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Landmark Judgement on Ratio for promotion to Group A in CBEC

Superintendents and Inspectors of Central Excise Department have something to cheer about after judgement in what they call the Land Mark Supreme Court case on Ratio has been delivered.

Group B officers in Central Board of Excise and Customs viz., Officers in the cadres of Superintendents of Central Excise, Superintendent of Customs and Appraising Officers in Custom Houses are promoted to the post of Assistant Commissioner which is a Group A post based on a defined ratio.

All along, Superintendents of Central Excise were demanding for revision in the ratio in order to consider more officers from their cadre for promotion to Group A posts. Their plea was ratio adopted for promotion is improportionate when considering their total strength.

This legal battle has attained finality as Honourable Supreme Court delivered the judgement. The following is the text of order portion of CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1198 OF 2005

It has been brought to our notice that the Union of India in terms of our previous order/directions dated 22nd November, 2010 and 06th December, 2010, has filed an affidavit in Civil Appeal No. 1198 of 2005, inter alia, stating, that it has initiated the process of reviewing the Recruitment Rules, 1987 for promotion from Group 'B' posts to Group 'A' posts.

The entire scheme is being re-looked and worked out at the departmental level in consultation with an expert body including the Department of Personnel and the entire process is likely to be completed by 31st December, 2011.

In the aforesaid background, we deem it proper and in the interest of all parties concerned to dispose of both the Civil Appeal as also the Writ Petition without expressing any opinion on the merits of the impugned judgment or the writ petition but with the following directions:

1. All the 3 groups of officers in the feeder categories i.e. (i) Superintendents of Central Excise; (ii) Superintendents of Customs (Preventive); and (iii) Customs Appraisers, may make representations to the Union of India suggesting the changes which according to them should be made in the Recruitment Rules for their promotion to Group-A post of Assistant Commissioner (Central Excise & Customs).

2. The Union of India shall duly consider all such representations including those made before it in light of the subsequent development in the cadre strength of the 3 feeder categories of group-B services and amend/revise the Recruitment Rules including altering the existing ratio to secure just and fair representation of all the 3 feeder categories.

3. Union of India shall try to complete the entire process by 31st December, 2011, uninfluenced by any observations made in the previous judgment of this Court in All India Federation of Central Excise vs. Union of India & Ors. [(1997) 1 SCC 520], in which the existing ratio was approved as also the observations in the impugned judgment dated 19th December, 2003 of the High Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1324 of 2002 with regard to the jurisdiction of the Central Administrative Tribunal.

4. Having perused one of the Office Orders (No. 51/2011 dated 18th March, 2011), whereby some officers were promoted from Group 'B' to the grade of Assistant Commissioner of Customs & Central Excise in the Pay Band 3 with Grade Pay of Rs.5400/- on purely ad hoc basis, we direct that all such ad hoc promotions shall abide by the final decision to be taken by the Department in terms of this order.

The civil appeal and the writ petition are disposed of in the above terms. All other applications are disposed of as having been rendered infructuous.


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