The Himachal Pradesh High Court observed that when no date is specified for an appointment in the appointment letter, the intention of the appointing authority is gathered from the order itself.

The Court held thus while hearing an appeal by the State, which challenged the decision of the Writ Court ordering date of order of appointment as date of appointment.

The bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Sushil Kukreja observed, “…no date to give effect to the appointment has been indicated specifically, but only the date from which the salary and allowances would be admissible had been mentioned. In the place of posting, it had been mentioned District Headquarter which indicates that the appointment has been considered to be complete on the date of issuance of the Office Order dated 08.05.2003…”

Additional Advocate General Ramakant Sharma and Advocate P.P. Chauhan appeared for the Respondent.

Brief Facts-

The respondent, Reena Verma was appointed as a Clerk on compassionate grounds in pursuance of an appointment order dated May 8, 2003, she joined her duties on May 17, 2003. Interestingly, after the issuance of her appointment order but before the respondent could join, the State Government issued a notification, whereby the appointments made in the State on or after the date of publication of the notification were excluded from the applicability of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, with intention of the Government to notify Contributory Pension Scheme for such government servants who were appointed on or after publication of such notification.

The Writ Court ordered in favour of Reena Verma, who approached it with the grievance that the State of Haryana was thrusting upon her to become a member under the Contributory Pension Scheme by considering her as an appointee after the date of notification by considering her date of joining as date of appointment as against the date on which her order of appointment was given.

In appeal filed by the State, the Court looked into whether the appointment of the respondent would be governed by the appointment letter or would have to be counted from the actual date of joining.

The Court relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in Supreme Court in T. Valsan (D) Thr. Lrs. and others vs. K. Kanagaraj and others AIR 2023 SC 2860 and observed, “The principle laid down is that in the absence of any statutory provision or rule made thereunder or under the proviso appended to Article 309 of the Constitution of India, once an incumbent is appointed to the post, according to rules, his/her seniority has to be counted from the date of appointment.”

The Court rejected the contention of the State that the respondent is entitled to the pay scale and other allowances only from the date of her joining the post which indicates that her seniority was required to be determined on the date of her joining the post and not earlier to that. It mentioned the SC judgment in Dr Amarjit Singh Ahluwalia vs. The State of Punjab and others (1975) 3 SCC 503 and observed, “date of order of appointment is not synonymous with the date of appointment.”

The Court further observed in the abovementioned judgment that an order of appointment may be of three kinds:

(i) It may appoint a person with effect from the date he assumes charge of the post, or

(ii) it may appointment him with immediate effect, or

(iii) it may appoint him simpliciter without saying as to when the appointment shall take effect.

“…However, in the said judgment, nature and effect of the third kind of appointment has not been elaborated,” the Court stated.

After perusing the appointment order, and the decision in Dr Amarjit Singh Ahluwalia's case (Supra) the Court noted that the appointment order did not say anything as to when the appointment shall take effect.

The Court further noted that the Deputy Commissioner issued the appointment letter without giving any other date concerning commencement of date of appointment but a definite station i.e. place of her posting was set out i.e. District Headquarter.

Therefore, according to the Court, the appointment order of the respondent was issued with the intention of the Appointing Authority to appoint the respondent with immediate effect.

“If the appellants wanted the seniority of the respondent to be counted from a subsequent date like the date of joining, then nothing prevented them from mentioning similar condition as was fixed regarding the pay and allowances with respect to seniority also, that the same would be reckoned from the date of joining of the post.” It added.

Consequently, the Court dismissed the appeal.

Cause Title: State of H.P. v. Reena Verma (Neutral Citation: 2024:HHC:1073)


Appellant: AG Ramakant Sharma, AG Navlesh Verma, AG Sharmila Patial

Respondent: Adv. P.P. Chauhan

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