Inter-Se Seniority Dispute Resolution in Manipur Police Service Grade II Officers Cadre

A detailed analysis of the resolution of the inter-se seniority dispute in the Manipur Police Service Grade II Officers Cadre has been provided by the Supreme Court of India. The case involved a challenge from both promotees and direct recruits regarding their seniority in the service. The Court’s judgment sheds light on the principles to be applied in determining seniority based on appointment dates and recruitment years. This landmark decision sets a precedent for resolving similar disputes in the future. #SupremeCourt #SeniorityDispute #LegalCase #ManipurPolice


  • The matter pertains to an inter-se seniority dispute in the Manipur Police Service Grade II Officers Cadre.
  • Promotees challenged their promotion through Writ Petition (C) No 366 of 2013.
  • The final seniority list was published on 17.5.2013 by the Govt. of Manipur, applying the principle of dovetailing.
  • Direct recruits appointed on 14.08.2007 claimed their seniority should be counted from the date of appointment.
  • Seniority dispute was addressed in an earlier proceeding, Writ Petition (C) No. 235 of 2012.
  • Promotees contended that they should be regarded as senior to the direct recruits as they entered the cadre earlier.
  • Direct recruits claimed seniority based on the year of vacancy.
  • Leave was granted in the current SLP.
  • The recruitment year is considered as the financial year as per the Manipur (SC & ST) Act, 1976.
  • The seniority lists and actions taken based on them were deemed unlawful.
  • A Review Petition was filed by K. Meghachandra Singh for restoration, but it was dismissed.
  • The closure of the Contempt Case was ordered upon compliance with revising the seniority list.
  • There was a distinction made between entry years for promotees and direct recruits.
  • The word ‘year’ was interpreted to mean calendar year in the context of recruitment years.
  • The State Government did not contest a similar judgment in a previous Writ Petition.
  • The Court directed the preparation of a fresh seniority list in accordance with specified guidelines.
  • A Writ Appeal was filed by direct recruits against the inter-se seniority favoring promotees.
  • The Writ Appeal was transferred to the Gauhati High Court and approved the findings of the Learned Single Judge.

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  • Mr. P.S. Patwalia, the learned Senior Counsel, argues that seniority of direct recruits in the MPS Grade-II Cadre should be reckoned from the time vacancies occurred.
  • He refers to Rule 28(iii) which specifies that seniority shall be counted from the date of appointment to the service.
  • He emphasizes that the applicable Service Rules should be the basis for determining seniority without resorting to interpretive exercises.
  • Mr. Giri, representing the State of Manipur, points out the definition of recruitment year in the MPS Rules, 1965.
  • He mentions the 2009 amendment clarifying recruitment year as the calendar year and the subsequent revision of seniority list in compliance with the court’s directions.
  • The Promotees approached the authority for compliance of the court’s direction, but the Manipur Government took no action.
  • Mr. Gupta cites the office memorandum and notifications to argue that inter-se seniority should be based on the date of entry into service according to the MPS Rules, 1965.
  • He questions the interpretation of ‘recruitment year’ and points to the inconsistency between the Single Judge and Division Bench’s views.
  • Mr. Patwalia argues against the Single Judge’s interpretation of ‘recruitment year’ as ‘financial year’ to favor promotees over direct recruits in seniority.
  • He refers to the rotation of quota principle and the initiation of recruitment action for assigning seniority.
  • The respondents contend that inter-se seniority in the MPS Grade-II Cadre should be based on the order of appointments to the service as per MPS Rules, 1965.
  • They challenge the correctness of the law laid down in N.R. Parmar regarding seniority determination.
  • An incongruity is highlighted where a person joining service later claims seniority above those who joined earlier.
  • The applicability of the N.R. Parmar case to the present situation is questioned on the basis of different Service Rules applicable.
  • Inter se seniority in a particular service must be determined according to the service rules.

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  • The Supreme Court held in J.C. Patnaik that a person is not recruited to the service until a formal appointment order is issued, not just on the initiation of the recruitment process.
  • Seniority cannot be given to an employee who has not yet been formally appointed and borne in the cadre.
  • The law declared in Ashok Kumar Srivastava is followed, emphasizing that seniority should not be granted retrospectively unless expressly provided in the service rules.
  • The Office Memorandum issued by the Union of India in 2014 defined the recruitment year as the year of initiating the recruitment process against the vacancy year, affecting inter-se seniority between direct recruits and promotees.
  • The Memo was made applicable to Manipur only in 2017, adopting the 2014 Memo prospectively from 2018. It specifically addressed the rotation of quota for seniority determination.
  • The Court upheld the view in Pawan Pratap Singh that seniority should not be reckoned retrospectively unless stated in the service rules.
  • In reference to Arunachal Pradesh Rules similar to MPS Rules, the Court approved that seniority is reckoned from the date of appointment to the post, not the date the vacancy arose.
  • Retrospective seniority should not be granted to an employee not yet borne in the cadre, to avoid adverse impacts on valid appointees.
  • The Judgment in N.R. Parmar concerning Central Government employees highlighted the importance of the date of entry or substantive appointment in determining seniority.
  • Any deviation from these criteria in rules or instructions must align with Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.
  • Seniority cannot be claimed from a date when the incumbent is yet to be borne in the cadre.
  • The seniority in the service shall be determined by the order in which appointments are made to the service.
  • Seniority of direct recruits should be counted from their date of appointment and not from the date of initiation of the recruitment process.
  • The Court’s directions regarding seniority should be followed, and seniority cannot be given retrospectively unless provided by relevant service rules.
  • Seniority in the service shall be determined based on the date of appointment according to Rule 28 of MPS Rules, 1965.
  • The judgement in N.R. Parmar regarding the assessment of inter-se seniority is overruled.
  • The MPS Rules, 1965 do not provide for seniority to be counted from the date of vacancy.
  • Seniority should be reckoned only from the date of appointment, not from the stage of recruitment process initiation.
  • The seniority list should be prepared in accordance with the High Court’s directions.
  • The seniority of the officer appointed under Rule 16(3) shall be counted from the appointment date.
  • The OM issued in 1986 clarifies that seniority of direct recruits should be declared only from the date of appointment and not from the recruitment process initiation date.
  • Seniority cannot be given on a retrospective basis when an employee has not been borne in the cadre.
  • Seniority cannot be reckoned from the date of vacancy occurrence.
  • In the State of Tanjore Act (STA) case, the interpretation of seniority rules under MPS Rules, 1965 was discussed.
  • Rule 28(i) of the MPS Rules states that seniority in the service shall be determined by the order in which appointments are made to the service.
  • Rule 28(iii) and Rule 16(iii) of the MPS Rules were also considered during the analysis of seniority.
  • The case highlighted the importance of understanding the order of appointments and its impact on seniority within the service.
  • Preparing a fresh seniority list without referring to the decisions of the Court is not permissible.
  • The declaration in N.R. Parmar contrary to this view is deemed incorrect.
  • The Government order dated 29.06.2019 presented in the Contempt Case will now be considered.

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  • Direct recruits’ appeals in SLP No. 19565-67 of 2019 dismissed
  • High Court’s orders in Writ Petition and Writ Appeal upheld
  • State of Manipur ordered to prepare revised inter-se seniority list within 8 weeks
  • State of Manipur’s appeals in SLP No. 19568-69 of 2019 dismissed
  • Finding on Contempt Case No. 224 of 2018 provided
  • High Court’s proceeding of 29.06.2019 quashed
  • Ningam Siro’s appeal in SLP No. 17007 of 2019 disposed of


Case Number: C.A. No.-008833-008835 / 2019

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