New Delhi: The Supreme Court last week dismissed an appeal for promotion of the Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF), not requiring two years of ACF training and one year of field training vis-a-vis appointments by nomination where such training is compulsory.
It held that this was one more unending dispute arising between direct recruits and promoters regarding their inter se seniority. It ruled that the government resolutions in the matter cannot override statutory rules and the resolutions neither speak about promotions to the post of Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) not about seniority conclusively and so the proviso would operate with full force.
Appointment on probation was challenged
A Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S Oka said the appellants were appointed as ACF through nomination in 2016, with recruitment in 2014, vide the Maharashtra Public Service Commission advertisement on Dec 14, 2012 for 33 posts of ACF through the Forest Service Examination.
Challenging their appointment on probation, the appellants moved the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal in Mumbai to declare their appointments as ACF from the date of commencement of training, considering it as period of service.
The review application of the tribunal order was dismissed on September 2016 citing that the 1965 rules were draft and not had bearing upon the application. Accepting the judgment, the state government passed a resolution dated August 2018 that successful completion of training period would be considered as regular service from the date of inception of training for all service purposes.
In an interim order on 18.04.2019, the High Court restrained the authorities from issuing any promotion based on the Tribunal's judgment in 2016. The High Court finally adjudicated the matter on 23.04.2021, holding that the Tribunal's direction to pay salary to six of them as per the pay scale as reasonable.
The Supreme Court held that the period of probation has to be excluded from the period of service, though grant of monetary benefit is a different aspect. It held that the applicable rules leave no ambiguity in the matter and must prevail.
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