Uttaranchal High Court: Lok Pal Singh, J., dismissed a petition which was filed aggrieved by the cancellation of selection process of the direct recruitment on the 12 posts of Forest Guard.

An advertisement was issued inviting applications from open market for direct recruitment on the 12 posts of Forest Guard. The selection process consisted of physical examination, written examination followed by physical endurance test. While at the last stage of the selection process a complaint was received by the respondents regarding unfair practice in the selection process, after due inquiry, a notification was issued, canceling the entire selection process for the post of Forest Guard along with notice of re-exam in future.

The counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Aditya Singh contended that there was no reason to cancel the entire selection and in the present case, there is no material whatsoever which may warrant such decision to cancel the selection. It was also contended that the cancellation of the selection has a serious consequence for the petitioners which may result in the denial of the petitioners of a public employment to them forever. In the counter affidavit it was mentioned that finding and recommendation of the enquiry officer were placed before the Committee where it was clear that appointing authority and the selection committee have sufficient proof on the basis of which decision was taken to cancel the entire selection. A perusal of the record revealed that out of the 21 candidates, only 18 candidates responded to the registered letter sent by the department, and submitted the desired information; out of these 18 candidates, fathers of 10 candidates were working in Forest department. This being the position, foul play and unfair practice in the selection process cannot be ruled out and the cancellation of selection process cannot be said to unjustified or irrational.

The Court while dismissing the petition explained that merely because the name of a candidate finds place in the select list, it would not give the candidate an indefeasible right to get an appointment, quoting from the judgment of the Supreme Court in Rakhi Ray v. High Court of Delhi, (2010) 2 SCC 637 where the Court said,

            “A person whose name appears in the select list does not acquire any indefeasible right of appointment. Empanelment at the best is a condition of eligibility for the purpose of appointment and by itself does not amount to selection or create a vested right to be appointed. ….”

The Court further observed that it is a well-settled principle in law that while exercising its powers of judicial review of any administrative action, Courts could not interfere with the administrative decision unless it suffers from the vice of illegality, irrationality or procedural impropriety quoting from yet another Supreme Court judgment in Municipal Council, Neemuch v. Mahadeo Real Estate, (2019) 10 SCC 738. [Ashish Bisht v. State of Uttarakhand,  2020 SCC OnLine Utt 610, decided on 13-10-2020]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant ahs put this story together

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