No State Employee Has The Right To Assume That The Regulations Controlling His Employment Will Stay the Same Indefinitely

Title:  Nirmala Vincent vs Union Of India & Ors..
Decided on: 3rd July, 2023



The Delhi High Court recently dealt with a case where a petitioner sought relief by challenging the condition issued by the Union of India, which required a degree in law as a qualification for an Assistant to be promoted to the post of Court Officer in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The court analyzed the competence of the State to change service rules and qualifications and refused to grant the relief sought by the petitioner.


The petitioner joined the Registrar of Companies, Delhi, as a Lower Division Clerk and later was appointed as a Lower Division Clerk at the Company Law Board (CLB) on a deputation basis. Subsequently, she was promoted to the post of Upper Division Clerk on a regular basis at the CLB. Later, in 2014, she was promoted to the post of Assistant on a regular basis. In 2016, she applied for the post of Court Officer in NCLT, New Delhi Bench on a deputation basis, and was selected for the same. However, she later resumed back to the post of Assistant. The petitioner sought the quashing of Recruitment Rules issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to the extent they required a degree in law as a mandatory qualification for promotion to the post of Court Officer.


The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in P.U. Joshi v. Accountant General, wherein it was held that the State has the exclusive discretion and jurisdiction to prescribe qualifications, conditions of service, avenues of promotions, and criteria for promotions. The Court emphasized that it is not for the Courts to direct the government on these matters or impose its views in place of the State’s discretion.


Considering the Supreme Court’s ruling in the P.U. Joshi case, the Delhi High Court held that the State has the authority to change the rules relating to service, qualifications, and other conditions of service, as per the administrative exigencies. The Court declined to quash the condition that required a degree in law for an Assistant to be promoted to the post of Court Officer in NCLT. It found that the petitioner did not have the right to challenge the State’s authority to amend or alter service rules and held that the condition was not arbitrary or discriminatory. Therefore, the Court denied the relief sought by the petitioner. The Court further clarified that government servants have no inherent right to claim that the rules governing their service conditions remain the same throughout their tenure, except for safeguarding rights or benefits already earned or accrued. The Court held that it is within the competency of the State to modify and amend rules from time to time as per administrative exigencies.

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Written by- Ankit Kaushik

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