Uttaranchal High Court: The Division Bench of S.K, Mishra ACJ. & N.S. Dhanik J., dismissed a petition filed against Claim Petition No. 05/NB/DB/2014. The petitioners prayed for quashing of the judgment and order dated 20-06-2018 passed by the Uttarakhand Public Services Tribunal and to issue a writ in the nature of certiorari to quash the Seniority List dated 01-04-2011 of the Assistant Engineer (Civil).

Seniority list dated 01-04-2011 of the Assistant Engineer (Civil) was promulgated after due promotion of the petitioners in the cadre of Executive Engineer. The petitioners alleged that they were shown juniors to the private respondents in the cadre of the Assistant Engineer (Civil) in alleged disregard of Rule 8(3)2(i) of the Uttarakhand Government Servant Seniority Rules, 2002. After long litigation before the High Court and the Supreme Court, respondent 2 to 12 were allocated the Uttarakhand cadre, vide allotment order dated 12-08-2010 and previous seniority list was revised. Now they have been placed above the petitioners in the seniority list, were also granted notional promotion to the post of Executive Engineer.

The Tribunal had earlier held that the promotion granted to respondents was not granted on the basis of their S.T. quota, but they were granted notational promotion on the basis of their seniority. However, the learned counsel on behalf of petitioner argued that notional promotion is illegal in view of the amendment of the Uttarakhand Government Servant Seniority Rules, 2002 in the year 2009.

The Court acknowledged that the private respondents were allocated the cadre of Junior Engineer (Civil) in the State of Uttarakhand by the Central Government  on condition that in case there is no vacancy in the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe category, they shall be absorbed in future vacancies. Thereafter the question before the Court was that

whether the Junior Engineers of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, who were transferred to the Uttarakhand cadre, will become senior to those persons, who are deemed to be their seniors in the State of Uttarakhand, as they were directly recruited to the cadre of Assistant Engineer.” The Court approved the observations made by the Tribunal. The Court was of the opinion that there was hardly any scope for interference in this case.

The Court while examining the jurisdictional issue held that

the High Court shall only examine the jurisdictional issue of the Tribunal, or the jurisdictional error committed by the Tribunal“.

Furthermore, it was held that

The Tribunal may decide a case wrongly, but that will not entitle the High Court to sit in appeal and re-appreciate the matter and pass an order.” A HC cannot treat itself a court of appeal while entertaining writ of certiorari as it is a settled principle of law. Hence, the Hon’ble HC dismissed the writ petition and expressed it opinion that “this is not a case, where the High Court should exercise the jurisdiction of writ of certiorari, or writ of supervision under Articles 226 and 227 respectively, of the Constitution of India.”

[Jagmohan Singh v.  State of Uttarakhand, 2021 SCC OnLine Utt 1450, decided on 24-12-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Counsel for the petitioners. : Mr Shobhit Saharia

Counsel for the respondents. : Mr Pradeep Joshi, the Additional Chief Standing Counsel for the State of Uttarakhand.

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