some of the eligible candidates have not been appointed till date. Mr. R. Venkataramani, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the DISCOMS fairly submitted that if persons who applied for selection as Junior Lineman in 2006 were not appointed due to condition 6(iv) (c) of the revised notification dated 20.10.2006, they shall be considered for appointment. Keeping in mind that appointments to the posts of Junior Linemen have been made long back and the services of those appointed were regularised, any interference with such appointments will cause irreparable loss to them apart from adversely affecting the smooth functioning of the A.P. TRANSCO and the DISCOMS. 13. Needless to say that, any future recruitment to the post of Junior Lineman shall be done strictly in accordance with the law.

Non -Reportable
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL Nos._2049-2158 of 2019
[ Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) No.15001-15110 of 2013
]
K. Amarnath Reddy & Ors.
…. Appellants

Versus
Chairman & Managing Director, A.P.S.P.D.C.L. & Ors.
Etc. Etc.
….Respondents
W I T H
Civil Appeal Nos. 2159-2268 of 2019
[ Arising out of SLP(C) Nos. 15114-15223 of 2013]
Civil Appeal Nos.2269-2272 of 2019
[ Arising out of SLP(C) Nos. 25586-25589 of 2013]
Contempt Petition (C) Nos.570-679 of 2018
In SLP(C) No. 15001-15110 of 2013
Contempt Petition (C) Nos.1773-1776 of 2017
In SLP (C) No.25586-25589 of 2013
Diary No.18811 of 2018
Diary No.26419 of 2018
J U D G M E N T
L. NAGESWARA RAO, J.
Leave granted.

  1. The validity of appointment to the posts of Junior
    Linemen in the Andhra Pradesh Transmission Corporation
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    (A.P. TRANSCO) and the four Andhra Pradesh Distribution
    Companies (DISCOMS) in the erstwhile combined State of
    Andhra Pradesh is in issue in these appeals.
  2. On 07.06.2006, the Special Chief Secretary, Energy
    Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh permitted the
    Chairman & Managing Director, A.P. TRANSCO and the
    Chairpersons, Andhra Pradesh Power Coordination
    Committee (APPCC) to fill up 7114 posts of Junior Linemen
    on contract basis in the four DISCOMS duly following the
    rule of reservation. The appointment on contract basis
    was to be for a period of one year which would cease
    automatically after the said period. Pursuant to the said
    permission granted by the Government, the A.P. TRANSCO
    and the four DISCOMS advertised 7114 vacancies and
    called for applications from the eligible candidates for the
    post of Junior Lineman vide separate notifications. For the
    sake of convenience, the conditions prescribed in the
    notifications, issued by Andhra Pradesh Central Power
    Distribution Company Limited (APCPDCL) are referred to in
    the judgment. The permission granted by the Government
    contained certain conditions which were included in the
    advertisement dated 08.06.2006. ITI qualification,
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    residence in the notified area, and pole climbing were
    made compulsory as per Clauses 7 (i), (ii), and (iii) of the
    advertisement. According to Clause 7 (iv), all candidates
    who fulfilled the compulsory conditions in sub clauses (i),
    (ii), and (iii) of Clause 7 would be considered for selection
    on the basis of the marks obtained by them in ITI
    examination. A writ petition was filed in the High Court by
    the existing contract labourers questioning Clauses 7 (ii)
    and (iv) of the advertisement/notification dated
    08.06.2006 by which residence in the notified area was
    made compulsory and selection was based on the marks
    obtained in ITI examination. The writ petition was
    disposed of with a direction that Operation/ Circle/District
    shall be treated as a unit of appointment without reference
    to the restriction imposed under Clause 7 (ii). There was a
    further direction that weightage should be given to
    experienced candidates.
  3. A revised notification was issued on 20.10.2006 in
    which the criteria for selection and appointment as Junior
    Lineman was altered. The contract labourers were given
    preference for selection over the fresh candidates.
    Amongst the contract labourers, selection was to be on the
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    basis of earlier date of birth. The preference given to age
    in the revised notification was the subject matter of
    challenge in the High Court. The High Court allowed the
    writ petition by holding that the absolute preference given
    to the earlier date of birth irrespective of the merit of the
    candidates in the qualifying examination and the length of
    service as illegal and arbitrary. However, the High Court
    refused to interfere with the selections already made as
    they were contractual in nature and were made only for a
    period of one year. Being aware that setting aside the
    appointments would result in serious dislocation of work,
    the selected candidates were permitted to continue till the
    expiry of the original contract. The authorities were
    directed not to extend the contract under any
    circumstance. A fresh selection process was directed to
    be initiated and further direction was given by the High
    Court to consider the feasibility of evolving a structured
    formula to give preference to the contract labourers by
    awarding one mark for each year of completed service.
    Rule of reservation was to be strictly followed and the
    appointments were to be made only for one year.
    Aggrieved by the said judgment, the A.P. TRANSCO and the
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    DISCOMS filed Writ Appeal No.1434 of 2008 and Batch.
    The directions issued by the learned Single Judge regarding
    the method of preference to be given to the contract
    labourers and the appointments to be restricted to only
    one year were set aside by the Division Bench of the High
    Court. However, the Division Bench approved the
    directions pertaining to reservation.
  4. During the course of arguments in the Writ Appeals,
    the learned Advocate General on the basis of written
    instructions from the DISCOMS submitted that the writ
    petitioners who were adversely affected by Clause 6 (iv)
    (c) of the revised notification which relates to preference
    being given to the earlier date of birth can be
    accommodated. The submission of the learned Advocate
    General was that the services of all the 7114 Junior
    Linemen have to be terminated if Clause 6 (iv) (c) of the
    revised notification dated 20.10.2006 is struck down which
    would lead to serious disruption of essential services. In
    order to obviate such dislocation, a decision was taken to
    appoint and absorb all the writ petitioners who could not
    be selected in view of the Clause 6 (iv) (c) of the revised
    notification. On the basis of the statement of the learned
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    Advocate General, the Division Bench directed
    appointment of all the writ petitioners who had submitted
    their applications pursuant to the notifications dated
    08.06.2006/ 20.10.2006 and who could not be selected in
    view of the condition mentioned in Clause 6 (iv) (c) of the
    revised notification dated 20.10.2006. It is relevant to
    note that the said direction was made applicable even to
    those candidates who did not approach the High Court.
    The Division Bench observed that all those selected and
    appointed pursuant to the judgment shall be entitled to all
    the benefits at par with the persons who have already
    been appointed as Junior Linemen. It was further held that
    they were entitled to the regularization of their services as
    well.
  5. The services of 7114 Junior Linemen who were
    appointed on contract basis pursuant to the notifications
    dated 08.06.2006/ 20.10.2006 were regularized on
    28.12.2010 w.e.f. 03.10.2008. Aggrieved by the non
    implementation of the directions issued by the Division
    Bench in Writ Appeal No.1523 of 2008 and Batch dated
    17.11.2009, persons who were not appointed filed
    Contempt Petitions. It was brought to the notice of the
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    Division Bench hearing the Contempt Petitions that a
    learned Single Judge stayed all further appointments to the
    posts of Junior Linemen on 22.04.2010 in Writ Petition
    No.9129 of 2010. The Division Bench vacated the said
    interim order and directed the completion of the entire
    process of appointment and regularization as per the
    judgment in Writ Appeals 1434 of 2008 and Batch within a
    period of two months.
  6. Permission was accorded by the Government to fill
    up another 7319 vacant posts of Junior Linemen in the A.P.
    TRANSCO and the four DISCOMS on 15.06.2011. In the
    meanwhile, the process of implementation of the judgment
    in Writ Appeals 1434 of 2008 and Batch was continuing
    and a large number of contract labourers who could not be
    appointed in view of Clause 6 (iv) (c) of the revised
    notification dated 20.10.2006 were appointed even after
    the fresh notification was issued. There is no dispute that
    these appointments were beyond the 7114 posts that were
    advertised in 2006.
  7. Several writ petitions were filed in the High Court
    raising various points including the validity of
    appointments beyond those that were advertised in the
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    year 2006. Preference given to experienced candidates in
    the selections made pursuant to the advertisement of
    2006 was also subject matter of some writ petitions. The
    High Court disposed of the writ petitions by a common
    judgment dated 14.03.2012 by giving the following
    declarations and directions:
    “DECLARATIONS:
    i) The Notifications dated 6/8.06.2006 as revised on
    20/21.10.2006 are legal, except the condition no. 6 (iv)
    (c ) of the revised notification dated 20/21.10.2006,
    which was already struck down by this Court.
    ii) Among the qualified candidates, the contract labour
    appointed earlier and working as on the date of
    issuance of first notification i.e., 6/8.6.2006 with work
    experience as certified by the concerned Divisional
    Engineer, shall alone be treated as presently working
    contract labour and are entitled for preference in
    selection based on the length of service.
    iii) The persons appointed as on the date of first
    notification and revised notification, shall be treated as
    freshers.
    iv) If the contract labour and freshers apply for the post
    of Contract Junior Lineman, the contract labour shall be
    given preference for selection as per condition 6 (iv) (b)
    of the revised notification.
    v) The action of AP Transco and four distribution
    companies in selecting the fresh candidates based on
    their marks in ITI examination, ignoring the claim of the
    eligible experienced contract labour is illegal.
    vi) After considering the cases of all the existing
    contract labour, still if there remains any vacant posts,
    then the cases of the fresh candidates shall be
    considered subject to fulfilling the requisite conditions
    and the marks obtained in the qualifying examination
    shall be the criteria for their selection as per condition 6
    (iv) (d) of the revised notification.
    8 | P a g e
    vii) Applicants who applied pursuant to the notifications
    are entitled to be considered even if their names are not
    sponsored by the employment exchange concerned.
    viii) If more than one contract labour apply for the post
    with same length of service and experience, in such
    cases, obviously, the candidate with earlier date of birth
    shall be given preference for selection.
    ix) The technical qualifications, the educational
    qualifications, age and experience etc shall be fulfilled
    as on the date of the first notification i.e., 6/8.6.2006
    alone.
    x) The candidates who have applied pursuant to the
    notifications dated 6/8.6.2006 as revised on
    20/21.10.2006 and fulfil all the requisite qualifications
    such as technical, educational, age, nativity, experience
    etc as on the date of first notification, shall alone be
    considered for the 7114 posts notified by AP Transco
    and four distribution companies.
    xi) The candidates who have not applied in pursuance of
    the notifications dated 6/8.6.2006 as revised on
    20/21.10.2006 and permitted to pole climbing test
    pursuant to the orders of this Court are not entitled to
    be considered.
    xii) The action of AP Transco and four distribution
    companies in filling up the subsequent vacancies that
    arose pursuant to the permission granted by the
    Government vide its letter No.565/Ser/2011 dated
    15.6.2011, with any of the candidates either affected by
    reason of struck down of condition No. 6 (iv) (c ) of the
    revised notification or on any account is illegal. If they
    are entitled to be selected by giving preference to their
    experience/length of service subject to fulfillment of
    requisite conditions/qualifications for such consideration
    shall be restricted to notified 7114 posts only as they
    are entitled for selection under conditions 6 (iv) (a) and
    (b) of the revised notification.
    xiii) Though the selection and appointment of JLM is for
    one-year contract period, the employer is entitled to
    retain, absorb and regularize their appointment and also
    consider for their promotion.
    xiv) The subsequent vacancies of 7319 JLM posts that
    arose pursuant to the permission granted by the
    Government vide its letter No. 565/Ser/2011 dated
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    15.6.2011 shall be filled by issuing fresh notifications
    alone as per the rules.
    xv) No contract labour or fresh candidate is entitled to
    claim any sort of exemption with regard to age,
    educational qualifications, technical qualifications, pass
    in pole climbing test etc for consideration of their cases
    for appointment to the post of JLM.
    xvi) The rule of reservation shall be followed both in
    respect of existing contract labour as well as fresh
    candidates as per the existing procedure and practice.
    Though the unit of appointment is circle/district,
    maintenance of the roster as per the existing practice
    either division wise or circle wise, as the case may be, is
    legal and valid for implementation of rule of reservation,
    as the posts are not civil posts.
    DIRECTIONS:
    a). The selections made contrary to the above
    declarations are illegal and they are set aside.
    b). The selection of the candidates as against the
    subsequent vacancies of 7319 posts of JLM that arose
    pursuant to the permission of the government vide
    letter No.565/Ser/2011 dated 15.6.2011 is illegal and
    the same are set aside.
    c). The respondents are directed to review the entire
    selection process strictly in terms of this judgment and
    the afore said declarations and pass appropriate orders
    in accordance with law within a period of eight weeks
    from the date of receipt of copy of this order.
    d). The respondents are directed to fill up 7319 posts of
    JLM that arose pursuant to the permission of the
    government vide letter No. 565/Ser/2011 dated
    15.6.2011 by issuing the notifications / calling for
    applications from the eligible candidates, of course, by
    giving preference to the contract labour as per rules.”
    Aggrieved by the said judgment, the above appeals
    are filed.
  8. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties.
    The selection and appointment to 7114 posts of Junior
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    Linemen were approved by a judgment dated 10.11.2009
    of the Division Bench in Writ Appeal 1434 of 2008 and
    Batch. Their services have also been regularized. The
    directions issued by the High Court in the impugned
    judgment pertaining to the selection of 7114 Junior
    Linemen pursuant to the advertisement dated 08.06.2006/
    20.10.2006 is not justified. No such directions could be
    issued especially after the judgment of another Division
    Bench approving appointments of 7114 Junior Linemen
    became final. The High Court is right in holding that
    appointments could not have been made to posts beyond
    the 7114 posts that were advertised. However, the High
    Court ought to have considered that the submission made
    by the learned Advocate General regarding the imminent
    disruption of essential services was taken into account by
    an earlier Division Bench which permitted the filling up of
    posts beyond the 7114 posts which were advertised. On
    the basis of the submission of the learned Advocate
    General and the judgment of the High Court in Writ Appeal
    1434 of 2008 and Batch, persons who participated in the
    selections but could not be appointed in view of condition
    mentioned in Clause 6 (iv)(c) of the amended notification
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    dated 20.10.2006 were also appointed as contract
    labourers and their services were regularised.
  9. A perusal of the declarations and directions in the
    impugned judgment would show that the High Court
    conducted a scrutiny of the selections made pursuant to
    the notifications dated 08.06.2006/20.10.2006 to 7114
    posts of Junior Linemen. The submission made by the
    learned Senior Counsel appearing for the parties is that the
    appointments made to posts beyond 7114 posts that were
    advertised on 08.06.2006/20.10.2006 were by way of
    implementation of the directions issued by a Division
    Bench of the High Court on 10.11.2009 in Writ Appeal 1434
    of 2008 and Batch. Therefore, according to them, the
    finding of the High Court that appointments made to posts
    beyond those that were advertised is not correct. The
    directions issued by the High Court are:-
    “Therefore, taking the aforesaid undertakings of the
    Appellant-Distribution Companies on record, we direct
    the Appellant Companies to appoint all the
    Respondents/Writ Petitioners, who submitted their
    applications pursuant to the notifications dated
    8.6.2006 and the other dates, issued by the various
    appellant companies, and who have passed the pole
    climbing test and fulfilled the other eligibility criterion
    for appointment as Junior Linemen, without reference to
    and without insisting upon the fulfillment of Condition
    No.6 (iv) (c) of the revised notification dated 20.10.2006
    within two months from the date of receipt of a copy of
    this order.
    12 | P a g e
    We also make it clear that this direction would be
    applicable to all those candidates, who have not
    approached this Court but who had applied in pursuance
    of the aforementioned notifications, subject to passing
    of the pole climbing test and fulfillment of eligibility
    criteria.
    We however make it clear that the persons who have
    not applied in pursuance of the notifications dated
    8.6.2006 and the other dates and who have not
    subjected themselves to the selection process have no
    right whatsoever to claim that they are entitled for such
    appointment.
    We also make it clear that all the selected and
    appointed respondents-Writ Petitioners and others
    similarly situated would be entitled for all benefits on
    par with the persons who have been appointed as Junior
    Linemen as per Condition No.6 (iv)(c) of the revised
    notification, including regularization of their service as
    per rules and policy.”
  10. The said judgment of the High Court in Writ Appeal
    No.1434 of 2008 and Batch was referred to in the
    impugned judgment. However, the High Court proceeded
    to adjudicate the correctness of the selections made
    pursuant to the notification dated 08.06.2006/20.10.2006.
    The judgment of the High Court in Writ Appeal No.1434 of
    2008 and Batch became final and appointments were
    made pursuant to the directions issued. The High Court
    committed a serious error in re-examining the selections to
    7114 posts of Junior Linemen and other appointments
    made beyond the posts that were advertised, made
    pursuant to the advertisement dated
    08.06.2006/20.10.2006. Therefore, the declarations and
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    directions which have a bearing on the selections and
    appointments that are already made are not sustainable.
  11. Ms. Prerna Singh, learned counsel appearing for the
    persons who are similarly situated to those who were
    directed to be appointed by the Division Bench in Writ
    Appeal No.1434 of 2008 and Batch submitted that some of
    the eligible candidates have not been appointed till date.
    Mr. R. Venkataramani, learned Senior Counsel appearing
    for the DISCOMS fairly submitted that if persons who
    applied for selection as Junior Lineman in 2006 were not
    appointed due to condition 6(iv) (c) of the revised
    notification dated 20.10.2006, they shall be considered for
    appointment.
  12. Keeping in mind that appointments to the posts of
    Junior Linemen have been made long back and the
    services of those appointed were regularised, any
    interference with such appointments will cause irreparable
    loss to them apart from adversely affecting the smooth
    functioning of the A.P. TRANSCO and the DISCOMS.
  13. Needless to say that, any future recruitment to the
    post of Junior Lineman shall be done strictly in accordance
    with the law.
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  14. For the aforementioned reasons, the judgment of the
    High Court is set aside and the appeals are allowed.
    Contempt Petitions are closed. All the pending
    applications are disposed of in terms of the above
    judgment.
    …………………………….J.
    [L. NAGESWARA RAO]
    …………………………….J.
    [SANJAY KISHAN KAUL]
    New Delhi,
    February 25, 2019
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