Prabhakar Kasana Vs. General Manager, Northern Railway and Ors. - (Central Administrative Tribunal) (20 Mar 2018)
A process of selection and appointment to a public office should be absolutely transparent and there should be no deviation from terms and conditions
Present Original Application under Section 19 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, was filed by the Applicant seeking to call for the Records of the case from the Respondents and present Hon'ble Tribunal may graciously be pleased to direct the Respondents to evaluate the answer sheet of the Applicant and if secures marks more than the cut off marks for the OBC category, he should be considered for appointment to any of Group D posts advertised in the said selection. The Applicant made a representation requesting the Respondents to rectify the mistake/anomaly in the result of the written examination and to consider his candidature for selection and appointment on the basis of marks scored by him in the written examination. The Applicant also made another representation in the matter. Thereafter, the present O.A. was filed seeking the reliefs.
It is trite law that, Courts/Tribunals are not invested with the power, authority and jurisdiction to sit in appeal over the decisions taken by the departmental authorities. The Courts/Tribunals, in exercise of power of judicial review, can only examine whether the decision taken by the departmental authorities is vitiated on account of any legal flaw in the decision making process warranting their interference. The Courts/Tribunals can interfere with the decision of the departmental authorities, if it is found that, the authorities have failed to take all relevant factors into consideration, or have taken irrelevant factors into consideration while making the decision, and that the conclusion arrived at by the departmental authorities is perverse, or irrational, or in contravention of any rules.
Admittedly, in the instant case, the candidature of the Applicant has been rejected by the Respondents strictly in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in the employment notice, and his answer sheet has not been evaluated by the Respondents. The terms and conditions contained in the employment notice are sacrosanct and binding on all the candidates as well as the Respondents. The compliance of the terms and conditions contained in the employment notice not only by the candidates but also by the Respondents is mandatory. There is no provision in the employment notice for relaxation of any of the terms and conditions contained in the employment notice. Therefore, the omission and commission on the part of the Applicant could not have legally been ignored by the Respondents.
In terms of paragraph 8.6 of the employment notice, the admission of the Applicant at all stages of recruitment is purely provisional, subject to his satisfying the prescribed conditions. Allowing the Applicant to take the written examination would neither debar the Respondents from rejecting his candidature at a later stage in accordance with the terms and conditions of the employment notice, nor would the same confer any right, much less any enforceable right, to have his answer sheet evaluated by the respondents ignoring the terms and conditions contained in the employment notice.
A process of selection and appointment to a public office should be absolutely transparent, and there should be no deviation from the terms and conditions contained in the Advertisement issued by the recruiting agency during the recruitment process and the rules applicable to the recruitment process in any manner whatsoever, for a deviation in the case of a particular candidate amounts to gross injustice to the other candidates not knowing the fact of deviation benefitting only one or a few. The procedure should be same for all the candidates. Thus, there is no infirmity or illegality in the decision taken by the Respondents rejecting the Applicant's candidature for violation of the terms and conditions contained in the employment notice.
In Bedanga Talukdar vs. Saifuddullah Khan, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has observed that, the selection process has to be conducted strictly in accordance with stipulated selection procedure which needs to be scrupulously maintained. There cannot be any relaxation in terms and conditions of advertisement unless such power is specifically reserved in relevant rules and/or in advertisement. Even where power of relaxation is or is not provided in relevant rules, it must be mentioned in the advertisement. Such power, if exercised, should be given due publicity to ensure that those candidates who become eligible due to relaxation are afforded equal opportunity to apply and compete. Relaxation of any condition in advertisement without due publication is contrary to the mandate of equality in Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.
In Indu Gupta vs. Director, Sports, Punjab, Chandigarh, the Full Bench of the Hon'ble High Court of Punjab & Haryana has observed that the terms and conditions of the brochure where they use peremptory language cannot be held to be merely declaratory. They have to be and must necessarily to be treated as mandatory. Their compliance would be essential otherwise the basic principle of fairness in competitive examinations would stand frustrated. Vesting of discretion in an individual in such matters to waive or dilute the stipulated conditions would per se introduce the element of discrimination, arbitrariness and unfairness. Such unrestricted discretion in contravention of the terms and conditions would decimate the very intent behind such terms and conditions. The brochure has the force of law and has to be strictly complied with.
Furthermore, in the instant case, as per the scheme of the recruitment examination, the candidates shortlisted on the basis of their performance in the written examination were called to appear for PET. After the PET was conducted, the final result of selection was declared and select list was published. Accordingly, the selected candidates were appointed against the vacancies notified in the employment notice, and the recruitment process was closed. Therefore, the Respondents cannot be faulted for not entertaining the Applicant's representations dated 6th August, 2016 and 15th November, 2016 for evaluation of his answer sheet by reviewing their decision rejecting the applicant's candidature for violation of the terms and conditions of the employment notice. Any intervention by the Tribunal in the matter at this belated stage would not only upset the entire select list, on the basis of which the selected candidates have already been appointed against the vacancies notified in the employment notice, but also adversely affect the rights of those selected candidates, none of whom is a party in the present proceedings. Accordingly, the application is dismissed.
Relevant : Bedanga Talukdar vs. Saifuddullah Khan, MANU/SC/1143/2011: (2011) 12 SCC 85, Indu Gupta vs. Director, Sports Punjab and Anr. MANU/PH/0225/1999
Tags : CANDIDATURE REJECTION VALIDITY