Friday, March 31, 2023

Allahabad High Court stays order of PWD chief engineer demoting junior engineers

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The Allahabad High Court has stayed the order of the Chief Engineer demoting junior engineers of the Public Works Department.

A single bench of Justice Rajeev Misra passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Kuldeep Chitravanshi.

Challenge in the writ petition is to the order dated 29.04.2022 passed by respondent-2, Engineer in Chief, Public Works Department, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, whereby petitioner has been demoted from the post of Junior Engineer to the post of Junior Clerk.

Prabhakar Awasthi, the counsel for the petitioner, contended that the order impugned in writ petition has been passed on the basis of clarification given by University Grants Commission.

According to the counsel for petitioner, the UGC has itself clarified that degree of engineering obtained through Distance Education mode were valid upto academic session 2012-13. It is an undisputed fact that the petitioner has obtained his engineering degree prior to the cut-off date i.e academic session 2012-13.

He has then invited attention of Court to the order dated 13.05.2022 passed by a co-ordinate Bench of the Court in WritA No. 7202 of 2022 (Amit Kumar and Another Vs. State of U.P. and 6 Others). For ready reference, same is reproduced herein under:-

“Heard Radha Kant Ojha, Senior Advocate assisted by Shivendu Ojha, counsel for the petitioners, Standing Counsel for respondents and perused the record.

The writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India has been filed for challenging the order dated 29.04.2022 passed by respondent No 3, Engineer-in-Chief (Design & Planning), UP Public Works Department, Lucknow, whereby the promotion of the petitioners on the post of Junior Engineer has been cancelled.

The counsel for the petitioners submitted that the basis of passing the impugned order is that the petitioners obtained the diploma in Civil Engineering through Distance Education Mode from Monad University, Delhi-Hapur Road, Hapur, (UP), which is not recognized for distance education. The counsel for the petitioners submits that both petitioners obtained diploma in Civil Engineering for academic sessions 2013-15 and 2012-14 after due permission of the concerned Department vide letter dated 29.06.2013 and 08.08.2013 respectively, copies of the said letters have been appended at page Nos 22 and 25 of the writ petition. The counsel further submitted that the said diploma is not through distance education mode, but the said diploma was obtained by the petitioners as regular through part-time with the permission of the Department.

The Standing Counsel has accepted notice on behalf of respondents, prays for and is granted six weeks’ time to file counter-affidavit in the matter.

Rejoinder affidavit, if any, may be filed by the counsel for petitioners within two weeks thereafter. List in the week commencing July 25, 2022 in the additional cause list.

Until further orders of this Court, the effect and operation of the impugned order dated 29.04.2022 shall remain stayed.”

In the submission of the counsel for petitioner, the facts of the case are almost similar and identical to the facts involved in the aforementioned writ petition. He, therefore, contends that the writ petition be connected with the aforementioned writ petition and heard along with the same.

Per contra, the Standing counsel has opposed the writ petition. However, he could not dispute the facts as noted above as well as the submissions urged by the counsel for the petitioner.

The Court said that, in view of the above, matter requires consideration.

“Notice on behalf of respondents has been accepted by the Standing Counsel. Ajal Krishna, Advocate has put in appearance on behalf of respondent-4.

They pray for and are granted four weeks’ time to file a counter affidavit. Petitioner will have two weeks thereafter to file a rejoinder affidavit.

Until further order of the Court, the effect and operation of the impugned order dated 29.04.2022 passed by respondent-2, Engineer in Chief, Public Works Department UP, Lucknow shall remain stayed,” the order reads.

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