A bench of division of the High Court of Rajasthan, Jodhpur the order of the companies of the electricity sector by which the whole part of the power manager in 5 companies of the electricity sector of Rajasthan was merged with the Assistant Engineer (O&M) framework and they have been adjusted in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seniority list.
The bench including Judges Dinesh Mehta and Rameshwar Vyas observed that it is the rule of law that the assimilation of posts or the merger of posts or the allocation of seniority is the exclusive domain of the employer or the state government. The scope of the interference or judicial review is very limited. The court added that court interference in matters of policy is only permitted when there is a procedural gap or lapse in the decision-making process.
In the present case, the Motions in Brief involve a challenge to the decision of the Crown corporations and the electricity sector, that the positions of power managers were merged with the positions of assistant engineers of the electricity companies. ‘electricity defendants and a corresponding amendment was introduced by granting them less seniority than assistant engineers, appointed in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
The bench held, “The modification made to the Regulations of 2016 regarding the merger of the post of Head of Food with the Assistant Engineer and the allocation of seniority with retroactive effect, in our opinion, was made in accordance with the law, while following due process. We do not see any infirmities or irregularities in the process. Amendment does not smell bias or favoritism, violating Article 14 of the Constitution of India. “
The court further ruled: “the merger exercise undertaken by the respondents was a good faith exercise to meet the long-pending demands of the feed managers, who were also qualified and otherwise receiving the salary equivalent to that of an assistant engineer and performed more or less the same functions as assistant engineers at least after 2009.“
The court added that neither the decision of the power companies suffers from the doctrine of dictatorship nor can they be considered to have abdicated their powers in favor of the state government.
The applicants relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court of Vodafone International Holdings BV v. Union of India and the Golds. (2012) 6 SCC 613 and Heavy Engineering Mazdoor Union Vs. State of Bihar & Ors., reported in AIR 1970 SC 82 in support of their claim that companies in the electricity sector being legal persons and the state government being its shareholder, cannot order companies in the electricity sector. electricity to change the regulations in a special way.
The applicants also relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court of Ram and Shyam Company versus. State of Haryana and the Ors., AIR 1985 SC 1147 and argued that the impugned decision made by the state government is illegal, as it should have been made by the board of directors of the respective companies and not by the state. However, the court debunked the applicants’ arguments and observed that Ram and Shyam (supra) is an authority on the dictatorship doctrine, but after considering the existing facts, the impugned decision does not suffer from the vice of the dictatorship. Therefore, this judgment is of little use to the applicants.
Counsel for the respondents argued that the Feeder Managers were relatively meritorious and that their entry into the Feeder Manager position came from the open market and that many junior engineers in service had passed the exam and had been appointed Feeder Managers. He further argued that if the respondents had not provided them with any opportunity for promotion, it would have violated their fundamental rights, as at least two opportunities for promotion must be provided for each service.
While arguing that the duties and pay scales of the Food Manager and Assistant Engineers (E&M) have always been the same, the respondents argued that through the decision under review, the long-awaited claims of power managers were accepted, which was in the general interest of the organization, therefore, this Court should refrain from interfering in this matter.
Case title: DKGarg and Anr. v. State of Rajasthan and Ors
Quote: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 4
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