Manipur HC quashes final seniority list order of MFS grade-II, directs to prepare fresh list

A fresh final seniority list for the post of the MFS Grade-II being published, the officials concerned should constitute a review of DPC which should consider all eligible officers, the HC order stated.


Manipur High Court (PHOTO: IFP)

A single bench of Justice Kh Nobin, High Court of Manipur on Friday quashed the final seniority list for the post of the MFS Grade-II. In doing so, the bench also directed to prepare a fresh seniority list on Friday.

“A fresh final seniority list for the post of the MFS Grade-II being published, the officials concerned should constitute a review of DPC which should consider all eligible officers and recommend the names for appointment on promotion to the post of the MFS Grade-I”, the HC order stated.

The petitioners, namely Rebika Soibam Chanu and Mahamuda Begum, who were appointed as assistant conservator of forest, MFS Grade-II in 2014 under the recommendation of MPSC have filed a petition challenging the final seniority list order issued by the joint secretary (DP), government of Manipur order of November 12, 2020.

The diploma certificate of two officers that were listed on the final seniority list and proceedings of the review DPC held on August 3, 2020 with consequent order of DP, the government of Manipur on August 31, 2020.

In regards to the final seniority list, the petitioners stated on their petitions that two officers namely L Biramangol and Kh Hitler were appointed as the range forest officers sometime in the years between 1986 and 1989, while the two petitioners were appointed directly as the assistant conservator of Forest, MFS Grade-II in the year 2014 on the recommendation of the MPSC.

While as per the rules, 1986, as amended from time to time, a range forest officer with a certificate in Forestry/ Wildlife who have put in five years regular service in the grade including those periods spent on training on the certificate course is eligible for consideration for promotion to the post of MFS Grade-II.

A range forest officer is not eligible to undergo a diploma course in wildlife. But the two officers had obtained a diploma certificate fraudulently as alleged by the petitioners, on the strength of which the review DPC in its meeting held on August 3, 2020, considered their cases and recommended their names for promotion to the post of the MFS Grade-I.

The state government, based on the said recommendation of the review DPC, issued an order of promoting ten range forest officers including the two officers to the post of the MFS Grade-II. The objections raised by the petitioners before the finalization of the seniority list were allegedly not considered by the state government nor was any reason given to them.

The petition stated that the review DPC had failed to consider the fact that the diploma certificates were obtained fraudulently by the contesting private respondents with the result that they had become senior to the petitioners and as and when a DPC is held for promotion to the post of the MFS Grade-I, injustice would be done to them.

The petitioners alleged that the Forest department of Manipur, knowing well that the two officers were only in the rank of the range forest officers, endorsed their claim and allowed them to undergo the diploma course on deputation.

According to the petitioners, the two officers ought to have been considered under the second category for the reason that they had obtained the certificates of the certificate course and that they could not have been considered, as if they were in possession of the certificates of the diploma course because the manner in which the diploma certificates were obtained by them was fraudulent and illegal.

The review DPC under the first category is illegal and without taking into account the illegality committed by the review DPC, the state government had issued the order on August 31, 2020, promoting the two officers to the post of the MFS Grade-II with effect from December 2, 2013, as a result of which they had been placed above the petitioners in the final seniority list, the petitioners alleged. 

Although the two petitioners have been promoted to the post of the MFS Grade-II in the year 2019 against the subsequent vacancies, they ought to have been considered for the vacancies which arose in the year 2010-2013, when the contesting private respondents were considered by the review DPC.

The HC on the judgment order stated that the DPC order of August 31, 2020 issued by under-secretary (DP), the government of Manipur is quashed and set aside and with the direction that no further action pursuant thereto should be taken by the officials concerned for the purpose of promotion from the post of the MFS Grade-II to the post of MFS Grade-I.

 

First Published:Feb. 20, 2021, 8:16 p.m.

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