On 13th October 2020, a Single Judge Bench of Hon’ble Justice Lok Pal Singh, heard the case of Ashish Bisht & Anr. v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors.
The Petitioners approached the Court seeking the following reliefs:
- Declare cancellation of entire selection for the post of Forest Guard.
- Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari for quashing the order/notification issued by the respondent as published in Hindi daily newspaper Amar Ujala.
- Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus commanding the respondents to give appointment to the successful candidates recommended by the selection committee.
Facts of the case
The respondent issued an advertisement dated 1st November 2013, inviting applications from open market for direct recruitment on the 12 posts of Forest Guard. The selection process consisted of physical examination and written examination followed by physical endurance test. For holding the selection, a Selection Committee was constituted.
Pursuant to the said advertisement, petitioners submitted their applications forms. They were allotted admit cards, they participated in the selection process and were declared successful in physical examination as well as written examination. Thereafter, the petitioners were called for a physical endurance test which was scheduled to be held on 02.09.2015. The Petitioners participated in the said test and were declared qualified.
Meanwhile, a complaint was received by the respondents regarding unfair practice in the selection process. On the basis of said complaint dated 14.09.2015, after due inquiry, a notification was issued, cancelling the entire selection process for the post of Forest Guard. The said notification was published in Amar Ujala Hindi daily newspaper on 18.10.2015. It was further stated in the Notification that the written examination would be conducted and intimation with regard to the date of the written examination will be given separately. Feeling aggrieved by the cancellation of the selection process, the petitioners filed the writ petitions.
Contentions of the Petitioner
Shri Aditya Singh, learned counsel for the petitioners contended that there was no reason to cancel the entire selection. Cancellation of entire selection is an extreme step which can be ordered when there are cogent reasons. Sufficiency of material for forming an opinion is a vital aspect which deserves consideration, but in the present case, there was no material whatsoever which may warrant such a decision to cancel the selection.
It was also contended that the cancellation of the selection had a serious consequence for the petitioners which might result in the denial of the petitioners of a public employment to them forever. It was also contended that neither the petitioners nor any other selected candidates were heard at any stage, before cancellation of the selection.
Contentions of the Respondent
Learned Counsel for the Respondents contended that the reason shown for cancelling the entire selection process was that a complaint was received in the department alleging favouritism, unfair means, irregularities and malpractice in the process of selection. An inquiry was conducted during which the answer sheets of the top candidates in the merit list were carefully perused, and arrived to the conclusion that some candidates had adopted unfair means in the written examination, and a recommendation was made to cancel the written examination.
The Court opined that cancellation of the written examination by the Selection Committee was an administrative decision and the Court should not ordinarily interfere in the administrative decision. Furthermore, merely because the name of a candidate appeared in the selection list, it would not give the candidate an indefeasible right to get an appointment.
The Court referred to the case of Rakhi Ray v. High Court of Delhi (2010) 2 SCC 637 which held that, “A person whose name appears in the select list does not acquire any indefeasible right of appointment.”
The Court also referred to the following cases:
- Punjab State Electricity Board and Others v. Malkiat Singh, (2005) 9 SCC 22
- Municipal Council, Neemuch v. Mahadeo Real Estate and others (2019) 10 SCC 738
The Court referred to the case of West Bengal Central School Service Commission vs. Abdul Halim (2019) 18 SCC 39 to consider the scope of interference under Article 226 in an administrative action.
The Court opined that a detailed enquiry was conducted by the Selection Committee and the answer sheets of the candidates were analysed. On the basis of sufficient proof, a decision was taken to cancel the written examination. Hence the writ petitions, being devoid of merit, were dismissed.
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