Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal: In a matter arising out of the recruitment process carried out for the recruitment of ‘District Police Constable Drivers’ on the establishments of the District Superintendent of Police/Commissioner of Police wherein a larger bench has been constituted to adjudicate on the issues. The issue relates to the recruitment of individuals to the post of ‘district police constable driver’ who were rejected for filling in multiple applications either for one and the same post in the same unit or in various units which was specifically restricted in the advertisement. A full bench of Justice P R Bora (Vice Chairman), Justice M G Giratkar (Vice Chairman) and Justice Medha Gadgil (Member) held that Clause 11.10 in the advertisement which states the filing restrictions, is no way contrary to any of the provision in the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951 or the Recruitment Rules of 2019 and thus, the prohibition imposed vide clause 11.10 of the advertisement dated 30-11-2019 thereby prohibiting the candidates from making application for one and the same post in more than one unit, is held not violative of Articles 14, 16 or 19 of the Constitution.
An advertisement was issued on 30-11-2019 for the recruitment of ‘District Police Constable Drivers’ imposing two restrictions first that no candidate shall fill in 2 applications for one and the same post in the same unit and the other that no candidate for one and the same post shall fill in application in various units. Despite such restrictions some candidates submitted more than one application for one and the same post in different units. A few candidates qualified but later were disqualified and their candidature was cancelled. Aggrieved by the rejection, candidates approached the Tribunal, Nagpur Bench wherein it was held that the applicants in the said OAs entitled to be considered for their selection in accordance with law and on their merit along with other orders passed.
In line with the quashing of rejection orders, the respondent authorities to consider the candidature of all such candidates who were earlier disqualified and whose candidature was cancelled on the ground of submitting more than one application for one and the same post in different units irrespective of the fact whether they have preferred any Original Application before the Tribunal or not. However, the selected candidates who filled in only one application in one unit objected and approached the Tribunal. Thus, Principal Bench expressed the need of constitution of Larger Bench to hear these matters and thus the bench was formed, and the matter was adjudicated accordingly.
Observations, Analysis and Decision
Placing reliance on K.G. Ashok v. Kerala Public Service Commission, (2001) 5 SCC 419, the Court noted that the prohibition imposed vide clause 11.10 of the advertisement dated 30.11.2019 thereby prohibiting the candidates from making an application for one and the same post in more than one Unit, is not violative of articles 14, 16 or 19 of the Constitution. Clause 11.10 in the advertisement is no way contrary to any of the provisions in the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951 or the Recruitment Rules of 2019.
The Court further noted that to decide the process of recruitment and for that purpose settle the terms & conditions, is within the competence of the State Government or the Director General of Police, Maharashtra State by virtue of rule 11 of the Recruitment Rules, 2019. The candidature of the applicants in Group-I has been rightly cancelled by the concerned authorities for committing breach of the prohibition imposed in clause 11.10 of the advertisement. Thus, the challenge to the recruitment process by the applicants in Group-I applications, after having themselves taken part in it, is not maintainable.
The Court sets aside the circulars dated 6-5-2022 and 22-7-2022 issued by the Additional Director General of Police (Training & Special Unit) and the show cause notices issued to the applicants in Group-II applications.
The Court further directed the Commissioner of Police and the District Superintendent of Police of the respective units shall revise/prepare afresh the select list of the candidates to be appointed as Police Constable Drivers, which shall contain the names of only such candidates, who had applied for the said post in only one unit as per clause 11.10 of the advertisement in order of merit and category-wise and issue appointment orders to such candidates in order of merit and category-wise.
[Amit Harishchandra Daphal v The Superintendant of Police, Original Application No. 144/ of 2022, decided on 17-03-2023]
Judgment by : Justice P R Bora (Vice Chairman)
Advocates who appeared in this case:
Shri S.S. Dere, Shri B.A. Bandiwadekar, Shri Pranav Avad with Ms Darshna Naval, Shri D.B. Khaire, Ms. Pradnya Talekar with Ms. Madhavi Ayyappan, learned counsel holding for Shri S.B. Talekar learned counsel for applicants in respective applications and Shri A.B. Moon, learned counsel for four candidates appointed based on earlier order passed by the Tribunal, not party to any of the present Applications;
Ms. S.P. Manchekar, learned Chief Presenting Officer for the Respondent authorities. O.A. Nos. 300 & 301 of 2022, no one has caused Appearance.