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R. Manoj Kumar V. University Grants Commission and Ors. - (Central Administrative Tribunal) (21 Apr 2017)

Mere reduction of promotion chances is no ground to interfere in prudence of employer to fix any ratio for promotion and direct recruitment



In present case, validity of new Recruitment Rules of University Grants Commission notified vide GSR 839(E) dated 26th August, 2016: MANU/HRDT/0028/2016 as regards the recruitment to post of Joint Secretary, and consequential advertisement notice dated 08th September, 2016 published in Hindu Allahabad inviting applications for post of Joint Secretary by direct recruitment are under challenge in present OA. Grievance of Applicant and challenge to new Recruitment Rules of 2016 is twofold; (i) fixation of 25% quota for direct recruitment by reducing 100% promotion quota is detrimental to promotional avenues of applicant; and (ii) amendment is in contravention to Dop & T OM No.AB-14017/61/2008-Estt. (RR) dated 13th October, 2015.

Section 25(d) of University Grants Commission Act, 1956, empowers Central Government to make rules laying down terms and conditions of service of employees appointed by Commission. Thus, it was within legislative field and power of Central Government to frame these rules. It is not case of Applicant that, rules are ultra vires to Act or even ultra vires to Constitution in any manner. Only ground is that new Recruitment Rules have been framed with mala fide intention to accommodate some favourites. Alleging mala fides to legislative action is not to be entertained unless, it is so apparent and so significant that it goes to very root of case. In present case, no such allegation has been made. Only ground urged is that new recruitment rules have reduced promotional avenues of Applicant as against 100% quota of promotion 25% posts have been reserved for direct recruits thereby reducing promotional avenues of the promotees by 25%.

Contention of Applicant that, age limit and qualifications have been prescribed under new Recruitment Rules of 2016 for promotees for first time is incorrect. Age limit meant for direct recruits and qualifications were applicable for promotees even under 1993 Recruitment Rules. Regarding reduction of quota for promotees is concerned, even under 1993 Recruitment Rules, post of Joint Secretary was to be filled up by promotion, failing which by deputation or direct recruitment. Thus, deputation and direct recruitment were also prescribed modes of appointment to post of Joint Secretary, though these modes were to be adopted in event the post could not be filled up by promotion.

To make rules and laid down service conditions is prerogative of employer and experts in field. Courts do not venture into this area, unless service conditions are ultra vires to provisions of enactment whereunder rules have been framed or are ultra vires to Constitution. No such allegation has been made, nor is any material placed on record to challenge impugned notification as ultra vires to Constitution or to provisions of University Grants Commission Act, 1956. Mere reduction of chances of promotion is no ground to interfere in prudence of the employer to fix any ratio for promotion and direct recruitment. In any case, 75% posts are still available for promotion. Rule making authority/employer in its prudence chooses to induce talent by direct recruitment. No fault can be found with its wisdom/action.

Law laid down by Hon'ble Supreme Court is that, policy matter, particularly, relating to promotions of government servant is primarily within domain of employer. Mere chance of promotion is not a condition of service. Even if, promotional avenues are reduced on account of alteration of promotion rules/policies, no interference is warranted. Applicant is still entitled to avail promotional avenue against 75% quota. As regards question of age limit is concerned, age is relaxable by 5 years for employees of Central Government, State Governments, Universities and Autonomous Bodies. UGC is itself an autonomous body, and thus, Applicant would be entitled to age relaxation in event, he crosses 50 years of age or as and when vacancy for promotional quota is to be filled up, and merely on this count, rules cannot be interfered with.

On second question that DoP & TOM dated 13th October, 2015 requires Government to put up proposed rules on website of Ministries/Departments for 30 days for inviting comments from stakeholders. Present OM is applicable in respect to proposal for framing/amendment in Recruitment Rules of any post in Ministries/Departments and their subordinate and attached offices. This Memorandum has no application so far the autonomous bodies are concerned. UGC is creation of a Statute and is totally independent autonomous body. It is neither part of Ministry, nor a department of Government or a subordinate and attached office. UGC falls outside purview of Office Memorandum.


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