Gauhati HC Emphasizes right to be considered for promotion as a Fundamental Right

LI Network

Published on: January 2, 2024 at 11:13 IST

Justice Suman Shyam of the Gauhati High Court has instructed the Department of Fishery, Government of Assam, to review the promotion plea of a retired In-Charge District Fisheries Development Officer (DFDO).

The Court emphasized that the right to be considered for promotion is an integral facet of a fundamental right and cannot be denied to eligible candidates when vacancies are available.

The single-judge bench directed the department to evaluate the representation of the retired officer regarding promotion to the DFDO post based on merit, considering the positions available on the date of his retirement. The court mandated the issuance of an appropriate order within three months.

The petitioner, originally appointed as a Fisheries Extension Officer in 1982, claimed promotion to the post of Sub-Divisional Fisheries Development Officer (SDFDO) in 1992. Despite being assigned the responsibilities of DFDO in 2005, the petitioner retired from service as In-Charge DFDO on December 31, 2013, without being regularly promoted to the DFDO post.

The petitioner asserted that vacancies existed for promotion to the DFDO position, but authorities neglected his case for promotion, even as his retirement approached.

The petitioner had previously approached the High Court with this grievance, resulting in a directive in October 2013 to consider his case expeditiously.

However, by December 2013, the petitioner’s transfer and subsequent denial of promotion due to anomalies in Fishery services led to the impugned order. The senior government advocate argued that the petitioner was ineligible for DFDO promotion due to the failure to complete mandatory Post Graduate Training in Fishery Science.

Justice Suman Shyam noted that the order dated December 30, 2013, was issued a day before the petitioner’s retirement and cited anomalies and delay in promotion regularization as grounds for denial.

The Court deemed these reasons invalid for denying promotion and emphasized that, if eligible, the petitioner could not be denied promotion merely due to anomalies.

Referring to applicable regulations in the Assam Fisheries Service (Recruitment and Promotion) Orders, 1989, the Court highlighted the absence of doubt or dispute regarding the petitioner’s eligibility for promotion while in service.

Citing a similar case precedent, the court directed the petitioner to submit a fresh representation within six weeks, instructing the respondents to consider and dispose of the matter within three months.

Case Citation: Syed Habibur Rahman v. The State of Assam & 2 Ors. – 2024 LiveLaw (Gau) 2

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