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Service As Additional Judge On Ad-Hoc Promotion Will Not Count For Seniority Of District Judge : SC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
29 April 2020 2:24 PM GMT
Service As Additional Judge On Ad-Hoc Promotion Will Not Count For Seniority Of District Judge : SC [Read Judgment]
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The reckonable date has to be the date when substantive appointment is made and not from the date of the initial ad-hoc appointment or promotion, Court held.

While dealing with a challenge against the seniority list of District Judges drawn by the Rajasthan High Court, the Supreme Court reiterated that the period of service as an ad-hoc judge will not count for the seniority of District Judge.A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit and Vineet Saran was dealing with the following issue, among others :"Whether the judicial officers promoted on...

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While dealing with a challenge against the seniority list of District Judges drawn by the Rajasthan High Court, the Supreme Court reiterated that the period of service as an ad-hoc judge will not count for the seniority of District Judge.

A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit and Vineet Saran was dealing with the following issue, among others :

"Whether the judicial officers promoted on ad-hoc basis as Additional District and Sessions Judges to man the Fast Track Courts in the State and who were substantively appointed to the Cadre of the District Judge, are entitled to seniority from the date of their initial ad-hoc promotion?"

The issue was raised by Rajasthan Judicial Service Officers Association in a writ petition filed against the seniority list prepared by the High Court on March 15, 2019. They sought for reckoning their services as Additional District and Sessions Judges in Fast Track court for determining the seniority as District Judge.

The SC noted that the issue was settled against the petitioners in various precedents such as  :

  • Debabrata Dash and Another v. Jatindra Prasad Das and Others 6 (2013) 3 SCC 658
  • V. Venkata Prasad and Others v. High Court of A.P. and Others (2016) 11 SCC 656
  • Kum C. Yamini v. The State of Andhra Pradesh (2019) 10 SCALE 834

In Debabrata Dash, it was held :

"Once an incumbent is appointed to a post according to rule, his seniority has to be counted from the date of his appointment and not according to the date of his confirmation.

The corollary of the above rule is that where the initial appointment is only ad hoc and not according to rules and made as a stopgap arrangement, the officiation in such post cannot be taken into account for considering the seniority"

It was further held in these precedents that :

"No right will be conferred on judicial officers in service for claiming any regular promotion on the basis of his/her appointment on ad hoc basis under the Scheme.The service rendered in the Fast Track Courts will be deemed as service rendered in the parent cadre".

The SC held that these precedents conclude the case of the petitioners.

"As has been held in said decisions, the reckonable date has to be the date when substantive appointment is made and not from the date of the initial ad-hoc appointment or  promotion".

Thus, the Court answered the issue in the negative.

[District Judges] Inter-Se Seniority Among Candidates Who Pass 'Limited Competitive Exam' Must Be Based On Merit In LCE & Not Previous Seniority :SC

While dealing with another issue in the case, the Court held that in the seniority list of District Judges, the inter-se seniority between candidates who passed the 'Limited Competitive Examination (LCE)' must be determined on the basis of their merit in the examination, and not on the basis of their seniority in the erstwhile cadre.

Holding thus, the SC interfered with the seniority list to give proper placement for LCE candidates.

Case Details  Title : Dinesh Kumar Gupta vs High Court of Judicature of Rajasthan  Case No : Writ Petition (C) No. 936/2018  Bench : JJ U U Lalit & Vineet Saran

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