Madras High Court: In a writ petition filed to call for the records relating to the impugned appointment order passed by the Commissioner of Corporation and quash the same and to direct the respondents to consider the petitioner for the post of Junior Assistant in the office of the Commissioner of Corporation (‘Corporation’), Abdul Quddhos, J. held that the petition is not maintainable on the ground that the petitioner is a stranger and not eligible to apply for the post of Junior Assistant due to her age and therefore, she does not have the locus-standi to challenge the appointments of the respondent nos.7 to 60 as Junior Assistants by the Corporation, pursuant to recruitment notification issued by them.
In the case at hand, the petitioner belongs to scheduled caste, and she was appointed as a sanitary worker in the Corporation on compassionate basis. According to her, she was qualified to be considered for the post of Junior Assistant, but she was appointed only as a sanitary worker though similarly placed compassionate appointees were given higher posts. According to the petitioner, she came to know that the respondent nos. 7 to 60 were appointed as Junior Assistants by the Corporation in 2021. According to her, she was not aware of any recruitment notification issued by the Corporation inviting aspirants to apply for the post of Junior Assistant.
The issue that arises for consideration is whether the petitioner is having the locus standi to file this writ petition, challenging the appointments of respondent no. 7 to 60, as Junior Assistants in the office of the Corporation.
The petitioner claimed that the Corporation has appointed the respondent nos.7 to 60 to the post of Junior Assistant clandestinely by not giving wide publicity and by not adhering to the rules and procedures required to be followed for public appointments. Further, she claimed that the said appointments are a huge scam, involving a former Minister of Tamil Nadu. According to the petitioner, due to the non-publication of the recruitment notification in newspapers, having wide circulation, and due to non-affixture of the notification in the notice board, the petitioner and many others were unable to participate in the selection process.
The Court said that the petitioner was aware of the Corporation’s intention to recruit persons for the post of Junior Assistants even prior to the recruitment notification issued by them. Further, she has not challenged the recruitment notification, but has only challenged the appointments of other respondents.
The Court rejected the contention of the petitioner that that the recruitment notification in both the vernacular dailies was published only in E-paper of the said dailies and were never published in their physical edition, as she has admitted in her representation dated 23-08-2021 that she was aware of the recruitment notification. Thus, the Court said that she is estopped from raising a dispute regarding the publication of the recruitment notification in the two vernacular dailies.
Further, the Court said that the petitioner is thirty-eight years old as on 09-01-2021 when the appointment orders were issued by the Corporation. The recruitment notification of the Corporation for the post of Junior Assistants, stipulates age eligibility as 18 to 35 years for the aspirants hailing from SC/Arunthathiyar/ ST Community. The petitioner is above thirty-five years of age; therefore, she was not eligible to apply for the post of Junior Assistant as per the recruitment notification.
The Court placed reliance on Jasbhai Motibhai Desai v. Roshan Kumar, Haji Bashir Ahmed, (1976) 1 SCC 671, wherein it was held that that a stranger who is not an aggrieved person cannot maintain a writ for either certiorari or mandamus, and on Umakant Saran v. State of Bihar, (1973) 1 SCC 485, wherein it was held that a person who is not eligible for consideration for appointment at the relevant point of time has no right to question the appointments since he is not an aggrieved person
The Court said that, in this case the petitioner even without challenging the recruitment notification and even without questioning the eligibility of the other respondents to hold the post of Junior Assistants, has attempted to challenge the appointments only on the ground that she has a priority for being appointed as a Junior Assistant ahead of the other respondent.
Thus, the Court held that the petitioner is a stranger as far as the appointments of the respondent nos.7 to 60 to the post of Junior Assistants are concerned as they have been appointed under a recruitment notification which was not the subject matter of any challenge before any Court of law.
The Court relied on its own judgment in V. Muthamilselvan v. State of T.N., 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 10428, wherein it was held that in cases of compassionate appointment, higher post cannot be claimed as a matter of right and further held that a candidate cannot seek for an appointment as a Junior Assistant under compassionate grounds after she has accepted the post of Record Clerk, which is a lower post.
The Court said that the petitioner who had knowledge about the proposed selection of Junior Assistants by the Corporation cannot now plead that due to lack of proper advertisement she did not apply for the subject post. It was held that the petitioner does not have locus-standi to maintain this writ petition and only persons who had applied for the subject post of Junior Assistants based on the recruitment notification, who were unsuccessful, have, if at all, any legal right to file a writ petition, challenging the selection process. Therefore, this writ petition is not maintainable.
[Eswari v. Chief Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu, 2023 SCC OnLine Mad 403, decided on 25-01-2023]
Order by: Justice Abdul Quddhose
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For Petitioner: Senior Advocate Om Prakash;
For respondent: Additional Government Pleader Dinesh Raj Kumar;
Advocate M. Sricharan Rangarajan.
*Apoorva Goel, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.