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Supreme Court Sets Aside the High Court Order of Creating Supernumerary Post in Recruitment of Teachers

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The Supreme Court of India heard the present writ petition regarding the delay in recruitment of Government teachers in primary Schools.

The fact of the case

The petition dealt with the delay of 247 days in filing the SLP.  The Court granted leave and accepted the delay on the terms that the appellant paid a sum of Rupees fifty thousand to the Respondent no. 1. As per the procedure of recruitment prescribed by the appellant in this case the Appellant no. 3 was responsible to determine the total number of vacancies and also vacancies under reserved categories for recruiting Government teachers in Primary schools. Based on a letter dated 29.07.1996, the District Employment Exchange communicated with Respondent no. 1 and stated that the District Employment Exchange sponsored her name for the role of a primary school teacher. Respondent no. 1 secured 22nd position in the SEBC (women) category. Although there were only 16 vacancies to be filled since Respondent no. 2, holding 16th position, could not join within the time Respondent no. 1 joined based on joining later dated 20.04.1998. However, the appellant filed representation stating that the appointment order for respondent no. 2 was issued in the wrong name. The Tribunal court in an earlier proceeding directed for the removal of Respondent no. 1 who was posted in the place of Respondent no. 2.

Appellant’s submissions

Respondent no. 1 was appointed only on the basis that respondent no. 2 who secured a higher rank than respondent no. 1 did not join within the reporting time. The High Court granted limited relief of quashing the direction for creating a supernumerary post to appoint Respondent no. 1 in the vacancy.  However, as per the Tribunal order, the services of Respondent no. 1 were terminated. The learned counsel for the appellant side relied on the resolution dated 12th March 1996 and said that the recruitment was held based on the resolution. Respondent no. 1 was the last person to get an appointment from the list of selected candidates for the S.E.B.C (women) category. Respondent no. 1 got the appointment because she fitted all the required criteria and also, she secured 22nd position in the selection process. The council also stated that Respondent no. 1 never raised any objection related to the process of preparing the selection lists and she is, therefore, not entitled to object while preparing the separate list. The legal counsel for the appellant side referred to the judgment made by this court in the case of Union of India and Ors. vs. Dalbir Singh and Ors. Moreover the Respondent no. 1 got benefitted from getting age relaxation due to applying as an S.E.B.C (Women) candidate.

Respondent’s submissions

As per the submissions made by Respondent no. 1, there has been a violation of the principle of natural justice in the delay of the matter. The termination of the service is completely illegal as she served as a permanent employee for four years of continuous service record.  Respondent no. 1 pointed out that her termination order dated 21.09.2001 was not sustainable as the Tribunal directed the removal of the person who took place of Respondent no. 2 and didn’t directly order for respondent no. 1’s removal. As per the SEBC (women) category Respondent no. 1 had secured enough marks than other probable candidates and hence the termination order is not acceptable. The earlier proceeding in the Tribunal has adversely affected Respondent no. 1 as she was not a party to the earlier proceedings. Candidates with lesser marks were allowed to remain in service and it was only Respondent no. 1 who faced harassment.

Court’s observations

As the Tribunal court finds that Respondent no. 2 secures higher rank than Respondent no. 1 but could not join the vacant post within reporting time as the appointment letter was wrongly addressed and it did not deliver to her. The Tribunal had the jurisdiction in the matter and its direction has become final. The matter needs to be considered in a way that whether or not Respondent no. 1 would have secured the appointment if the name of Respondent no. 2 was correctly addressed and she had joined the post. Moreover, the Court has observed that the whole matter is a result of the mistake committed by the Appellant. However, it is clear that Respondent no. 1 was appointed in place of Respondent no. 2. Also, the Court deals with the constitutionality of the power under the regulation to dispense with a permanent employee’s service without holding any inquiry. This Court has observed that “dispensing with the service of the permanent and confirmed employee by merely issuing a notice without assigning reasons could not be countenanced.” However, the Court relied upon the judgment in the case of Basudeo Tiwary. Although the High Court set aside the Tribunal direction for creating a supernumerary post, this Court did not support the judgment of the High Court. Moreover, it stated that Respondent no. 1 cannot be permitted to draw any benefit from the said pronouncement.

Court’s decision

Leave granted in the present appeal. The cost of Rupees 50,000 is to be paid to Respondent no. 1 within four weeks from the judgment date otherwise the impugned judgment of the High Court will stand.

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