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Gopal Chandra Mishra & Others v/s The Chairman, Vananchal Gramin Bank, Dumka & Others

Company & Directors' Information:- J N GOPAL AND CO PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1981PTC012476

Company & Directors' Information:- R K CHANDRA PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U36911WB1989PTC046753

Company & Directors' Information:- R K MISHRA & COMPANY PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51109WB1990PTC049582

Company & Directors' Information:- GOPAL CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U00513MP1948PTC000460

Company & Directors' Information:- R B MISHRA & CO PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U45200BR1981PTC001523

Company & Directors' Information:- H CHANDRA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65990MH1952PTC008894

Company & Directors' Information:- H C CHANDRA & CO. PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U20231WB1957PTC023337

Company & Directors' Information:- CHANDRA AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Dissolved] CIN = U74999KL1952PTC000280

Company & Directors' Information:- R. CHANDRA LIMITED [Not available for efiling] CIN = U99999MH1953PLC009175

Company & Directors' Information:- MISHRA COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Dissolved] CIN = U99999MH1958PLC011174

    L.P.A. Nos. 349, 350, 351, 357, 361, 317, 356 of 2017 With I.A. Nos. 4998, 4999, 5005, 10053 of 2017 & 2961 of 2018

    Decided On, 06 February 2020

    At, High Court of Jharkhand


    For the Appellants: M/s. Satish Ughal, Tapas Kabiraj, Afaque Ahmed, Advocates. For the Respondents: Nipun Bakshi, S. Bhowmik, R7, Abhay Kumar Mishra, Advocates.

Judgment Text

H.C. Mishra, J.

I.A. Nos. 4998, 4999, 5005, 10053 of 2017 & 2961 of 2018.

These interlocutory applications have been filed for condonation of delay of 07, 07, 07, 10 and 21 days respectively, in filing L.P.A. Nos. 349, 350, 351, 357 and 361 of 2017.

In view of the statements made in these interlocutory applications, the delays in filing these appeals are condoned.

These interlocutory applications are allowed.

All the L.P.As.

In all these appeals common question is involved, and as such, they have been heard together and are being disposed of by this common Judgment.

2. Heard learned counsels appellants and learned counsel for the respondent Gramin Bank, as also learned counsel for the private respondent.

3. Though, these appeals have been listed under the heading 'For Orders', with the office notes that notices have not been served to some of the private respondents, but in the facts of the case, there is no need to keep the appeals pending for appearance of the private respondents, as admittedly, after getting the promotions, most of the private respondents have already superannuated from service, and any order passed in these appeals is not going to affect those private respondents.

4. The appellants are aggrieved by the common Judgement dated 4.5.2017, passed by the Writ Court in W.P.(S) No. 6235 of 2014 and analogous matters, whereby the writ applications filed by the appellants writ petitioners, claiming promotion from Junior Management Grade Scale-I (for short 'JMGS-I') in the respondent Gramin Bank, to Middle Management Grade Scale-II (for short 'MMGS-II'), were dismissed by the Writ Court.

5. The appellants herein were working in JMGS-I' in the respondent Gramin Bank, and they claimed promotion to the post of 'MMGS-II', which promotion is granted on seniority-cum-merit basis, after taking the written examination followed by interview. The written examination and interview for promotion were held by the Gramin Bank in the year 2004, in which, some senior persons were denied the promotion, and juniors to them were granted promotion, on the basis of marks obtained in the written examination and interview.

6. Some of the senior employees, who were denied the promotion, filed the writ applications in this Court, and one such writ application Ghamshyan Pathak v. Santhal Pargana Gramin Bank, Dumka, was allowed by this Court, which decision is reported in (2014) 2 JCR 662.

7. Admittedly, these appellants had not moved this Court against the denial of promotion to them, and some of them, who are the appellants in L.P.A. Nos. 312, 356, 357 and 361 of 2017, participated in the subsequent promotional exercise, and were granted promotions whereas, the other appellants, had already superannuated by the time, Ghamshyan Pathak's case was allowed by this Court. It was only after Ghamshyan Pathak's case was allowed, the appellants herein, filed their writ applications in this Court, in the year 2014-15, i.e., after 10-11 years of the denial of the promotion to them. All of the writ applications were heard together by the Hon'ble Single Judge, and by common Judgement dated 4.5.2017, passed in W.P.(S) No. 6235 of 2014 and analogous matters, all the writ applications were dismissed on the ground that the petitioners had not approached the Court in time and the writ petitioners were the 'fence sitters', and they rose from the slumber after the decision in Ghamshyan Pathak's case. Holding, that interference (at such belated stage) with the promotions already granted would cause chaos in the hierarchy, rights which by afflux of time had concretized would be reopened thereby, the writ applications were dismissed by the Writ Court.

8. The impugned Judgement passed by the Writ Court shows that promotions in the Gramin Bank are governed by the Regional Rural Bank (Appointment and Promotion of Officers and other Employees) Rules, 1998, which laid down the criteria and procedure for promotion from JMGS-I to MMGS-II. The promotion is to be given on the basis of seniority-cum-merit. Rule-2(J) provides that a written test for 60 marks shall be conducted and 20 marks is allowed for interview and 20 marks for performance appraisal. The Rules prescribe that the candidates, who secured 40% in each part of the written test shall be eligible for promotion. There is no dispute that all the appellants had secured the minimum qualifying marks, but still the juniors to them in the merit list were given the promotion on the basis of the fact that they had secured more marks than the appellants in the qualifying examination. The fact however, remains that the appellants did not challenge the denial of promotion to them for about ten long years, and in the mean time all of them even superannuated from service. Only after the order passed in Ghanshyam Pathak's case (supra), the appellants approached this Court.

9. The Hon'ble Single Judge, relying upon the decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court in Jagdish Lal v. State of Haryana, reported in (1997) 6 SCC 538, held that it is a well settled proposition that the persons who slept over their rights, by efflux of time loose their right to enforce such right. The Hon'ble Single Judge has also placed reliance upon the decision of the Apex Court in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited v. Ghanshyam Dass & Ors., reported in (2011) 4 SCC 374, wherein the Hon'ble Supreme Court has indicated the circumstances in which a similar relief can be extended to other similarly situated persons, and held that the writ petitioners did not come in any of those categories, and the writ applications were dismissed by the Hon'ble Single Judge, holding that the writ petitioners were 'fence sitters', and could not be granted any relief.

10. Learned counsels for the appellants have submitted that the impugned order, passed by the Hon'ble Single Judge cannot be sustained in the eyes of law, inasmuch as, all the appellants were similarly situated persons and they were denied the promotion against the Rules. It is submitted that since all the appellants have retired, they can only be given the notional benefits of promotion from the retrospective dates, which is not going to cause any chaos in the hierarchy, even if the rights of the private respondents had concretized.

11. Learned counsel for the Gramin Bank, on the other hand, has opposed the prayer, submitting that the chapter is closed long ago, and all the appellants and almost all the private respondents are by now superannuated. Learned counsel appearing for the private respondent also supports the submission of learned counsel for the Gramin Bank.

12. Having heard learned counsels for the parties and upon going through the impugned Judgement, we find that admittedly these appellants were denied promotion in the year 2004. They did not take any action whatsoever. They accepted their fate, and some of the appellants took the subsequent promotional examination and were promoted after succeeding in t

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he subsequent examination. The other appellants by that time had already retired. In that view of the matter, if the appellants did not choose to move the Court since 2004 to 2014-15, i.e., for long 10-11 years, during which period they were in Rip Van Winkle mode, and woke up only after the others who were vigilant of their rights, got the relief from the Writ Court, they cannot claim the same relief, particularly after their superannuation. 13. We find no illegality in the impugned Judgement dated 4.5.2017, passed in W.P.(S) No. 6235 of 2014 and analogous matters, dismissing the writ applications of the appellants, worth any interference in the L.P.A. jurisdiction. 14. There is no merit in these Letters Patent Appeals and the same are accordingly, dismissed.