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Clerk/Junior Assistant appointed on compassionate grounds eligible for promotion: Himachal Pradesh High Court

While addressing a writ petition on the promotion of clerks who were appointed on compassionate grounds and were matriculates; the Court held that when the Secretary of Revenue had issued a notification stating the exemption of certain qualification and eligibility for the government has to give the same. This judgment was passed in the case of Narinder Kumar Dutta vs. State of H.P. & others [CWP No. 561.2020] by a Single Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice Ajay Mohan Goel.

The petitioner prayed for the respondents to consider his name for the promotion as a senior assistant from the due date (2012) after receiving the DPC in 2012 and 2014. He also prayed for his name to be on the corrected seniority list and provide the consequential benefits after granting promotion. The petitioner claims that he was appointed as a clerk on compassionate grounds in the year 1985. Initially, he was posted at D.C. office Chamba and later on account of family circumstances got transferred to district Kangra where he was posted as the Clerk/Junior Assistant in the office of Deputy commissioner from 1990. Due to his voluntary transfer, he lost his seniority level as was assigned no.60 in the seniority list released by the respondent in 2007. The petitioner’s name was considered for promotion in 2011 but was not promoted. Later in 2012, a notification was released by the respondent by which the Himachal Pradesh, Department of Personnel, Senior Assistant, Class-III Common Recruitment and Promotion Rules, 2011 were amended to the effect that the post of Senior Assistant was to be filled 100% by promotion, from the Clerks/ Junior Assistants of concerned departments, possessing ten years regular service or regular combined with continuous ad-hoc service, provided they possess the minimum educational qualification of 10+2. In a meeting, the petitioner and other names were recommended for promotion although they were only matriculated. However persons senior to the petitioner but matriculate were promoted, the petitioner was not promoted since sufficient posts were not available. In 2014, his name was not considered because of qualification, and in 2015 he was promoted after he completed his 10+2.

The petitioner was aggrieved by the fact that he did not get the promotion earlier than 2015 as he was appointed on compassionate grounds and he deserved the same irrespective of him not possessing the 10+2 qualification. On the same ground, the petitioner filed the present petition. The High Court heard both the parties before rendering its decision.

After sifting through the notification the High Court observed that the qualification of 10+2 existed even before 2012. An exemption was carved out for clerks who were appointed on compassionate grounds provided they were matriculated. The High Court held that given the qualification and amended notifications, there was no reason why the matriculates were promoted but the petitioner was not. The counsel for respondents also failed to establish the same. Therefore, the non-recommendation of the petitioner in the 2014 meeting was also not qualified in law. The High Court held denial of promotion to the petitioner on the basis of seniority was not sustainable in law since the petitioner was exempted from the possession of such a qualification vide the appointment order.

The High Court Concluded by holding, “The promotion shall stand conferred upon the petitioner with all consequential benefits including monetary benefits and needful be done within three months from today.”

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