In this judgment the Supreme Court upheld service rules unless they are shown to be unjust or grossly inefficient.

This was a judgment of the Supreme Court of India regarding a series of civil appeals related to the appointment and promotion of engineers in the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department (PWD). The central issue involves the eligibility of Technical Assistants (who have acquired engineering degrees and served five years) to be appointed as Assistant Engineers through transfer, as opposed to direct recruitment or promotion.

The judgment details the history of various government orders (G.O.s) and legal challenges that set the context for these appeals. Originally, certain G.O.s allowed Technical Assistants and other similar roles to be promoted to Assistant Engineers after obtaining necessary qualifications and experience. This was challenged but upheld in various tribunal and court decisions over the years.

In this case, the Supreme Court reviewed several appeals from different groups, including directly recruited engineers who contested the inclusion of Technical Assistants in the feeder category for promotions to Assistant Engineer positions. They argued that this inclusion was against the rules and constituted a form of backdoor entry that compromised merit and efficiency.

The judgment discussed detailed arguments from both sides and referenced previous rulings and government orders affecting the case. Ultimately, the Supreme Court found no merit in the appellants’ arguments that sought to restrict the promotion of Technical Assistants to Assistant Engineer roles. The court decided against interfering with the established practice, which it found to be equitable and justified based on past legal and administrative decisions.

The appeals were dismissed, upholding the earlier decisions that allowed Technical Assistants and similar roles to be promoted to Assistant Engineers based on qualifications and service years. The court emphasized the importance of adhering to established rules and practices unless they are shown to be unjust or grossly inefficient.

ASSOCIATION OF ENGINEERS AND OTHERS ETC. VERSUS THE STATE OF TAMIL NADU AND OTHERS decided by the Supreme Court of India on April 16, 2024.

By aor.sanjivnarang@gmail.com

Sanjiv Narang Adv. is an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court of India. His qualifications include an LLB from University of Delhi and a Masters degree in Personnel Management from Panjab University,Chandigarh.In his more than 3 decades of experience, he has practiced law at the District, High Court and Supreme Court levels.He also has more than a decade of experience in the field of Management. He is the author of two books namely Laws for Women in India and Innovation, Why What and How.