The SC/ST employees were granted relaxation in qualifying marks in the promotion exams as per the DoP&T(Department of Personnel & Training) Orders No. 8/12/69-Estt(SCT) dated 23-12-1970, No. 36021/10/76-Estt(SCT) dated 21.1.1977 and para 6.3.2 of the DPC guidelines contained in Department of Personnel and Training’s OM No. 22011/5/86-Estt(D) dated 10-4-1989.
The DoP&T order dated 23-12-1970 decided that in promotions/confirmations made through departmental competitive exams , the SC/ST candidates who have not acquired the general qualifying standards in such exams could also be considered for promotions/confirmations. In other words the qualifying standards in these examinations could be relaxed in favour of the SC/ST candidates in keeping with the criteria mentioned in the O.M No. 1/1/70-Estt(SCT) dated 25th July 1970.
In the said 25th July 1970 order it was stated that as per the OM No. 8/10/66-Estt ( C) dated 15th May 1967 read with OM No. 16/17/67-Estt (C ) dated 8-2-1968, when the vacancies of SC/ST category remain unfilled , the selecting authorities were given discretion to select the SC/ST candidates who appeared in the direct recruitment examination even if they did not get the qualifying marks, provided that such authorities are satisfied that the minimum standard necessary for maintenance of the administration has been reached in their cases.
Thereafter it was stated in the said order dated 25-7-1970, that it was decided that if sufficient number of SC/ST candidates were not available on the basis of the general standard to fill up all the vacancies reserved for them, in such case the SC/ST candidates be taken by relaxed standard to make up the deficiency in the reserved posts, subject to the fitness of these candidates for appointment to the posts in question.
Thus the condition that such relaxation in standards in the competitive exams should be subject to the satisfaction of the selecting authority regarding the reaching of the minimum standard by the candidates was removed. In its place it was decided that such relaxation in standards was to be given to any extent, subject to the fitness of these candidates for appointment to the posts in question.
Subsequently another clarification was issued vide OM No.36021/10/76-Estt (SCT) dated 21st January 1977 as per which the relaxed standards for SC/ST candidates are applicable in case of qualifying exams also held for promotion. The extent of such relaxation should however be decided on each occasion whenever such examination was held taking into account all relevant factors including (i) the number of vacancies reserved (ii) the performance of SC/ST candidates as well as general candidates in that examination (iii) the overall strength of the cadre and that of the SC/ST candidates in that cadre.
The DoT, based on the above orders of DoP&T issued orders vide No. 26-2/81-SPB-I dated 4/5/81 as per which the failed SC/ST candidates could be awarded grace marks in both the competitive and qualifying exams without any limit for filling up the unfilled vacancies. Subsequently it issued another order vide No. 22-5/91-NCG dated 30-11-92 that the results of the SC candidates who got 20% marks and ST candidates who got 15% marks could be reviewed. This order is in violation of the DoP&T order dated 23-12-1970 read together with the Order dated 25-7-1970 as per which there was no minimum marks were prescribed for for extending the benefit of relaxation in qualifying marks. But even these standards were further tightened in BSNL for the examinations for promotion to executive posts like JTO and JAO, for unknown reasons.
However, these orders were withdrawn by the DoP&T vide its order No. 36012/23/96-Estt(Res) dated 22nd July 1997 on the basis of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of S. Vinod Kumar Vs. Union of IndiaSupreme Court, in its judgment in the case of S.Vinod Kumar Vs. Union of India. Consequent to the 82nd amendment of the Constitution allowing such relaxations, the DoP&T, vide its order No. 36012/23/96-Estt.(Res)-Vol.II dated 3-10-2000, has restored all these relaxations as per these rules.
But after the formation of the BSNL, the relaxations to be given in the qualifying marks for the SC/ST candidates in the competitive exams for promotions were not properly implemented. In the competitive examinations, where as no minimum marks were prescribed by the DoP&T orders for extending the benefit of relaxation in qualifying marks, the BSNL fixed higher level of minimum marks, thereby denying the benefit of relaxation. Similarly in the qualifying examinations for promotions, the relaxations were implemented for SC/ST officials more stringently than what was required by thee conditions laid in the DoP&T orders.
From a reading of the above said DoP&T orders and their implementation in BSNL, it appears that the relaxation in qualifying marks for SC/ST officials in promotional exams is not properly implemented in BSNL, thereby depriving the benefit to the SC/ST officials.
But whether there are any other orders supporting the stand taken by BSNL? Further study will be made to find out the fact.