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Promptly inform employees of service benefit decisions: Gujarat HC

A member of staff who had been eligible for promotion to the role of Principal’s Private Secretary on 12 May 2013 retired in July 2013 without being aware that his promotion had been denied and the reasons behind the denial.

The order denying the promotion had not been served on him. Therefore, he approached the Registrar General of the High Court with a representation. The Registrar informed the Principal District Judge that the appellant was not retrospectively appointed to the post of Primary Private Secretary, Class-I due to some adverse comments in his confidential report for the period 18 May 2012 to 31 March 2013. Another reason for denying promotion was that he had received an ‘average’ rating in its merit-cum-efficiency report for the previous five years.

The court did not approve of the perfunctory manner in which the case had been handled, particularly in the recording of records relating to confidential reports. Not only did the court note that the confidential reports for the period 2009 to 2010 were missing, the court was appalled that the same had been taken into account to deny promotion to the said employee, who was not even aware of the adverse comments. There was no evidence to suggest that the so-called negative remarks on the employee’s reports had been handed to him.

No explanation was offered for the delay in communicating the critical decision/information to the employee. What should have been conveyed to him in 2014 was only communicated in 2017.

The court ruled that employees have the right to be made aware of “orders/communications/decisions immediately, which jeopardize their careers or service benefits, so that they can take appropriate steps to challenge them.”

The Court allowed the appeal and directed the respondents to promote, upgrade or appoint the appellant to the post of Primary Private Secretary, Class-I, with retrospective effect from the date on which he became eligible for the same.

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