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Minutes of the Board meeting held on September 16.9.

The Board in its Meeting chaired by Shrl S. Dutt Majumder, Chairrnan, deliberated on the issue detailed herein. The following officers present. Shri S.K. Goel, Member (Customs/ R.I&I/Exports & Safeguards) Shri Rajesh Dhingra, Member (L&J) Shri H .C. Thakur, Member (C.Ex) Ms Praveen Mahajan, Member (P&V) Ms Shanti Sundharam, DG,HRD ,Shri Jayant Mishra, ADG (HRD), Shri Lok Ranjan, JS (Admn), Shri Rajeev Tandon, Commissioner (Coord.) & Secretary, CBEC. 2. BMB No.46/2011 Issue in brief: Revision of ratio for promotion to the Junior Time Scale in IRS (C&CE) -Judgement of Hon'ble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal 1198 of 2005. The Hon'ble Supreme Court directed the three groups of officers namely Superintendents of Central Excise, Superintendents of Customs (Preventive) and Customs Appraisers (the feeder category for promotion to JTS Grade) to make representations to the Union of India suggesting the changes as according to them should be made in the Recruitment Rules for promotion to Group A post of Assistant Commissioner (Central Excise & Customs). It further directed the Union of India to consider such representations. Including those made before it in the light of subsequent development in the cadre strength of the three feeder categories of Group-B services and amend/ revise the Recruitment including altering the existing Ratio to secure just and fair representation for all the three feeder categories. It allowed time up to Dec. 31, 2011 to the UOI to complete the entire process. The Supreme Court further directed that all ad-hoc promotions made to Group-A shall abide by the final decision taken by the Department. Representations in terms of the aforesaid directions of the Supreme Court were sought from the associations I federations representing the three feeder cadres. Suo-moto representations received from some association(s) and individuals though not mandated by the, Hon'ble Supreme Court were also examined.

All India Association of Central Excise Gazetted Executive: The Officers

highlighting the acute stagnation in executive cadres invited Reference to 44 representations made by them during 02.09.2009 to 07.08 .2011 and requested for removal of disparity in promotions between the cadres of Superintendents of Central Excise and Appraisers. It suggested necessary amendments to Recruitment Rules for IRS (C&CE) so that all Group-B entry level officers recruited in the same year are brought at par in terms of promotions on the basis of base cadre seniority, whereby the Central Excise officers are able to get promotion within the eligibility period as prescribed by DOPT (OM dt 04.03.2009). The All India Federation of Superintendent of Customs Superintendents Submitting its representation invited reference to its 12 earlier representations in the matter. It stated that CBEC apportioned the Customs share between the two streams on the basis of pre1996 strength regardless of the increase in the strength of CustomsPreventive cadre. It, therefore, proposed the revision of the share of Customs Preventive Superintendents vis-a-vis ,the Appraisers to be revised from the year 1996 -97 (when the strength of Customs Preventive Superintendents was increased by 543 posts from 1:2 to 2: 1.

The All India Customs Preventive Service Federation in its representation dt.19.08.2011 while faulting with the demand for consideration of length of service in Group B as a criteria, proposed the fixation of quotas for each of the feeder grades for promotion to the higher grade and called for revising the ratio from the year 1997 onwards when the sanctioned strength of the Superintendents of Customs Preventive cadre was enhanced. It recommended that the promotion ratio between the Superintendent of Customs (Preventive) and Appraiser be revised to 2: 1 for the period 1997 to 2009 and thereafter prescribing a ratio of 13 (Supdt. CX) : 2 (Supdt. Cus. Prev.) : 1 (Appraiser), based on the sanctioned strength of the three feeder cadres (Supdt. Central Excise -11507, Supdt. Customs Prev. -1582 & Appraiser-859). The All India Customs Officers Direct Recruit (Appraisers) Association, claiming to represent the Direct Recruit Appraisers though not recognized by CBEC, in its representation called for time bound promotions to Group-A and comparison of their promotional avenues with the analogous Group-B cadres of other departments. The All India Customs Appraising Officers Federation claiming to represent Appraisers though not recognised by CBEC, in its representation did not favour the revision of the ratio on the ''Basis of the numerical strength of the cadre and proposed for implementation of the ongoing cadre restructuring along with substantial increase in the strength of AC/DC and reduction in direct recruitment at AC level. It also proposed the grant of time bound in situ promotion for solving the problem of stagnation. The All India Central Excise Inspectors Association representing Inspectors' cadre, the feeder cadre for promotion as Superintendent of Central Excise, proposed for creation of supernumerary posts in Group-A for promotion of Central Excise officers and revise the ratio for promotion of each of the three feeder cadre and its review every five years or whenever the sanction strength is altered. It also proposed enhancement of the promotion quota to 75% of annual vacancies at AC/DC level. 2.3 The following suggestions emerge out of the representations received: (i). Drawl of Common Seniority List for all three feeder Gazetted Executive Grades: This is likely to be challenged by the executive cadres as done in W.P. 306/1988 and is not supported by DOPT guidelines

(ii). Drawl of Common Seniority List of all three Group-B feeder grades on the basis of base cadre seniority: The system was non-workable in view of the wide disparity in promotion from Inspector, Central Excise to Superintendent, Central Excise grade; as also not supported by any DOPT guideline. The suggestion is also administratively not feasible. (iii). Revision of Promotion Quota on the basis of sanctioned strength: In view of the DOPT's guidelines (OM No, 2011/1/ 2008-Estt.(D) dated 11.11.2010 revision of promotion quota on the basis of the sanctioned strength of the three Group-B executive grades is the logical way forward and in terms of the existing regular sanctioned strength of each of the grades, the ratio of 13 (Central Excise) : 2(Cus. Prev.) : 1 (Appraiser), with the condition that the said ratio would be revised whenever the sanctioned strength of any of the feeder grade undergoes substantial and significant change is the most plausible manner for resolution of the issue. A suggestion for implementing the ratio retrospectively from dates matching the alteration in Cadre strength of the feeder categories was also considered. The suggestion was however, fraught with the obvious possibility of reversal of officers at different levels thereby compounding the implementational issues with many of the officers having since retired. Thus in the alternative a proposal for implementation of the ratio on a prospective basis was made out. 2.4 The Board considered the matter in its entirety in the context of the directions of the hon'ble Supreme Court, to fast track the resolution of the vexed & protracted nature of the issue as outlined by the Chairman in his opening address, the need for balancing the promotional aspirations of each feeder cadre and in the spirit of seeking a solution once and for all with a possible win-win for all cadres. In this backdrop it was also explained in detail as to how the proposed ratio would impact the promotional avenues for officers from different streams. Board also took note of regional disparities as exist today in the downward links in the chain in the context of promotion of Inspector of Central Excise to the grade of Superintendent of Central Excise: After carefully weighing the various suggestions and representation received, and the merits-demerits of each representation, suggestion and in keeping with DOPT's instructions in the matter for fixing of ratios for promotion amongst several streams of feeder cadres, the Board approved the proposal for a prospective alteration of the feeder ratio for promotion to Group -A, JTS grade to 13 (Supdt. Central Excise) :2 Supdt. Cus. Prev) :1(Appraiser). The Board also directed to build into the provisions a feature for undertaking a review of the ratios fixed every two years or in the event of a significant change in the sanctioned strength of any of the feeder cadre. It also directed that the Hon'ble Supreme Court be approached for a clarificatory order with reference to aforesaid and prospective implementation of the said ratio. 2.5 The Board complimented the HRM Wing in general, and Shri Jayant Misra, the ADG in particular for expeditious and proficient action undertaken in the matter. [Action : DG (HRD)]

Comments of AICEIA, Hyderabad Zone Branch: It is unfortunate that the Board has not solved this vexatious problem in its entirety. It is trying to administer a wrong medication to a persisting and degenerating disease, which they have already diagnosed but unable to prescribe and administer the correct medication for the reasons best known to them. By rejecting the Drawl of Common Seniority List for all three feeder Gazetted Executive Grades and Drawl of Common Seniority List of all three Group-B feeder grades on the basis of base cadre seniority, Board has tried to find a temporary solution without bothering about the future ramifications. Board has conveniently buried our main demand of base cadre seniority and is again treating the Customs Cadre with kid gloves fearing litigation from these blue eyed cadres. When the Honble Supreme Court has asked for review of seniority from 1997 onwards, without paying attention to this crucial issue based on a specious plea that reversal of officers will be there, the Board is trying to implementing prospectively. If it is worried about reversal of officers, what about the injustice meted out to Central Excise Officers all along, Can the Board undo the damage done to our careers? Let us ponder over and be united for impressing upon the Board to merge all the three cadres of Central Excise and Customs i.e. Inspectors/Examiners/Preventive Officers and Superintendent of Central Excise/Examiners/Superintendent-Preventive or to take the base cadre seniority as the criteria for promotion to Group A JTS cadre. Without any one of these two, any whimsical or cynical or mythical solution will be treated as a lip service to our cadre.