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service matter – departmental exams for promotion =We, therefore, set aside the impugned judgment and order and hold that the appellant is entitled to weightage of three (3) marks while considering him for promotion to the Bank Officer’s Cadre in Officer’s Grade examination held in 1982 in view of the fact that he possessed Post Graduate Diploma in Office Organization and Procedures from Punjab University, Chandigarh, which is a recognized University. The appeal is allowed.

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 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION 

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9708 OF 2011

 [ARISING OUT OF SLP (CIVIL) NO.1921 OF 2010]

PREM PARKASH PAHWA ... APPELLANT

 Versus

UNITED COMMERCIAL BANK 

& ANR. ... RESPONDENTS

 JUDGMENT

(SMT.) RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI, J.

1. Delay condoned.

2. Leave granted.

3. This appeal, by grant of special leave, is directed 

against the judgment and order dated 25/8/2009 passed by 

the Punjab & Haryana High Court dismissing Civil Regular 

Second Appeal No.145 of 1986 filed by the appellant. 

 2

4. Respondent 1-Bank holds tests for promotion to the 

officers grade. It has framed rules for examination for 

promotion to the officer's grade. Under the rules, marks are 

awarded to written tests, interviews and qualifications, etc. 

The rules reflect the policy and procedure of respondent 1, 

inter alia, for promotion to the officer's grade and, hence, 

are described as the `Promotion Policy'. 

5. The appellant, who is appearing in person, joined the 

service of respondent 1 in the year 1973 as a Stenographer 

in clerical cadre. He passed his graduation in the year 1973 

from the Punjab University. He obtained Diploma in Office 

Organization and Procedures in the year 1979 from the said 

university. It is a `Post Graduate Diploma" recognized by 

the Academic Council of the Punjab University. Respondent 

1-Bank conducted examination in the year 1979 for 

promotion to the officers grade. According to the appellant, 

weightage of three (3) marks was given to him as per the 

Promotion Policy of respondent 1 for the year 1975, which 

 3

was in vogue at that time as he had obtained Diploma in 

Office Organization and Procedures. But, the appellant could 

not qualify in the said exam because he obtained less marks 

under other heads. He again appeared for the same 

examination on 17/1/1982. His case is that the Diploma 

granted by the Punjab University entitled him to weightage 

of three (3) marks as contemplated in Clause 3.1.2 (F)(d)(ii) 

of the 1981 Promotion Policy of respondent 1, which held 

the field at that time. He was not given weightage of three 

(3) marks because he did not possess `Post Graduate 

Degree'. The appellant, therefore, filed a suit for declaration 

that he is entitled to the weightage of three (3) marks as he 

possessed `Post Graduate Diploma'. In view of Clause 3.1.2 

(F)(d)(ii) read with foot note (b) of Chapter (1) of the 1981 

Promotion Policy of respondent 1, the trial court decreed the 

suit and held that he was entitled to weightage of three (3) 

marks. The lower appellate court set aside the said decree. 

The High Court upheld the order of lower appellate court. 

Hence, this appeal, by special leave. 

 4

6. We have heard the appellant, at some length and also 

learned counsel for the respondents. 

7. We are concerned with interpretation of Clause 3.1.2 

(F)(d)(ii) read with foot note (b) of Chapter (1) of the 1981 

Promotion Policy of respondent 1. For better appreciation of 

the appellant's contention, it is also necessary to have a look 

at the relevant provisions of the Promotion Policy of 

respondent 1 of the years 1975, 1981 and 1988. 

8. Clause III B(4)(d) of Chapter 1 of Part I of the 1975 

Promotion Policy of respondent 1 reads as under :

 "PART - I

 CHAPTER 1 - PROMOTION TO OFFICER'S CADRE

 III. PROMOTION TO THEBANK'S OFFICERS' CADRE:

 A. xxx xxx xxx

 B. Written Test and Interview.

 (1) xxx xxx xxx

 (2) xxx xxx xxx

 (3) xxx xxx xxx

 5

 (4) Allocation of the marks for the written test, 

 interview, length of service and qualifications. 

 Particulars Maximum 

 Marks 

 Allotted

 (a) Written Test 25

 (b) Interview 15

 (c) Length of service in the clerical 

 cadre

 (2 marks of each complete - see 

 Note under sub-para (ii) above- 40

 subject to a maximum of 40 marks).

 (d) Qualifications:

 (i) Graduation from a recognized 

 University 6

 (ii) Institute of Bankers 

 Examination :

 Part - I 3

 Part - II 6

 (iii) Double graduation or Master's 

 Degree, from a recognized 

 University or a Post-graduate 3

 Diploma of a recognized 

 University or Institute.

 (iv) Graduation in commerce from 

 a recognized University with 

 50% or over of average 2 20

 marks.

 ......... .........

 100

 .........

 Thus, as per 1975 Promotion Policy, a person holding 

Post Graduate Diploma of a recognized university or 

Institute was entitled to weightage of three (3) marks while 

 6

considering his case for promotion to the Bank Officer's 

Cadre. 

9. Clause 3.1.3 F(d) of the 1981 Promotion Policy reads as 

under:

 "CHAPTER - I

 1. PROMOTION TO OFFICER'S CADRE

 2. xxx xxx xxx

 3. Promotion to the Bank's Officer's Cadre:

 3.1.1 xxx xxx xxx

 3.1.2 xxx xxx xxx

 3.1.3 (A) xxx xxx xxx

 (B) xxx xxx xxx 

 (C) xxx xxx xxx 

 (D) xxx xxx xxx 

 (E) xxx xxx xxx 

 (F) Allocation of marks for the written test, 

 interview, length of service and qualifications shall be as 

 under :

 Particulars Maximum 

 Marks 

 Allotted

 (a) Written Test 40

 (b) Interview 10

 7

 (c) Length of service in the clerical 

 cadre

 (2 marks for each completed year of 

 service - see Note under sub-para 30

 (ii) of para 3.1.2 above, subject to a 

 maximum of 30 marks).

 (d) Educational Qualifications:

 (i) Graduation from a recognized 

 Universities 6

 (ii) Post Graduates/Double 

 Graduates from recognized 3

 Universities/Institutes.

 (iii) Indian Institute of Bankers 

 Examination :

 Part - I ... 3

 Part - II ... 6

 (iv) All Honours Graduates/Cost 

 Accountants or Graduates / 

 Post Graduates having 50% 

 marks or more in the 2 20

 aggregate.

 Note: (a) No candidate would get more than 20 

 marks for educational qualifications. 

 (b) Degrees, Diplomas should be from 

 recognized Universities/Boards and 

 Institutes recognized by the Government of 

 India.

 (c) In proof of educational qualifications 

 original certificate issued by appropriate 

 concerned authorities will have to be 

 produced. 

 Thus, from Clause 3.1.2(F)(d)(ii) of the 1981 Promotion 

Policy, the words `Post Graduate Diploma' have been deleted 

but there is a reference to `Diploma' in Note (b). 

 8

10. Clause 3.6.1.(d) of the 1988 Promotion Policy reads as 

under :

 "PART II

 CHAPTER - 1

 3. PROMOTION FROM CLERICAL CADRE TO 

 OFFICER'S CADRE IN BANK'S JUNIOR MANAGEMENT 

 GRADE SCALE-I.

 3.1 xxx xxx xxx

 3.2 xxx xxx xxx

 3.3 xxx xxx xxx

 3.4 xxx xxx xxx

 3.5 xxx xxx xxx

 3.6 MODE OF SELECTION :

 3.6.1 Merit-cum-Seniority Channel:

 Under Merit-cum-Seniority Channel, there will be 

 assessment of 100 marks distributed in the following 

 manner:

 (a) Written test to be conducted by the 

 Institute of Banking Personnel 

 Selection (IBPS) (model 

 questions/syllabus will be given 55 marks

 before the test).

 (b) Service (2 marks for each completed 

 year of service as assessed vide 25 marks

 para 3.4.3 above with a maximum 

 of 25 marks.)

 9

 (d) Educational Qualification: 20 marks

 (i) Graduation from a recognized 

 University 6

 (ii) Post Graduate/Double 

 Graduate from recognized 3

 University.

 (iii) CAIIB Examination of Indian 

 Institute of Bankers :

 Part - I ... 3

 Part - II ... 6

 (iv) Honours Graduate / 

 Graduate / Post Graduate 

 from recognized University 

 having 50% marks or more in 2

 the aggregate. ....

 20

 Thus, the 1988 Promotion Policy keeps out `Diploma' 

holders. It is stated by counsel for respondent 1 that a 

`Diploma' holder is not entitled to weightage of three (3) 

marks as per this policy. 

11. The appellant pointed out that he is concerned with 

1981 Promotion Policy. Though Clause 3.1.2(F)(d)(ii) of the 

1981 Promotion Policy states that only Post 

Graduates/Double Graduates from recognized 

Universities/Institutes are entitled to weightage of three (3) 

marks, Note (b) thereunder clarifies that Degrees, Diplomas 

 10

should be from recognized Universities/Boards and Institutes 

recognized by the Government of India. Thus, the note 

explains that persons holding `Diploma' from recognized 

University/Board and Institute would be entitled for 

weightage of three (3) marks. 

12. Counsel for respondent 1 submitted that Note (b) to 

Clause 3.1.2(F)(d)(ii) of the 1981 Promotion Policy is an 

inadvertent error. The fact that from Clause 3.1.2(F)(d)(ii) 

of the 1981 Promotion Policy, the word `Diploma' is excluded 

as an educational qualification, which was there in the year 

1975 Promotion Policy, indicates that the intention was not 

to give weightage of three (3) marks to `Diploma' holders. 

It was pointed out that this argument is supported by the 

fact that in the 1988 Promotion Policy, a `Post Graduate' or 

`Double Graduate' is entitled to the benefit of weightage of 

three (3) marks and Note (b) to Clause 3.1.2(F)(d)(ii) of the 

1981 Promotion Policy does not include the term 

`Diploma'. 

 11

13. It is not possible for us to accept the respondents' case. 

We have already quoted the relevant provisions of 1975 

Promotion Policy. Under that policy, a `Double Graduate' or 

a person holding `Master's Degree' from a recognized 

University or a `Post Graduate Diploma' of a recognized 

University or Institute was entitled to get weightage of three 

(3) marks. Though from Clause 3.1.2(F)(d)(ii) of the 1981 

Promotion Policy, the word `Diploma' of a recognized 

University and Institute is omitted, Note (b) thereunder 

states that Degrees, Diplomas should be from recognized 

Universities/Boards and Institutes recognized by the 

Government of India. Note (b) cannot be dismissed as an 

inadvertent error. It has a meaning. It is not superfluous. 

Notes under the rules cannot control the rules but they can 

provide aid for interpretation of those rules. It must be 

borne in mind that the note in the instant case is made 

contemporaneously with the rules. It is a part of the rule. 

It is not inconsistent with the rule but makes explicit what is 

implicit in the rule. It is not as if by mistake Note (b) was 

 12

lifted from 1975 Promotion Policy, because 1975 Promotion 

Policy did not contain any Note under Clause 3.1.2 (F)(d). 

Pertinently, 1988 Promotion Policy, inter alia, specifically 

states that `Post Graduate' or `Double Graduate' of a 

recognized university are entitled to weightage of three (3) 

marks, but in the Note under the said clause, there is no 

reference to `Diploma'. Therefore, 1988 Promotion Policy, as 

stated by counsel for respondent 1, clearly keeps the 

diploma holders out. In the circumstance, we cannot view 

the word `Diploma' found in Note (b) under Clause 3.1.2(F)

(d)(ii) of the 1981 Promotion Policy as a clerical mistake or 

inadvertent error and ignore it. In our opinion, therefore, 

the High Court was clearly in error in holding that the 

intention of the 1981 Promotion Policy was to grant 

weightage of three (3) marks only to `Degree' holders. 

14. Respondent 1-bank has urged in its written statement 

that the word `Diploma' mentioned in Note (b) could be 

linked to Clause 3.1.2(F)(d)(iii) which refers to Indian 

Institute of Bankers' Examination Part I and Part II. Nothing 

 13

prevented the rule makers from making it clear by 

specifically linking the two. We are informed that Indian 

Institute of Bankers has `Certificate courses' and it also has 

`Diploma courses'. But, in the absence of clear statement to 

that effect in Clause 3.1.2(F)(d)(iii), it is not possible to 

arrive at this conclusion. 

15. In our opinion, relevant Clause 3.1.2(F)(d)(ii) of the 

1981 Promotion Policy is not happily worded or rather it is 

worded in a manner which would create confusion rather 

than help the aspirant. In such a situation, in our opinion, it 

will have to be interpreted in favour of the appellant bearing 

in mind the fact that at one point of time, as per 1975 

Promotion Policy, he was, in fact, given weightage of three 

(3) marks as he possessed `Diploma in Office Organization 

and Procedures of a recognized university. Unfortunately, 

he did not get the necessary marks under other heads and, 

hence, he could not get benefit of those three (3) marks. 

The appellant has, thereafter, bona fide prosecuted these 

proceedings since 1979. The appellant joined respondent 1 

 14

in the year 1973. Considering the peculiar circumstances of 

this case, we think that interests of justice would be served 

if weightage of three (3) marks is given to him in the 

examination conducted on 17/1/1982. 

16. We, therefore, set aside the impugned judgment and 

order and hold that the appellant is entitled to weightage of 

three (3) marks while considering him for promotion to the 

Bank Officer's Cadre in Officer's Grade examination held in 

1982 in view of the fact that he possessed Post Graduate 

Diploma in Office Organization and Procedures from Punjab 

University, Chandigarh, which is a recognized University. 

The appeal is allowed. 

 .....................................................J.

 (AFTAB ALAM)

 .....................................................J.

 (RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)

NEW DELHI,NOVEMBER 14, 2011.

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