MR Justice Keith said the policy of demoting by one rank expatriate officers who transfer to local conditions was justified even though it constituted a prima facie infringement of Article 21 (C) of the Bill of Rights. It was not unlawful if the departure from the Bill of Rights could be justified, he ruled. The scheme did not sit easily with the regulation that the selection of officers for promotion should be considered on an equal basis irrespective of their terms of service. But the Government justified the policy on the grounds that it was needed to maintain good industrial relations with local officers. It had been introduced to placate angry local officers who felt expatriates were avoiding the localisation policy by switching to local terms. 'The strength of feeling had been such that an unparalleled event in Hong Kong's history had occurred,' Mr Justice Keith said. The Legislative Council, which froze the original transfer policy, was persuaded to intervene on behalf of the local officers in defiance of the Government, he added. Sensible people would recognise that in these circumstances the transfer scheme needed to be altered. The modified scheme, allowing for the demotion of overseas officers, was introduced on July 28 last year. 'I have reached the view that, within the context of the need for the Government to maintain good industrial relations with local officers, the form which the difference in treatment took was rational,' Mr Justice Keith said. 'It must be unique for a difference in treatment on grounds of national or social origins, . . . to be nevertheless capable of being justified on the basis that it is a rational response to pressure from a . . . powerful pressure group.' He added: 'In my view, the difference in treatment was proportionate to the need which justified it.'