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You cannot claim the benefit of military service for purpose of seniority for appointment to Punjab Civil Service: Supreme Court of India

The appellant was not entitled to claim the benefit of military service for purpose of seniority for appointment to Punjab Civil Service (Executive Branch) since the benefit of Rule 4(1) of 1972 Rules was not continued in 1982 Rules. This auspicious judgment was passed by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of JAGMOHAN SINGH DHILLON ETC.ETC. v. SATWANT SINGH & ORS [CIVIL APPEAL NOS.4616-4618/2010] by Justice ASHOK BHUSHAN.

The appeal was filed challenging the judgment passed by the division bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court where The High Court vide the impugned judgment had allowed the LPA filed by the State of Punjab and set aside the judgment of learned Single Judge and dismissed the writ petitions filed by the appellants. The appellants were ex-servicemen, who after being released from the Army were appointed to Punjab2 Civil Service (Executive Branch). Rules were framed namely Demobilized Indian Armed Forces Personnel (Reservation of Vacancies in the Punjab Civil Service) (Executive Branch) Rules, 1972, under which Rules Twenty percent of the vacancies in the Punjab Civil Service (Executive Branch) were to be filled in by direct recruitment from amongst Released Indian Armed Forces Personnel, who joined military service or were commissioned on or after the first day of November 1962. The vacancies that existed under Rules, 1972 for direct recruitment were from 1979 to 1981.

Another set of Rules were framed namely Punjab Recruitment of Ex-servicemen Rules, 1982 which were gazetted on 12.02.1982. Fifteen percent of the vacancies to be filled by direct appointment were reserved for being filled in the recruitment by ex-servicemen. By 1982 Rules, the Rules 1972 as above mentioned were repealed. An advertisement was published on 01.05.1982 being advertisement No.2 advertising the post of Punjab Civil Service (Executive Branch). The examination was held in the year 1985 and the appellants were appointed vide order dated 18.03.1986 to Punjab Civil Service (Executive Branch). The seniority list was issued in the year 1994 in which seniority of the appellant was fixed at S.No.25 without granting him any benefit of earlier services in the Army.

The appellant submitted representation against the wrong fixation of his seniority. The appellant filed a Writ petition claiming that his seniority is re-fixed by granting military services benefit in terms of Rule 4 of 1972 Rules.

The court was of the consideration that “The only question which needs to be considered and answered in this appeal is as to whether the appellant for determination of his seniority was entitled to the benefit of Rule 4 of 1972 Rules.”

Also, “The 1972 Rules were superseded by another rule framed under Proviso to Article 309 read with Article 234 and 318 of the Constitution of India, namely, Punjab (Recruitment of Ex-servicemen) Rules, 1982.”

And, “Rule 4 of 1972 Rules provided that period of military service rendered by a candidate appointed against reserved vacancy shall count towards fixation of pay and seniority, which provision was no longer continued in Rule 4 of 1982 Rules, However, the provision for reservation of vacancies was maintained to the extent of fifteen percent of the vacancies.”

The appeal was dismissed stating that “there is no indication that the benefit which was available to Armed Forces Personnel under Rule 4 of 1972 Rules are continued or any right has been accrued on the appellant under 1972 Rules which he is entitled to avail regarding seniority.”

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