On 09-06-2020, the Division Bench comprising of Hon’ble Justices Rajesh Bindal and Sindhu Sharma, via video-conferencing, heard the case of Dr Prithvi Paul Raina v State of Jammu & Kashmir & Ors. The Court upheld the previous judgment passed by a Single Judge Bench.
Facts of the Case
The appellant who is 58-years old has a qualified PhD in Mathematics. He applied for the post of Lecturer in Mathematics in the Higher Education Department.
Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission advertised the post on 31-12-1997 as follows :
- 13 posts were advertised for the subject of Mathematics;
- 9 out of 13 posts were for General Category;
- 2 out of 13 posts were for Residents of Backward Areas (RBA);
- 1 post for Scheduled Tribe Category and 1 post for Actual Line of Control Category (ALC).
The appellant’s name did not appear in the selected list released on 18-06-2000. As a result, the appellant filed a petition against the selection process.
On 28-09-2016, a Single Judge Bench passed a judgment. The Judge dismissed the petition seeking to quash the selection of private respondent to the post of Lecturer in Mathematics. Consequently, the appellant filed an appeal against the above judgment.
Contentions of the Appellant
The appellant challenged the selection of private respondent as Lecturer in Mathematics. He added that the Commission selected the private respondent according to Rule 51 of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (Business and Procedure) Rules, 1980.
A Full Bench of the Court declared this Rule ultra-vires in Dr Inder Parkash Gupta v. State of Jammu and Kashmir & Ors. on 30.07.1999. Hence, the appellant was entitled to statutory preference under SRO 297. However, the respondents did not grant the same to the appellant.
Additionally, the respondents issued three Advertisement Notifications for the same post. The appellant argued that the respondents, however, held only one interview for all three selection processes. This resulted in an erroneous and faulty evaluation of merit, and his selection was not possible.
Contentions of the Respondents
The State claimed that the appellant failed to secure the requisite merit. The selected candidate under the ALC category secured 73.45 points. On the other hand, the appellant had obtained only 50.75 points. This is the reason for his rejection. Hence, the Single Judge Bench had rightly dismissed the writ petition.
Rule-51 of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (Business and Procedure) Rules, 1980 is prospective. Therefore, it did not apply during the selection process. The respondents claimed to give due weightage to the appellant. Thus, the appellant cannot challenge the selection after failing to make the grade.
The Court referred to the case of Dr Irfan Rasool Gadda v. State of Jammu & Kashmir & Ors. 2005 (II) SLJ 423. It held that recasting of Rule 51 is prospective. Hence, it would not apply to the Selection where the process was initiated prior to the decision of Full Bench.
Additionally, the respondents gave weightage to the appellant’s additional qualification. Despite that, he secured lesser merit than the last selected candidate. Therefore, he could not be given any statutory preference.
The interview committee consisted of experts who were from outside the State. While, the candidates in both the notifications were common, also the interview was on the same subject. Thus, they were interviewed for both the notifications. Hence, the appellant failed to prove the faulty evaluation of merit.
The Court found no reason to interfere with the judgment of the learned Single Judge. It found no merit in this appeal. Hence, the Court dismissed the appeal.
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