Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Lok Pal Singh, J., dismissed a petition which was filed aggrieved by the cancellation of selection process of the direct recruitment on the 12 posts of Forest Guard.

An advertisement was issued inviting applications from open market for direct recruitment on the 12 posts of Forest Guard. The selection process consisted of physical examination, written examination followed by physical endurance test. While at the last stage of the selection process a complaint was received by the respondents regarding unfair practice in the selection process, after due inquiry, a notification was issued, canceling the entire selection process for the post of Forest Guard along with notice of re-exam in future.

The counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Aditya Singh contended that there was no reason to cancel the entire selection and in the present case, there is no material whatsoever which may warrant such decision to cancel the selection. It was also contended that the cancellation of the selection has a serious consequence for the petitioners which may result in the denial of the petitioners of a public employment to them forever. In the counter affidavit it was mentioned that finding and recommendation of the enquiry officer were placed before the Committee where it was clear that appointing authority and the selection committee have sufficient proof on the basis of which decision was taken to cancel the entire selection. A perusal of the record revealed that out of the 21 candidates, only 18 candidates responded to the registered letter sent by the department, and submitted the desired information; out of these 18 candidates, fathers of 10 candidates were working in Forest department. This being the position, foul play and unfair practice in the selection process cannot be ruled out and the cancellation of selection process cannot be said to unjustified or irrational.

The Court while dismissing the petition explained that merely because the name of a candidate finds place in the select list, it would not give the candidate an indefeasible right to get an appointment, quoting from the judgment of the Supreme Court in Rakhi Ray v. High Court of Delhi, (2010) 2 SCC 637 where the Court said,

            “A person whose name appears in the select list does not acquire any indefeasible right of appointment. Empanelment at the best is a condition of eligibility for the purpose of appointment and by itself does not amount to selection or create a vested right to be appointed. ….”

The Court further observed that it is a well-settled principle in law that while exercising its powers of judicial review of any administrative action, Courts could not interfere with the administrative decision unless it suffers from the vice of illegality, irrationality or procedural impropriety quoting from yet another Supreme Court judgment in Municipal Council, Neemuch v. Mahadeo Real Estate, (2019) 10 SCC 738. [Ashish Bisht v. State of Uttarakhand,  2020 SCC OnLine Utt 610, decided on 13-10-2020]


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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Tarlok Singh Chauhan J., dismissed petition finding no merits in it.

The facts of the case can be traced from an official memorandum i.e. ‘O.M.’ dated 29-03 2013 enhancing the retirement age of the Blind Government Employees from 58 years to 60 years which was withdrawn by the State vide office memorandum dated 4-11-2019 bringing the retirement age back to 58 years. Aggrieved against the withdrawal present petitions have been filed praying for its disposal in their favor.

Counsel Mr Subhash Mohan Snehi, Mr Sudhanshu Jamwal, Mr Sanjay Kumar Sharma, Mr Onkar Jairath, Mr Shubham Sood and Mr Bhim Raj Sharma represented the petitioners and Mr Ashok Sharma, Mr Vinod Thakur, Mr Ranjan Sharma, Mr Desh Raj Sharma and Ms Svaneel Jaswal represented the State i.e the respondents.

After hearing both the parties, the Court relied on judgment titled State of Uttar Pradesh v. Hirendra Pal Singh, (2011) 5 SCC 305 held that fixation of the retirement age falls within exclusive domain and competence of the State and that Courts should not interfere with such decision unless they were unconstitutional.

Relevant para reads:

    8. …………….. So far as the issue of reduction of age from 62

to 60 years is concerned, it has not been brought to the notice

of the High Court that it is within the exclusive domain of the

State Government to reduce the age even in Government

services. So in case of purely professional engagement, the age

could validly be reduced by the State Government

unilaterally.”

It was further observed by the Court that executive instructions to have the force of statutory rules, it must be shown that they have been issued either under the authority conferred on the State Government by some statute or under some provision of the constitution provides, therefore. In the instant case, the OMs in question has not been issued either under the authority conferred on the State Government by some statute or under some provision of the constitution, therefore, it has to be held in the nature of administrative instructions and not statutory rules. Hence petitioners have failed to prove that the OM’s are illegal and arbitrary.

In view of the above, OM stands valid, and the petition was dismissed. [Ses Ram v. State of H.P., 2020 SCC OnLine HP 1119, decided on 31-07-2020]