Himachal Pradesh High Court: Resignation of a Candidate Does Not Entitle Waitlisted Candidates to the Job Position

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In this case of Dharmender Kumar vs State of Himachal Pradesh and Ors., the Petitioner filed a writ of Mandamus before the Court. The main contention was that he is eligible for appointment by the state government. This posed the issue of whether a waiting list candidate should get the post that arose out of joining and later resigning. The Court, consisting, Mr Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Ms Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua as the Coram, did not allow the petition and held it to be against the rules of appointment for the said post.

Brief Facts of the Case 

The Respondent published an advertisement in a newspaper. The ad mentioned a vacancy for the post of an Ophthalmic Officer.

An administrative body of the Himachal Pradesh Government issued the same. The Petitioner applied for this position. He was later put on a waiting list as candidate number two. As one of the selected candidates failed to join the post, the post went to the candidate on the list with waiting number one. But, after joining, this Candidate left the job. 

Following this, the Petitioner claimed his right to be appointed to the post, as he was next in the waiting list. However, the Petitioner was not offered the job. Thus, the Petitioner prayed to the Court to issue a writ of mandamus for an answer from the authority.

The administration supported their action, mentioning the rules of procedure of appointment for the said post. As per the rules, a candidate on a waiting list has no inherent right to get appointed. It is only except when a selected candidate did not take up the post, the seat remained vacant. They further stated that if a vacancy arises due to resignation, it is a fresh vacancy. Also, to fill up a fresh vacancy, the recruitment process has to start from scratch.

Issues Involved

  1. Whether a candidate can fill a vacancy rising out of someone else’s joining and resignation?
  2. Whether the procedure for recruitment is to be started afresh?

Arguments before the Court

The Petitioner claimed that he deserved the said post. The Petitioner stated that in this situation, it was his right to be appointed next. He prayed that the Court issue a writ of mandamus, directing the government to offer him the post.

The Respondent argued that there was no inherent right to the Petitioner. The demands of the Petitioner are against the established Rules of Business & Procedure. These are the governmental rules of the Himachal Pradesh Subordinate Services Selection Board. 

Court’s Observation

The Court referred to various precedents given by the Supreme Court. These judgments contemplated similar issues. All the precedents had an identical judgement. 

They held that the name on the waiting list does not give entitlement to recruitment. Shortlisting of a candidate, on a waiting list does not raise the right to appointment. Further, the list of the candidates is only used when in specific circumstances. For example, where an appointed candidate does not join the post at the outset. In that case, a candidate on the waiting list would fill up the post.

In this case, the vacancy arose out of the surrender of the post. Thus, fresh recruitments have to be conducted.   

The Court observed that the steps taken by the administration were lawful. The steps were also in compliance with the Rules of Appointment. The Court found no merit in the arguments of the Petitioner.

Court’s Judgement

Making the aforesaid observations, the Court dismissed the petition. The Court affirmed the actions of the government to be lawful. The government complied with the precedents and rules of the appointment.


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