A public post cannot be given as an inheritance to the son/daughter of a retired employee

Jharkhand High Court: A Single Judge bench comprising of Aparesh Kumar Singh, J. while dealing with a civil writ petition challenging the termination of services, upheld the order of termination.

Brief background of the case is that in the pre-constitutional set-up, the practice in Bihar was to appoint village chowkidars for a lifetime who worked without any leave or retirement. During his illness or absence, any of his family members would assist him in the performance of his duties and when he died or became infirm; usually his family member nominated by him took over the functions of chowkidar, though the post was not strictly hereditary. In the post-constitutional set-up, there was a gradual change in the village administration and several hereditary/ semi-hereditary appointments gave way to regular public service with appointments based on equal opportunity.

In the present case, the petitioner was appointed as chowkidar in the place of his father. However, in view of this court’s order in the case Nandan Vohra v State of Jharkhand, WPS No. 2072 of 2007, Order dated 02-03-2016, holding that a public post cannot be given as an inheritance to the son/daughter of a retired employee and equal opportunity for appointment to the public post is a requirement under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India; the petitioner’s services were terminated by way of a show cause notice issued by the Deputy Commissioner. The challenge to this termination order is the subject matter of the instant writ petition.

The High Court opined that in view of the judgment of Apex Court in the case of Surendra Paswan v State of Bihar, (2010) 6 SCC 680the State government had taken decision to remove /terminate all the chowkidars appointed on the inheritance basis and the principle of law laid in therein was uniformly followed in subsequent cases including the Nandan Vohra case. As such, the writ petition was dismissed holding that there was no infirmity in the impugned termination order. [Vijay Kumar Paswan v. State of Jharkhand,2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 1203, Order dated 17-09-2018]

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