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Sub-Inspector Direct Six completed years Recruits 2. Sub-Inspectors Promotees Four completed years 3. Sub-Inspectors Recruited by Six completed years transfer 4. Probation - a Every person recruited by transfer or promotion to a category in the service shall be on probation for a total period of one year on duty within a continuous period of two and half years.
Police Subordinate Service when recruited by transfer to A. Police Service and appointed as Inspector, should have 6 years of completed service as Sub-Inspector of Police Civil or a total service of 6 years including the service as Reserve Sub-Inspector? The Tribunal and the High Court have held that 6 years service required for appointment as Inspector under the A. Thus aggrieved, the appellants are before this Court. Heard learned senior counsel and other counsel appearing on behalf of both sides.
Though several contentions have been raised, the crux of the arguments is that once seniority is considered from the date of appointment as Reserve Sub-Inspector, since the scales of pay of Reserve Sub-Inspector and Sub-Inspector Civil is the same and since both belong to the same class under the A.
We find it difficult to appreciate the above submission. Police Subordinate Service and A. Police Service are two distinct and separate services. And though the pay scales of both categories in Class I post of A. Police Subordinate Service is one and the same, the posts are not interchangeable.
It has been the submission of the State that there is functional difference in the service as well. Be that as it may, the selection to the post of Sub-Inspector Civil from Reserve Sub-Inspector is by way of transfer by selection based on merit. Once the Reserve Sub-Inspector comes into the category of Sub-Inspector of Police Civil , he is entitled to carry his seniority from the date of appointment as Reserve Sub- Inspector and placed accordingly in the seniority list of Sub-Inspectors Civil.
But that does not mean that on such placement in seniority he will be entitled to claim appointment as Inspector of Police in the A. Police Service since under the A. Police Service Rules, a Sub-Inspector of Police recruited by transfer should have a minimum service of 6 completed years for appointment by transfer as Inspector of Police. This rule is not under challenge. The learned senior counsel for the appellants made a persuasive attempt placing reliance on minimum service in the case of Sub-Inspectors absorbed from Sub-Inspectors of Ex-Prohibition Department.
Under the said category the minimum service required is 4 completed years as Sub-Inspector Civil provided such an Inspector has put in not less than 2 continuous years of service as Sub-Inspector in the Ex-Prohibition Department or has completed 6 years otherwise. That will not take the appellants anywhere. What is required in the category of appellants namely, Sub-Inspectors of Police Civil recruited by transfer for appointment as Inspectors is 6 completed years of service as Sub-Inspectors and not total service of 6 years including the service as Reserve Sub-Inspectors.
The rule as it stands is crystal clear and does not call for any other interpretation. The rule as stands now and having regard to the functional duties of Reserve Sub-Inspector and Sub-Inspector, and in the absence of a challenge set up on discrimination we find it difficult to test the arguments on the tenets of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
Transfer and recruitment by transfer are entirely two different concepts. No doubt transfer can be from one category to another category or within the class if the rule permits interchangeability of the categories within a class. Any other transfer both intra category and inter category are in fact, under law is a selection and appointment by way of a transfer from one category to another or from one class to another class or from one service to another. If it is a transfer simplicitor it conveys a different meaning and if it is a recruitment by transfer, as we have clarified above conveys a different concept altogether.
Transfer in relation to service simply means a change of a place of employment within an organization. Such transfer being to a similar post in the same cadre and therefore obviously such a transfer does not result in the termination of his lien in the parent cadre but recruitment by transfer is a different service concept altogether. It is a method of recruitment to a service, in the instant case to a different category in the same service initially and thereafter to a different service altogether.
In that process, there is an induction to a new cadre and sometimes with a different type of duty. Such induction has distinct consequence on the career of the employee different from what would have been the normal course had he continued in the parent service. State of A. Thirumal v. Seniority and eligibility are also distinct concepts. As far as promotion or recruitment by transfer to a higher category or different service is concerned if the method of promotion is seniority-cum-merit or seniority per se, there is no question of eligible senior being superseded.
Other things being equal, senior automatically gets promoted. But in the case of selection based on merit-cum-seniority, it is a settled principle that seniority has to give way to merit. Only if merit being equal senior will get the promotion. Merely because a person is senior, if the senior is not otherwise eligible for consideration as per the rules for promotion, the senior will have to give way to the eligible juniors. The instant case is a classic example for the said principle.
But the eligibility for appointment by way of a transfer to the post of Inspector under the A. Police Service requires 6 completed years of service after being recruited to the category of Sub-Inspector of Police Civil. In other words, though the Reserve Sub- Inspector selected and appointed on transfer as Sub-Inspector Civil may be seniormost in the category of Sub-Inspector of Police, but still he will be ineligible for consideration of appointment as Inspector in case he does not have 6 years of service as Sub-Inspector of Police Civil.
All his juniors who have 6 years of service as Sub-Inspector of Police and having been recruited to that post from different categories are entitled to steal a march over him as the rule now stands. The rule making authority in its wisdom has provided such a classification and we do not find any material on record to upset the said wisdom.
Prabha Devi and others v. The rule-making authority is competent to frame rules laying down eligibility condition for promotion to a higher post. When such an eligibility condition has been laid down by service rules, it cannot be said that a direct recruit who is senior to the promotees is not required to comply with the eligibility condition and he is entitled to be considered for promotion to the higher post merely on the basis of his seniority.
This rule is equally applicable to both the direct recruit Section Officers as well as the promotee Section Officers. The submission that a senior Section Officer has a right to be considered for promotion to Grade I post when his juniors who have fulfilled the eligibility condition are being considered for promotion to the higher post, Grade I, is wholly unsustainable. The prescribing of an eligibility condition for entitlement for consideration for promotion is within the competence of the rule-making authority.
This eligibility condition has to be fulfilled by the Section Officers including senior direct recruits in order to be eligible for being considered for promotion. When qualifications for appointment to a post in a particular cadre are prescribed, the same have to be satisfied before a person can be considered for appointment. Seniority in a particular cadre does not entitle a public servant for promotion to a higher post unless he fulfils the eligibility condition prescribed by the relevant rules.
A person must be eligible for promotion having regard to the qualifications prescribed for the post before he can be considered for promotion. Seniority will be relevant only amongst persons eligible. Seniority cannot be substituted for eligibility nor it can override it in the matter of promotion to the next higher post.
The rule in question which prescribes an uniform period of qualified service cannot be said to be arbitrary or unjust violative of Article 14 or 16 of the Constitution. There is no law which lays down that a senior in service would automatically be eligible for promotion. Seniority by itself does not outweigh experience.
Prabha Devi supra has been reiterated and followed in State of Punjab and others v. State of Orissa and others.
No doubt on the date of occurrence of a vacancy in the post of Inspector of Police, in case a Reserve Sub-Inspector selected and appointed on transfer as Sub-Inspector of Police has completed 6 years as Sub-Inspector of Police Civil , he is entitled to be considered in preference to his juniors in the seniority list of Sub-Inspectors of Police.
In view of the factual and legal position explained above, we find no merit in these appeals, accordingly they are dismissed, subject to the above clarification. There shall be no order as to costs. Banumathi , Section Post navigation.
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