“Counsel appearing for the petitioners, R A Jan urged that the view expressed by the Tribunal was erroneous in law and contrary to the mandate of Rule 111 of the Police Rules”
Division Bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court has stayed the operation of the judgment of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order impugned dated 9.12.2020 regarding promotion of 2010 batch of Sub Inspectors and ordered that any promotions made on the basis of the impugned seniority list questioned by the private respondents shall remain subject to the outcome of the present petition.
In a case, Ranjeet Singh and others Appellant V/s Tajamul Islam and others Respondent(s), division bench of Justice Dheeraj Singh Thakur and Justice Sindhu Sharma stated that subject to objections and till next date of hearing, operation of the judgment and order impugned dated 9.12.2020 shall remain stayed. Any promotions made on the basis of the impugned seniority list questioned by the private respondents shall remain subject to the outcome of the present petition.
According to the court details, the petitioners challenged the judgment and order impugned dated 09.12.2020 passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench (for short, ‘Tribunal’) whereby the Tribunal quashed the final seniority list of direct recruits Sub Inspectors of Jammu and Kashmir Police. The Tribunal has held that the seniority list ought to have been framed on the basis of Rule 111(2) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police Rules, 1960 (for short, ‘Police Rules’) and that seniority ought to be given based on the merit as assessed in the written test as well as viva voce test and not on the basis of merit obtained in the training course.
Counsel appearing for the petitioners, R A Jan urged that the view expressed by the Tribunal was erroneous in law and contrary to the mandate of Rule 111 of the Police Rules. For facility of reference, Rule 111 of the Police Rules is reproduced as under:-
“21. Rule 111 of the Jammu and Kashmir Police Rules, 1960 reads thus:
” 111. Command And Precedence:
(1) Command and precedence among Police Officers shall be by seniority according to rule 24 of C.C.S. R. Officers holding officiating appointments take the rank and seniority of such appointment for the time that they hold it only, on reservation they taken seniority in accordance with their position in their substantive ranks.
(2) Officers appointed in or promoted to any rank will take seniority in the order which they are appointed or promoted and in the case of several being appointed or promoted on the same date, promoted officers will be placed first in order according to their previous seniority, and officers appointed direct will follow according to age; provided that the seniority of candidates directly appointed on the same date, who are required to pass any course or departmental examination as a necessary condition of their subsequent confirmation, shall depend on their order of merit in such course or examination. Notwithstanding the foregoing rules, the seniority of officers appointed or promoted on probation to any rank shall be finally determined by the date of confirmation in that rank and in the event of several officers being confirmed on the same date, their seniority as among themselves shall remain the same as during the probationary period.”
It was urged that the seniority could have been framed on the basis of merit obtained in the basic induction training course only in accordance with the aforesaid rules and that the reliance placed by the Tribunal on the Division Bench judgment of this court in Rohit Gupta & ors vs. Ajay Kumar & ors, 2016(2) JKJ 315 was misplaced as the same pertains to the prosecuting officers, which was a class apart from the serving police agency (Executive Wing) as the petitioners herein.
Counsel for the private respondents, on the other hand, placed overwhelming reliance upon the judgment (supra) to emphasize the point that the view expressed by the Tribunal was legally justified. Heard counsel for the parties.
It is not denied that the petitioners had undergone the basic induction training course of one year before getting confirmed as direct recruits Sub Inspectors. On a perusal of the Rule 111(2) of the Police Rules, it, prima facie, appears that seniority of candidates directly appointed on the same date, who were required to pass any course or departmental examination as a necessary condition of their subsequent confirmation would depend on their order of merit in such course or examination. This part of the rule cannot be easily brushed aside in its application even on its plain reading.
“We are of the opinion that the petitioners have succeeded in making out a prima facie case. Issue notice in the main petition as also in application,” observed the court, providing four week time to the respondents to file objections.