6 Sep 2023 7:00 AM GMT
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has allowed an employee’s claim for promotion after 12 years, holding that every individual has the right to be considered for promotion.The Division Bench of Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari and Dr. Justice K. Manmadha Rao observed that the petitioner did not approach the authorities seeking a promotion was not a sustainable ground to deny the same. “The stand of...
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has allowed an employee’s claim for promotion after 12 years, holding that every individual has the right to be considered for promotion.
The Division Bench of Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari and Dr. Justice K. Manmadha Rao observed that the petitioner did not approach the authorities seeking a promotion was not a sustainable ground to deny the same.
“The stand of the respondents 1 to 4 that the petitioner did not approach the authorities for promotion, is highly unsustainable. In the matter of promotions, the person should not be required to approach the authorities. It is for the authorities to consider the case of promotion of the eligible persons as per their right and as per their turn.”
The petitioner had approached the Court challenging the promotion of his subordinates to the post of Head Master under the cadre of School Assistant, despite the promotion being seniority-based.
It was the contention of the petitioner that the Erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh had issued G.O 400 of 1997, creating 10,647 new Head Master Posts in Primary Schools and Second Grade Teachers were eligible to apply for the post. Candidates with the longest serving tenure were given preference as the selection procedure was seniority-based.
The G.O. also specified that only those candidates who are employed as second-grade teachers in Primary Schools were eligible for the post. The petitioner herein was a Second Grade School Teacher as on the day of issuance of G.O., however, he was a second-grade teacher for High School and hence did not apply for the Post.
The petitioner later on in 2006 found out that second grade teachers from high schools were also considered for the promotion by way of G.O. 400, and to the petitioner’s surprise, the promoted second-grade high school teachers were appointed after the petitioner.
In 2010, the petitioner challenged the selection procedure before the Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunal as being arbitrary and against Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. The APAT held that the petitioner’s application for notional promotion from 1998 cannot be considered as it suffered from the vires of delay and laches.
The dismissal by the APAT was being challenged before the High Court by way of the present writ.
The respondents contended that the petitioner had never appeared for any promotions, neither in 1998 nor any subsequent promotion openings. It was argued that the petitioner could not now, after almost a delay of 12 years seek for notional promotion for a post released in 1997.
Further, the respondents contended that para 3 of the G.O. stipulates that only second-grade teachers of primary schools would be eligible for promotion, and since the petitioner was a teacher in a High School, he was not eligible to apply for the promotion to begin with.
After hearing the contentions at length, the Court held:
“ We are of the view that the petitioner cannot be faulted for not representing for promotion to the post of Head Master (LPL). The stand taken by the respondents before the A.P.A.T as also before us is that the petitioner did not represent for such promotion and after eleven years his claim is not sustainable. The reason for our view is that under the G.O.Ms.No.400, it was only from the SGT teachers working in Primary Schools the promotion was to be made to Head Master (LFL). Consequently, the petitioner had no right or occasion to apply...”
The Court observed that it was for the employer to inform his employees adequately about new posts and their eligibility criteria. After referring to a catena of judgements the Court held that the Doctrine of Fairness has to be employed vigorously, especially when the employer is an instrument of the State. Further, the selection process should not affect any employee adversely and any discrimination should be justified.
With this view, the Court held that “Though the petitioner approached after about 12 years, but we do not find that the petitioner is responsible for such delay in raising his claim.”
The Court directed the respondents to consider the case of the petitioner for promotion to the post of Head Master, Grade II, in accordance with law, after granting him a notional promotion and seniority to the post of School Assistant/Head Master (LFL), with effect from the date, his juniors were granted such promotion, i.e., w.e.f. 21.06.1998.
Case Title: Shaik Ahmmad vs.The State of AP and others.
Counsel for the Petitioner: Advocate M. Sai Krishna
Counsel for the respondents: Government Pleader for School Education
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