The order will have a huge ramification across the country as a large number of ex-servicemen with a diploma in engineering and appointed junior engineers in various states were promoted to higher posts on the basis of the notification, allegedly issued on May 26, 1977 by the Centre.
The high court found that the document used as the notification since 1977 was in fact "an unsigned document and did not qualify even to be termed as an office memorandum."
Justice Ajay Tewari has passed these orders while disposing of a petition filed by Sirsa resident, Salaudeen and several other officers posted as sub-divisional engineers/assistant engineers in the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited (HVPNL).
The court also ordered the HVPNL to quash its seniority list, which was prepared by considering claims of ex-servicemen on the basis of the "1977 notification" and directed it to re-frame the seniority list after withdrawing the benefits granted to the ex-servicemen. The Haryana government has been given six months to complete the entire exercise.
In this case, several ex-servicemen had applied for appointment as junior engineers in 2004-2005. At the time, they all had a diploma in engineering and 10 years' experience.
They, however, did not claim to be degree holders and were appointed as diploma holders. Six years later, when the case of promotion to the post of assistant engineer was to be considered, the rules provided for a quota of 12 ½% to persons who held a degree or an equivalent qualification.
At that stage, the ex-servicemen started claiming that in view of their diploma and their 10-year experience they were entitled to be considered as degree holders in view of the Centre "notification" dated May 26, 1977. Following that, they all were promoted in view of the notification.
Their promotion was challenged by other officers with an engineering degree on the ground that no such notification had been issued by the Centre.
Their contention was that by this fraudulent action, the ex-servicemen had stolen a march over them and consequently not only were they required to relinquish that benefit, they are also liable to be proceeded against.