Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where OBC female category candidates had challenged the appointment of General category female candidates, who had secured lower marks, as Constables in Uttar Pradesh Police, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit*, S. Ravindra Bhat** and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ has directed that all candidates coming from ‘OBC Female Category’ who had secured more marks than 274.8928, i.e. the marks secured by the last candidate appointed in ‘General Category–Female’ must be offered employment as Constables in Uttar Pradesh Police.

However, the employment of General Category Females with cut off at 274.8928 are not to be affected in any manner merely because of this judgment.

Background

Pursuant to Supreme Court’s order dated 24.07.2019, selection to the 3295 posts in accordance with merit and consistent with reservation policy of the Government was undertaken by the Uttar Pradesh Government. According to the results declared on 11.11.2019, 188 posts in ‘General Female Category’ were filled up. While doing so, the claim of ‘OBC Female Candidates’ was not considered or taken into account.

The last candidate appointed in the category of ‘General Female’ had secured 274.8298 marks. 21 OBC applicants who secured marks greater than the candidate with 274.8298 challenged the action on part of the State Government in refusing to consider the claim of ‘OBC Female Category’ candidates in respect of ‘General Female Category’ seats.

Lalit, J, for himself and Bhat and Roy, JJ

The Court discussed the views of various High Courts and categorised them as “first view” and the “second view”. The High Courts of Rajasthan, Bombay, Uttarakhand, and Gujarat have adopted the “first view” while dealing with horizontal reservation whereas the High Court of Allahabad and Madhya Pradesh have taken a contrary view i.e. the “second view”.

First view

Candidates belonging to any of the vertical reservation categories are entitled to be selected in “Open or General Category”. If such candidates belonging to reserved categories are entitled to be selected on the basis of their own merit, their selection cannot be counted against the quota reserved for the categories for vertical reservation that they belong.

Second view

According to the second view, different principles must be adopted at two stages; in that:-.

(I) At the initial stage when the “Open or General Category” seats are to be filled, the claim of all reserved category candidates based on merit must be considered and if any candidates from such reserved categories, on their own merit, are entitled to be selected against Open or General Category seats, such placement of the reserved category candidate is not to affect in any manner the quota reserved for such categories in vertical reservation.

(II) However, when it comes to adjustment at the stage of horizontal reservation, even if, such reserved category candidates are entitled, on merit, to be considered and accommodated against Open or General Seats, at that stage the candidates from any reserved category can be adjusted only and only if there is scope for their adjustment in their own vertical column of reservation.

Such exercise would be premised on following postulates: – (A) After the initial allocation of Open General Category seats is completed, the claim or right of reserved category candidates to be admitted in Open General Category seats on the basis of their own merit stands exhausted and they can only be considered against their respective column of vertical reservation. (B) If there be any resultant adjustment on account of horizontal reservation in Open General Category, only those candidates who are not in any of the categories for whom vertical reservations is provided, alone are to be considered. (C) In other words, at the stage of horizontal reservation, Open General Category is to be construed as category meant for candidates other than those coming from any of the categories for whom vertical reservation is provided.

Analysis of both the views

The second view, based on adoption of a different principle at the stage of horizontal reservation as against one accepted to be a settled principle for vertical reservation, may lead to situations where a less meritorious candidate, not belonging to any of the reserved categories, may get selected in preference to a more meritorious candidate coming from a reserved category as has happened in the present matter.

Admittedly, the last selected candidates in Open General female category while making adjustment of horizontal reservation had secured lesser marks than the Applicants. The claim of the Applicants was disregarded on the ground that they could claim only and only if there was a vacancy or chance for them to be accommodated in their respective column of vertical reservation.

The Court further noticed that if the consideration for accommodation at horizontal reservation stage is only with regard to the concerned vertical reservation or social reservation category, the candidates belonging to that category alone must be considered. For example, if horizontal reservation is to be applied with regard to any of the categories of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or Other Backward Classes, only those candidates answering that description alone can be considered at the stage of horizontal reservation.

“But it is completely different thing to say that if at the stage of horizontal reservation, accommodation is to be considered against Open/General seats, the candidates coming from any of the reserved categories who are more meritorious must be side-lined.”

Noticing that the second view is neither based on any authoritative pronouncement by the Supreme Court nor does it lead to a situation where the merit is given precedence, the Court said that subject to any permissible reservations i.e. either Social (Vertical) or Special (Horizontal), opportunities to public employment and selection of candidates must purely be based on merit.

“Any selection which results in candidates getting selected against Open/General category with less merit than the other available candidates will certainly be opposed to principles of equality. There can be special dispensation when it comes to candidates being considered against seats or quota meant for reserved categories and in theory it is possible that a more meritorious candidate coming from Open/General category may not get selected. But the converse can never be true and will be opposed to the very basic principles which have all the while been accepted by this Court.”

Hence, rejecting the second view, the Court held that it will not only lead to irrational results where more meritorious candidates may possibly get sidelined as indicated above but will, of necessity, result in acceptance of a postulate that Open/General seats are reserved for candidates other than those coming from vertical reservation categories.

Bhat, J in his concurring opinion

“Reservations, both vertical and horizontal, are method of ensuring representation in public services. These are not to be seen as rigid “slots”, where a candidate’s merit, which otherwise entitles her to be shown in the open general category, is foreclosed, as the consequence would be, if the state’s argument is accepted. Doing so, would result in a communal reservation, where each social category is confined within the extent of their reservation, thus negating merit. The open category is open to all, and the only condition for a candidate to be shown in it is merit, regardless of whether reservation benefit of either type is available to her or him.”

[Saurav Yadav v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1034, decided on 18.12.2020]


*Justice UU Lalit has penned this judgment. Read more about him here.

** Justice S. Ravindra Bhat has penned a concurrent opinion. Read more about him here

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A 3-Judge Bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi, JJ. held that the candidates left out of merit list has no right to claim the same benefit which was provided to some other candidates on basis of some erroneous concession granted by the State. The Court restated that negative equality cannot be claimed to perpetuate further illegality.

Chequered history

The Director-General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, invited applications for the post of Sub-Inspector of Police (Executive) to be filled by selection in conformity of J&K Police (Executive) Rules. Notably, the Rules do not provide that the merit list of the candidates is to be prepared separately for the Province of Jammu and the Province of Kashmir. The DGP, however, under his own assumption published the merit list separately province-wise.

Round 1

The unsuccessful candidates who could not make it to the merit list challenged the list contending that the DGP ought to have prepared a single select list for the entire State of J&K as the post of Sub-Inspector is a State cadre post.

The unsuccessful candidates succeeded and the DGP ultimately published a revised State-wise merit list by which the appointment of 47 candidates out of the total candidates who were appointed under the original select list was cancelled.

Round 2

The 47 candidates whose appointment got cancelled now challenged the revised merit list. Apart from these 47 candidates, 22 more candidates filed impleadment applications. The matter reached the Supreme Court. On 10-5-2007, the Supreme Court, without examining the inter se dispute of the litigation parties, noted the concession made by the Attorney General for the State that the 47 candidates who were likely to lose their jobs, as well as the other 22 candidates, will be accommodated on the post of Sub-Inspector.

The appointments so stated were actually made. Notably, however, the 22 candidates now appointed were much lower in the revised merit list and their placement in the order of merit was not brought to the notice of Supreme Court and that gave rise to further litigation.

Round 3

Some of the left out candidates who were higher in the merit list qua the 22 candidates now appointed, filed writ petitions contending that they were denied their legitimate right of fair consideration being higher in the revised merit list vis­a­vis these 22 candidates who were indisputedly less meritorious but were still appointed. It was contended that this action of the State is in violation of the statutory rules and is also a denial of equal opportunity in seeking appointment on the anvil of Article 14 of the Constitution.

These writ petitioners succeeded initially before the Single Judge Bench of the J&K High Court, but the order of the Single Judge was reversed by the Division Bench. Aggrieved, these writ petitioners filed the present appeals before the Supreme Court.  

Analysis and decision

State-bound to follow Rules of Recruitment

Relying on the decisions in State of U.P. v. Raj Kumar Sharma, (2006) 3 SCC 330 and Arup Das v. State of Assam, (2012) 5 SCC 559, the Court restated the settled principle of service jurisprudence that the State is bound to follow the rules of recruitment to various services under the State or to a class of posts under the State and the selection of the candidates is to be made as per the scheme of recruitment rules and appointments shall be made accordingly. At the same time, all the efforts shall be made for strict adherence to the procedure prescribed under the recruitment rules. On the contrary, if any appointments are made bypassing the recruitment procedure known to law, it will result in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.

Status of appointments made for exceptional reasons

The Court noted that in the present matter, the appointment of the 22 candidates (whose appointment has given rise to the present round of litigation) was an exceptional case, where the appointment was made on a concession granted by the State for giving a quietus to the long drawn litigation.

It was then observed that it is true that the appointments in the ordinary course are to be made strictly in the order of merit in terms of the select list prepared by the competent authority as contemplated under the relevant statutory recruitment rules and any appointment in contravention indeed is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. But there is a proviso to this rule in instances where appointments are made deviating from the merit list drawn by the competent authority in exceptional cases as being reflected in the instant case where there was ongoing litigation and the subsequent selection was also made to give quietus to the ongoing litigation. It was held that such appointment though is irregular, but it cannot be held to be illegal as claimed by the appellants.

Error not to become foundation for perpetuating illegality

The Court was of the opinion that the appellant cannot be extended the same benefit. Reliance was placed on Union of India v. Kartick Chandra Mondal, (2010) 2 SCC 422 wherein it was observed that if something is being done or acted upon erroneously, that cannot become the foundation for perpetuating further illegality. If an appointment is made illegally or irregularly, the same cannot be made the basis of further appointment and erroneous decision cannot be permitted to perpetuate further error to the detriment of the general welfare of the public or a considerable section. Reference was also made to Arup Das v. State of Assam, (2012) 4 SCC 559.

It was held that though appointments of 22 candidates made by the State are irregular appointments and not in conformity to the recruitment rules, still what was being prayed by the appellants if is accepted, that will perpetuate the illegality which has been committed by the State and negative equality cannot be claimed to perpetuate further illegality.

No disturbance to long-standing position

The Court noted that that by now, the 22 candidates against whom the lis was raised by the present appellants, had completed almost more than 12 years of service and thus having rich experience in the field. It was also observed that the concession given by the Advocate General for the State in favour of these candidates, appeared bonafide to give quietus to the ongoing litigation pending in Courts for sufficiently long time.

In such view, the Court was not inclined to disturb the appointment of these 22 candidates which had been questioned by the appellants in the present appeals. Reliance was placed on Gujarat State Dy. Executive Engineers’ Assn. v. State of Gujarat, 1994 Supp (2) SCC 591 and Buddhi Nath Chaudhary v. Abahi Kumar, (2001) 3 SCC 328.

Consequently, the Supreme Court dismissed the present appeals. [Pankjeshwar Sharma v. State of J&K, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 984, decided on 3-12-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case relating to examinations conducted in 2017 by the Rajasthan Public Service Commission for filling up the posts of Senior Teachers where the Rajasthan High Court had re-evaluated the answers and had come to conclusion different from that of the Expert Committee, the 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao*, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi, JJ held that the division bench of the High Court committed an error in recording findings on the correctness of 5 questions by holding the opinion of the experts to be wrong. The Court, however, did not set aside the judgment as it did not want to upset the appointments of 5 out of 21 appellants-therein who have already been appointed.

Background

  • Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) conducted written examinations on 01.05.2017 and 02.07.2017 in General Knowledge and Social Science respectively for selection of 9,551 Senior Teachers in Social Science, Sanskrit, Hindi, English and Mathematics.
  • RPSC issued the 1st Answer Key on 06.02.2018 and declared the results.
  • On 25.04.2018, a Single Judge of the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan, Jaipur Bench referred 3 questions in the 1st Answer Key to be reconsidered by an Expert Committee. Shortly thereafter, a Single Judge of the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan, Jodhpur Bench referred another 8 questions for reconsideration by an Expert Committee on 05.05.2018.
  • An Expert Committee constituted by the RPSC revised the Key Answers for 2 questions in Social Science and 1 question in General Knowledge. The 2nd Answer Key was issued pursuant thereto, and the Merit List was also revised on 17.09.2018.
  • The 2nd Answer Key was released by the RPSC on the basis of the recommendations made by the Expert Committee constituted pursuant to the directions issued by the High Court. Not being satisfied with the revised Select List which included only a few candidates, certain unsuccessful candidates filed Appeals before the Division Bench which were disposed of on 12.03.2019.
  • The High Court examined the correctness of the disputed questions by itself and came to a conclusion that the answers to 5 questions were wrong. After being informed that the results have been announced and the selection process was completed, the Division Bench of the High Court by its judgment dated 12.03.2019 directed revision of the Select List and give benefit of the revision only to the Appellants before the Court.
  • Supreme Court was called upon to decide whether the revised Select List ought to have been prepared on the basis of the 2nd Answer Key. The Appellants contended that the Wait List also should be prepared on the basis of the 3rd Answer Key and not on the basis of the 2nd Answer Key.

Analysis

The Court noticed that though re-evaluation can be directed if rules permit, the Supreme Court has, through various judgments, deprecated the practice of reevaluation and scrutiny of the questions by the courts which lack expertise in academic matters.

“It is not permissible for the High Court to examine the question papers and answer sheets itself, particularly when the Commission has assessed the inter se merit of the candidates.”

Hence, it was not open to the Division Bench to have examined the correctness of the questions and the answer key to come to a conclusion different from that of the Expert Committee in its judgment dated 12.03.2019.

Stating that courts should be very slow in interfering with expert opinion in academic matters, the Court said,

“In any event, assessment of the questions by the courts itself to arrive at correct answers is not permissible. The delay in finalization of appointments to public posts is mainly caused due to pendency of cases challenging selections pending in courts for a long period of time. The cascading effect of delay in appointments is the continuance of those appointed on temporary basis and their claims for regularization. The other consequence resulting from delayed appointments to public posts is the serious damage caused to administration due to lack of sufficient personnel.”

The Court, despite finding the approach of the High Court erroneous, did not set aside the judgment as it did not want to upset the appointments of 5 out of 21 appellants-therein who have already been appointed. It hence, upheld the Select List dated 21.05.2019 and the Wait List dated 22.05.2019 prepared on the basis of the 2nd Answer Key.

Taking note of the statement filed by the RPSC that there are vacancies existing which can be utilized for appointing the Appellants, the Court left it open to the RPSC and the State Government to fill up the existing vacancies from the Wait List in accordance with the merits of the candidates and directed the completion of the selection process within a period of 8 weeks from the date of decision.

[Vikesh Kumar Gupta v. State of Rajasthan, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 993, decided on 07.12.2020]


*Justice L. Nageswara Rao has penned this judgment 

For appellants: Advocates Akhilesh Kumar Pandey, Rakesh Karela and Ranbir Yadav

For State: Senior Advocate Dr. Manish Singhvi

Case BriefsSupreme Court

[Note: This report is a detailed analysis of Supreme Court’s judgment in Madras Bar Association v. Union of India[1]. To read the guidelines and directions issued by the Court, click here.]

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao*, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat has issued extensive directions in relating to selection, appointment, tenure, conditions of service, etc. relating to various tribunals, 19 in number, thereby calling for certain modifications to the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities [Qualification, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members] Rules, 2020

The Supreme Court was once again, within the span of a year, called upon to decide the issue at hand. Last year, the Constitution Bench in Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank Ltd., (2020) 6 SCC 1 had held that the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017, as a whole was ultra vires.

“That the judicial system and this Court in particular has to live these déjà vu moments, time and again (exemplified by no less than four constitution bench judgments) in the last 8 years, speaks profound volumes about the constancy of other branches of governance, in their insistence regarding these issues.”

Here is the explainer on the directions issued by the Court:

NATIONAL TRIBUNALS COMMISSION

“We have noticed a disturbing trend of the Government not implementing the directions issued by this Court. To ensure that the Tribunals should not function as another department under the control of the executive, repeated directions have been issued which have gone unheeded forcing the Petitioner to approach this Court time and again. It is high time that we put an end to this practice.”

Noticing that the Tribunals are not free from the Executive control and that they are not perceived to be independent judicial bodies, the Court said that there was an imperative need to ensure that the Tribunals discharge the judicial functions without any interference of the Executive whether directly or indirectly.

Hence,

“An independent body headed by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court supervising the appointments and the functioning of the Tribunals apart from being in control of any disciplinary proceedings against the Members would not only improve the functioning of the Tribunals but would also be in accordance with the principles of judicial independence.”

To stop the dependence of the Tribunals on their parent Departments for routing their requirements and to ensure speedy administrative decision making, as an interregnum measure, it was hence directed that there should be a separate “tribunals wing” established in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India to take up, deal with and finalize requirements of all the Tribunals till the National Tribunals Commission is established.

Read the directions here

SEARCH-CUM-SELECTION COMMITTEE

After it was brought to Court’s notice that the constitution of the Search-cum-Selection Committees as per 2020 Rules does not ensure judicial dominance, the Court made the following directions:

  • a casting vote will be given to the Chief Justice of India or his nominee as the Chairperson of the Search-cum-Selection Committee.
  • normally the Chairperson of the Tribunal would be a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of a High Court. However, there are certain Tribunals in which the Chairperson may not be a judicial member. In such Tribunals, the Search-cum-Selection Committee should have a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court nominated by the Chief Justice of India in place of the Chairperson of the Tribunal.
  • the 2020 Rules would be amended to reflect that whenever the re-appointment of the Chairman or Chairperson or President of a Tribunal is considered by the Search-cum-Selection Committee, the Chairman or Chairperson or President of the Tribunal shall be replaced by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court nominated by the Chief Justice of India.
  • Secretary to the sponsoring or parent Department shall serve as the Member-Secretary/Convener to the Search-cum-Selection Committee and shall function in the Search-cum-Selection Committee without a vote.
  • Rule 4 (2) of the Rules that postulates that a panel of two or three persons shall be recommended by the Search-cum-Selection Committee from which the appointments to the posts of Chairperson or members of the Tribunal shall be made by the Central Government, shall be amended and till so amended, that it be read as empowering the Search-cum-Selection Committee to recommend the name of only one person for each post. Taking note of the requirement of the reports of the selected candidates from the Intelligence Bureau, another suitable person can be selected by the Search-cum-Selection Committee and placed in the waiting list.

Read the directions here

TERM OF OFFICE

At present Rule 9(1) permits a Chairman, Chairperson or President of the Tribunal to continue till 70 years which is in conformity with Parliamentary mandate in Section 184 of the Finance Act. However, Rule 9(2) provides that Vice Chairman and other members shall hold office till they attain 65 years.

Accepting Amicus Curiae’s submission that under the 2020 Rules, the Vice Chairman, Vice-Chairperson or Vice-President or members in almost all the Tribunals will have only a short tenure of less than three years if the maximum age is 65 years, the Court directed the Government to amend Rule 9 (1) of the 2020 Rules by making the term of Chairman, Chairperson or President as five years or till they attain 70 years, whichever is earlier and other members dealt with in Rule 9(2) as five years or till they attain 67 years, whichever is earlier.

Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 provides for reappointment of Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons and members of the Tribunals on completion of their tenure. There is no mention of reappointment in the 2020 Rules. Hence, Reappointment for at least one term shall be provided to the persons who are appointed to the Tribunals at a young age by giving preference to the service rendered by them.

Read the directions here

HOUSE RENT ALLOWANCE

Noticing that lack of housing in Delhi has been one of the reasons for retired Judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court to not accept appointments to Tribunals, the Court directed the Government of India to make serious efforts to provide suitable housing to the Chairperson and the members of the Tribunals and in case providing housing is not possible, to enhance the house rent allowance to Rs.1,25,000/- for members of Tribunals and Rs.1,50,000/- for the Chairman or Chairperson or President and Vice Chairman or Vice Chairperson or Vice President of Tribunals.

“… an option should be given to the Chairperson and the members of the Tribunals to either apply for housing accommodation to be provided by the Government of India as per the existing rules or to accept the enhanced house rent allowance. This direction shall be effective from 01.01.2021.”

Read the directions here

ADVOCATES AS JUDICIAL MEMBERS

While the Attorney General suggested that an advocate who has 25 years of experience should be considered for appointment as a Judicial member, the Amicus Curiae suggested that it should be 15 years.

Considering both the suggestions, the Court said,

“As the qualification for an advocate of a High Court for appointment as a Judge of a High Court is only 10 years, we are of the opinion that the experience at the bar should be on the same lines for being considered for appointment as a judicial member of a Tribunal.”

However, it is left open to the Search-cum-Selection Committee to take into account in the experience of the Advocates at the bar and the specialization of the Advocates in the relevant branch of law while considering them for appointment as judicial members.

Read the directions here

ELIGIBILITY OF MEMBERS OF INDIAN LEGAL SERVICE

The Court directed that the members of Indian Legal Service shall be entitled to be considered for appointment as a judicial member subject to their fulfilling the other criteria which advocates are subjected to. In addition, the nature of work done by the members of the Indian Legal Service and their specialization in the relevant branches of law shall be considered by the Search-cum-Selection Committee while evaluating their candidature.

Read the directions here

IMPORTANCE OF APPOINTMENT OF COMPETENT AND YOUNG LAWYERS AND TECHNICAL MEMBERS

Tribunals discharge a judicial role, and with respect to matters entrusted to them, the jurisdiction of civil courts is usually barred. Therefore, wherever legal expertise in the particular domain is implicated, it would be natural that advocates with experience in the same, or ancillary field would provide the “catchment” for consideration for membership. This is also the case with selection of technical members, who would have expertise in the scientific or technical, or wherever required, policy background.

Younger advocates who are around 45 years old bring in fresh perspectives. Many states induct lawyers just after 7 years of practice directly as District Judges.

“If the justice delivery system by tribunals is to be independent and vibrant, absorbing technological changes and rapid advances, it is essential that those practitioners with a certain vitality, energy and enthusiasm are inducted.”

25 years of practice even with a five-year degree holder, would mean that the minimum age of induction would be 48 years: it may be more, given the time taken to process recommendations. Therefore, a tenure without assured re-engagements would not be feasible. A younger lawyer, who may not be suitable to continue after one tenure (or is reluctant to continue), can still return, to the bar, than an older one, who may not be able to piece her life together again.

Read the directions here

REMOVAL OF MEMBERS

Rule 8 of the 2020 Rules provides the procedure for inquiry of misbehavior or incapacity of a member. According to the said Rule, the preliminary scrutiny of the complaint is done by the Central Government. If the Central Government finds that there are reasonable grounds for conducting an inquiry into the allegations made against a member in the complaint, it shall make a reference to the Search-cum-Selection Committee which shall conduct an inquiry and submit the report to the Central Government.

However, Amicus Curiae argued that there is no clarity in the Rules as to whether the reports submitted by the Search-cum-Selection Committee are binding on the Central Government. The Attorney General submitted that the preliminary scrutiny done by the Central Government, according to Rule 8 (1) is only for the purpose of weeding out frivolous complaints and that the recommendations made by the Search-cum-Selection Committee shall be implemented by the Central Government. The Court accepted the submissions of the learned Attorney General.

Read the directions here

TIME LIMIT FOR APPOINTMENT

“The very reason for constituting Tribunals is to supplement the functions of the High Courts and the other Courts and to ensure that the consumer of justice gets speedy redressal to his grievances. This would be defeated if the Tribunals do not function effectively.”

It was brought to Court’s notice that there are a large number of unfilled vacancies hampering the progress of the functioning of the Tribunals. The pendency of cases in the Tribunals is increasing mainly due to the lack of personnel in the Tribunals which is due to the delay in filling up the vacancies as and when they arise due to the retirement of the members.

The Court, hence, directed that the Government of India shall make the appointments to the Tribunals within three months after the Search-cum-Selection Committee completes the selection and makes its recommendations.

Read the directions here

RETROSPECTIVITY OF THE 2020 RULES

The Court rejected the submission of learned Attorney General that the 2020 Rules which replaced the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualification, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017 shall come into force with effect from 26.05.2017 which was the appointed day in accordance with the 2017 Rules and said,

“It is true that the 2017 Rules were brought into force from 26.05.2017 and Section 183 of the Finance Act provides for any appointment made after the appointed day shall be in accordance with the Rules made under Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017. 2017 Rules which have come into force with effect from 26.05.2017 in accordance with Section 183 have been struck down by this Court. The 2020 Rules which came into force from the date of their publication in the Official Gazette, i.e. 12.02.2020, cannot be given retrospective effect.”

Further, the intention of Government of India to make the 2020 Rules prospective is very clear from the notification dated 12.02.2020. In any event, subordinate legislation cannot be given retrospective effect unless the parent statute specifically provides for the same.

The Court, however, clarified that all appointments made prior to the 2020 Rules which came into force on 12.02.2020 shall be governed by the parent Acts and Rules. Any appointment made after the 2020 Rules have come into force shall be in accordance with the 2020 Rules subject to the modifications directed in this judgment.

Read the directions here

In the petition that was filed by Madras Bar Association, the Court directed the Government to strictly adhere to the directions and not force the Petitioner-Madras Bar Association, which has been relentless in its efforts to ensure judicial independence of the Tribunals, to knock the doors of this Court again.

[Madras Bar Association v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 962, decided on 27.11.2020]


*Justice L. Nageswara Rao has penned this judgment.

[1] Writ Petition (C) No.804 of 2020, decided on 27.11.2020

Counsels heard:

Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, amicus curiae

Attorney General for India K.K. Venugopal,

Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh and S.V. Raju,

Senior Advocates Mukul Rohtagi, C.A. Sundaram, Vikas Singh,. Anitha Shenoy, R. Balasubramanium, A.S. Chandhiok, Virender Ganda, M.S. Ganesh, Sidharth Luthra, C.S. Vaidyanathan, Guru Krishnakumar, Rakesh Kumar Khanna, Gautam Misra, P.S. Narasimha.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao*, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat has issued extensive directions in relating to selection, appointment, tenure, conditions of service, etc. relating to various tribunals, 19 in number, thereby calling for certain modifications to the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities [Qualification, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members] Rules, 2020.

While the bench has upheld the validity of Tribunal Rules, 2020, here are the modifications and directions issued by the Court:

(i) The Union of India shall constitute a National Tribunals Commission which shall act as an independent body to supervise the appointments and functioning of Tribunals, as well as to conduct disciplinary proceedings against members of Tribunals and to take care of administrative and infrastructural needs of the Tribunals, in an appropriate manner.

Till the National Tribunals Commission is constituted, a separate wing in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India shall be established to cater to the requirements of the Tribunals.

(ii) Instead of the four-member Search-cum-Selection Committees comprising of the Chief Justice of India or his nominee, outgoing or sitting Chairman or Chairperson or President of the Tribunal and two Secretaries to the Government of India, the Search-cum-Selection Committees should comprise of the following members:

(a) The Chief Justice of India or his nominee—Chairperson (with a casting vote).

(b) The outgoing Chairman or Chairperson or President of the Tribunal in case of appointment of the Chairman or Chairperson or President of the Tribunal (or) the sitting Chairman or Chairperson or President of the Tribunal in case of appointment of other members of the Tribunal (or) a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court in case the Chairman or Chairperson or President of the Tribunal is not a Judicial member or if the Chairman or Chairperson or President of the Tribunal is seeking re-appointment—member;

(c) Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India—member;

(d) Secretary to the Government of India from a department other than the parent or sponsoring department, nominated by the Cabinet Secretary—member;

(e) Secretary to the sponsoring or parent Ministry or Department—Member Secretary/Convener (without a vote).

Till amendments are carried out, the 2020 Rules shall be read in the manner indicated.

(iii) Rule 4(2) of the 2020 Rules shall be amended to provide that the Search-cum-Selection Committee shall recommend the name of one person for appointment to each post instead of a panel of two or three persons for appointment to each post. Another name may be recommended to be included in the waiting list.

(iv) The Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons and the members of the Tribunal shall hold office for a term of five years and shall be eligible for reappointment. Rule 9(2) of the 2020 Rules shall be amended to provide that the Vice-Chairman, Vice-Chairperson and Vice President and other members shall hold office till they attain the age of sixty-seven years.

(v) The Union of India shall make serious efforts to provide suitable housing to the Chairman or Chairperson or President and other members of the Tribunals. If providing housing is not possible, the Chairman or Chairperson or President and Vice-Chairman, Vice-Chairperson, Vice President of the Tribunals shall be paid Rs. 1,50,000/- per month as house rent allowance and Rs. 1,25,000/- per month for other members of the Tribunals from 01.01.2021.

(vi) Advocates with an experience of at least 10 years should be eligible for appointment as judicial members in the Tribunals. The experience of the Advocate at the bar and their specialization in the relevant branches of law is to be considered. They shall be entitled for reappointment for at least one term by giving preference to the service rendered by them for the Tribunals.

(vii) The members of the Indian Legal Service shall be eligible for appointment as judicial members in the Tribunals, provided that they fulfil the criteria applicable to advocates subject to suitability to be assessed by the Search-cum-Selection Committee on the basis of their experience and knowledge in the specialized branch of law.

(viii) Rule 8 of the 2020 Rules shall be amended to reflect that the recommendations of the Search-cum-Selection Committee in matters of disciplinary actions shall be final and shall be implemented by the Central Government.

(ix) The Union of India shall make appointments to Tribunals within three months from the date on which the Search-cum-Selection Committee completes the selection process and makes its recommendations.

(x) The 2020 Rules shall have prospective effect and will be applicable from 12.02.2020, as per Rule 1(2) of the 2020 Rules.

(xi) Appointments made prior to the 2017 Rules are governed by the parent Acts and Rules which established the concerned Tribunals. Any appointments that were made after the 2020 Rules came into force i.e. on or after 12.02.2020 shall be governed by the 2020 Rules subject to the modifications as directed in this judgment.

(xii) Appointments made under the 2020 Rules till the date of this judgment, shall not be considered invalid, insofar as they conformed to the recommendations of the Search-cum-Selection Committees in terms of the 2020 Rules, as they stood before the modifications directed in this judgment. They are, in other words, saved and shall not be questioned.

(xiii) In case the Search-cum-Selection Committees have made recommendations after conducting selections in accordance with the 2020 Rules, appointments shall be made within three months from today and shall not be subject matter of challenge on the ground that they are not in accord with this judgment.

(xiv) The terms and conditions relating to salary, benefits, allowances, house rent allowance etc. shall be in accordance with the terms indicated in and directed by this judgment.

(xv) The Chairpersons, Vice Chairpersons and members of the Tribunals appointed prior to 12.02.2020 shall be governed by the parent statutes and Rules as per which they were appointed. The 2020 Rules shall be applicable with the modifications as directed to those who were appointed after 12.02.2020.

The Court has clarified that all appointments made prior to the 2020 Rules which came into force on 12.02.2020 shall be governed by the parent Acts and Rules. Any appointment made after the 2020 Rules have come into force shall be in accordance with the 2020 Rules subject to the modifications as directed.

In the petition that was filed by Madras Bar Association, the Court directed the Government to strictly adhere to the directions given above and not force the Petitioner-Madras Bar Association, which has been relentless in its efforts to ensure judicial independence of the Tribunals, to knock the doors of this Court again.

[Madras Bar Association v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 962, decided on 27.11.2020]


*Justice L. Nageswara Rao has penned this judgment 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case relating to Punjab Civil Services (Judicial) appointments*, where only 28 people have been recruited against a total of 75 posts, the bench of SK Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ has directed that as a sample, the papers in the two subjects i.e. Criminal Law and Punjabi, of the first 10 candidates, who did not clear the examination, be sent for re-checking.

The Court further directed that since the problem relates to these two subjects, the papers of the first 10 candidates who failed to obtain the minimum marks in those subjects, also be sent for re-checking. There may, however, be overlapping in this scenario.

It said,

“We propose to pass an order to satisfy our judicial conscious in the given scenario where only 28 people have been recruited in pursuance to an examination process where 75 vacancies existed.”

The Criminal Law papers be sent to Justice A.K. Sikri, former Supreme Court judge and Punjabi papers to Justice Surinder Singh Saron, former Acting Chief Justice, Punjab & Haryana High Court. The papers are to be sent within 2 weeks.

The Court said that the aforesaid process and the marks that will be assigned will give an impression of the broad trend whether the overall marking has been strict beyond expected levels or the assessment is fine and whether there is a requirement of re-marking of all papers once again in these two subjects excluding of course those people who already stand recruited. The Court will also consider whether in such a scenario any other appropriate action like grant of grace marks could meet the ends of justice.

The Court asked the Punjab and Haryana High Court to take necessary steps to send the requisite papers and compute the result and submit it to the Court along with previous marks.

The matter has been listed for further directions on 17.12.2020.

[Navneet Kaur Dhaliwal v. The Registrar General of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 902, order dated 03.11.2020]


*Ed. Note: The order does not specify the name of the examination but merely mentions “an examination process”. The inference that the matter deals with the Punjab Civil Services (Judicial) appointments has been drawn from the information available in the order.

Appointments & TransfersNews

President appoints Justices (1) Shriram Madhusudan Modak, (2) Jamadar Nijamoddin Jahiroddin, (3) Vinay Gajanan Joshi, and (4) Avachat Rajendra Govind, Additional Judges of the Bombay High Court, to be the Permanent Judges of the Bombay High Court.

Read the notification, here: NOTIFICATION


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 09-09-2020]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Appointment of Judges

President appoints Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, Additional Judge of the Calcutta High Court, to be a Judge of the Calcutta High Court and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua, Additional Judge of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, to be a Judge of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

 


[Notification dt. 27-07-2020]

Ministry of Law and Justice

Appointments & TransfersNews

Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the the following:

  • Re-appointment of Tushar Mehta as Solicitor General of India w.e.f. 01-07-2020 for a 3 years period or until further orders, whichever is earlier
  • 5 Additional Solicitors General of India for Supreme Court — Re-appointed for a period of 3 years

— Shri Vikramjit Banerjee

— Shri Aman Lekhi

— Ms Madhavi Godaria Divan

— Shri K.M. Natraj

— Shri Sanjay Jain

  • 2 Additional Solicitors General of India for High Courts — Re-appointed for a period of 3 years

— Anil C. Singh as Additional Solicitor General of India — Bombay High Court

— Satya Pal Jain as Additional Solicitor General of India — P&H High Court

  • Appointment of 6 Senior Advocates as Additional Solicitor General of India for Supreme Court — Period of 3 years

— Shri Balbir Singh

–Shri Suryaprakash V. Raju

— Shri Rupinder Singh Suri

–Shri N. Venkataraman

–Shri Jayant K. Sud

–Ms Aishwarya Bhati

  • Appointment of 5 Senior Advocates/Advocates as Additional Solicitor General of India for High Courts — Period of 3 years 

— Shri Yezdezard Jehangir Dastoor, Senior Advocate — Additional Solicitor General of India for Calcutta High Court

— Shri Chetan Sharma, Senior Advocate — Additional Solicitor General of India for Delhi High Court

— Shri R. Sankarnarayanan, Senior Advocate — Additional Solicitor General of India for Madras High Court

— Dr Krishna Nandan Singh, Senior Advocate — Additional Solicitor General of India for Patna High Court

— Shri Devang Girish Vyas, Advocate — Additional Solicitor General of India for Gujarat High Court


Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

[Notification dt. 29-06-2020]

Appointments & TransfersNews

President appoints Shri Anoop Chitkara, to be a Judge of the Himachal Pradesh High Court with effect from the date he
assumes charge of his office.

Jyotsna Rewal Dua, to be Additional Judge of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, for a period of two years, with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office.


[Notification dt. 29-05-2019]

Ministry of Law and Justice

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan, C.J. and R.C. Khulbe, J. entertained a writ petition against the AYUSH Education Department.

Petitioner contended that in 2013, she applied for the post of Manager State Pharmacy in AYUSH and was called for an interview by the said Department as she stood first in the written examination. It was alleged by the petitioner that she secured the third position in the final list and thereafter the respondent had issued an appointment order to the candidate in 2018. Petitioner was aggrieved by the act of the State as the post was not offered to her despite the fact that the candidates who secured first and a second position in the merit list never joined.

The Court inquired with P.K. Chauhan, learned counsel for the petitioner regarding the rule prescribing life of the panel. The learned counsel submitted that he was not aware of the rule framed by Public Service Commission or by Government regarding the period for which a panel of waitlisted candidates would remain in force. He further submitted that even if the life of the panel is presumed to be one year, from the date a letter of appointment was issued in favor of the candidate who stood first in the merit list, the offer of appointment was made to the said candidate in 2018, and consequently the life of the panel would continue to remain valid till 2019; and the petitioner’s claim for appointment to the post of Manager State Pharmacy in Department, had been considered within this period. Learned Counsel for the petitioner, argued that, the Principal Secretary should be directed to consider the petitioner’s representation in this regard and in accordance with the law, within a specified time frame.

As learned Counsel for the respondents had no objection for such an order to be passed, the writ petition was disposed of directing the Principal Secretary, AYUSH and AYUSH Education Department to consider the petitioner’s representation in accordance with law, to pass a reasoned order thereupon, and the State was directed to communicate their decision to the petitioner with utmost expedition within two months of the order.[Divya v. State of Uttrakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 368, decided on 15-05-2019]

Appointments & TransfersNews

President appoints Justice Bimlendu Bhushan Mangalmurti and Justice Anil Kumar Choudhary, Additional Judges of the Jharkhand High Court to be Judges of the Jharkhand High Court with effect from the date they assume charge of their respective offices.


[Notification dt. 23-04-2019]

Ministry of Law and Justice

Appointments & TransfersNews

President appoints the following two Judicial Officers to be the Judges of Rajasthan High Court while exercising the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 217 of Constitution of India :

  • Abhay Chaturvedi
  • Narendra Singh Dhaddha

The above mentioned, in order of their seniority, with effect from the date they assume charge of their respective offices.


[Order dt. 15-04-2019]

Ministry of Law and Justice

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Clarifying the order dated 03.07.2018, the bench of CJ Ranjan Gogoi and L. Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ said that the recommendation for appointment to the post of Director General of Police by the Union Public Service Commission and preparation of panel should be purely on the basis of merit from officers who have a minimum residual tenure of six months i.e. officers who have at least six months of service prior to the retirement.

To do away with the practice of States appointing the Director General of Police on the last date of   the normal tenure of an incumbent so as to ensure that such incumbents get extended term of two years in view of the directions of this Court contained in Prakash Singh v. Union of India, (2006) 8 SCC 1, the 3-judge bench of former CJI Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar and Dr. DY Chandrachud, JJ. gave the following directions inter alia:

“(e) An endeavour has to be made by all concerned to see that the person who was selected and appointed as the Director General of Police continues despite his date of superannuation. However, the extended term beyond the date of superannuation should be a reasonable period. We say so as it has been brought to our notice that some of the States have adopted a practice to appoint the Director General of Police on the last date of retirement as a consequence of which the person continues for two years after his date of superannuation. Such a practice will not be in conformity with the spirit of the direction.

(f) Our direction No.(c) should be considered by the Union Public Service Commission to mean that the persons are to be empanelled, as far as practicable, from amongst the people within the zone of consideration who have got clear two years of service. Merit and seniority should be given due weightage.”

Alleging that the aforementioned directions have resulted into confusion, the petitioner argued that:

“the Union Public Service Commission while empanelling officers for consideration for appointment   to the post of Director General of Police is considering the minimum residual tenure required to be taken into account as two years. In the process, according to the applicant, many suitable and eligible officers are being left out.”

On this Court clarified that it had not contemplated recommendation for appointment of officers who are on the verge of retirement or appointment of officers who have a minimum residual tenure of two years. The emphasis was to select the best and to ensure a minimum tenure of two years’ service of such officer who is to be selected and appointed. It, hence, issued the direction that:

“In the above conspectus the object in issuing the directions in Prakash Singh (supra), in our considered view, can best be achieved if the residual tenure of an officer i.e. remaining period of service till normal retirement, is fixed on a reasonable basis, which, in our considered view, should be a period of six months.”

The Court, however, said that the above direction, naturally, will hold the field until the validity of the Police Acts in force which provides to the contrary are examined and dealt with by the Court in the pending writ petition.

[Prakash Singh v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 371, decided on 13.03.2019]

Appointments & TransfersNews

On 01-01-2019 four Information Commissioners namely Shri Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha, Smt. Vanaja N Sarna, Shri Neeraj Kumar Gupta and Shri Suresh Chandra were administered the oath of office of the Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission (CIC) by the Chief Information Commissioner, Shri Sudhir Bhargava. With their induction, the total number of Information Commissioners in the Central Information Commission including Chief Information Commissioner has gone upto 7.

 

 

Press Release

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Mumbai: The whole-time Member of SEBI, Madhabi Puri Buch addressed the issue of whether there was any prima facie suspicion or evidence of financial misrepresentation and misuse of books of accounts by the company in question.

Parsvnath Developers Ltd. (PDL) mentioned themselves as one of the largest real estate development companies in Northern India involved in development and construction of real estate projects. SEBI, on the basis of a letter by Ministry of Corporate Affairs where list of shell companies were provided, viewed these shell companies as potentially involved in misrepresentation and misuse of books of account. PDL was also in that list.

The Board asked for various documents as an evidence of work taken up by the company and saw a possible violation of SEBI (Listing Obligation and Disclosure Requirements) Regulation, 2015. Board noted that PDL had failed to show commencement certificates for any work of contract and sub-contract carried by it which suggested that the revenue of the company has been overstated as no evidence to show completion of work was provided. Company also failed to provide evidence of execution of contracts undertaken by the company or given to other companies.

Therefore, the board was of the view that in the interest of investors, the company’s finances should be independently audited. Under Sections 11, 11(4), 11-A and 11-B read with Section 19 of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992, the Board directed the exchange to appoint an independent forensic auditor. Board concluded that the company was on suspicion of misusing the books of accounts and misrepresentation of financials/business of the Company. [Parsvnath Developers Ltd. In Re, 2018 SCC OnLine SEBI 154, order dated 08-08-2018]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Lady Justice Arden DBE and Lord Justice Kitchin will join the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom as Justices on 1 October 2018, followed by Lord Justice Sales on 11 January 2019, as was announced on June 27, 2018.

Her Majesty The Queen made each of the appointments on the advice of the Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor, following the recommendations of an independent selection commission. The commission consulted across each of the Supreme Court’s three UK jurisdictions before making its recommendations.

These appointments follow the retirement of Lord Mance, former Deputy President of the Court, in June 2018. Lord Hughes and Lord Sumption are due to retire in August and December 2018 respectively.

[Source: UK Supreme Court News Release]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the issue relating to filling up of 4010 vacancies in the State of Uttar Pradesh, consisting of 3698 vacancies for Sub-Inspectors and 312 vacancies for Platoon Commanders, the 3-judge bench of Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Deepak Gupta, JJ directed that the vacancies should be filled up by the State of Uttar Pradesh expeditiously on merits, if not already filled up.

The State had submitted before the Court that due to orders passed from time to time by this Court, perhaps more than 4010 posts have been filled up. The Court, hence, directed that the persons occupying posts in excess of 4010 shall not be disturbed until further orders from this Court.

Regarding the question as to whether the persons who have been appointed in excess of 4010 Posts are to continue or their services may be dispensed with, the Court said that it will pass the appropriate orders only after hearing the parties.

The Court also took note of it’s order dated 14.09.2017 in which it was noted that all those persons who are before this Court on the ground that they were before the High Court on or before 31st December, 2016 either as petitioners or intervenors may submit their particulars to learned Additional Advocate General who will verify the particulars and submit a report before 31st October, 2017. The Court, hence, made clear that following the order passed on 14.09.2017, all applications for intervention/impleadment, etc. or fresh matters instituted after the cut-off date of 31st December, 2016 stand disposed of. [Alok Kumar Singh v. State of U.P.,  2018 SCC OnLine SC 309, order dated 22.03.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: While deciding upon the present writ petition wherein the petitioner’s appointment in Group- D post was cancelled by the respondents (High Court of Tripura) on the ground of an FIR registered against him, the Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi, C.J., and S. Talapatra,J., held that the FIR once registered has been quashed by the Court under Section 482 of Cr.PC, no inference can be drawn to impute any adverse antecedents which in any manner may deprive an individual from seeking public employment.

As per the facts, the petitioner was duly selected in Group D post. However the petitioner’s selection was cancelled owing to the fact that an FIR was registered against him under Sections 3,4,5,6(2)(4) & 7 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. Th petitioner challenged the FIR and it was subsequently quashed by this Court in exercise of its powers under Section 482 of CrPC. Yet even after the quashment, the respondents refused to consider the petitioner’s appointment on the ground that his conduct does not generate confidence for employment in the service of the High Court. The petitioner argued that there was no misrepresentation on his part and the FIR against him was a result of false implication; and once this Court has quashed the FIR, the petitioner had a clean record again. Therefore there was no ground upon which he could be denied employment. The petitioner via his counsel Raju Datta, contended that the act of the respondents in rejecting the petitioner’s employment, was arbitrary, therefore it demands judicial interference. Counsel for the respondents contended that mere selection and offer of appointment does not confer any vested right and the decision of the authority cannot be said to be per se arbitrary.

Upon perusal of the issue and facts, the Court observed that Rule 9 of High Court of Tripura Services (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Conduct) Rules, 2014 prescribe certain disqualifications for appointment and sub-rule (c) of Rule 9 clearly envisages that if one has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude could be a reason for disqualification for appointment. However in the present case, the FIR was found to be fabricated, hence quashed. Other than the quashed FIR, there is no criminal history of the petitioner which could render him disqualified for public employment. The Court thus directed the respondents to not to draw any adverse inference to implicate the petitioner, and consider his candidature for appointment in Group D post. [Tapas Chakraborty v. High Court of Tripura, 2018 SCC OnLine Tri 57, decided on 10-04-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the light of serious irregularities in the selection process of appointment of assistant teachers in government lower primary schools, the Bench of AK Goel and RF Nariman, JJ directed that for the purity of selection to the public posts, as far as possible the selection process conducted by the selection bodies, especially the State Public Service Commissions and the State Selection Boards, is videographed.

Directing the Registry to send a copy of the order to Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, for being forwarded to the concerned authorities for compliance, the Bench further directed:

“at examination centres as well as interview centres CCTV cameras should be installed to the extent viable. Footage thereof may be seen by an independent committee of three members and report of such committee may be placed on the website concerned.”

The Court gave the said order when the irregularities in the State of Meghalaya was brought to it’s notice. The Court noticed that such incidents were being reported in several cases as it had recently dealt with such a matter in Avinash C. v. State of Karnataka, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 330, decided on 4.4.2018. [State of Meghalaya v. Phikirba Khariah, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 336, order dated 06.04.2018]