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Ajay Kumar v/s Uttarakhand Public Service Commission


Company & Directors' Information:- B S AND SERVICE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U92419MH1946PTC004912

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    Writ Petition No. 76 of 2020

    Decided On, 18 March 2020

    At, High Court of Uttarakhand

    By, THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. RAMESH RANGANATHAN & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE R.C. KHULBE

    For the Appellant: Ajay Veer Pundir, Advocate. For the Respondent: B.D. Kandpal, Standing Counsel.



Judgment Text

Ramesh Ranganathan, CJ.Oral1. Heard Mr. Ajay Veer Pundir, learned Counsel for the petitioner and Mr. B.D. Kandpal, learned Standing Counsel for the respondent-Commission and, with their consent, the Writ Petition is disposed of at the stage of admission.2. The petitioner has invoked the jurisdiction of this Court seeking a writ of certiorari to quash the impugned supplementary merit list dated 28.02.2020; and for a mandamus directing the Uttarakhand Public Service Commission (the 'Commission' for short) to hold interviews for the post of Assistant Professor (Education) only on the basis of first merit list by deducting the elimination list.3. Facts, to the limited extent necessary, are that an advertisement was issued by the Commission on 04.08.2017 inviting applications for 27 posts of Assistant Professors (Education). The petitioner, a member of the Scheduled Castes, applied pursuant to the said advertisement. The screening test was conducted and, thereafter, 85 candidates were selected for interview in the ratio of 1:3. While 81 candidates ought to have been called for interview, the last five candidates were called for interview as they had secured the same marks. After a written examination was held and the candidates were selected for interview, these candidates were directed to submit their testimonials in proof of their possessing the prescribed qualifications. 49 candidates were eliminated as they did not fulfill the eligibility criteria as stipulated in the advertisement, leaving 36 candidates eligible to appear in the interview. The petitioner is one among the 36 candidates in the first merit list who were found eligible to appear in the interview.4. The Uttarakhand Public Service Commission, instead of confining the process of interview only to the 36 eligible candidates, called the next 45 candidates in the merit list of candidates found successful in the written examination. The petitioners complaint is that the selection process should have been confined only to the 36 candidates found eligible as per the original select list; and the action of the Commission in again calling upon 45 more candidates to appear in the interview from among those who appeared in the written examination is arbitrary and illegal.5. Mr. Ajay Veer Pundir, learned counsel for the petitioner, would submit that the Public Service Commission has been selective in applying this procedure; while this procedure has been adopted for filling up the vacant posts of Assistant Professor (Education), 22 posts of Assistant Professor (Zoology) were carried forward on the ground that eligible candidates were not available; this amounts to hostile discrimination; and the Commission should, therefore, be directed not to call the 45 candidates, in the second merit list, for interview.6. On the other hand Mr. B.D. Kandpal, learned Standing Counsel for the Commission, would rely on Rule 5 of the Uttarakhand Public Service Commission Examination Result Preparation Procedure Rules, 2012 , as amended in 2016 (for short 'the 2012 Rules'), to contend that candidates are required to be called for interview in the ratio of 1:3; at the stage of the screening test, the applicants are not required to submit their testimonials in proof of their fulfilling the eligibility criteria stipulated in the advertisement; it is only after they are found successful in the screening test, and are called for interview in the ratio of 1:3, are they required to furnish their testimonials; in the present case, 49 candidates were found ineligible on verification of their documents; as a result, only 36 candidates remained to be subjected to interview in order to fill up 27 posts of Assistant Professor (Education); Rule 5 of the 2012 Rules stipulates that, if eligible candidates are available to be called for interview at least in the ratio of 1:2, ie if 54 or more candidates had been found eligible to appear in the interview to fill up the 27 posts of Assistant Professor (Education), the Commission would then have ben entitled to proceed and hold the interview for those candidates; however, in case the shortfall in eligible candidates results in the number of those eligible falling below the ratio of 1:2, it is then open to the Commission to make up the shortfall by calling candidates, lower in merit in the screening test, to also appear in the interview in the ratio of 1:3.7. The 2012 Rules were made by the Commission in the exercise of the powers conferred on it under Section 11 of the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (Regulation of Procedure) Act, 1985 ; and the 2012 Rules are, therefore, statutory in character. Rule 5 of the 2012 Rules requires candidates to be called for interview in the ratio of 1:3. The said Rule also enables the Commission, in case the eligible candidates fall below the ratio of 1:2, to make up the shortfall in the ratio of 1:3 by calling candidates, lower in merit in the written examination, to appear in the interview. In the present case, as a result of 49 candidates being found ineligible, during the course of verification of testimonials, the number of candidates who were found eligible to appear in the interview fell down to 36. Applying the ratio of 1:2 for the 27 advertised posts would have required a minimum of 54 eligible candidates being available to be called for interview. Since, in the present case, only 36 candidates were found eligible to appear in the interview, which was far below the minimum required number of 54 candidates, Rule 5 enabled the Commission to select 45 more candidates, lower in merit in the written examination, and invite them to appear in the interview.8. That the Public Service Commission has been conferred such a power, under Rule 5 of the 2012 Rules, is not in dispute, Mr. Ajay Veer Pundir, learned counsel for the petitioner, would however contend that Rule 5 requires the Commission to take a considered decision regarding inviting candidates lower in merit in the written examination to appear in the interview and, thereafter, issue a notification calling upon such candidates to appear in the interview. He would submit that there is no material on record to show that the Commission had taken any such considered decision. We must express our inability to agree. The very fact that the Commission has issued a notification inviting 45 candidates, lower in merit in the written examination, to appear in the interview is proof that they had taken a conscious decision in terms of Rule 5 of the 2012 Rules.9. With regards the contention, urged on behalf of the petitioner, that this procedure was not followed while selecting candidates for the post of Assistant Professor (Zoology), it is necessary to note that the notification only records that 22 posts were being carried forward of which 9 were reserved for the Other Backward Classes, 9 in favour of the Scheduled Castes and 4 in favour of the Scheduled Tribes. Posts, vertically reserved in favour of the OBCs, the SCs, and the STs, cannot be filled up by general category candidates; and, consequently, 22 posts of Assistant Professors (Zoology) were carried forward to the next selection process. Even otherwise as the action taken by the Commission, in filling up the posts of Assistant Professor (Education) is in accordance with the 2012 Rules, the mere possibility of the 2012 Rules not having been adhered to while selecting candidates for the posts of Assistant Professor (Zoology) would not vitiate the selection undertaken to fill up 27 posts of Assistant Professor (Education). It is only candidates, who were eligible to appear for selection to the post of Assistant Professor (Zoology), who can be said to have any grievance in this regard, and not the petitioner who had only participated in the selection process to be considered for appointment to the post of Assistant Professor (Education), and not for the post of Assistant P

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rofessor (Zoology). Even if the submission of Mr. Ajay Veer Pundir, learned counsel for the petitioner, that the selection process, to select candidates for the post of Assistant Professor (Zoology), stood vitiated were to merit acceptance, illegality in the procedure adopted to select candidates for the post of Assistant Professor (Zoology) would not justify a similar illegality being perpetuated in selection to the post of Assistant Professor (Education). ( Chandigarh Administration vs. Jagjit Singh & another: (1995) 1 SCC 745; State of Madhya Pradesh & others vs. Ramesh Kumar Sharma: AIR 1994 SC 845 ).10. Viewed from any angle, we see no reason to interdict the process of interview being conducted by the respondent-Commission for appointment to the posts of Assistant Professor (Education).11. The Writ Petition fails and is, accordingly, dismissed. No costs.
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