Chennai: The Madras high court has dismissed a petition from office assistants and record clerks working in various courts in Erode district, which sought a direction to the state government to promote them as Junior Bailiff in the existing vacancies based on the order passed by the high court dated July 22, 2009 without insisting SSLC qualification.
A division bench comprising Justices R.Subbiah and T.Krishnavalli dismissed the petition filed by 19 office assistants and 3 record clerks.
According to petitioners, they have passed VIII standard and they were fully qualified for being promoted to the post of Junior Bailiff, however such promotion was not forthcoming to them. They placed reliance on the earlier order passed by the division bench of this court, which was filed by similarly placed persons working as office assistants in various courts within Dharmapuri and Salem districts, wherein this court held that denial of promotion to the petitioners therein on the ground that they did not possess the prescribed educational qualification cannot be countenanced especially when there was no amendment to the service Rules. Therefore, the division bench had held that the petitioners were entitled for a declaration to the effect that till the Tamil Nadu State and Subordinate Service Rules were amended and if any promotion to the post of Junior Bailiff arises, the case of the petitioners can be considered in accordance with the existing Rules. By placing reliance on the earlier order, the petitioners contended that there were 37 vacancies available in the post of Junior Bailiff in Erode District in which the petitioners can very well be accommodated, they added.
The bench said a reading of section 20 read with Schedule III of Tamil Nadu Government Servants (Conditions of Service) Act, 2016 indicates that the minimum general educational qualification required to be possessed by a member of service in government service was SSLC. Sub-section (2) of section 20 specifically states that the possession of minimum general educational qualification, as a qualification for appointment as full member in such service, or in any class or category thereof or for promotion by transfer to any other service was mandatory. The word ‘any’ referred in sub-section (2) of section 20 relates to all the posts in connection with the affairs of the state and there was no express exclusion of the posts of Office Assistants or Record Clerks. In the present case, the petitioners were working as Office Assistants and Record Clerks, whose services were regulated by laws enacted by the state government including TNGS (Conditions of Service) Act, 2016. Further the Special Rules for Tamil Nadu Basic Service can no longer govern the service of the petitioners herein as it was superseded by virtue of enactment of TNGS (Conditions of Service) Act, which came into effect from September 14, 2016, the bench added.
Referring to the earlier order relied on by the petitioners, the bench said at that time, the TNGS (Conditions of Service) Act was not enacted and that was the reason why the division bench in its order specifically held that unless the Service Rules were amended, the authorities cannot insist the petitioners to possess SSLC qualification and were directed to consider the claim of the petitioners for promotion. Now, by virtue of the enactment of TNGS (Conditions of Service) Act, the services of the petitioners herein were regulated by the said Act and therefore, the earlier order passed by the division bench of this court can no longer be relied on by the petitioners, the bench added....