Read Judgment: State Of U.p. & Ors. V. Vikash Kumar Singh & Ors

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, November 24, 2021: The Supreme Court has ruled that ‘relaxation’ provided under the U.P. Government Servants Relaxation in Qualifying Service for Promotion Rules, 2006, being at the discretion of the competent authority, cannot be prayed as a matter of right.

A Division Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna therefore observed that 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. 

The observation came to be passed in reference to an appeal filed by State of U.P and others challenging the judgment, whereby the Allahabad High Court had quashed the eligibility lists dated March 18, 2019 & May 10, 2019 of the Superintending Engineers (Civil) for promotion to the post of Chief Engineer (Civil) Level-II from the department and further issued a mandamus commanding the appellants–competent authority to prepare the eligibility list of the Superintending Engineer (Civil) including the names of Vikash Kumar Singh and others (respondents) for promotion to the post of Chief Engineer (Civil) Level – II by granting them relaxation in minimum length of service in accordance with the 2006 Rules. 

After considering the arguments, the Apex Court noted that as per Rule 5(iii) of the U.P. 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. 

At the same time, the Apex Court found that the Respondent did not fulfill the eligibility criteria as they did not have the qualifying service of having completed 25 years of service. 

Thus, speaking for the Bench, Justice Shah concluded that the eligibility lists were prepared by the department absolutely as per Rule 5(iii) and Rule 8(iii) of the Rules, 1990. 

However, the names of the Respondents were excluded from the eligibility list of Superintending Engineer for promotion to the post of Chief Engineer on the ground that they did not fulfill the eligibility criteria as per Rule 5(iii) of the Rules, 1990, added the Bench. 

Therefore, Justice Shah stated that the High Court should not have set aside the said eligibility lists, which as such were prepared absolutely in accordance with the Rules, 1990. 

Hence, the Top Court allowed the appeal, observing that the High Court had committed a grave error in issuing the writ of mandamus commanding the competent authority to grant relaxation in the qualifying service.

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