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Though the appellant is eligible for consideration of the selection in to IAS – she was denied as she was a junior officer – not correct approach and against the rules and guidelines – B. Amrutha Lakshmi … Appellant Versus State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors. … Respondents= judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=40890

Though the appellant is eligible for consideration of the selection in to IAS – she was  denied as she was a junior officer – not correct approach and against the rules and guidelines = Apex court held wrong but due to lapse of time the apex court granted damages instead of disturbing processes already taken over long back=

 

the right of the  appellant  for  being

considered for the selection into the Indian Administrative  Services  (IAS)

from the Non-civil services in the state of Andhra Pradesh.  =

In  the  present  case,  the  Commissioner  did  not

      strictly go by rule of seniority among the eligible  officers  in  the

      Commercial Taxes Department.  The course adopted by him is that  since

      a large number of officers have to be forwarded going by the  criteria

      of eligibility as per Regulation  4  (iii)  and  G.O.Ms  No.  634,  he

      restricted the zone or level of officers for  consideration  upto  the

      level of Additional Commissioners and Joint Commissioners.  Thus  this

      is a case where the seniority rule has not been followed but the  zone

      of consideration has been restricted upto a particular level…….” 

 whether   such   a

restriction  of  the  candidates  to  be  considered,  who  were   otherwise

eligible, was permissible under the rules.  =

 

At the relevant time, she  was  working  as  the  Assistant

Commissioner of the  Sales  Tax,  and  she  satisfied  all  the  eligibility

criteria, yet the Principal Secretary,  Department  of  Revenue  (Commercial

Tax)  Department,  Hyderabad,  Andhra  Pradesh,  and  the  Commissioner   of

Commercial Taxes, Hyderabad,  Andhra  Pradesh,  respondent  Nos.   2  and  3

respectively, restricted the  zone  of  consideration  only  to  the  higher

officers amongst the eligible candidates viz., to the Joint  and  Additional

Commissioners of the Commercial Tax Department.

The

case of the appellant is that, though she was eligible for being taken  into

the panel for consideration, she lost her opportunity due to  the  erroneous

interpretation of the relevant rules by  the  respondent  No.  1,  State  of

Andhra Pradesh. 

 

However, once a candidate comes into  the  zone  of

consideration,  and  satisfies  all  the  requirements,  including  that  of

outstanding merit and ability, he cannot be told that merely because  he  is

junior in the seniority, his name will not be forwarded  for  consideration.

The rule requires that from amongst the outstanding officers, 15  names  are

to be forwarded to the Central Government, and hence  it  is  possible  that

amongst these 15, a junior officer may as well figure,  depending  upon  the

assessment of his merit.  He cannot be eliminated merely on the ground  that

he is a junior officer, and that if selected he will write the ACRs  of  his

superiors.

In  the  circumstances  we  allow  this  appeal,  set-aside  the

impugned judgment and order of the High Court as  well  as  of  the  Central

Administrative Tribunal, modify the relief as prayed in the O.A.,  and  hold

that the decision of the Respondents not to consider the appellant  for  the

selection, amounted to  her  being  treated  dissimilarly,  though  she  was

situated similarly to the recommended officers.  The decision was  violative

of Article 14 and Article 16(1) of the Constitution, since  it  was  arrived

at on the basis of a criterion  which  was  not  laid  down.   However,  the

selection for the year 2011 was over, even before  the  interim  application

in the CAT was decided.  Setting aside  the  selection  conducted  some  two

years  back,  and  asking  the  respondents  to  re-do  the  exercise  after

considering the appellant and other  similarly  situated  candidates,  would

create lot of uncertainty, in as  much  as  the  appellant  and  such  other

similarly situated candidates, might or might not  finally  succeed  in  the

selection process. Hence, it will  not  be  proper  now  to  set  aside  the

selection of the selected candidates.  Therefore,  though  this  declaration

is being granted, viz. that the appellant  and  persons  situated  like  her

were entitled to be considered by the committee, no further relief  in  that

behalf can be granted to them.  The opinion rendered  by  us  will  have  to

operate prospectively in the matter of application of the  concerned  rules,

for the future selections.  Hence, this appeal is being allowed in part.

21.         We cannot, however, ignore that the appellant had to  resort  to

this litigation for no fault of hers.  

The non consideration  of  her  claim

was totally unjust.  

Hence, even though for the reasons that we have  stated

earlier, the appellant can not get the relief in the nature of  a  direction

to consider her for the selection which she had sought,  she  must  get  the

damages for non-consideration on  unjust  grounds.   

This  is  because,  the

Commissioner  for  Commercial  Tax  had  acted  to  reduce   the   zone   of

consideration, contrary  to  the  rules,  and  inspite  of  a  letter  dated

1.7.2010 from the Principal Secretary Revenue (CT-I) Department,  which  had

clarified that the Commissioner may  send  the  proposals  of  the  eligible

candidates of the cadre of Assistant Commissioners and above,  who  were  of

outstanding merit. 

The  award  of  damages  is  necessary  also  because,  a

message must go down that those who are responsible  for  administration  of

the State cannot trample upon the rights of others on the grounds which  are

unsustainable in law.   

We, therefore, direct the State  of  Andhra  Pradesh

to pay the damages of rupees fifty thousand to the appellant. 

 This will  be

over and above the litigation cost of rupees twenty five thousand, which  we

hereby award.

 

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9193 OF 2013
(@ out of SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 23761/2011)
B. Amrutha Lakshmi … Appellant

Versus

State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors. … Respondents

WITH

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9194 OF 2013
(@ out of SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 16042/2012)

Irrinki Srinagesh … Appellant

Versus

State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors. … Respondents
J U D G E M E N T
H.L. Gokhale J.

Leave Granted.

2. We will first deal with the facts and legal submissions of the
first SLP (C) 23761 of 2011. This appeal by Special Leave seeks to
challenge the judgment and order dated 31.12.2010, rendered by a Division
Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Writ Petition No. 32290/2010,
dismissing the same. The said Writ Petition sought to challenge the order
passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Hyderabad, dated
20.12.2010, on the Interim Application moved by the appellant in her
Original Application No. 1291/2010, wherein, the CAT rejected the said
Interim Application.
Facts leading to this appeal are as follows:-
3. The appeal is concerning the right of the appellant for being
considered for the selection into the Indian Administrative Services (IAS)
from the Non-civil services in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The selection
into the IAS is governed by the All India Services Act 1951, and IAS
(Recruitment) Rules 1954. There are three sources for being selected into
the IAS as per the IAS (Recruitment) Rules 1954. They are:- (i) by direct
recruitment; (ii) by promotion of a substantive member of a state civil
service and (iii) by selection from amongst those persons who hold gazetted
posts in substantive capacity in connection with the affairs of the State,
and who are not members of a State Civil Service.
4. The vacancies in the IAS cadre for each particular State are
notified by the Central Government. In the present case, we are concerned
with the three vacancies meant for category (iii) above viz. the officers
of Non State Civil Services, which were notified for the year 2011. The
case of the appellant is that, though she was eligible for being taken into
the panel for consideration, she lost her opportunity due to the erroneous
interpretation of the relevant rules by the respondent No. 1, State of
Andhra Pradesh. At the relevant time, she was working as the Assistant
Commissioner of the Sales Tax, and she satisfied all the eligibility
criteria, yet the Principal Secretary, Department of Revenue (Commercial
Tax) Department, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, and the Commissioner of
Commercial Taxes, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, respondent Nos. 2 and 3
respectively, restricted the zone of consideration only to the higher
officers amongst the eligible candidates viz., to the Joint and Additional
Commissioners of the Commercial Tax Department.
5. The appellant, therefore, filed Original Application No. 1291
of 2010 before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and prayed for the
following main reliefs:-
“1.) This Hon’ble court may be pleased to declare that the
action of the 3rd respondent in not considering the case of the applicant
for being proposed for appointment to I.A.S., in terms of I.A.S.
(appointment by selection) Regulation 1997 is illegal and is contrary to
and violation of Regulation 4 of I.A.S. (appointment by selection)
Regulation 1997 and is also violative of Article 14, 16 and 21 of the
Constitution of India.
2). This Hon’ble Tribunal may be pleased to declare the action
of the 5th respondent in not forwarding the name of the applicant to 3rd
respondent is illegal and contrary to G.O.Ms NO. 634 dated 24.8.2007 and
is also contrary to Regulation No. 4 (1) of I.A.S. (appointment by
selection) Regulation 1997.
3). This Hon’ble Tribunal may be pleased to declare that
applicant is entitled to be considered by the Committee (as constituted
under Regulation 3) by 2nd respondent for appointment to I.A.S., by
selection based on her outstanding merit and ability and pass such other
order or orders as this Hon’ble Tribunal may deem fit and proper in the
circumstance of the case.”

6. The appellant prayed for the interim order which read as
follows:-
“In the above circumstances this Hon’ble Tribunal may be
pleased to direct the 2nd respondent not to convene the meeting of the
Committee and not to consider the case of any other candidate(s)
proposed by the 3rd respondent for appointment to I.A.S. by selection
(of A.P. State Non-SCS Officers), pending disposal of O.A., and pass
such other order or orders as this Hon’ble Tribunal may deem fit and
proper in the circumstances of the case.
In the alternative direct the 3rd respondent to consider
and propose the name of the applicant for consideration by the 2nd
respondent for appointment by selection to I.A.S. before the cases of
other candidates are considered and pass such other order or orders as
this Hon’ble Tribunal may deem fit and proper in the circumstances of
the case.”
7. The CAT, however, declined to grant the interim relief that the
appellant had prayed for. The appellant therefore, carried the
matter to the Andhra Pradesh High Court, where the High Court
has held the restriction of the zone of consideration to be
valid. Being aggrieved by this order, the appellant has filed
this appeal by Special Leave.
8. Mr. P.S. Narshimha, learned senior counsel appeared for the
appellant, Mr. A.T.M. Rangaramanujam, learned senior counsel
appeared for the first respondent State of Andhra Pradesh, and
the Principal Secretary to the Department of Revenue (Commercial
Taxes) Andhra Pradesh, and the Commissioner of Commercial Tax,
Andhra Pradesh. Mr. P.P. Malhotra, Additional Solicitor General
has appeared for respondent No. 4 Union of India and Mr.
Radhakrishnan, learned senior counsel for respondent No. 5 Union
Public Service Commission.
9. It was pointed out by Mr. Narshimha, learned counsel for the
appellant, that the relevant regulations for our purpose are the
I.A.S. (Appointment by Selection) Regulations, 1997. Clause No.
3, regulation Nos. 3 and 4 thereof, are relevant for our
purpose. Regulation 3 deals with the determination of vacancies
to be filled. Regulation No. 4 lays down the provisions for the
State Government to send proposals for consideration of the
committee referred to in regulation No. 3, which is the
committee constituted under regulation No. 3 of the Indian
Administrative Services (Promotion by Appointment) Regulations
1955. These two regulations Nos. 3 and 4 read as follows:-
“3. Determination of vacancies to be filled:
The Central Government shall, in consultation with the State
Government concerned, determine the number of vacancies for which
recruitment may be made under these regulations each year. The number
of vacancies shall not exceed the number of substantive vacancies, as
on the first day of January of the year, in which the meeting of the
Committee to make the selection is held.
4. State Government to send proposals for consideration of
the Committee:-
(1) The State Government shall consider the case of a person not
belonging to the State Civil Service but serving in connection with the
affairs of the State who,
i) is of outstanding merit and ability; and
ii) holds a Gazetted post in a substantive capacity; and
iii) has completed not less than 8 years of continuous service under
the State Government on the first day of January of the year in which
his case is being considered in any post which has been declared
equivalent to the post of Deputy Collector in the State Civil Service
and propose the person for consideration of the Committee. The number
of persons proposed for consideration of the Committee shall not exceed
five times the number of vacancies proposed to be filled during the
year.
Provided that the State Government shall not consider the case of a
person who has attained the age of 54 years on the first day of January
of the year in which the decision is taken to propose the names for the
consideration of the Committee.
Provided also that the State Govt shall not consider the case of a
person who, having been included in an earlier Select List, has not
been appointed by the Central Government in accordance with the
provisions of regulation 9 of these regulations.”

10. As can be seen from these two regulations, the Central Government has
to determine the number vacancies for which recruitment may be made each
year, which is to be done in consultation with the State Government. The
number of vacancies to be determined, shall not exceed the number of
substantive vacancies, as on the first day of January of the year, in which
the meeting of the selection committee is held. Regulation No. 4 lays
down, that the State Government has to send the proposal for consideration
of the committee. It is important to note that while sending the
recommendations from Non Civil Services section, the Government has to see
that (i) the person concerned is a person of outstanding merit and ability,
(ii) he holds a Gazetted post in a substantive capacity, (iii) he has
completed at least 8 years of continuous service on the first day of
January of the year in which his case is being considered, (iv) the person
must belong to a post which has been declared equivalent to the post of
Deputy Collector in the State Civil Service, (v) the number of persons
proposed for consideration of the committee shall not exceed five times the
number of vacancies, and (vi) the persons to be recommended should not have
attained the age of 54 years on the first day of January of that year in
which the names are considered by the committee.
11. As far as the equivalence with the post of Deputy Collector is
concerned, the Andhra Pradesh Government came out with a G.O.Ms No. 634 of
the General Administration (Special Department) dated 24.8.2007, which
provided as follows:-
“NOTIFICATION

In supersession of the order issued in G.O.Ms, General
Administration (Special.A) Department, Dated: 08.06.2006, G.O.Ms. No.
807, General Administration (Special A) Department, Dated: 23.12.2006,
read with G.O.Ms No. 63 General Administration (Special A) Department,
Dated: 08.02.2007, and in the exercise of powers conferred under sub-
regulation (iii) of regulation 4(1) of the Indian Administrative Service
(Appointment by Selection) Regulations, 1997, the Government hereby
declare that, all the post carry the scale of pay of Rs. 10,845-22,995
and above (revised scales of 2005) in all the departments under the Govt.
of Andhra Pradesh, barring the services viz. (i) State Police Service,
(ii) State Forest Services, and (iii) Judicial Service, are equivalent to
the post of Deputy Collector in the State Civil Service for the limited
purpose in regulation ibid. Officers who have completed 8 years of
continuous service in the said scale as on 1st January of the year for
which selection is made and are substantive in the above scale of pay as
stipulated in IAS (Appointment by Selection) Regulations 1997, are
eligible for consideration.
(BY ORDER AND IN THE NAME OF THE GOVERNOR OF ANDHRA PRADESH)

J.HARI NARYAN
CHIEF SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT

12. Thus, as can be seen, sub-regulation (iii) of regulation 4 (1),
referred to above, includes all the posts which carry the scale of pay of
Rs. 10,845-22,995 and above, and (ii) persons from all the departments
under the Government of Andhra Pradesh except State Police Service, State
Forest Service and Judicial Service are eligible to be considered. The
notification declared such posts to be equivalent to the post of Deputy
Collector in the State Civil Service, for the limited purpose specified in
the Regulations. The Principal Secretary to the Government accordingly,
wrote to the different departmental heads to send the full particulars of
eligible Non Civil Services officers who fulfill the criteria. In para 4
of this letter he specifically stated as follows:-
“4. The Regulations stipulate that the Non-SCS Officers to be
considered for selection should be of outstanding merit and ability.
This aspect should be thoroughly ensured before sending the proposals.
An Officer who is facing disciplinary enquiries and against whom
adverse remarks are recorded in the ACR or whose integrity is not
certified, cannot unequivocally be said to be of outstanding merit and
ability.”

13. The Commissioner of Commercial Tax, Andhra Pradesh by his
letter dated 18.6.2010 sought a clarification whether all the eligible
officers in the cadre of Assistant Commissioner and above would be
considered as eligible, if they were of substantive ability, had completed
the minimum years of service, and had not crossed the age of 54 years as on
1.1.2010. The Commissioner got a reply that the necessary instructions may
be adhered to scrupulously. He subsequently got another letter dated
1.7.2010 from the Principal Secretary, of the Revenue (CT-I) Department,
that the names of officers from the cadre of Assistant Commissioner of
Commercial Taxes and above, who are of outstanding merit and are eligible,
may be forwarded. It so happened, that the names which were sent for
consideration were, however, only of the Joint Commissioners and Additional
Commissioners and not Assistant Commissioners. It is, therefore, that the
appellant filed the above Original Application and applied for interim
relief which came to be declined, and the order of the CAT was left
undisturbed by the High Court. This has led to the present Civil appeal.
14. According to Mr. Narshimha, the relevant rules were very clear,
and the appellant satisfied all those requirements. The appellant was a
Gazetted Officer in a substantive capacity, and she had completed more than
8 years of continuous service as an Assistant Commissioner of Sales Tax
which was a post declared to be equivalent to the post of Deputy Collector.
She had not completed the age of 54 years, and there was no dispute about
her outstanding merit and ability. The CAT, however, rejected the prayer
for interim relief, solely on the ground that by the time the matter was
considered by the CAT, the selection had already been completed, and
therefore, the interim prayer as sought could not be granted. In the High
Court, it was however contended on behalf of the Commissioner for
Commercial Tax, that if the criterion was to be applied as it is, the
number of officers to be considered from the Commercial Tax Department
itself would be more than 300. It was submitted that there are in all 30
departments in the State Government, and therefore, the Commissioner and
other heads of department were well within their power to restrict the zone
of consideration up to a particular level, from which the names may be
forwarded. It was also pointed out on behalf of the Government that, if
the criterion as insisted by the appellant was applied, some of the persons
of the rank of Assistant Commissioners or Deputy Commissioners will get
selected, they will become superior to Joint and Additional Commissioners,
and will write the Annual Confidential Reports of such officers who were
presently holding posts higher to them. The High Court posed the question,
as to whether the names of these junior officers should be mechanically
forwarded. In paragraph 19 of the judgment the High Court held as follows:-
“19. In the present case, the Commissioner did not
strictly go by rule of seniority among the eligible officers in the
Commercial Taxes Department. The course adopted by him is that since
a large number of officers have to be forwarded going by the criteria
of eligibility as per Regulation 4 (iii) and G.O.Ms No. 634, he
restricted the zone or level of officers for consideration upto the
level of Additional Commissioners and Joint Commissioners. Thus this
is a case where the seniority rule has not been followed but the zone
of consideration has been restricted upto a particular level…….”

15. Again, in paragraph 23, the High Court observed that just
because the appellant officers satisfy the criteria and are eligible
officers, their names could not be forwarded. This is because the number of
vacancies to be filled was 3, and the number of candidates to be
recommended will be 5 times that number i.e. 15 only. The High Court
therefore, held that the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes had the power to
restrict the zone of consideration in sending the names above the level of
Additional Commissioners and Joint Commissioners. The Writ Petition filed
by the appellant was, therefore, dismissed.

16. It is material to note, that a counter affidavit has been filed
on behalf Government of Andhra Pradesh, where in para 4 it is stated as
follows:-
“4. I say and submit that there may be large number of
officers who will meet above eligibility but number has to be
restricted to five times the vacancies for consideration from all
departments put together. Commercial Taxes Department is one of
departments in the State. There are more than 30 departments in the
State. There were only (3) vacancies. Hence maximum number that could
be considered by the Committee was (15) for all departments put
together. In order to have healthy competition and to avoid unhealthy
competition, out of all eligible persons having outstanding merit and
ability, persons having highest seniority were recommended. …”

17. The question for our consideration is whether such a
restriction of the candidates to be considered, who were otherwise
eligible, was permissible under the rules. It is not disputed that the
petitioner was very much eligible for being considered, and there were so
many similar eligible candidates. It was being portrayed by the
respondents that from every department 300 persons were eligible, and there
are 30 departments and therefore, the number would go to some 9,000 and
above. Now, what is to be noted is that all that the eligible officers
concerned have, is a limited right of being considered, though they do not
have a right of promotion, as held in Shankarsan Dash Vs. Union of India
1991 (3) SCC 47. Mr. Narshimha submitted that this limited right should
not be denied to the candidates like the appellant, on the basis of the
ground that in such a case a large number of names will have to be
forwarded. That apart, he submitted that there was no substance in this
justification, and it was merely a bogie. This is because what the State
Government had to do first was to find out as to who fulfilled the
criteria. Undoubtedly, a large number of persons will fulfill the
criteria, being Gazetted Officers with more than 8 years of service, and
less than 54 years of age on the relevant date. They would also have to be
in the required pay scale. However, as stated in paragraph 4 of the
Principal Secretary’s letter, while considering the outstanding merit and
ability, those with adverse remarks and those facing departmental enquiries
were to be excluded. Therefore, there was no difficulty in excluding such
persons on those grounds. Thereafter, what remained to be seen was as to
who were the persons with outstanding ability and merit amongst them? The
State Government maintains their annual appraisal reports, and for such
selection it lays down some criteria of maintaining the outstanding merit
and ability over certain period viz. that in previous five years the
officer must have 3 outstanding reports, or that in the previous 3 years
the officer concerned must have all throughout an outstanding rating etc.
It is for the State Government to lay down by rules as to how the
outstanding merit and ability is to be assessed, and over how much period.
After all these tests are applied, the number of persons to be recommended
will not be very large. However, once a candidate comes into the zone of
consideration, and satisfies all the requirements, including that of
outstanding merit and ability, he cannot be told that merely because he is
junior in the seniority, his name will not be forwarded for consideration.
The rule requires that from amongst the outstanding officers, 15 names are
to be forwarded to the Central Government, and hence it is possible that
amongst these 15, a junior officer may as well figure, depending upon the
assessment of his merit. He cannot be eliminated merely on the ground that
he is a junior officer, and that if selected he will write the ACRs of his
superiors.
18. We have got to accept that, if the rules for selection contain
a requirement, the same has to be applied uniformly and strictly, and none
from the eligible group can be eliminated from being considered on any
criteria, other than those which are provided in the rules. If there is a
criteria laid down for selection, the Administration has to confine to the
same, and it cannot impose an additional criterion over and above whatever
has been laid down. If that is done, it will no longer remain an exercise
of discretion, but will result into discrimination. It will mean treating
similarly situated employees dissimilarly, and denying equal opportunity to
some of them in the matter of public employment on the basis of a criterion
which is not laid down, resulting into violation of Articles 14 and Article
16(1) of the Constitution of India. If the rules were to provide that in
the event of large number of persons coming into the zone of consideration,
the names of the senior most alone will be forwarded, then it would have
been a different situation. In the absence any such restrictive rule, as
in the present case, the decision of the respondents cannot be justified.
19. In view of the reasons stated above, we accept the submissions
canvassed on behalf of the appellant. The prayers in the O.A. filed by the
appellant were negatively worded viz. to declare that the action of the
respondents not to consider the case of the appellant, and not to forward
her name, was illegal. In a way it was a prayer for a positive declaration
viz., that the appellant and persons situated like her were entitled to be
considered by the committee, if they are otherwise eligible. We are of the
view that, the appellant is entitled to such a positive declaration, which
order takes care of the prayer as made in the Original Application.
20. In the circumstances we allow this appeal, set-aside the
impugned judgment and order of the High Court as well as of the Central
Administrative Tribunal, modify the relief as prayed in the O.A., and hold
that the decision of the Respondents not to consider the appellant for the
selection, amounted to her being treated dissimilarly, though she was
situated similarly to the recommended officers. The decision was violative
of Article 14 and Article 16(1) of the Constitution, since it was arrived
at on the basis of a criterion which was not laid down. However, the
selection for the year 2011 was over, even before the interim application
in the CAT was decided. Setting aside the selection conducted some two
years back, and asking the respondents to re-do the exercise after
considering the appellant and other similarly situated candidates, would
create lot of uncertainty, in as much as the appellant and such other
similarly situated candidates, might or might not finally succeed in the
selection process. Hence, it will not be proper now to set aside the
selection of the selected candidates. Therefore, though this declaration
is being granted, viz. that the appellant and persons situated like her
were entitled to be considered by the committee, no further relief in that
behalf can be granted to them. The opinion rendered by us will have to
operate prospectively in the matter of application of the concerned rules,
for the future selections. Hence, this appeal is being allowed in part.
21. We cannot, however, ignore that the appellant had to resort to
this litigation for no fault of hers. The non consideration of her claim
was totally unjust. Hence, even though for the reasons that we have stated
earlier, the appellant can not get the relief in the nature of a direction
to consider her for the selection which she had sought, she must get the
damages for non-consideration on unjust grounds. This is because, the
Commissioner for Commercial Tax had acted to reduce the zone of
consideration, contrary to the rules, and inspite of a letter dated
1.7.2010 from the Principal Secretary Revenue (CT-I) Department, which had
clarified that the Commissioner may send the proposals of the eligible
candidates of the cadre of Assistant Commissioners and above, who were of
outstanding merit. The award of damages is necessary also because, a
message must go down that those who are responsible for administration of
the State cannot trample upon the rights of others on the grounds which are
unsustainable in law. We, therefore, direct the State of Andhra Pradesh
to pay the damages of rupees fifty thousand to the appellant. This will be
over and above the litigation cost of rupees twenty five thousand, which we
hereby award.
22. The issue involved in the appeal arising from the second SLP
(C) No. 16042/2012 is same as the one in the earlier matter. We have heard
Mr. Jayant Bhushan, learned senior counsel for the petitioner in the second
matter, as well as, the counsel for the respondents. For the reasons stated
in the first matter, we grant leave in this matter and pass the same order,
as in the first one. This appeal will also stand allowed, accordingly, with
damages quantified at rupees fifty thousand, and cost of rupees twenty five
thousand to be paid by the first respondent.
23. We direct that the amounts towards the damages and the cost be
paid to both the appellants within six weeks from the receipt of a copy of
this order. In both these appeals, it will be open to the State Government
to recover these amounts from the then Commissioner of Commercial Tax,
and/or whoever were the officers responsible for the non-consideration of
the claim of both the appellants.
…………………………………..J.
[ H.L. Gokhale ]

…………………………………..J.
[ J. Chelameswar ]

New Delhi
Dated : October 18, 2013
———————–
19

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