"I would like the original poster of this thread to write back and clarify if there really is a system where you cannot be promoted until the person senior to you is promoted."
I don't know. I was talking to some friends and this came up. The conversation got hypothetical, "what if there was this really fast learner and he was being held back by such a system" that kind of thing. Someone said they knew of a situation like that, but I don't actually myself, so I don't know the details or if it's even real. I got to thinking about the concept, though, it seemed a little odd to me, and I wondered what others might think; hence the post.
I agree completely with you in the situation you cite below, and I agree that minimum hours or minimum time don't and shouldn't, all by themselves, make someone eligible for promotion. I agree the kind of attitude and competition you experienced would be counterproductive at the least, but that wasn't part of what started the thread. The discussion/situation that provoked the post was more along the lines that some folks have mentioned above and which you allude to when you said "While I don't agree with the system of holding folks back to wait for their seniors,".