21 November 2022


Judgments

Supreme Court

State of U.P. and Ors. vs. Vikash Kumar Singh and Ors.

MANU/SC/1114/2021

22.11.2021

Service

Writ of mandamus cannot be issued directing the competent authority to grant relaxation in qualifying service

Appellant impugned judgment passed by the Division Bench of the High Court by which the Division Bench of the High Court has dismissed the Special Appeal filed by the Appellants confirming the judgment passed by the learned Single Judge quashing and setting aside the eligibility lists dated 18th March, 2019 and 10th May, 2019 of the Superintending Engineers (Civil) for promotion to the post of Chief Engineer (Civil) Level-II from the department. Further, a writ of mandamus is issued, commanding the Appellants – competent authority to prepare the eligibility list of the Superintending Engineer (Civil) including the names of the respondents – original writ petitioners for promotion to the post of Chief Engineer (Civil) Level – II by granting them relaxation in minimum length of service in accordance with the U.P. Government Servants Relaxation in Qualifying Service for Promotion Rules, 2006.

At the outset, it is required to be noted that, the learned Single Judge issued the writ of mandamus commanding the competent authority to grant the relaxation as per Rule 4 of the Relaxation Rules, 2006 in qualifying service and consequently, has quashed and set aside the eligibility lists dated 18th March, 2019 and 10th May, 2019. As per Rule 5(iii) of the Uttar Pradesh Service of Engineers (Irrigation Department) (Group A) Service Rules, 1990, one of the conditions to be eligible is that the Superintending Engineer must have completed 25 years of service (including at-least three years’ service as Superintending Engineer).

It is an admitted position that, the original writ petitioners did not fulfill the eligibility criteria as they did not have the qualifying service of having completed 25 years of service. Thus, the eligibility lists were prepared by the department absolutely as per Rule 5(iii) and Rule 8(iii) of the Rules, 1990. The names of the original writ petitioners were excluded from the eligibility list of Superintending Engineer for promotion to the post of Chief Engineer on the ground that they did not fulfil the eligibility criteria as per Rule 5(iii) of the Rules, 1990. Therefore, the High Court ought not to have set aside the said eligibility lists, which were prepared absolutely in accordance with the Rules, 1990.

The learned Single Judge thereafter while quashing and setting aside the eligibility lists dated 18th March, 2019 and 10th May, 2019 has issued the writ of mandamus commanding or directing the competent authority to grant relaxation in qualifying service, which as such was permissible under Rule 4 of the Relaxation Rules, 2006. The word used in the Rule 4 of Uttar Pradesh Government Servant Relaxation in Qualifying Service for Promotion Rules, 2006 is “MAY”. Therefore, the relaxation may be at the discretion of the competent authority. The relaxation cannot be prayed as a matter of right. If a conscious decision is taken not to grant the relaxation, merely because Rule permits relaxation, no writ of mandamus can be issued directing the competent authority to grant relaxation in qualifying service.

Therefore, the High Court has committed a grave error in issuing the writ of mandamus commanding the competent authority to grant relaxation in the qualifying service. Consequently, the High Court has also erred in quashing and setting aside the eligibility lists which were prepared absolutely in consonance with the Rules, 1990 and Rules, 2006. The impugned judgment and order are set aside. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Eligibility lists Quashing Legality

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