The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has ruled that balance of service cannot be the criteria to deny promotion to an official who is otherwise eligible.

In a ruling dated June 19, the CAT upheld the contention of retired Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) B.J. Hosmath that he was denied promotion to the post of PCCF (Head of Forest Forces) in the apex scale.

Mr. Hosmath was serving as PCCF (Widlife) from April 1, 2016 and was eligible for selection as PCCF (HOFF) Karnataka.

As per the rules, appointments to the selection grade to posts carrying pay-scale above selection grade, in the Indian Forest Service, are to be made by selection on merit with due regard to seniority.

The CAT in its order noted that the special selection committee meeting for selection to the post of PCCF (HoFF) met on April 6, 2017 and considered the names of the three officers in the order of seniority that included Mr. Hosmath.

The committee concluded that all the three officers under consideration were similarly placed.

However, the committee ignored the seniority and instead of Mr. Hosmath opted for Kishan Singh Sugara as PCCF(HOFF) Karnataka in the Apex Scale by referring to the ‘balance of service left before superannuation’ as criteria for selection.

Mr. Hosmath was ignored on the ground that he was left only with one month of service though it was not a relevant factor to be considered by the selection committee, according to CAT.

The order noted that the issue of tenure is not a factor as there are many instances of officers being posted for shorter tenures and hence his non-selection to the post is arbitrary and unjustified.

CAT directed the State Government to notionally appoint Mr. Hosmath as PCCF (HoFF) to the Apex Scale so that he gets the consequential benefits

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