Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Biswanath Somadder and Dr Y. K. Srivastava, JJ. dismissed the present appeal since this was not a case where decision of the Medical Board was arbitrary, capricious or in violation of recruitment rules hence the court found no infirmity in the impugned order.

The issue was whether production of a subsequent medical examination report by the appellant-writ petitioner will override or set at naught, the medical opinion of the Regional/District Medical Boards, which show that the appellant-writ petitioner was suffering from an ailment in the left ear and accordingly was assessed unfit. The advocate for the appellant placed reliance upon a Single Bench decision of the High Court in order to contend that a fresh Medical Board ought to be directed to be constituted to re-examine the appellant.

The Court was of the view that petitioner failed to show that the medical opinion of the respective Medical Boards brought on record were doubtful as compared the medical report/opinion relied upon by the petitioner as all the medical opinions declare the petitioner that he is suffering from ailment in the left ear. The Court, emphasising the need for caution and circumspection, discussed the judgment in Union of India v. Parul Punia wherein it was stated:-

“9. …. In the present case the proper course would have been to permit an evaluation of the medical fitness of the respondent by a review medical board provided by the appellants. Otherwise, the recruitment process can be derailed if such requests of candidates who are not found to be medically fit for reassessment on the basis of procedures other than those which are envisaged by the recruiting authority are allowed. This would ordinarily be impermissible.”

The Court held that in cases where a recruitment process has been carried out as per prescribed statutory rules where under a procedure has been prescribed for testing the medical fitness of candidates by a duly constituted Medical Board, the report of the Medical Board is not to be normally interfered with, and that too, solely on the basis of a claim sought to be set up by a candidate on the basis of some subsequent report procured by him from a private practitioner. Since this is not the case of the petitioner that the decision of the Medical Board was arbitrary, capricious or not in accordance with the procedure under the relevant statutory recruitment rules, hence, there is no infirmity in the impugned order and the appeal stands dismissed. [Vivek Kumar v. State of U.P., Special Appeal Defective No. 117 of 2020, decided on 13-02-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Pankaj Mithal and Prakash Padia, JJ. contemplated a writ presented by retired District Judge and member of U.P. Higher Judicial Service.

Minimal facts relevant for purpose of appreciation are that the petitioner was aggrieved by the impugned order passed by the Governor of U.P. in 2015, which held 50% of pension on the recommendation of the High Court. As a District Judge, he had a duty to conduct the exam for Class III and IV employees with the help of independent committees in 2004. The results of aforementioned exams were challenged by several candidates and the same result was quashed and the petitioner was fined which was, later on, waived off.

Later on, the petitioner was charged for misconduct and foul play. The High Court directed an internal inquiry in the matter and subsequently, he was found guilty and as a punishment, 50% of the petitioner’s pension was withheld.

The learned counsel for the petitioner, Ashok Khare, submitted that an incident which took place 4 years ago cannot be the basis of disciplinary proceedings. Hence, such allegations were not maintainable. He further brought the attention of the Court with regard to holding an inquiry against the recruitment of class IV employees was not sustainable by the sanction of the Governor. He contended that other judicial officers were accused in the same matter and same charges were leveled against them too, but Inquiry Judge submitted a common report where the petitioner was only named guilty whereas all others were exonerated. He vehemently stated that findings recorded by the Inquiry Judge were contrary to the findings returned by the Division Bench on the judicial side and cannot be sustained.

Manish Goyal, learned counsel for the respondent, had defended the punishment order by contending that the sanction of the Governor was not under challenge and that no findings of the Inquiry Judge were in conflict with the findings returned on the judicial side. The disciplinary proceedings were drawn against the petitioner well within time and that if some other officers had gone unpunished, it does not mean that the petitioner is innocent and the punishment inflicted upon him was illegal or discriminatory in nature. The counsel relied upon the law which stated under Section 351-A of Civil Service Regulation, that “the departmental proceedings can be initiated against a retired employee only with the sanction of the Hon’ble Governor and that too only in respect of an incident which had taken place not more than 4 years earlier to the institution of such proceedings.”

The Court opined that, the inquiry which was conducted against the petitioner in respect of charges of misconduct in the recruitment of Class-IV employees was not only barred by limitation but was also without the sanction of the Governor as contemplated under Article 351-A of the CSR. A common inquiry report was submitted against other judicial officers, holding all of them to be guilty. The Court observed that, Inquiry Judge has not differentiated between the role of the petitioner and that of the other judicial officers and had collectively found all of them to be guilty. In view of the above, all the charged officers stood on the same pedestal and were not differently located.

The Court observed the submission of the respondent, that it was not a case of discrimination and the petitioner cannot claim negative equality. “If some other officers have been left unpunished, it is no ground to leave the petitioner also”. Accordingly, the gravity of the misconduct was reduced and the punishment ex-facie was held, excessive and disproportionate to the charge proved. Further it was held, “The petitioner in his capacity as a District Judge or as the Appointing Authority rightly played the role of a supervisor and kept on guiding the officers and on being satisfied that the selection process had been conducted in a fair and a clean manner and that there is no discrepancy or illegality in the preparation of the result approved for its declaration. Therefore, the satisfaction recorded by the District Judge in no way means that he had played some kind of pivotal role in the illegality, if any, committed in the entire recruitment process.” Thus, the punishment was quashed.[Shyam Babu Vaish v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 2215, decided on 22-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: The Bench of Arun Bhansali, J. allowed a petition filed to claim seniority on the basis of the merit of the petitioners in the merit list based on common selection.

The facts of the case were that the petitioners had participated in the recruitment process in response to an advertisement issued by Zila Parishad in the year 2012, inviting the applications from the eligible candidates for appointment on the post of Teacher Grade III. The petitioners had earlier instituted writ applications and as a consequence of directions issued by the Court, the result was revised in the month of November 2016; resulting into the appointment of the petitioners on the post of Teacher Grade III (Level I/Level-II). Thus the petitioners had already been accorded appointment. However, State-respondent had declined seniority and other benefits to the petitioners from the date the petitioners became entitled on account of revision of the result while candidates lower in merit to the petitioners have been accorded those benefits. Thus, the petitioners claimed benefit of pay fixation and seniority on a notional basis from the date juniors to the petitioners had been accorded in the same recruitment process of the year 2012.

The Court, while placing reliance on the case of Surja Ram v. State of Rajasthan, SBCW No. 3082/2018, directed the State-respondent to extend the benefit of pay fixation and seniority on notional basis to the petitioners from the date juniors to the petitioners had been accorded with reference to the same recruitment process of the year of 2012. It held that seniority to be assigned as per the inter-se merit of the candidates in the merit list based on common selection. [Prakash Chandra Ahari Bhil v. State Of Rajasthan, 2019 SCC OnLine Raj 254, Order dated 15-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Single Judge Bench of Ashwani Kumar Mishra, J. allowed a writ appeal and directed the respondents to allow the petitioner to participate in the recruitment process for Assistant Teachers.
The petitioner had applied for the post of Assistant Teacher in response to the advertisement issued by the respondents. However, he did not possess the No Objection Certificate as required, and thus his candidature was rejected. Counsel for the petitioner stated that now the petitioner holds all the requisite documents and the posts for Assistant Teachers are still lying vacant. Therefore, he prayed that the respondents be directed to appoint the petitioner on the said post.
The High Court held that, the petitioner did not commit a violation of any strict Rule. At the appropriate time, he did not possess the Certificate required, which he now does. Posts were lying vacant for Assistant Teachers in basic education. There was a dearth of teachers in basic education. And as such, the Court directed the respondents to consider the candidature of the petitioner as against the posts lying vacant for Assistant Teachers. That would help in fulfilling the constitutional mandate of providing free basic education to the children aged between 8 to 14 years. [Arvind Kumar Singh v. State of U.P., 2018 SCC OnLine All 494, dated 30-04-2018]