New Delhi, October 14
Twenty eight years after a man from Uttar Pradesh was selected for the post of Postal Assistants/Sorting Assistants, the Supreme Court has directed the Department of Posts to appoint him to the post at the age of 50.
Holding that the candidate – Ankit Gupta – was discriminated against, a Bench of Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice Dipankar Gupta directed the Department of Posts to offer him appointment, initially on probation, on a post of Postal Assistant within a month.
Exercising its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to do complete justice, the Bench in its October 11 order said if no post was vacant, a supernumerary post shall be created and subject to satisfactory completion of the period of probation, he shall be confirmed in service.
The Bench, however, said the department was entitled “to proceed in accordance with law” if the service rendered during probation was not considered to be satisfactory.
“The third respondent (Ankit Gupta), in our view, has been discriminated against and arbitrarily deprived of the fruit of selection…There has been utter carelessness on its part in not producing the Amendment Rules and the gazette notification before the (Central Administrative) Tribunal,” it said.
Holding the department responsible for the prolonged litigation in excess of two decades, it said Gupta cannot suffer for such carelessness and had to be given what was due to him.
The top court, however, made it clear that he shall not get any back wages. However, he shall be entitled to pension and other related benefits, it said.
“Having not actually worked, the third respondent shall neither be entitled to arrears of salary nor shall he be entitled to claim seniority from the date of appointment of other candidates who participated in the recruitment process of 1995,” the top court said.
In view of the fact that Gupta was already 50 and he would have less than 10 years’ service to his credit and consequently would fall short of qualifying service for pension and other retiral benefits, the Bench directed the Department of Posts to treat him to have been notionally appointed on the date the last of the selected candidates was appointed pursuant to the process of 1995 -- only for the purpose of release of such benefits in accordance with law.
“In such a case, his retiral benefits shall be computed based on the last pay drawn by him while in service,” it added.
Timeline of the case
• April 17, 1995: Superintendent of Post Office, Kheri requisitions from District Employment Officer, a list of eligible candidates for recruiting 10 Postal Assistants
• November 22, 1995: Ankit Gupta figures in merit list after written, typing, aptitude, computer tests and interview
• March 15, 1996: He joins 15-day pre-induction training at Kheri Post Office
• March 22, 1996: Chief Post Master General sends letter to various Postmasters General that 12th Certificate of candidates should be from vocational stream
• March, 1996: Gupta and some other candidates not sent for long-term training, leading to litigation before CAT
• May 6, 1999: Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) allows Ankit Gupta’s plea; orders his appointment
• May 30, 2000: CAT dismisses Review Application of Department of Posts
• April 2, 2017: Allahabad HC (Lucknow Bench) dismisses Department of Posts’ petition against CAT order
• December, 10 2021: Allahabad HC (Lucknow Bench) dismisses review plea of Department of Posts
• October 11, 2023: Supreme Court orders Department of Posts to give Ankit Gupta job at the age of 50
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