At, Central Administrative Tribunal Madras Bench
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. ELANGO
By, JUDICIAL MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE DR. P. PRABAKARAN
By, ADMINISTRATIVE MEMBER
For the Applicant: L. Chandrakumar, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1 to R3, M. Devendran, Advocate.
Dr. P. Prabakaran, Member (A).
1. This OA is filed by the applicant under Sec.19 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 with a prayer to call for the records relating to the 3rd respondent’s order made in No. 9(1)/2012-PA (TA) dated 28.8.2012 and quash the same and consequently direct the 1st respondent to accord all benefits of that of a Director for Centre for Reliability (CFR) to the applicant forthwith thereto and to extend all benefits.
2. The applicant submits that he is working as Scientist-F since 2009 and is the senior most qualified officer to hold the post of Director in the Centre for Reliability (CFR – in short). The CFR was functioning directly under the department of Electronics (now Department of IT) ever since its inception. Later on it was brought under the STQC Directorate from 1982. The Centre was all along headed by a separate Director with distinctive activities and administration including cheque drawing powers. Therefore, it can be well said that there are two different Laboratories which were headed by two different Directors. During 2002, the then Direction of STQC was holding additional responsibility of CFR and subsequent thereto, no one has been posted as Director till date. At present, the 4th respondent herein is holding the charge without any orders from the competent authority. The applicant submitted representations dated 1.12.2011 and 18.1.2012 for considering his claim for posting/appointing him as Head of Centre for Reliability. When the said representations were not considered, he filed OA.591/2012 before this Tribunal seeking a direction to the respondent to consider and pass orders thereon. This Tribunal vide order dated 6.6.2012 directed the 2nd respondent to consider and pass orders within a specified period. In compliance of the above order of this Tribunal, the 3rd respondent with the approval of the 2nd respondent has passed order dated 28.8.2012 rejecting the claim of the applicant which is the subject matter of challenge in this OA.
3. The case of the applicant is that the 2nd and 3rd respondent have no jurisdiction for constituting any committee and to deliberate on the powers, functioning and performance of the CFR and it is only the Ministry and 1st Respondent who has the jurisdiction. The 4th respondent who is holding dual responsibility without any order from the competent authority cannot be allowed to act or decide any issue relating to the functioning of CFR.
4. The respondents have filed a detailed reply refuting the averments in the OA. The respondents submit that the applicant who is working as Scientist-F was considered and promoted as and when he was found suitable under the FCS/MFCS Policy and as such, there is no basis for the applicant to feel aggrieved. The respondents point out that the applicant has tried to mislead this Tribunal and submit that there is no separate post of Director CFR. One of the Scientists designated to hold the charge as Head of a Centre or Lab under STQC Directorate is designated as Director of that Centre or Lab. The applicant had approached this Tribunal in OA.591/2012 for considering him as Director, CFR and this Tribunal had directed the 2nd Respondent namely DG, STQC Directorate to consider and dispose of the representations of the applicant dated 1.12.2011 and 8.1.2012 in accordance with Rules. The STQC Transfer Committee met at ETDC, Bangalore on 10.7.2012 and deliberated in detail about the activities of CFR and its performance over the years and noted that '(i) the performance of the Centre is going down; and (ii) the reliability activities are gradually becoming less and less relevant to present day activities. DG, STQC has formed a Committee to look into the Centre’s performance. Their report is awaited. In view of the gradually declining relevance of CFR activities in the context of the present day STQC functions, the Committee recommended that posting of an officer of the level of Scientist-F like the applicant is not warranted, either as Head or as a working scientist in CFR'. The respondents further submit that the Committee formed to look into the CFR’s performance presented their briefing to STQC Advisory Committee specifying that the CFR revenue trend is not improving and mainly earning through Certified Reliability Programme of 5-days duration. Further, the services that were being offered such as Reliability Design Consulting and testing are not in high demand in the industry. Based on these findings, STQC Advisory Committee opined that 'all CFR officers may be redeployed at ETDC based on their expertise areas and potentials.' Considering all the above, DG, STQC Directorate has agreed to the recommendation of the Transfer Committee that in view of the gradually declining relevance of CFR activities in the context of the present day STQC functions, the posting of officer at the level of ‘Scientist-F’ like the applicant is not warranted either as Head or as a working Scientist in CFR. These have been revealed vide Officer Order dated 28.8.2012. It was also intimated to the applicant vide Officer Order dated 4.12.2012 that two identical representation both dated 17.9.2012 from the applicant regarding designating him as Director, CFR- one addressed to the 2nd respondent herein and another addressed to the 1st respondent herein was received. The representation was considered and it was informed that for the present, there is no apparent reason to review the earlier decision already communicated vide letter of even number dated 28.8.2012 and the applicant’s eagerness to shoulder the responsibilities of Director of Lab was noted for action at appropriate time. This was issued with the approval of Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology.
5. The applicant has filed rejoinder refuting the contentions in the reply statement and has submitted that the prayer in the OA is to post him as Director of CFR which post has administrative and financial powers and it is the respondents who are trying to mislead the Court as though it is a case of promotion to the next higher grade. He further submits that the 4th Respondent does not have the power to transfer him from CFR to ETDC Lab. The appointing authority of the applicant is the Ministry of Communication and IT and transfer of any of the officials should be by following the procedure. As such, the posting order referred to is void, nonest, lacks authority and does not have the force of law.
6. Heard the learned counsel for the applicant and the respondents. We have carefully considered the rival contentions and perused the material on record.
7. The applicant had earlier filed OA.591/2012 before this Tribunal in which the prayer of the applicant was to direct the respondents to consider his representations seeking appointment as Director, CFR. This Tribunal by order dated 6.6.2012 directed the respondents to consider the representations and pass orders in accordance with rules. Complying with the above orders of this Tribunal, the respondents have considered his representations and issued the order dated 28.8.2012 which is impugned in the present OA.
8. From the submissions it emerges that the functioning of the CFR has been under review in the backdrop of the reliability activities becoming less and less relevant to the present day activities. The Committee formed to look into the CFR’s performance, presented their brief to STR Advisory Committee specifying that the CFR revenue trend is not improving and the services that were being offered such as Reliability Design Consulting and testing are not in high demand in industry. It is based on these findings, that the STQC Advisory Committee recommended that all CFR offices may be redeployed based on their experience and potential. The DG, STQC Directorate has also agreed with the recommendation and accordingly the officers of CFR were redeployed at ETDC and the applicant came to be appointed as Team Manager (Safety), ETDC. In view of the fact that the relevance of the services offered by CFR has come under question, as per the arrangements of the DG, STQC, the 4th Respondent who is heading the Centre has been put incharge of CFR also and there appears to be nothing arbitrary in that arrangement. The applicant who is in the rank o
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f Scientist-F has a duty to cooperate with the efforts in this direction to ensure that the services that are supposed to be rendered to the industry are to be delivered so that the relevance of organization under STQC is not totally lost considering the pace of development in the technological field. We find that the decision to redeploy the officers of CFR has been taken by the STQC Headquarters and as such, the contention of the applicant that the 4th Respondent has issued the transfer order is not acceptable. The applicant has raised vague allegations only to give a boost to his claim to be designated as Director, CFR which we find is not in tune with the recommendations given by the expert body regarding the relevance of the services offered by CFR. As such, we find that the contentions raised in the OA are devoid of merit and the OA is liable to be dismissed and is accordingly dismissed with no order as to costs.