State has no right to negate probationary period, says court
In a significant verdict, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has quashed the government order (May 24,2003) granting exemption from probationary period and orders of July 23 and 26,2003 by which promotions from the post of constable (ministerial) to the post of ASI (M) and from ASI(M) to SI(M) were respectively made.
The orders were passed by the single bench of Justice Devi Prasad Singh while allowing a twin-writ petition filed by Shiv Kumar Singh and another and Satya Deo Sharma. Sharma has alleged that while 34 candidates of reserved vacancies of backlog quota falling within the SC/ST category had been given out of turn promotion in an arbitrary manner, they, despite holding the post of assistant sub-inspector Ministerial ie ASI (M) since long, had not been promoted.
Facts reveal that the state government on June 7,2003 had issued advertisement for filling up 35 reserved vacancies of constables (M). On July 22,2003, 35 constables(M) were appointed accordingly. The very next day on 23.7.2003,34 out of 35 constables (M)were promoted to the post of ASI(M) and three days later, on 26.7.03, they were again promoted to the post of SI(M).
The state action to the extent it relates to promotion of constables (M) to the post of ASI(M) without completion of probationary period and thereafter on the post of SI(M) without rendering any service for a reasonable period seems to be unfair, arbitrary, unjust, improper and is accordingly hit by Article 14 of the Constitution of India, the court observed.
On the contrary it was argued on behalf of the State that the government had taken a policy decision to fill up the vacancies and it was not appropriate for the high court to interfere in policy matters.
While quashing the impugned orders, the bench remarked that ordinarily the court should not interfere in policy matters but when the policy decision taken by the state is capricious, arbitrary and irrational, the high court had got ample powers to interfere.
It is not permissible for the state to make accelerated promotion at the cost of efficiency in administration even if promotion is done to fill up the backlog vacancies under SC/ST category, the bench added.
The bench further provided that the candidates appointed on the post of constable(M) shall be liable to complete the probationary period satisfactorily.
After completion of the probationary period and after serving on the post of constable (M) for a reasonable period, it shall be open to the state of Uttar Pradesh to fill up the backlog vacancies of ASI(M) and SI(M)in accordance with the law.