No vested right to promotion on mere existence of vacancies: SC [8.3.2022] See Legal Eagle (SC) 238

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8.3.2022, New Delhi, Tuesday

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said a mere existence of vacancy per se will not create a right in favour of an employee for retrospective promotion when the vacancies in the promotional post is specifically prescribed under the rules, including clearance through a selection process.

“In a case of promotion, there can never be a parity between two separate sets of rules,” a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh said.

The top court explained, in other words, a right to promotion and subsequent benefits and seniority would arise only with respect to the rules governing the said promotion, and not a different set of rules which might apply to a promoted post facilitating further promotion which is governed by a different set of rules.

The bench allowed an appeal filed by the Centre which questioned a judgement by the high court. The Centre said the high court committed a fundamental error in granting the relief in favour an officer who admittedly voluntarily retired in the year 2010 while the promotion was granted after the completion of the selection process in 2012 against the vacancies which arose in the year of 2011, in the light of promotion of ‘Junior Administrative Grade I’ officers to IAS.

Agreeing to the Union government’s plea, the bench said: “Once an officer retires voluntarily, there is cessation of jural relationship resorting to a “golden handshake” between the employer and employee. Such a former employee cannot seek to agitate his past, as well as future rights, if any, sans the prescription of rules.” 

09 Mar 2022