Legalcops – Legal Blog – Business Registrations & Tax Compliances

Hi there,

Dispute Between Promotees, Direct Appointees Over Inter-Se Seniority


  • The conflict is typical of those that arise between promoters and direct appointees over inter-se-seniority. The issue here is over Inspector positions in the Income Tax Department of the state of Gujarat.
  • The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions released Office Memoranda (abbreviated ‘OM’) on February 7th and July 3rd, 1986. Both OMs state that the quota rotation principle will be used to determine the inter-se-seniority of promotions and direct recruiting. It is stated that when direct recruits are not available, promotions will be grouped at the bottom of the seniority list below the last position up to which seniority can be determined using quota rotation concerning the actual number of direct recruits who become available.
  • The unfulfilled direct recruitment quota positions are carried forward and added to the comparable direct recruitment vacancies of the following year. It is also stated that these additional direct recruits picked from carried forward vacancies from the previous year should be placed in the seniority list en bloc below the last promotee or direct recruit, as the case may be, based on the rotation of quota for that year. Before these two OMs, there was an OM dated November 22, 1959, that provided for determining the seniority of direct recruits and promotions based on quota rotation.



Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi appeared for the appellants and argued that a recruitment year was a calendar year rather than a fiscal year, citing the decision in the case of N.R. Parmar (supra) and arguing that vacancies arising during a particular year should be reported in the same year and the recruitment advertisement should also be published in the same year and that no such condition was met in the present case. As a result, the direct recruits could not be interspersed between the 2009 promotions.



Senior Advocate Nidhesh Gupta appeared for the respondents and argued that while the appellants had proceeded on the assumption that the recruitment year was a fiscal year rather than a calendar year, the relevant year for determining seniority was the year in which the recruitment requisition was sent. He also cited this Court’s decision in the case of Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court in Chandigarh v. State of Punjab & Ors. 2019 (12) SCC 496, arguing that seniority should be determined based on a roster rather than the date of joining a particular stream.



The Income Tax Department and the Union of India were represented by Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee, who asserted that a new OM issued on August 13, 2021, by DoPT clarified that the decision in the case of K. Meghachandra would have a prospective application and that cases of intense-seniority of direct recruits and promoters should not be disturbed during the period between the date of the decision in the case of N.R. Parmar and the date of


The Issues dealt with were-

  1. Is the ruling in K. Meghachandra’s case per incuriam, or does it need to be reconsidered given that it conflicts with the rulings of the Constitution Bench in Mervyn Coutindo and a bench of three honorable judges in M. Subba Reddy & Anr. v. A.P. State Road Transport Corporation & Ors. 2004 (6) SCC 729.
  2. The recruitment year’s financial or calendar year nature.
  3. Whether the hiring of direct recruits started in the case’s facts in the recruitment year in which the openings appeared.

Regarding problem number 1,

As of the date the case of N.R. Parmar was decided, the Apex Court noted that there was no rule requiring that the inter-se-seniority of direct recruits and promotees to the post of Income Tax Inspectors should be fixed from the date on which a person is borne in the cadre, as was held in the case of K. Meghachandra.

The Apex Court noted that the seniority list dated September 7, 2016, prepared by the N.R. Parmar case, was correctly published and needed to be restored with a clarification that direct recruits of 2009–10 should be interspaced with 53 promotees appointed during that year. The Apex Court further held that the amended seniority list dated February 13, 2018, was illegal because it was changed without giving the affected direct recruits a chance to be heard.

“The seniority list from September 7, 2016, which was the final seniority list, could not be changed without providing the impacted candidates a chance to be heard. As a result, the 13th February 2018 modified seniority list was unlawful “The Apex Court was noticed.

The Apex Court further determined that, given the rotation of quota or rota and quota system in place, it would be appropriate to refer the matter to a larger bench and made the following observation: “If the promotees are hired in the relevant recruitment year, but the process of hiring the direct recruits, which began in the same recruitment year, could not be completed in the same year, the direct recruits appointed later will have to be intersegmental.

Regarding concern no. 2, the Apex Court noted that the appellants themselves had referred to the financial year when discussing the openings in the Income Tax Department in a specific year. Additionally, the documents on file made it abundantly clear that, about the positions of Income Tax Inspectors, the vacancy or recruitment year was always regarded as the financial year. The Court said, “We have, then, no manner of dispute that, up until the year 2018, the financial year was being treated as the recruitment year or vacancy year in connection to the jobs of Income Tax Inspectors.

Regarding point no. 3, the Apex Court noted that even if the direct recruit recruiting procedure started in 2009–10, it could not be finished during the same recruitment year. The Court further stated, “In this case, those who were eligible for direct recruitment were denied the opportunity since the recruitment process could not be completed during the same recruitment year 2009–2010 due to no fault of their own.”

The interim relief to maintain the status quo concerning the posts held as of July 13, 2018, was therefore vacated by the Court, and the seniority list from February 13, 2016, which was fixed based on the contested judgment, was subject to the outcome of the appeal or the decision of the larger bench.



Dispute Over Inter-Se Seniority Between Promotees and Direct Appointees: The Supreme Court refers the case to the Constitutional Court.


By: M.Sahithi


Link to the Judgement – C.A. No. 9228/2022 – D.No. 23064 / 2018 14-Dec-2022

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,