Uttaranchal High Court: The Division Bench of Manoj Kumar Tiwari and Alok Kumar Verma, JJ., heard and disposed of a petition which was filed seeking a direction to the State Government to hold promotion exercise for filling the post of Chief Engineer.

Petitioner was regularly promoted as Superintending Engineer and had completed more than four years of service as Superintending Engineer. Petitioner contended that there were four sanctioned posts of Chief Engineer in Uttarakhand and all of them were lying vacant since 2018, but, no promotion exercise had been initiated to supply these four vacancies.

Counsel for the petitioner pointed out that petitioner was due to retire in the month of October, 2021 and Regulation 14 of the Uttarakhand Peyjal Sansadhan Vikas Evam Nirman Nigam Engineering Service Regulations, 2012 stated that,

“14. Determination of vacancies. The appointing authority shall determine the number of vacancies to be filled during the course of the year of recruitment, as also the number of vacancies to be reserved for the candidate belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other categories to the State of Uttarakhand, under regulation.”

The Court noted that it was an admitted position that the post of Chief Engineer had to be filled 100% by promotion and direct recruitment was not permissible under the Rules. The Court was of the view that Since all the four posts of Chief Engineer are lying vacant since long, therefore, there appears to be inaction on the part of the competent authorities in initiating promotion exercise in terms of the provisions contained in Service Regulations. The Court also opined that right to promotion is not a vested right, however, right to be considered for promotion has been held to be a fundamental right.

The Court finally held that as petitioner was eligible for promotion to the post of Chief Engineer and all the posts of Chief Engineer were lying vacant since long and petitioner was also due to retire within next two months, therefore certain directions need to be issued:

  1. Secretary, Drinking Water and Sanitation Department, Uttarakhand shall constitute a Selection Committee and shall also place the service record, including ACRs of all eligible persons for promotion as Chief Engineer, before the Selection Committee, within ten days from the date of production of certified copy of this order.
  2. The Selection Committee shall consider the claim of all eligible persons as per the provisions contained in Service Regulations and prepare a final merit list within ten days thereafter.
  3. The merit list prepared by Selection Committee along with recommendation of the Selection Committee shall be sent to the Appointing Authority, within next one week and the Appointing Authority shall issue promotion order, within one week thereafter.

[Vinod Kumar Pant v. State of Uttarakhand,  2021 SCC OnLine Utt 991, decided on 23-08-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

For the petitioner: Mr Anil Kumar Joshi

For the respondent: Mr Pradeep Joshi and Mr Bhupendra Singh Bisht

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