Accepting the view of the Railway Board that the post of its Member-Traffic cannot be left vacant for a long period against public interest, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday permitted the board to appoint Devi Prasad Pande to the post subject to the outcome of litigation pending before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Bangalore.
A Division Bench comprising Justice D.V. Shylendra Kumar and Justice B.S. Indrakala passed the order while setting aside an interim order by CAT for maintaining status quo on the appointment to the post that had created vacuum in the board.
The CAT had, on July 12, granted interim order on an application filed by N.C. Sinha, Chief Operation Manager, South Western Railway, Hubli, seeking a direction to the board to promote him to the cadre of General Manager and consequently, consider him for selection to the post of Member-Traffic.
Mr. Sinha had, in the application, contended that Mr. Pande, who is General Manager, South Central Railway, Secunderabad, was junior to him and the promotion due to him [Mr. Sinha] was being intentionally delayed.
However, appearing for the board, Mohan Parasaran, Solicitor-General of India, argued that it would not be in the larger public interest to keep the post vacant for a longer period as all commercial and operating activities of the Railways are under the control of Member-Traffic.
Moreover, Mr. Parasaran said, Mr. Sinha was not eligible to be considered for the post as he did not belong to the General Manager cadre.
The matter will come before CAT on August 8.