WP(C) 232(K)/2015. Gauhati High Court

Case Number:WP(C) 232(K)/2015
Judgement Date:May 26, 2020
Court:Gauhati High Court
 
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I N THE GAUHATI HI GH COURT

(THE HI GH COURT OF ASSAM, NAGALAND, MI ZORAM & ARUNACHAL PRADESH) KOHI MA BENCH

W.P ( C) No. 232 ( K) of 2015

1. Shri Ailong Phom,

Forest Ranger, Office of the Range Forest Officer, Sitab Range, Tuensang Division.

2. Shri Punseni Khing

Forest Ranger, Office of the Range Forest Officer, Merapani Range, Wokha Division.

3. Shri I mkongsunep Longchar

Forest Ranger,

Office of the Range Forest Officer,

Longtho Range, Mokokchung Division.

………….Petitioners

-Versus-

1. The State of Nagaland,

Through the Chief Secretary to the Government of Nagaland, Kohima, Nagaland.

2. The Principal Secretary to the Govt. of Nagaland,

to the Government of Nagaland, Department of Forest, Ecology, Environment & Wildlife, Nagaland, Kohima.

3. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest & Head Forests Force, Nagaland, Kohima.

4. Shri Keviyiebei,

Forest Ranger, Office of the Range Forest Officer. Dimapur Range, Dimapur Nagaland.

5. Shri Bendangtemsu,

Forest Ranger, State Environment & Forestry Training I nstitute Dimapur Nagaland.

6. Shri Bokato

Forest Ranger,

B.O Medziphema Beat

Dimapur, Nagaland.

W.P.(C) No.232(K)/2015 Page 1 of 12

………….Respondents

-BEFORE-

HON’BLE MR. JUSTI CE S. SERTO

For the Petitioners : Mr. C.T. Jamir, Sr. Adv.

Mr. Wati Jamir,

Mr. N. Logkumer, Mr. I mkong Jamir,

Mr. Pokyim Yaden,

Mr. Yalemsen, Advs.

For the respondent : Ms. V. Suokhrie, Nos. 1 to 3 Addl. Sr. Govt. Adv.

For respondent Nos. 4 to 6. : Mr. Tomgpok Pongener,

Mr. Thiba Phom,

Mr. S.Reopi Sangtam, Ms. Alika Achumi,

Ms. Purnima Paul, Advs.

Date of hearing : 02-05-2017 Date of judgment : 26-05-2017

JUDGMENT & ORDER (CAV)

This is a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of I ndia challenging 3 orders issued by the Government respondents viz; (i) Notification dated 20/ 12/ 2011, particularly, paragraph-6 (I I I ) issued by the Department of Forest, Ecology, Environment & Wildlife, Government of Nagaland, wherein, it was stated that private respondent Nos. 4, 5 and 6 will be above the direct recruit Rangers appointed in the year 2011, in seniority. (ii) Memorandum dated 21/ 3/ 2014, issued by the same Department, wherein, the private respondents were placed above the petitioners in the tentative seniority list of the Forest Rangers of the State, and (iii) the letter dated 4/ 7/ 2014, of the Deputy Secretary to the Government of Nagaland addressed to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Nagaland, wherein, it was stated that placement of the private respondent Nos. 4, 5 and 6 above the direct recruits of 2011, was done as per the general rules on inter-se seniority of promotees and direct

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recruits in a calendar year and as the vacancies to which the private respondents were promoted already existed prior to the requisition of the post for direct recruitment.

2. Heard Mr. Wati Jamir, learned counsel for the petitioners. Also heard

Ms. V. Suokhrie, learned Addl. Sr. Government Advocate on behalf the State respondents and Mr. Tongpok Pongener, learned counsel on behalf of the private respondent Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

3. The facts of the case which has emerged from the submissions of the

learned counsels as well as from the pleadings of the parties are as follows:-

I n the year 2011, by the impugned order dated 25/ 10/ 2011, the petitioners were appointed to the post of Forest Rangers (Class-I I Gazetted) in the Department of Forest, Ecology, Environment & Wildlife, Government of Nagaland on the recommendation of Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC). I n the same year, vide Notification No. FOR/ ESTT-1/ 2009, dated 20/ 12/ 2011, the Department promoted the private respondents to the post of Forest Rangers and at the same time, placed them above the direct recruits of the same year in the seniority list. On 21/ 3/ 2014, the same Department issued a memorandum being No. FOR/ ESTT-3/ 97, in which, the tentative seniority list of Forest Rangers as on 1/ 1/ 2014 was published. I n that seniority list, the private respondent Nos. 4, 5 and 6 were placed at Sl. No. 25, 26, 27 and the petitioners were placed at Sl. No. 29, 30 and 31, respectively.

Aggrieved by the above stated notification and memorandum, the petitioners submitted a representation each, dated 21/ 3/ 2014, to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), Nagaland, stating that they should be placed above the private respondents in the seniority list of Forest Rangers. However, their representations did not bear any fruit.

Thereafter, purportedly, on the clarification sought by the PCCF, the Deputy Secretary to the Government of Nagaland, Department of Forest, Ecology, Environment & Wildlife, Nagaland, vide letter dated 4/ 7/ 2014, clarified as follows:- “(1) Regarding Seniority List SL.No.25,26 and 27 the Government, through its Notification no. FOR/ESTT-1/2009 dated 20th October, 2011(enclosed), has placed them above the direct recruits for the year

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2011 as per the general rule of inter-se seniority of promotes and direct recruits in a calendar year. Moreover, it may be mentioned that promotion vacancies existed before direct recruitments was requisitioned but promotion was delayed for want of ACRs/APARs.

(2) Regarding Seniority list SL.No.No.28, NPSC, through its letter No. NPSC/C-34/2008(enclosed), clarified that the candidate in the waiting list viz Shri Moamongba replaced the resigned merit list candidate for the year 2011 Nagaland Public Service Commission Examination. The rest 3 candidates viz. Ailong Phom, Punseni Khing and Imkongsunep Lonchar were selected through reservation i.e. Backward Tribe and Forestry Graduates quotas.”

4. The petitioners, being aggrieved has come to this Court praying for

quashing and setting aside the said impugned notification, memorandum and the letter and also prayed for a direction to the Government respondents No. 1 to 3 to rectify the seniority list of Forest Rangers published in the memorandum which was issued in pursuance of the...

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