The promotion of a government servant under reserved category can be annulled if he is found to belong to the general category: High Court of Chhattisgarh

When a government servant has been promoted erroneously under a reserved category, despite belonging to general category, the state is empowered to annul the promotion as he is not should not reap benefits that he is not entitled to. This was held by a single member bench of the High Court of Chhattisgarh consisting of Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal in the case of K.C. Biswas v State of Chhattisgarh [Writ Petition (S) No. 7156 of 2010] on 23rd June 2021.

The petitioner K.C. Biswas was appointed as Agriculture Development Officer on the 26th of June 1983 and later promoted to the post of Senior Agriculture Officer under General Category and he was shown as a member of the general category throughout his career until in the gradation list published on 1st April 2004 where he was shown to belong to the Scheduled Caste category. In the year 2006, he was considered for promotion under the Scheduled Caste category and hence appointed as Assistant Director of Agriculture under SC category.  The promotion of K.C. Biswas was questioned by one Anup Kumar stating that K.C. Biswas did not belong to the SC category and as a General category candidate, he should not have been eligible for the latest promotion. Upon examination of the records, the state government issued two show cause notices and upon his failure to prove that he belonged to the SC category, his promotion was cancelled.

The petitioner’s counsel contended that even if the order of promotion was erroneous, it is not his fault as he did not forge or manipulate any records. Since the he has already retired from office on 31st October 2020, the petitioner contends that he should be entitled to the benefits of the promotion which was granted to him as a benefit already granted cannot be taken away on the mistake committed by the state. Mr Sunil Otwani, the additional advocate general representing the state, submitted that the promotion which was wrongly granted had been rightfully annulled after giving the petitioner due chances to present his side of the case or to prove that he belonged to the SC category, which he failed to do. The was further contended that as the petitioner had been granted a promotion that he was not entitled to, no equity lies in his favour and he should not be allowed to reap benefits that he is not entitled to.

Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal  noted that “Admittedly, on the own showing of petitioner K.C. Vishwas, he does not belong to SC category and twice he was served with show cause notices on 8-7-2008 and 26-7-2010 to produce caste certificate that he belongs to SC category, but he could not produce the same. Even before this Court, it was not disputed by learned counsel for petitioner K.C. Vishwas that he does not belong to SC category. Therefore, his promotion on the post of Assistant Director (Agriculture) under SC category has rightly been cancelled by order dated 25-11-2010 and he has rightly been reverted to his original post, after affording opportunity of hearing which is strictly in accordance with law and no exception can be taken on the said order passed by the State Government.” Hence the petition was dismissed, but the petitioner was given the option to make representation for consideration of his case in accordance with law within thirty days. 

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