No writ of mandamus can be issued directing the competent authority to grant relaxation in qualifying service for promotion, the Supreme Court observed in a judgment today (22 November 2021).
In this case, the Allahabad High Court directed the competent authority to prepare the eligibility list of the Superintending Engineer (Civil) including the names of the writ petitioners for promotion to the post of Chief Engineer (Civil) Level – II by granting them relaxation in minimum length of service in accordance with the U.P. Government Servants Relaxation in Qualifying Service for Promotion Rules, 2006.
One of the contentions raised against this judgment by the State of Uttar Pradesh in appeal before Apex Court was that the grant of relaxation under the Relaxation Rules, 2006 is discretionary and no writ of mandamus can be issued directing the competent authority to grant the relaxation. It was submitted that word used in Rule 4 of Relaxation Rules, 2006 is 'MAY' and only in a case where the required number of eligible persons are not available in the field of eligibility. It was further submitted that no employee can claim the relaxation as a matter of right.
The court noted that the writ petitioners did not fulfill the eligibility criteria as they did not have the qualifying service of having completed 25 years of service and thus the eligibility lists were prepared by the department absolutely as per Service Rules.
The bench observed that the High Court committed a grave error in issuing the writ of mandamus commanding the competent authority to grant relaxation in the qualifying service. Allowing the appeal and dismissing the writ petitions, the bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna observed:
"The word used in the Rule 8 of Relaxation Rules, 2006 is "MAY". Therefore, the relaxation may be at the discretion of the competent authority. The relaxation cannot be prayed as a matter of right. If a conscious decision is taken not to grant the relaxation, merely because Rule permits relaxation, no writ of mandamus can be issued directing the competent authority to grant relaxation in qualifying service."
Case name: State of U.P. vs Vikash Kumar Singh
Citation: LL 2021 SC 672
Case no. and Date: CA 6868 OF 2021 | 22 Nov 2021
Coram: Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna
Counsel: Sr Adv Sakha Ram Singh for appellant, Sr. Adv Rana Mukherjee for respondents