High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Ram Lal, Patwari v. State of Punjab & another - CWP-15385-2004  RD-P&H 3696 (4 July 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH.
Case No. : C.W.P.No.15385 of 2004
Date of Decision : May 17, 2006.
Ram Lal, Patwari ..... Petitioner
State of Punjab & another ..... Respondents Coram : Hon'ble Mr.Justice J.S.Khehar
Hon'ble Mr.Justice P.S.Patwalia
* * *
Present : Mr.Arun Takhi, Advocate
for the petitioner.
Mr.B.S.Chahal, Asstt.A.G., Punjab.
* * *
P.S.Patwalia, J. :
By way of this writ petition filed under under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India, petitioner Ram Lal, a Patwari claims promotion to the post of Kanungo with effect from the date persons junior to him were promoted. The factual matrix of the case may now be noticed.
Petitioner was appointed as a Patwari on 10.2.1982. By an order dated 7.9.2001, 7 posts of Kanungos were filled up by promotion of Ram Singh and others. These promotions were made with retrospective C.W.P.No.15385 of 2004 2
effect from 13.10.1995. Even though actual number of vacancies were 8, only 7 promotions were made and one post was kept reserved for the petitioner as at that time, a departmental inquiry was pending against him.
The petitioner claims that out of the 7 persons promoted, 6 were junior to him.
The departmental proceedings ultimately resulted in the exoneration of the petitioner as a result of which the inquiry was filed on 6.4.2004. Since the only impediment in the petitioner's non-promotion stood removed, the petitioner filed a representation on 21.6.2004 claiming promotion with effect from 13.10.1995 when persons junior to him had been promoted. When no action was taken on this representation, the petitioner filed the present writ petition claiming the aforesaid relief.
A written statement has been filed on behalf of the State of Punjab. It is contended therein that the order of promotion of the persons junior to the petitioner dated 7.9.2001 was passed in compliance with a judgment of the Civil Court dated 10.2.2000. It has further been stated that subsequently the judgment was set aside by the learned Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ropar on 12.9.2002. An appeal against the order of learned Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ropar is pending in the High Court. On this basis, it has been stated that during the pendency of the appeal, the petitioner's claim for promotion as Kanungo can not be considered.
We have heard learned counsel for the petitioner and learned Assistant Advocate General for the State of Punjab and also perused the paper book.
Petitioner's claim regarding seniority over 6 of the 7 persons promoted, has been made in paragraph 3 of the writ petition which is as hereunder :-
"That 8 posts of Kanungo were lying vacant as C.W.P.No.15385 of 2004 3
on 13.10.1995 and the persons who were due to be promoted from Patwaris to the post of Kanungo w.e.f.
13.10.1995, their names figure in the seniority list in the following order :-
1. Ram Singh s/o Shri Haru Ram
2. Ram Lal s/o Shri Dasaundi Ram
3. Surjit Singh s/o Shri Paras Ram
4. Beant Singh s/o Shri Lachhman Singh
5. Anil Kumar s/o Shri Lachhman Ram
6. Madan Lal s/o Shri Sukh Ram
7. Bakshish Singh s/o Shri Jai Chand
8. Gurdial Singh s/o Shri Lal Singh" The contents of this para are admitted in the written statement and the relevant part of the reply is as hereunder :- "3. The contents of this para admitted as a matter of record."
Therefore it is clear that as the position stands today, petitioner is senior to 6 of the 7 persons who were promoted by order dated 7.9.2001 w.e.f. 31.10.1995. The only reason why the petitioner's claim was ignored at that time was on account of the pendency of the departmental proceedings against him. Since the petitioner has been exonerated in the departmental inquiry, it is incumbent for the respondents to now consider his case against the one post which was kept vacant for him.
The contention of the respondents that the petitioner's claim can not be considered due to the pendency of the appeal against the judgment of C.W.P.No.15385 of 2004 4
the Civil Court now needs to be examined. The judgment of the learned Civil Judge (Senior Division), Rupnagar has been placed on record as Annexure R-2. A reading of the judgment would show that a suit had been filed by one Beant Singh against the State of Punjab and 12 patwaris. The claim of the plaintiff in the suit was that the seniority should have been determined as per the merit prepared by the selecting body. The Civil Court accepted this contention and decreed the suit. An appeal was preferred by one of the defendants which was decided by the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Rupnagar. Copy of this decision has been placed on the record as Annexure R-1. Learned Additional District and Sessions Judge, Rupnagar came to the conclusion the plaintiff was a respondent in C.W.P.No.5619 of 2004 which was pending in the High Court and wherein the same controversy was an issue. The learned Additional District and Sessions Judge therefore concluded that the plaintiff was precluded from filing the civil suit in view of the pendency of the writ petition and therefore accepted the appeal, set aside the findings of the trial court and ordered the plaint to be returned to the plaintiff. It is stated in the reply that a regular second appeal is now pending in the High Court against this decision.
It is clear from what has been stated above that the net effect as on date is as if no suit had ever been filed as the plaint stands returned to the plaintiff. No doubt the controversy is alive in the High Court but if other persons promoted vide order dated 7.9.2001 are being allowed to continue on the promoted posts, there is no justification why the petitioner should not also be permitted the same relief. The only reason why the petitioner was ignored at that time was on account of the departmental inquiry. Since ultimately the allegations were found to be untrue and proceedings were dropped, the petitioner should not be allowed to suffer on that account. So long as the remaining 7 persons are continuing on the promoted posts, the C.W.P.No.15385 of 2004 5
petitioner is also entitled to be considered for promotion and if found fit, to be promoted. Needless to mention that in case the seniority is ultimately disturbed by this court or by any other competent court, whatever consequential results would follow for all other employees in the department, would also be implemented qua the petitioner.
In view of what has been stated above, this writ petition is allowed. The respondents are directed to consider the case of the petitioner for promotion from the date Ram Singh and others were promoted vide order dated 7.9.2001 and in case the petitioner is found suitable, he would also be entitled to be promoted with effect from 13.10.1995 i.e. the date when Ram Singh and others were promoted vide order dated 7.9.2001.
In the circumstances of the case, however, there shall be no order as to costs.
( P.S.Patwalia )
May 17, 2006 ( J.S.Khehar )
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