The Punjab and Haryana high court has stayed the recent Punjab government order whereby those on extension cleared for promotions before the new notification were asked to give their acceptance on foregoing promotion and consequential benefits.
The high court bench of justice Rajiv Narain Raina directed the government to give promotions to these employees and asked it to allow them to work on their promoted posts.
The court order came on the petition of one chief engineer of irrigation department and four deputy secretaries, who had approached the high court after getting letters from the government in this regard.
In chief engineer’s case, his counsel senior advocate DS Patwaila and Sehaj Bir Singh had argued that petitioner’s name was cleared for promotion before the October 30 notification came but did not get physical possession of the post.
The October 30 notification says employees opting for extension would only be eligible to get pay equivalent to the last drawn salary and would not be eligible for promotions and annual increments.
The counsels had further argued that even as per amended law where promotion has been given the same would be protected. The promotion having been accorded during the extended period prior to the notification of the amended law would take precedence and the petitioner’s right would be viewed as crystalized on October 26 itself even though the vacancy was not immediately available for the remaining four days.
In deputy secretaries’ case, their names were cleared for promotion in August 2015 and were to get appointments in November.
However, they were issued letters asking them to give their option whether they wished to give their promotions or continue with extension. The option was to be given within 30 days. In this case too, their names were cleared before the notification came and were to get appointments in November, argued their counsel Rupinder Khosla. Hence, they could not be asked to forego promotions.
The high court bench directed the government not to compel the petitioners to give their option and asked it to put the exercise in abeyance till December 8, the next date of hearing when the state government responds to the petition.