed on a substantive basis as such with effect from February 8, 1996. He was promoted as Stenographer Grade-II by an order dated October 28, 1998. Under the rules, stenos Grade-III and Grade-II with composite service of five years were eligible for promotion to the post of inspector and the applicant was promoted as an inspector with effect from December 18, 2002.
Due to his family circumstances, the applicant could not continue as inspector and sought reversion to his parent cadre of stenographer through an application dated December 14, 2005. The request of the applicant was accepted and with an order dated January 18, 2007, he re-joined as Steno Grade-II. However, it was mentioned in the order of reversion that the applicant would be given seniority in the cadre from the date of joining the post, but this condition was not acted upon at that time.
On his reversion to the cadre of Stenographer Grade-II, the applicant along with others was promoted as Stenographer Grade-I vide order dated July 15, 2008, by treating him as Stenographer Grade-II from October 28, 1998, and accordingly he joined the new assignment on July 15, 2008. On promotion, the pay of the applicant was also fixed by an order dated October 11, 2010. Seniority lists of Stenographer Grade-I from January 1, 2010 to January 2, 2012 were also issued by the department in which the applicant has been shown senior to other colleagues, i.e. Mamta Rani, Saroj Rani and Parveen taking his entry as Stenographer Grade-II from October 28, 1998.
The counsel for the department stated that the applicant did not fulfil the eligibility criteria for promotion as private secretary at the time when the private respondents were considered for promotion and hence the applicant could not claim promotion from the same date as the respondents and consequent seniority as private secretary.
The tribunal held, “The applicant who belongs to SC category should in our view has been given the benefit and also been considered for promotion against the vacancies in recruitment year 2008-09. Although learned counsel for the respondents has stated that application has not been given effect by the respondent department, such guidelines issued by DoPT are binding on the departments of the GOI and there is no good reason for the respondent department not to have amended their recruitment rules for the post of senior personal assistant/private secretary as per directions. In view of the discussion above, the respondent department is directed to hold review DPC for promotions of private secretaries for 2008-09 and consider the case of the applicant.”