O.A. No. 499/2008. Case: 1. Anju Thyagarajan, Kochi, 2. Jayasree E. K., Thrissur, 3. Sivakumar P. S, 4. Joymon C. I, 5. S. Nandakumar, Kollam, 6. Saju John, Kollam, 7. Rajeev V., Kayamkulam, 8. P. Deepthi, Palakkad, 9. Asha Anand, Trivandrum, 10. Maya R. P., Thiruvananthapuram, 11. Anilkumar N., Calicut, 12. Unnikrishnan N., Ottapalam, 13. G. Sobhana, 14. Ajeeth R., Thiruvananathapuram, 15. Lysha K. R., Kollam, 16. K. Manoj Menon, Kottayam, 17. Bindu R., Kottayam, 18. M. S. Saneesh Kumar Vs 1. Director General, Department of Posts, New Delhi, 2. Chief Postmaster General, Thiruvananthapuram, 3. Union of India, Secretary, New Delhi, 4. S. Bhagyaraj, Pathanamthitta, 5. Prakash P. Bhaskaran, Pathanamthitta, 6. Sathy P. R., Tiruvalla, 7. Deepa Murali, 8. Smitha Sagar, Mavelikkara, 9. Rajeev J. Cherukad, Changanassery, 10. Arun R. Nath, Changanassery, 11. Dhanya M. P., 12. M. A. Sureshkumar, Malappuram, 13. P. Sudhakaran, Tirur, 14. Jalaja P. P, Tirur. Central Administrative Tribunal

Case Number:O.A. No. 499/2008
Party Name:1. Anju Thyagarajan, Kochi, 2. Jayasree E. K., Thrissur, 3. Sivakumar P. S, 4. Joymon C. I, 5. S. Nandakumar, Kollam, 6. Saju John, Kollam, 7. Rajeev V., Kayamkulam, 8. P. Deepthi, Palakkad, 9. Asha Anand, Trivandrum, 10. Maya R. P., Thiruvananthapuram, 11. Anilkumar N., Calicut, 12. Unnikrishnan N., Ottapalam, 13. G. Sobhana, 14. Ajeeth R., Thiruvananathapuram, 15. Lysha K. R., Kollam, 16. K. Manoj Menon, Kottayam, 17. Bindu R., Kottayam, 18. M. S. Saneesh Kumar Vs 1. Director General, Department of Posts, New Delhi, 2. Chief Postmaster General, Thiruvananthapuram, 3. Union of India, Secretary, New Delhi, 4. S. Bhagyaraj, Pathanamthitta, 5. Prakash P. Bhaskaran, Pathanamthitta, 6. Sathy P. R., Tiruvalla, 7. Deepa Murali, 8. Smitha Sagar, Mavelikkara, 9. Rajeev J. Cherukad, Changanassery, 10. Arun R. Nath, Changanassery, 11. Dhanya M. P., 12. M. A. Sureshkumar, Malappuram, 13. P. Sudhakaran, Tirur, 14. Jalaja P. P, Tirur
Counsel:O. V. Radhakrishnan, K. Radhamani Amma, Antonhy Mukkath, S. Abhilash, P. C. Sebastian
Judges:Dr K. B. S. Rajan (Judicial Member) & K. Noorjehan (Administrative Member)
Issue:Right to Information Act, 2005 - Section 6; Constitution of India, 1950 - Articles 14, 16(1), 73, 77; Department of Posts Inspector of Posts (Recruitment) Rules, 2001
Judgement Date:April 17, 2009
Court:Central Administrative Tribunal
 
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Judgment:

K. Noorjehan (Administrative Member) (Ernakulam Bench)

1 The applicants are aggrieved by Annexures A-5, A6, A-7 and A16 orders dated 13.4.2007, 20.4.2007, 26.5.2008 and 13.8.2008 respectively issued by the 3rd/ 2nd respondents and notification of vacancies of the Limited Departmental Competitive Examination of Inspector of Posts and allotment of surplus qualified candidates.

2 The facts of the case, narrated by the applicants are as follows. The applicants 1, 3 to 7, 9, 11 to 18 are presently working as Postal Assistants in the various Postal Divisions and the applicant No. 2, 8 and 10 are Sorting Assistants under the Railway Mail Services in the Kerala Postal Circle. They were initially appointed as Postal/Sorting Assistant on various dates, confirmed in the post of Postal/Sorting Assistant and are fully qualified for promotion to the post of Inspector of Posts under 66.66% quota reserved for promotion. Promotion to the post of Inspector of Posts is governed by Department of Posts Inspector of Posts (Recruitment) Rules 2001 notified on 26.4.2001(A-1). Col. 12 of the Schedule provides for promotion through limited departmental competitive examination. Rule 279/1 of the P & T Manual Vol. IV Part-1 provides that examination for recruitment of Inspectors of Posts will normally be held once a year at the discretion of the DG. The 2nd respondent vide Annexure A-2 circular dated 1.1.2007 notified the departmental competitive examination for 12 vacancies of 2007. The applicants qualified in the examination. According to the applicant the practice followed in the Department was that candidates who qualified in the examination in respect of an year would be filled up against the notified vacancies and the remaining qualified candidates on the waiting list would be appointed against the vacancy of the succeeding year and no examination will be held for the vacancies of the succeeding year. After the issue of OM dated 13.4.2007 a departure was made and evolved a new system permitting the surplus qualified candidates in a Circle to be allotted to different Circles. It has further decided to draw up an All India merit list of successful candidates (A-5). The OM came into force w.e.f. 2007 Examination (A-6). All participating candidates were required to exercise their preference of Circle. Circle wise vacancy position and the names of surplus qualified candidates were kept in the panel (A7) in which the unfilled vacancies were shown as 76 and no vacancy was shown to be remaining unfilled for Kerala Circle. The applicants were shown in the list of surplus OC candidates who have qualified in the Examination 2007. Though applicants gave option indicating their first preference as Kerala Circle, fresh options were called for. The Department also notified the vacancy position for 2008 Examination as 10, which was later modified to 38 ( UR-31 and SC-5 and SC -2). The applicant submitted representations stating that there are adequate vacancies in Kerala Circle to accommodate them. In the meantime in answer to one Shri Jayachandran's application for obtaining information under section 6 of the Right to Information Act, 2005, it was stated that 35 vacancies are remaining unfilled in the Kerala Circle (A-14). Thus, according to the applicants there are 38 vacancies earmarked for promotion quota, out of which only 12 were filled up and in addition, the vacancies of 2008 examination are also available. The 1st respondent published a list containing names of officials allotted to various Circle (A16). The name of all the applicants except the 18th applicant was included in the list. They were allotted to different circles. Though the 18th applicant obtained more than the minimum marks prescribed for qualifying in the examination and after including in the list of surplus candidates his name cannot be excluded without notice. The applicants were subjected to hostile discrimination by denying appointment in the Kerala Circle despite availability of vacancies. Hence they have filed this O.A. on the following grounds:

(i) The action of the respondents in treating the applicants as surplus to be allotted to other Circles is manifestly illegal, arbitrary, discriminatory offending Article 14 and 16(1).

(ii) The select list of 2007 ought to have been expanded to the extent of 38 as there were 38 vacancies available for promotion quota.

(iii) Introduction of OM dated 14.4.2007 (A-5) allocating the surplus qualified candidates to other Circles and holding examination for the vacancies of the succeeding year is contrary to the scheme of Rule 279/1 of the P & T Manual Vol. IV Part-I.

(iv) The action of the Department in notifying the vacancies of the year 2008 and conducting the examination is also illegal and contrary to the Paragraph 279/1(2) of the P&T Manual Vol,.IV.

(v) The candidates who are qualified in the 2008 examination in Kerala circle cannot be appointed overlooking the applicants who have passed the 2007 examination.

(vi) There would have been 38 vacancies under the promotion quota in 2007 but only 12 vacancies were filled up on the basis of 2007 examination. Therefore, the remaining 26 vacancies ought to have been filled up from among the 2007 examination.

(vii) The applicants were compelled to give second option for the reason that those who do not indicate their preference would not be considered for allotment.

3 The respondents resisted the averments in the O.A. and filed reply statement. They have submitted that Limited Departmental Competitive Examination is conducted every year and the vacancies are notified before holding the examination. Based on merit in the examination, All India merit list is prepared and seniority in the merit list is the criterion for promotion. On 13.4.2007, the Department evolved a system in which the surplus qualified candidates in a Circle could be allotted to deficient circles where the vacancies announced are left unfilled due to lack of qualified candidates. This system was introduced from 2007 with reference to the examination that was held from 10th to 12th August, 2007. After the examination, 12 candidates were selected to Kerala Cadre. After necessary training they were appointed on 3rd August, 2008. In accordance with Annexure A-5 OM regarding allotment of surplus qualified candidates to Circles having unfilled vacancies, Department of Posts issued a list of 86 surplus qualified candidates of 2007 examination to be allotted to the unfilled vacancies existing in different Circles based on the options exercised by the candidates. This list contains names of 17 surplus qualified candidates from Kerala Circle. It is also further submitted that the applicants herein excepting S/Sri Joymon C.I. and M.S. Saneesh Kumar have already been deputed for preinduction training which has commenced from 22.9.2008 and 29.9.2008 respectively. They denied the contention of the applicants that they are fully qualified for appointment to the post of Inspector under 66.66% quota. They submitted that the applicants have qualified as surplus candidates over and above the vacancies declared for the examination quota in Kerala Circle.

They denied the contention of the applicants that the it is open to the DG Department of Posts not to hold examination in any year in a Circle if the number of qualified candidates on the waiting list is adequate for the vacancies likely to occur in the next 12 months. They submitted that sub rule (2) of Rule 279/1 of P&T Manual stands amended as early as 1990. There is no provision for any waiting list as per...

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