Del HC | Waitlisted candidates for DLSA Advocates Panel cannot demand to be considered for subsequent empanelment as of right

Delhi High Court: Vibhu Bhakru, J., dismissed a petition by a practicing advocate who challenged a notification issued by Delhi Legal Services Authority for empanelment as Senior Legal Services Advocates, holding it to be devoid of merits.

Earlier, DLSA issued a notification dated 6-4-2017 inviting applications for empanelment as Legal Services Advocates for providing legal services in district courts. The petitioner – Piyush Gupta, a practicing advocate– applied for being empanelled on Magisterial Panel in South East DLSA. He was included as on the shortlisted candidates. However, he was not selected in the final list for the Panel but was included in the waiting list annexed to the final list. Subsequently, on 22-12-2017, DLSA issued the impugned notification for empanelment of 14 advocates in South East DLSA on the MM Panel.

Piyush Gupta, Advocate appearing as petitioner-in-person, contended DLSA’s decision of not operating the waiting list and inviting fresh applications was arbitrary and the impugned notification was violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution. Sumer Sethi, Advocate appeared for DLSA which filed a report that stated South East Delhi had empanelled advocates in 2014 and 2015. The tenure of 2014 advocates was to expire in 2017, and that of 2015 advocates in 2018. As per DLSA, the impugned notification was issued to fill vacancies that would accrue in the latter panel and were not residue vacancies.

The High Court was of the view that considering the facts of the case, there was no merit in the petition. It was noted that the earlier notification dated 6-4-2017 (to which the petitioner applied) did not indicate that any waiting list would be maintained. Thus, DLSA was not obligated to maintain a waiting list. According to the Court, it clearly followed that no right accrued in favour of the petitioner on account of being included in the waiting list. The petition was dismissed. [Piyush Gupta v. Delhi Legal Services Authority, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7387, dated 25-02-2019]

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