Jharkhand High Court: In a public interest litigation, the Division Bench comprising of Dr. Ravi Ranjan, CJ. and Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi, J. directed the Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC) to complete the process of appointment of Assistant Public Prosecutor and held that dispensation of criminal justice system is on the verge of collapse in the State of Jharkhand due to non-appointment of Assistant Public Prosecutor.
In the case at hand, department concerned of JPSC issued Advertisement No. 03/2018 for filling up 143 vacancies for appointment of Assistant Public Prosecutor. The preliminary examination, main examination and the interview was completed, thereafter the JPSC ceased further formality and did not publish the result of the recruitment process. The JPSC by impugned order dated 13-12-2021 recalled the Advertisement No. 03/2018 and further released a press release dated 21-01-2022 thereby cancelling the Advertisement No. 03/18.
The Court held that in the criminal justice system, Assistant Public Prosecutors have a very important role. If sufficient numbers of Assistant Public Prosecutors are not appointed, justice would not be available to the people thereby undermining the basis structure. It is well known that justice delayed is justice denied.
Placing reliance on Anamica Mishra v. U.P. Public Service Commission, 1990 Supp SCC 692, the Court noted that it is the duty of the Public Service Commission to finalize the process of recruitment. The Public Service Commission is a constitutional and independent authority which plays a pivotal role in the selection and appointment of persons to public services. It secures efficiency in public administration by selecting suitable and efficient persons for appointment to the services.
The Court further stated that,
“When there was no infirmity with the examination, the decision was nothing but total disregard of relevancies and not allowing to be carried out by irrelevancies, giving a complete go-by to contextual consideration throwing to the winds the principle of proportionality in going farther than what was strictly and reasonably to meet the situation.”
The Court while rejecting the contention of the learned counsel for the State, held that the reason for cancelling the appointment process because a sufficient numbers of candidates have not qualified is not acceptable. It is settled that the candidates, who have qualified in the examination can be allowed to be appointed and , the process cannot be allowed to be withdrawn on the ground that a sufficient number of candidates have not qualified.
The Court further noted that competent authority completely misdirected itself in taking such an extreme and unreasonable decision of cancelling the entire selection, this is wholly unwarranted and unnecessary even on the factual foundation and entirely in excess of the nature and gravity of what was at stake, thereby virtually rendering such a decision to be irrational.
Hence, the Court quashed the letter dated 21-01-2022 and order dated 13-12-2021 and further directed the State and JPSC to complete the process of appointment pursuant to Advertisement No.03/2018 within a period of two months.
[Court on its own motion v. State of Jharkhand, 2022 SCC OnLine Jhar 1541, decided on 30-11-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Counsel for Petitioner:- Senior Advocate Anil Kumar Sinha; Advocate Ritu Kumar; Advocate Saurabh Shekhar; Advocate Amit Kumar Sinha; Advocate Anurag Kashyap;
Counsel for Respondent:- Sachin Kumar, AAG-II; Advocate Gaurav Raj; Ashutosh Anand, AAG-III; Advocate Binit Chandra; Advocate Sanjoy Piprawall; Advocate Abhay Prakash.