If a government officer is considered for promotion to a higher post, then all those senior to him in the grade shall also be considered for it, even if they may not have rendered requisite number of years of service, the Central Administrative Tribunal has said.
The ruling came on a petition filed by assistant commissioner of Income Tax Swaran Singh Sampla, seeking a direction to the government to promote him to the post of deputy commissioner of Income Tax with effect from January 1 2007, irrespective of his not having the eligibility of four years for promotion, as persons junior to him were being promoted.
Sampla, who was appointed as assistant commissioner of Income Tax on December 5, 2003, was promoted to the post of deputy commissioner from January 1, 2008 and not from January 1, 2007 when his juniors were give promotions. He was assigned seniority of 2002 and was placed senior to the direct recruits of 2003.
Sampla contended that as per rules, a senior has to be considered for promotion along with his juniors, irrespective of his not having the eligibility service for promotion. He said his case was covered by a 2005 decision of the Jaipur Bench of CAT in SK Shukla v Union of India and others, which was been confirmed by the Rajasthan HC and the apex court, too, had agreed with it and the order has already been implemented.
However, the government contended that no law had been laid down in the judgments relied upon by Sampla and his plea was also time-barred.
But a bench headed by CAT principal bench chairman Justice VK Bali rejected the government’s contention and ordered that Sampla be promoted to the post of deputy commissioner of Income Tax with effect from January 1, 2007.
"We are of the considered view that it is the duty of the state to accord benefit to an employee, if such benefit has been accorded to another employee similarly situated who may have won the case up to the highest level," the CAT said.
Quoting from CAT Jaipur Bench’s verdict, Justice Bali made specific reference to rule 7(3) of the Indian Revenue Service Rules, 1988, according to which, even though minimum qualifying service for being considered for promotion is four years, if an officer is considered for promotion to a higher post, then all his seniors in the grade shall also be considered, notwithstanding that they may not have rendered requisite number of years of service.