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Employees not earned promotion within 9 years, entitled to time bound promotional scale: SC

Employees of Electricity Board who have not earned promotion within 9 years from initial recruitment, entitled to time bound promotional scale: SC



Inderjit Singh Sodhi and Others v. The Chairman, Punjab State Electricity Board and Another

Civil Appeal No.3837 of 2020 (SLP(C) No. 23877 of 2014) with Civil Appeal No. 3835 of 2020 (SLP Civil No. 22791 of 2014) and Civil Appeal No. 3836 of 2020 (SLP(C) No. 24195 of 2014)

Decided on December 3, 2020.

Counsel for the Appellants: Mr. Patwalia

Counsel for the Respondents: Mr. Gulati


A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Ajay Rastogi decided the present case. The Court upheld the common order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dated 09.04.2014 which allowed the writ petitions for the grant of 9/16 years’ time bound revised promotional scale to the appellants to be set aside.


The appellants were promoted to the post of Assistant Engineers under Regulation 7(a)(ii) read with Regulation 10 of the Punjab State Electricity Board Service of Engineers (Civil) Regulations, 1965. Shri Kirpal Singh Mangat and Shri Raj Kumar Garg, junior to the appellants in the category of Assistant Engineer, were appointed by way of direct recruitment to such posts on the basis of their qualifications under Regulation 7(a)(i) of the Civil Regulations. A representation was submitted by the appellants claiming parity with the two juniors with regard to the time bound promotional scale.


Two sets of circulars were issued by the Punjab State Electricity Board for grant of time bound promotional scales. Promotee employees were said to be entitled to time bound promotional scale as per the First Circular and the Second Circular was issued to grant time bound promotional scale to directly recruited Assistant Engineers which would equally apply to the Civil and Electrical Branch of the Board.


The learned Senior Counsel for the appellants argued that once they have been promoted to the post of Assistant Engineer, at par with other juniors, there cannot be any discrimination in the matter of pay scale. He contended that in terms of Regulation 7 of Civil Regulations, the appellants possessed the qualifications for direct recruitment; the directly recruited Assistant Engineers were granted time bound promotional scale, but the appellants have been denied such benefits, hence the act was arbitrary and discriminatory. The Counsel argued that in terms of the Second Circular, the promotee employees are to be considered for time bound promotional scale in terms of First Circular because according to Clause 2(iii) of the First Circular, an employee on completion of 23 years’ service is also entitled to the benefits of the said Scheme in case he is not benefited from the Scheme of 9/16 years.


On the other hand, the learned Counsel for the respondents argued that time bound promotional scale would be applicable to the promotee officer such as the appellants only in terms of the First Circular which contemplates that in case an employee gets normal promotion to the next higher post before completion of 9 years’ service, he would not be entitled to first time bound promotional scale. It was contended that the Second Circular was not disputed by any of the appellants at any stage.


The Court heard the Counsels for both sides and stated:

We find that the appellants were promoted within 9 or 16 years from their initial appointment, therefore, they are not entitled to time bound promotional scale. Kirpal Singh Mangat and Raj Kumar Garg were appointed by direct recruitment as Assistant Engineer (Civil), whereas the appellants have been promoted to the post of Assistant Engineer (Civil).Hence, the Second Circular would not be applicable to them. The promotee employees are entitled to time bound promotion scale in terms of the First Circular only. Hence, the appellants are not entitled to claim any parity with Kirpal Singh Mangat and Raj Kumar Garg. (Para 17)


The Court stated:

The appellants being only Diploma holders were promoted under Regulation 7(a)(ii) read with Regulation 10.4 of the Regulations. They had the opportunity to compete for direct recruitment after 12 years of service, which they never availed or remained unsuccessful. The appellants would have been entitled to claim parity with Kripal Singh Mangat and Raj Kumar Garg only if they were qualified and promoted against the posts reserved for those employees by direct recruitment. Consequently, the appellants cannot claim time bound promotion after completion of 9/16 years at par with Kirpal Singh Mangat and Raj Kumar Garg.


Further, the Court held:

The claim of the appellants of discrimination and arbitrariness on the basis of time bound promotional scale granted to Kirpal Singh Mangat and Raj Kumar Gargis not found to be sustainable. It has been categorically admitted by the appellants that the said persons were appointed by way of direct recruitment under Regulation 7(a)(i) as provided under Regulation 9 of the Regulations. The appellants, on the contrary, have been promoted to the post of Assistant Engineer in their term as per their seniority in the cadre of Junior Engineer. Thus, Second Circular which would be applicable to Kirpal Singh Mangat and Raj Kumar Garg would not apply to the appellants as they are instead covered by the First Circular. (Para 21)


On a concluding note, the Court observed:

The argument that the appellants are entitled to promotion scale after 23 years was not the case setup either in the writ petition or even in the present appeals. Such an argument has in fact been raised for the first time in the written submissions. We find that such a factual argument cannot be permitted to be raised at this stage. (Para 24)


The Court upheld the order passed by the High Court and dismissed the appeals.



Jhanavi M

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