Reservation system and Seniority List: Bhusawal Division of Indian Railways in the dock

Lalit Shastri

Bhopal: A complaint alleging irregularities in Seniority List published by personal branch on 6 January 2021 has been lodged with the Divisional Railway Manager (P), Bhusawal Division, of Indian Railways.

The complaint especially refers to  the order of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Mumbai bench in response to OA 629/2012 and 727/2013 in the matter of All India Equality Forum Vs Union of India & others, cancelling all promotion orders issued after 19 October 2006. 

The DRM’s attention has been drawn to Apex Court decision in CA No. 2368/2011 and also DOP&T office memo No. 36012/18/95-Estt.(Res) Pt. Il of 13 August 1997 that was quashed by High Court of Delhi in response to WP(C) No. 3490/2010. Consequently, all promotion order issued after 13 August1997 allowing reservation in promotion were not valid and were needed to be cancelled.

Railway Board had also issued instructions (letter No. 2019/LC/MISC/6) on 17 December 2019 to implement all court orders by all departments of Railways.

The DRM has been told categorically that according to rules laid down by the Supreme Court in the matter of S.Paneer Selvam Vs State of Tamil Nadu (2015) SCC 292,, CA No. 2368/2011 “If reserved category candidate promoted prior to his senior UR candidate due implementation of rule of reservation, Senior UR candidate will become senior as he comes to that equal post.” This is also known as “Catch up Rule.”

It has been underscored by the aggrieved railway staff/ loco pilots that Bhusawal Division has neither obeyed the Courts orders nor Railway Board’s instructions. The grievance is serious and is bound to leave an adverse impact on the morale, confidence and efficiency of loco pilots and this could even jeopardise the safety of railway passengers if not addressed on priority. 

The Railway Board will have to step in and play a definite role in this matter. Beyond passing instructions, it will have to ensure there is  no compromise with the maintenance of administrative efficiency as defined by Article 335 of the Constitution of India. It says: “The claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.”

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