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SC asks Punjab for fresh PCS promotion list
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 29
In an important ruling pertaining to a dispute on promotion of Punjab officers, the Supreme Court has held that the seniority of Punjab Civil Service (PCS) officers must be determined on the basis of collective interpretation of Rule 18 and 21 of the 1976 Service Rule framed by the state and roster and quota system must be reflected on the seniority list.

“Any seniority list prepared in violation of the roster and quota is bound to be negated,” said a Bench of Mr Justice A. R. Lakshmanan and Mr Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta in a judgement, allowing an appeal of some PCS officers, led by Arvinder Singh Bains.

Setting aside a Punjab and Haryana High Court order dismissing a petition, challenging the government's 1994 order preparing a seniority list of Register-B candidate of the PCS officers for promotion without assigning their places in the consolidated seniority cadre, the apex court said the “action is contrary to law laid down by this court.”

The government's action in determining the seniority “is clearly in total disregard to rota-quota prescribed in Rule 18 of the 1976 Rules, the court said, directing the Punjab Government to draw a fresh seniority list of affected officers, most of whom were now in the IAS cadre.

Giving three-month time to the government, the court said the seniority list of the officers concerned, who belong to the PCS, should be drawn in accordance with the Rule 18 read with Rule 21 of the 1976 Service Rules by fixing the seniority according to the roaster prescribed under Rule 18.

The government was further directed to grant all consequential benefits in pay scale, promotion to the PCS officers, even after they were promoted to the IAS cadre with arrears, for reasons that they remained deprived of it “due to negligence of the state government.”

The vacancies of the PCS officer had occurred in interregnum 1978-82 but they were filled only in 1986. The officers’ contention was that if the posts were filled on time, direct recruits coming in through Register-B would have found higher places on the impugned seniority list

The government had prepared a tentative seniority list in August, 1988, including those candidates who had been selected and appointed by direct recruitment via Register-B. When the officers challenged the manner in which it was drawn, the government had came up with a final seniority list of Register-B in July, 1994, without assigning their places in the consolidated seniority of the cadre, which they challenged in the high court.
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