New Delhi, Oct 1 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Friday held nine Tamil Nadu officers guilty of contempt of court for not implementing its direction on the revision of the seniority list of employees of the state Public Works Department.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai said that “we find that the seniority list, which is purportedly published in accordance with the order of this Court, is totally in breach of the directions of this Court. A first glance at the list would reveal that various selectees, who have received much less marks, are placed above the selectees who have received higher marks”.
It added, “We, therefore, have no hesitation to hold that the following persons named in our order dated February 11, 2021, are guilty of having committed contempt of the order of this Court”.
The top court had named nine employees of the state government– M. Vijayakumar, S. Thinakaran, Dr. S. Swarna, K. Nanthakumar, K. Shanmugam, Dr. K.Manivasan, K. Ramamurthy, S. K. Prabhakar, and S. Bakthavathchalam– in its February 11, 2021 order against whom contempt proceedings were initiated.
The bench said that insofar as the issue concerning the quantum of punishment to be imposed upon the aforesaid contemnors is concerned, it will be heard on January 22, 2022.
“We clarify that on the said date, the persons named, who have been held guilty of contempt of this Court by us, shall remain present before this Court and would be heard on the quantum of punishment,” it said.
The bench directed the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) to revise and publish the seniority list of the selectees, who were selected in the selection process conducted in pursuance of the notification issued by the Commission dated September 10, 1999.
It said that the list should be strictly based on the merit determined by the commission in the selection process and not based on the roster point and it should be published within 12 weeks.
The PWD employees have moved the top court praying for initiation of contempt proceedings against the alleged contemnors for wilfully disobeying the order passed by this Court dated January 22, 2016.
Initially, the dispute of seniority arose when some PWD employees moved before the Single Judge of the Madras High Court being aggrieved by the fixation of inter se seniority list published on April 29, 2004.
The said PWD employees were selected in pursuance of the selection process held based on the notification dated September 10, 1999, issued by the TNPSC.
Upon the selection, the selectees were appointed in the PWD of the State in the year 2000.
The litigation in the matter travelled twice to the top court from the High Court and thereafter on January 22, 2016, the top court held that that the fundamental principle governing seniority determined that, it should be based on the merit list of selection and that the list made based on roster point, would not be permissible in law.
The top court had in 2016 emphasised that while determining seniority, what is relevant is the inter se merit in the selection list and not the roster point.
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