Case title: Union of India V. Uzair Imran & Ors.
Date of Order: 11th October, 2023
Hon'ble Justice Bela M. Trivedi
Hon'ble Justice Dipankar Datta
Petitioner: Union of India
Respondent: Uzair Imran & Ors.
The court held that the third respondent an appointment to a post of postal assistant within one month.
- The Department of Posts (Postal Assistants and Sorting Assistants) Recruitment Rules, 1990 were established by the President of India in a Notification dated December 27, 1990.
- The Schedule to the 1990 Rules stated that "10+2 standard or 12th class pass from recognised University/Board of School Education/Board of Secondary Education" were the minimum educational requirements for the position of Postal Assistants and Sorting Assistants for direct recruits.
- The Department of Posts (Postal Assistants and Sorting Assistants) Recruitment (Amendment) Rules 1991, published in a Notification dated January 31, 1992, replaced the 1990 Rules.
- Candidates who completed their intermediate education in the "vocational stream" were disqualified from consideration for the position of postal assistants as a result of the revision to the Schedule to the 1990 Rules.
- All of the respondents in this case, along with the other applicants, participated in the interview and passed the written, typing, aptitude, and computer exams that were administered as part of the hiring process.
- In a Notification dated November 22, 1995, a merit list was announced based on the scores attained by the participating candidates. The respondents' names appeared relatively high on the merit list, and as a result, they were all sent to the Kheri Post Office for 15 days of pre-induction training beginning on March 15, 1996. A training program was to be conducted after the same.
- However, on March 22, 1996, the Chief Post Master General wrote to all of the Postmasters General.
- The Board of High School and Intermediate Education's credentials should be accepted unless they are "marked as vocational stream or vocational," according to the message. As a result, the responses were held back and did not receive long-term training.
The issue raised was related to the eligibility of the respondents to be selected for the position of Postal Assistants and Sorting Assistants.
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT
On behalf of the applicant, the learned Additional Solicitor General raised the following arguments:
- The Amendment Rules were already on file with the High Court as Annexure 7 to the Writ Petition. The decision and order dated April 4, 2017, suffered from an error that was obvious on the face of the record since the High Court had not taken note of the Amendment Rules during arguments, necessitating the Review Application.
- Since the Amendment Rules were already in effect when the current selection process started in 1995, it was essential that the educational requirements for appointment to the posts of postal assistants conform to the amended Schedule, i.e., pass the 10+2 standard or 12th class from a recognized University or Board, excluding vocational streams; as a result, selection of any candidate possessing a vocational qualification would stand incompatible with the amended Rules.
The judge ruled that:
(i) Within a month of the date, the appellant shall give the third respondent an appointment to a post of postal assistant, initially on probation;
(ii) A supernumerary post must be created if there are no open positions;
(iii) The third respondent will be confirmed in service after satisfactorily completing the probationary period;
(iv) The third respondent will not be eligible for back pay or seniority from the date of appointment of other applicants who took part in the 1995 hiring procedure since he has not really worked;
(v) All respondents other than the third respondent will not be subject to these instructions.
In conclusion, the Supreme Court of India, in the case of Union of India v. Uzair Imran & Ors., delivered a significant verdict on 11th October 2023. It was ruled that the third respondent should be appointed to the post of postal assistant within one month, subject to probation, and in the absence of an available position, a supernumerary post should be created. While the third respondent would be confirmed in service upon the successful completion of the probationary period, the court emphasized that no back pay or seniority would be granted from the date of appointment to other candidates who had participated in the 1995 hiring process. This judgment effectively addresses the issue of eligibility concerning the vocational stream background of the respondents, providing clarity and a resolution within the framework of the relevant recruitment rules.