The Supreme Court has held that the District Judges who previously served as ad-hoc District Judges, cannot claim seniority from the date of their initial appointment as ad-hoc District Judges.
Kum C. Yamini and others were appointed to a Fast Track Court, as ad hoc District Judges in the year 2003. They were later selected and appointed by the Government to the posts of regular District Judges. Their petition challenging the order rejecting claim of her seniority from the date of her initial appointment as ad hoc District Judge, was dismissed by the High Court.
The bench comprising Justice SA Bobde, Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice BR Gavai observed that the claim that they were appointed as ad hoc District Judges by following the procedure which is similar to the procedure for appointments to the sanctioned posts in the regular cadre, is no ground to accede to their request to reckon their seniority in the permanent cadre of District Judges, from their initial appointment as the District Judges for the Fast Track Courts. It said:
Merely on the ground that they were selected by following the same procedure akin to that of regular selections, is no ground to consider their claim for grant of seniority from the date of initial appointment. When their claim for regularisation/absorption and challenge to notification issued in the year 2004 for making selections to the vacant regular posts of District Judges is rejected by the High Court and confirmed by this Court, we are of the view that the appellants have no basis to claim seniority from the date of initial appointment. In any event, having applied in response to the notification issued by the High Court in the year 2013 after availing the benefit of appointment, it is not open to the appellants to question the conditions imposed in the order which is in conformity with rules. Undisputedly, appellant was appointed as ad hoc District Judges to preside over the Fast Track Courts only. Initially when she was not appointed to a post or category of posts, forming part of cadre strength in such category, appellant cannot claim any seniority over the persons regularly appointed in the category of posts forming part of cadre strength.
The court further added that the claim of seniority will depend upon several factors, nature of appointment, rules as per which the appointments are made and when appointments are made, were such appointments to the cadre posts or not etc. When the appellants were not appointed to any regular posts in the A.P. Judicial Service, appellants cannot claim seniority based on their ad hoc appointments to preside over Fast Track Courts, it said.
The bench, however, ordered that these judges and all those who are similarly placed are to be given benefit of counting their service rendered as Fast Track Judges, for the purpose of pensionary and other retiral benefits.
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