SMT. IMLIKOKLA LONGCHAR & ORS. VERSUS THE STATE OF NAGALAND & ORS.

SMT. IMLIKOKLA LONGCHAR & ORS. VERSUS THE STATE OF NAGALAND & ORS.

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.         OF 2022
  (Arising out of Special Leave to Appeal (C) No. 27603/2019)
SMT. IMLIKOKLA LONGCHAR & ORS.          …. APPELLANT(S) 
VERSUS
THE STATE OF NAGALAND & ORS.    …. RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
   ANIRUDDHA BOSE, J. 
Leave granted.
2. The origin of the controversy giving rise to the present appeal goes
back to the year 2007 and there have been several rounds of litigations
over   the   issue   which   we   shall   briefly   narrate   in   the   subsequent
paragraphs of this judgment. The contesting parties in this appeal are
the   appellants   and   the   respondent   no.4   (Keruupfeu   –   “K”).   The
educational   authorities   of   the   State   of   Nagaland,   who   are   also
respondents in this appeal are supporting the appellants. The dispute is
on the question of seniority the appellants and K in the cadre of senior
lecturer under the State Council of Educational Research and Training
1
Service (SCERT), Department of Education, Government of Nagaland.
The appellants are collectively seeking seniority over K.
3. We are giving below a table showing the career graph of K and the
four appellants (henceforth referred to as A1, A2, A3 and A4 respectively
in descending order from the table) in their respective cadres:­
Name Parties Date of
Appointment
Date of
Regularisation
as Lecturers/Senior 
Lecturer
Date of
Temporary
Promotion as
Senior Lecturer
Date of 
Regularisation    as 
as Senior 
Lecturer  
Smt.
Imlikokla
Longchar
Appellant
no.1
30.10.1992
Lecturer on
contract
28.03.2001 with effect
from 15.01.2001
regularised as lecturer
20.11.2003 with
effect from
14.11.2003
08.11.2007
with effect
from
14.11.2003
Smt Atula
Aier
Appellant
no.2
30.10.1992
Lecturer on
contract
28.03.2001 with effect
from 15.01.2001
regularised as lecturer
20.11.2003 with
effect from
14.11.2003
08.11.2007
with effect
from
14.11.2003
Shri
Limatoshi
Appellant
no.3
18.02.1993
Lecturer on
contract
28.03.2001 with effect
from 15.01.2001
regularised as a
lecturer
20.11.2003 with
effect from
20.01.2001
08.11.2007
with effect
from
20.01.2001
Smt Alemla
Jamir
Appellant
no.4
31.03.1993
Lecturer on
contract
28.03.2001 with effect
from 15.01.2001
regularised as lecturer
20.11.2003 with
effect from
20.01.2001
08.11.2007
with effect
from
20.01.2001
Smt
Keruupfeu
Respondent
no.4
30.03.1993
Senior Lecturer
on contract
March 2005 with
effect from
16.01.2004
regularised as Sr
lecturer
Was appointed in
this post on
contract
_
4. Draft   seniority   list   as   on   1st  July   2006   was   circulated   by   the
authorities   in   which   the   K   was   shown   below   the   appellants.   K’s
2
objection   to   this   seniority   list   was   mainly   on   the   point   that   the
appellants could not be positioned above her as the dates of entry of the
appellants into the cadre of senior lecturer was subsequent to her entry
into the said cadre. The appellants initially came to be senior lecturer
on the basis of their officiating promotions on 20th November 2003 with
effect from 14th November 2003 (for A1 and A2) and 20th January 2001
(for A3 and A4) whereas K’s regularisation in the post in question was
with effect from 16th January 2004. K’s regular promotion in that cadre
was before the actual dates of regularisation of the appellants in the
subject post. The appellants’ regularisation in the said posts was made
in the year 2007, with earlier effect as would be evident from the abovereferred table. K’s representation was rejected and final seniority list
was published on 17th November 2006 in terms of the draft list. As per a
Cabinet   Memorandum   no.   EDS/SCERT­15/2004   (“Memorandum”)
issued in the month of March 2005, regularisation recommendation of
K was made with effect from 16th January 2004 as she had completed
more than ten years’ service in the department. This appears to have
had been subsequently approved and notified. We also find from this
Memorandum   that   she   was   recommended   for   regularisation   on   the
basis of a suitability test. The said Memorandum, inter­alia, carried the
following stipulation:­
“4(2). There are some regular lecturers who were given
officiating promotions to the posts of Sr. Lecturers subject
3
to regularization by the DPC. This group of officers would
be   senior   to   those   of   contract   appointees   and
deputationists.”
(quoted verbatim from the paperbook)
5. The Nagaland State Council on Educational Training Service Rules,
2003 (“2003 Rules”) was made under the provisions of Article 309 of the
Constitution of India and these Rules became operative from 30th April
2007. Rule 3 thereof reads:­
“3. CONSTITUTION OF SERVICE
The service shall consist of the following persons namely:
(i)    Persons who, at the commencement of these rules
are holding substantively the posts specified in Schedule­I.
(ii)     Persons   recruited   to   this   service   before   the
commencement of these rules.
(iii) Persons recruited to this service in accordance with
provisions of these rules.” 
Schedule II to these Rules carry the requirements pertaining to various
posts within the said service. Eligibility conditions for the post of senior
lecturer appear in Serial 4 thereof. It is recorded in the said Schedule:­
SCHEDULE­II
(See Rule­3)
The Nagaland State Council of Educational Research & Training
Sl. 
No.
Designation
of posts
Percentage of post(s) to
be filled up Required
Educational
Qualification
Departmenta Remarks
l promotion
Direct
recruit
through
NPSC
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 Director 100% X
M.A./M.Sc./
M.Com with
B.Ed or
equivalent
professional
course not
The post of Director will be filled up
by promotion from amongst the 
confirmed Additional Directors who
had rendered not less than 2(two) 
years in the cadre. The selection 
shall on merit cum seniority
4
less than 9
months.
2 Joint
Director
100% X
M.A./M.Sc./
M.Com with
B.Ed or
equivalent
professional
course not
less than 9
months.
The post of Joint Director will be 
filled up by promotion from 
amongst the confirmed Deputy 
Directors/Senior Academic 
Officers/Principals DIETs who has 
completed 5 years in the cadre on 
the basis of merit cum seniority.
3 Deputy
Director/Sr
. Academic
Officer/
Principal
DIETs
100% X
M.A./M.Sc./
M.Com with
B.Ed or
equivalent
The post shall be filled up from 
amongst the confirmed Readers 
Vocational Guidance and 
Counseling Officer/Project 
Coordinator/Senior Lecturers 
DIETs who have at least completed 
5 years of continuous service in the
cadre. 
4 Readers/
Sr.
Lecturer/
Research
Officer/
Vocational
Guidance
and
Counsellin
g Officer
Consultant
75% 25% M.A./M.Sc./
M.Com with
B.Ed
on the basis of merit cum 
seniority. 
(a) 75% of the post of 
Reader/Senior 
Lecturer/Research Officer/ 
Vocational Guidance and 
Conselling Officer fallen vacant 
in a calendar year shall be filled 
on promotion from amongst the 
serving candidates who have 
rendered continuous service of 
5(five) years in the grade of 
Research Associate/ Assistant 
Planning Officer/ Assistant 
Project Officer/ Lecturers in 
DIETs.
(b) 25% of the vacant post falling
in a calendar year shall be filled 
up by direct recruit through 
NPSC.
5 Research
Associate/
Assistant
Project
Officer/
Assistant
Planning
Officer/
Lecturer
DIET
75% 25% M.A./M.Sc./
M.Com with
B.Ed
(a) 75% of vacant post fallen vacant
in a calendar year shall be filled by 
promotion from the serving 
confirmed TRAs/Trainer in Fine 
Arts who has already completed 
atleast 7(seven) years in the grade 
on the basis of merit cum seniority.
(b) 25% of the vacant post shall be 
filled up by open competition 
through NPSC. 
6 TrainingcumResearch
Assistant/
Trainer in
Fine
Arts/Work
Experience
Teacher
X 100% M.A./M.Sc./
M.Com with
B.Ed
100% of the post fallen in a 
calendar year will be filled by open 
competition through NPSC.
5
6. The said Rules however were not operational when regularisation of
K took place in the post of senior lecturer. On the other hand, the
appellants’ regularisation as senior lecturer came after the 2003 Rules
had come into existence on 30th  April 2007. Learned counsel for the
appellants had argued that when K joined as senior lecturer, she did
not have B.Ed degree. It is not in dispute that before her regularisation,
she had obtained the B.Ed. degree. That factor, in any event, is not of
much   relevance   so   far   as   the   present   proceeding   is   concerned   as
nothing   has   been   shown   to   us   to   demonstrate   that   she   had   any
eligibility deficiency on account of not having B.Ed. degree at the time
she was inducted in the post of senior lecturer on contractual basis. In
any event, her eligibility to be a senior lecturer is not directly in issue in
this appeal. 
7. Consistent stand of the Departmental Promotion Committee (“DPC”)
from   the   year   2007   has   been   that   the   seniority   position   of   the
appellants ought to be computed taking into account the period they
were officiating in the posts of senior lecturer, which were prior to the
date   of   regularisation   of   K   in   the   same   post.   In   support   of   this
argument, clause 4.2 of the Memorandum referred to in the earlier part
of this judgment has been relied on by the appellants as also the State.
This was also the view of the DPC and was confirmed in their meeting
held on 2nd November 2015. There are authorities which calls for limited
6
interference by judicial review with regard to recommendations of the
DPC. This has been held so by this Court in the cases of Union Public
Service Commission vs. L.P. Tiwari and Others [(2006) 12 SCC 317]
and Union of India & Another  vs. S.K. Goel and Others [(2007) 14
SCC 641].   But the principle of non­interference is not absolute.   In
exceptional cases, judicial intervention becomes inevitable, as held in
the case of  Badrinath   vs.  Government  of   Tamil   Nadu   and  Others
[(2000) 8 SCC 395].
8. The point of taking off, so far as the proceedings giving rise to this
appeal is concerned, is two Writ Petitions filed by K in the Gauhati High
Court. These were registered as W.P (C) No. 169 (K) of 2016 and W.P (C)
No. 231(K) of 2015. We are avoiding reference to rounds of litigations
earlier as those cases do not have direct bearing on the dispute which
we are to adjudicate on in this appeal. In these Writ Petitions, K had
challenged the DPC proceedings and she also prayed for reconvening of
DPC   for   the   purpose   of   reconsidering   the   recommendation   for
regularisation of the four appellants in terms of the 2003 Rules. K had
also assailed the promotion of the four appellants in the posts of senior
lecturer. Her main contention was that their ad­hoc period in the feeder
cadre could not be counted for the purpose of eligibility for promotions. 
9. This was the third round of litigations touching upon the same
controversy.  The first set was a writ petition filed by K, being W.P. (C)
7
No.173(K)   of   2007.   This   writ   petition   was   dismissed   on   technical
ground. It appears that another Writ petition [W.P. (C) No.284(K) of
2007]   was   also   instituted   by   K   questioning   regularisation   of   the
appellants   as   senior   lecturer.   The   second   writ   petition   was   also
dismissed. K had carried both the orders of dismissal to the Appellate
Bench. K, however, was partially successful in the second round of
litigation initiated by writ petition registered as W.P (C) No. 126(K) of
2014.   In   this   writ   petition,   she   had   asked   for   invalidation   of   the
recommendation of the DPC in their meeting held on 3rd March 2014. In
this meeting, the DPC had reaffirmed their recommendation made on 4th
October 2007 seeking to regularise the service of the appellants in the
posts of senior lecturer from different dates prior to the date on which
service of K was regularised in the same post. That was accepted by the
State Government. The High Court essentially remanded the matter to
the   DPC   by   setting   aside   their   order   holding   that   the   DPC
recommendation   did   not   reflect   consideration   of   the   2003   Rules.
Following the direction contained in the aforesaid judgment, a fresh
DPC meeting was held on 2nd November 2015 to which we have already
referred. This meeting was held mainly to review the decisions of the
DPC taken in their meetings on 4th October 2007 and 3rd March 2014,
which   were   set   aside   by   the   High   Court.   But   the   DPC   essentially
retained their earlier decision concerning seniority list giving its own
explanation of there being compliance of the 2003 Rules. 
8
10. In the appeals arising out of W.P. (C) No. 173(K) of 2007 and W.P.
(C)  No. 284  (K)  of  2007, a Division  Bench of the  High Court in a
common judgment delivered on 14th September 2012, inter­alia, held:­
“20.We have considered the reason as assigned by the
learned Single Judge but unfortunately we cannot agree to
such   proposition   of   law.   It   is   well   settled   that   the
recommendation of the D.P.C. is not binding upon even on
the appointing authority. It is merely recommendation and
the   appointing   authority   has   ot   examine   the
recommendation whether those were appropriate or not.
The   recommendation   is   an   opinion   of   the   expert   for
consideration of the appointing authority. The appointing
authority thought it appropriate to reconvene the D.P.C. for
arriving at a decision. It appears from the D.P.C. minutes
that there was no consideration of the Nagaland State
Council   of   Educational   Research   and   Training   Services
Rules as was given effect form 30.04.2007 and hence the
D.P.C.   in   all   the   cases   made   recommendation   without
relevant   consideration   of   the   said   rules,   and   their
consequences for far regularization of the Sr. Lecturer was
concerned and treaded a wrong premise. The D.P.C. did
not look into the matter whether the private respondents
have completed the required continuous qualifying service
of 5 years in the feeder grade or not. Apart that, the law is
well settled that the executive is well within its jurisdiction
to   reconvene   to   D.P.C.   but   while   operating   any
regularization retrospectively it has to take care that no
prejudice is caused to the incumbent already in the cadre.
Moreover,   being   in   the   grade   on   regular   appointment.
Unless the qualifying service as prescribed is complete in
the grade, there cannot by any lawful consideration. 
21. Be that as it may in this case, the question that has
been taken for consideration by this Court is confined to
whether the State­respondents No. 1 and 2 have acted in
accordance with the provision of law while accepting the
recommendation of the D.P.C. The answer is bound to in
the negative. The relevant provision as to the qualifying
service   as   appearing   in   the   Nagaland   State   Council   of
Educational Research and Training Services Rules, 2003,
as  given effect from 30.04.2007, was not at all considered
by   the   D.P.C.   while   making   recommendations   for
regularization in the post of Sr. Lecture and as such both
the   recommendations   of   the   D.P.C.   as   well   as   the
notification,   consequent   thereupon,   dated   08.11.2007
(Annexure­C   to   the   Affidavit   in   opposition   filed   by   the
respondent No. 1.) stand quashed.
9
22.  This Court would not interfere with that part of the
notification whereby the private respondents have been
appointed in the cadre of Lecturer. This order has to be
confined   for   the   cadre   for   the   Sr.   Lecturer   only.   As
consequential thereof, the respondents No. 1 and 2 are
directed to take immediate steps for reconvening of the
D.P.C.   for   purpose   of   fresh   recommendation   for
regularization of the private respondents in the post of Sr.
Lecturer on strict observance of the rules: as provided in
the schedule appended to the said Rules, 2003 (effective
from 30.04.2007) and thereafter to issue the appropriate
order of promotion in the post of the Sr. Lecturer.
23. As corollary to this, the impugned seniority list is also
struck down. The seniority position can only be settled
after the reconvening of the D.P.C. for promotion to the post
of Sr. Lecturer in terms of the provisions of the Nagaland
State   Council   of   Educational   Research   and   Training
Services Rules, 2003.
24.  It is made clear that the private respondents who are
now occupying the post of Principal of DIETs on officiating
basis would be allowed to continue in their positions but
that   shall   remain   subject   to   the   outcome   of   the
recommendation   of   the   D.P.C.   and   the   consequential
orders of promotion as would be made by the respondents
No. 1 and 2.”
(quoted verbatim from the 
paperbook)
11. In the two writ petitions registered as W.P.(C) No. 231 (K) of
2015 and W.P. (C) 169 (K) of 2016, K had sought to quash the fresh
DPC recommendations coming from the meeting held on 2nd November
2015. The earlier seniority position of K was retained by the DPC in
their recommendation made in this meeting. The Single Judge allowed
the  writ petitions against  which  the appellants appealed  before the
Division Bench. The Division Bench dismissed the appeals, holding:­
“34.   It   is   reiterated,   at   the   cost   of   repetition,   that   the
Division   Bench   had,   in   clear   terms,   directed   the   State
respondent   nos.   1   and   2   to   take   immediate   steps   for
reconvening   of   the   DPC   for   the   purpose   of   fresh
recommendation for regularisation of the appellants in the
10
post of Senior Lecturer in strict observance of the rules, as
provided   in   the   Schedule   appended   to   the   NSCERT,
Service Rules, 2003, and thereafter, to issue appropriate
order of promotion in the post of Senior Lecturer. After
noticing the provisions in the NSCERT Service Rules, 2003,
the   Division   Bench   had   observed   that   continuous
qualifying service of 5 (five) years in the feeder grade of
Lecturer  is  an  essential  requirement  for  the  purpose  of
promotion to the post of Senior Lecturer. It was in that
context   the   Division   Bench   had   observed   that   the   DPC
when it held its meeting on 04.10.2007, did not take into
consideration the NSCERT Service Rules, 2003 which had
come   into   effect   in   the   meantime   from   30.04.2007,   as
consideration of the said Rules was relevant so far as
regularisation   of   the   appellants   in   the   cadre   of   Senior
Lecturer. The Division Bench had further observed that
while   operating   any   regularization   retrospectively,   care
has   to   be   taken   that   no   prejudice   is   caused   to   the
incumbent   already   in   the   cadre.   Though   the   Division
Bench   had   not   indicated   in   express   terms   about   the
incumbent stated to be already in the cadre but it had
impliedly referred to the respondent no.4 as the incumbent
already in the cadre and directed the State respondents
not   to   cause   any   prejudice   to   the   said   incumbent.   As
already noted above, the Division Bench had considered
the status of the respondent no. 4 in the post of Senior
Lecturer and did not observe any irregularity in the matter
of regularisation of service of the respondent no. 4 in the
post of Senior Lecturer w.e.f. 16.01.2004. In view of such
settled position, it is no longer open for the appellants to
attempt any other interpretation. The said position had
been   reiterated   by   the   learned   Single   Judge   in   the
judgment and order dated 03.08.2015 when the DPC held
on 03.03.2014 reiterated its earlier decision taken in the
DPC meeting held on 04.10.2007, by setting aside the said
Minutes   dated   03.03.2014.   The   said   position   was
accepted   by   the   present   appellants   and   the   State
respondents as they had never assailed the same. The
contention raised by the present appellants and the State
respondents to the effect that the NSCERT Service Rules,
2003   were   not   in   force   in   the   year   2007   when   the
promotions were given to the appellants, was negated by
the learned Single Judge in W.P.(C) No. 126(K)/2014. The
learned   Single   Judge   in   its   judgment   and   order   dated
03.08.2015, had set aside the impugned recommendation
of the DPC dated 03.03.2014 with the direction to hold the
DPC afresh in accordance with the direction given by the
Division Bench on 14.09.2012.
35. The contention raised in support of the decisions taken
in   the   meeting   of   the   DPC   held   on   02.11.2015   is   not
11
acceptable in view of the authoritative pronouncement of
the Division Bench in its order dated 14.09.2012. The DPC
cannot overrule what had been pronounced by the Division
Bench and reiterated by the Single Judge of this Court, as
mentioned   above,   and   the   DPC   cannot   re­interpret   the
position what has already been settled. Thus, the learned
Single Judge after due consideration of the matter in its
entirety, is absolutely justified in W.P. (C) No. 231(K)/2015
in   setting   aside   the   proceedings   of   the   DPC   held   on
02.11.2015   by   holding   that   the   same   were   in   clear
infraction   of   the   judgment   and   order   dated   l4.09.2012
passed in W.A. No. 20(K)/2011 and W.A. No. 21(K)/2011,
as has been quoted above.”
(quoted verbatim from the paperbook)
12. The facts which emerge from the sets of events determining
seniority positions of the appellants and K in the subject posts are that
at the time of regularisation of K, the 2003 Rules was not in existence.
So far as the appellants are concerned, their regularisation in the posts
in which they were officiating was effected on 8th  November 2007. By
that time the 2003 Rules had become operational. Once the said Rules
became operational, the requirement of five year service in the feeder
grade also become applicable to be eligible for promotion in the next
higher   grade.   Our   attention   had   been   drawn   to   Clause   4.2   of   the
Memorandum issued in the month of March 2005 through which K was
regularised in the post of senior lecturer to contend that K could not
object to the appellants being made senior.   We shall deal with this
aspect of the appellants’ case in the next paragraph of this Judgment.
The general principle of service jurisprudence is that the time spent in
the immediate superior grade on stop­gap or ad­hoc basis ought not to
12
be computed for determining the length of service of an incumbent in
that cadre. This is of course, subject to any contrary provision made in
the applicable Rules itself. But no such contrary provision has been
shown to us at the time of hearing of this appeal on behalf of the
appellants or the State. Thus, computation of the appellants’ period of
service in the feeder grade can take place only from the date of their
regular appointment in that cadre. This view has been taken by the
Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of Direct Recruit Class II
Engineering Officers’ Association vs. State of Maharashtra & Others
[(1990) 2 SCC 715],  Swapan Kumar  Pal and Others vs. Samitabhar
Chakraborty and Others [(2001) 5 SCC 581], State of Rajasthan and
Others vs. Jagdish Narain Chaturvedi [(2009) 12 SCC 49], Amarjeet
Singh and Others vs. Devi Ratan and Others [(2010) 1 SCC 417], and
Malook  Singh   and  Others   vs.  State  of  Punjab   and  Others  [(2021)
SCC OnLine SC 876]. 
13. At the time the appellants were regularised with retrospective
effect, the 2003 Rules had come into existence. Thus, the requirement
of the Schedule to the said Rules framed under Article 309 of the
Constitution of India could not be overridden by a clause contained in
the Memorandum promoting K. On the other hand, the 2003 Rules
ought to supersede any contrary provision that may be contained in an
earlier legal instrument. The appellants cannot claim any vested legal
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right on the basis of certain conditions contained in K’s promotional
recommendation. 
14. The   appellants   had   entered   the   service   as   lecturer   on
contractual basis in the year 1992­93 around the same time K had
joined as senior lecturer, also on contract basis. For the purpose of
determining the length of service in the feeder posts as contained in
Schedule II of the 2003 Rules, the time spent on contractual basis
cannot be factored in. If that yardstick is applied, then K’s case for
seniority in the grade of senior lecturer will have to be computed from
the   year   1993   only.   Even   if   we   proceed   on   the   basis   that   the
retrospective effect given to regularisation of the appellants in the post
of lecturer is valid, then also, 15th January 2001 becomes the starting
point for calculating five years of service length in the feeder cadre. They
were given promotion on officiating basis as senior lecturers with effect
from 14th November 2003 (for A1 and A2) and 20th January 2001 (for A3
and   A4).   Thus,   the   requisite   five   year   period   could   not   have   been
completed by any of them if the retroactivity of their regularisation order
in the post of senior lecturer is to be accepted. The period spent in a
promotional post on officiating basis cannot be permitted to be factored
in for calculating length of service in a particular post. Unless the Rules
otherwise provide, officiation in a particular post cannot encadre the
incumbent in that post. We have already referred to different authorities
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laying down this proposition of law earlier in this judgment. Birth in the
cadre takes place only upon regularisation in a grade and there is no
provision in the 2003 Rules which prescribes encadering a person in
the post of senior lecturer during the period such person officiates in
the said post. So far as length of service in feeder post is concerned,
that   also   has   to   exclude   the   contractual   period   during   which   the
appellants served as lecturers, once we apply this principle. 
15. The appellants had no doubt completed three years of service
in the feeder grade on operationalisation of 2003 Rules on 30th  April
2007.  But so far, the said Rules seek to give them regularisation in the
cadre of senior lecturer with effect from 2003 and 2001 respectively,
their service in the feeder grade do not meet the required stipulation of
five year period. Judgment of a Coordinate Bench in the case of Girish
Kumar   vs.   State   of  Maharashtra   and   Others  [(2019) 6 SCC 647],
construed the term ‘continuous service’ in relation to the specific rules
this Court was dealing with in that case. So far as the present appeal is
concerned, the ratio of this judgment would not be applicable because
the appellants here did not fulfil the eligibility requirement for being
promoted to the post of senior lecturer. If retroactivity of order is given
effect   to   for   calculating   the   officiating   period,   as   we   have   already
observed, time spent as officiating senior lecturer could not be deemed
to be the dates of their birth in the cadre of senior lecturer. In Girish
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Kumar (supra), it has also been held that such interpretation shall not
be applicable while considering eligibility criteria. In the present appeal,
one of the eligibility criterion is five years continuous service in the
feeder post. We cannot ignore this factor and proceed on the basis as if
the term continuous service is being construed only for determining
inter­se seniority in the promotional post. We are testing here if the
appellants’ entry in the promotional cadre was as per the eligibility
criteria or not. In our opinion, it was not. To hold otherwise would
require entire stretch of K’s service in the post of senior lecturer since
1993 to be taken into account for determining the inter­se seniority
among the appellants and K. 
16. For   these   reasons   we   do   not   wish   to   interfere   with   the
judgment under appeal.  The authorities to take steps on the basis of
seniority positions of the appellants and the respondent no. 4 in terms
of this judgment. The appeal is dismissed. 
17. Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of.
18. There shall be no order as to costs.  
.…………………….…………J.
(DINESH MAHESHWARI)
……………………….…….J.
(ANIRUDDHA BOSE)
NEW DELHI;
OCTOBER 11 2022.
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