Delhi High Court: In a case wherein, the petitioner filed a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, to set aside the order dated 29-01-2022 and appoint the petitioner to the post of Director of National School Drama (‘NSD'), Chandra Dhari Singh, J., opined that there were adequate reasons for the ACC for not accepting the proposal for consideration of the petitioner's candidature for the post of Director at NSD, and accordingly, dismissed the petition.
In the instant case, in pursuance of the advertisement issued on 28-07-2018 by NSD, the petitioner had applied for the post of the Director. The petitioner was called for interaction with the search-cum-selection Committee on 24-10-2018. After the interview, the petitioner did not receive any call or intimation. Accordingly, he filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (‘RTI').
The petitioner stated that he received the response to the RTI application whereby it was stated that petitioner was ranked 1 on merit for the post of Director. Thereafter, the petitioner approached the Court and filed a Civil Writ Petition to seek directions for consideration of his candidature. Subsequently, the coordinate bench of the Court directed ACC to get the approval for the candidature of the petitioner for the post of Director at NSD.
Meanwhile, the respondents re-notified the vacancy for the post of Director. Thereafter, the petitioner filed another Writ Petition to seek relief against the respondent, wherein, the Coordinate Bench of the Court directed the ACC not to publish the result or issue and appointment letters for the post in question and thereafter, also directed the ACC to consider the candidature of the petitioner.
Eventually, vide order dated 29-01-2022, the Department of Personnel and Training rejected the proposal for appointment of the petitioner. Thus, the petitioner, approached the Court and filed a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.
The petitioner contended that there were no justifiable or substantial reasons provided by the respondents while rejecting the candidature of the petitioner. Despite being eligible and fit for the position, the petitioner had not been accepted for the post of Director. On the other hand, it was contended by the respondents that the ACC rejected the approval of the name of the petitioner after considering the detailed notes prepared and sent by the Ministry of Culture.
Analysis, Law, and Decision
The Court opined that the decisions by the ACC as well as other Cabinet Committees form the basis of policy formulation and decision making and are fundamental for governance. Cabinet Notes prepared by the Ministries or Departments were instruments to the policy making and the efforts had also been made to ensure that the Cabinet Notes are of impeccable quality and are conceptually clear.
The Court opined that upon perusal of records placed before the Court, it was evident that sufficient grounds were considered by the ACC while reaching to the conclusion that the candidature of the petitioner deserved to be rejected. The detailed notes given by the Ministry of Culture also elaborated its recommendations, suggestions and all relevant details that were deemed necessary and essential for making a decision for the petitioner's candidature.
Further, the Court opined that merely because the impugned Office Order did not prescribe the reasons for the decision in bare language, it could not be inferred that while passing the order the ACC did not deliberate or reflect upon the relevant considerations necessary to arrive at the decision.
The Court relied on Union of India and Others v. N.P. Dhamania, 1995 Supp (1) SCC 1, Union of India v. Samar Singh, (1996) 10 SCC 555, and National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences v. K. Kalyana Raman, 1992 Supp (2) SCC 481, and opined that in the cases of promotion, selections, and appointments etc. the Committee in question need not necessarily record the reasons for its decision so long as the due consideration was given to the merits of the candidature of the person concerned and where there was no intervening rule in place.
The Court opined that the ACC was informed about all the relevant factors and considerations necessary for deciding the case of the petitioner. There were sufficient reasons recorded in the detailed note placed before the ACC by the Ministry of Culture. The Court, further opined that the reliefs which the petitioner sought before the Courts had already been granted to him to the effect that his candidature had been considered by the competent and highest authority for appointment.
Thus, the Court opined that there were adequate reasons for the ACC for not accepting the proposal for consideration of the petitioner's candidature for the post of Director at NSD, and accordingly, dismissed the petition.
[J Thulaseedhara Kurup v. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 4846, order dated 02-08-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Petitioner: Anunaya Mehta, Deepak Prakash, Vishnu Priya, Rahul Lakhera, Shyam Nair, Vardaan Kapoor and Divyanka Malik, Advocates;
For the Respondents: Monika Arora, CGSC with Yash Tyagi and Subhrodeep, Advocates; Anjana, Under Secretary, Ministry of Culture; Tamali Wad and Aditi Chaudhary, Advocates