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Kerala State Road Transport Corporation and Ors. Vs. Akhilesh V.S. and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (01 Apr 2019)

Mere existence of vacancies or empanelment does not create any indefeasible right to appointment



In present case, the Appellant is aggrieved by the direction to make appointments against 97 vacancies on the post of Blacksmith Grade II. The sanctioned cadre strength of the post was 800, of which 395 vacancies were already filled by substantive appointments. The Appellant made a requisition for 405 vacancies to the Kerala Public Service Commission, which forwarded a recommendation with regard to 351 vacancies initially, and later for another six posts followed by twenty-three more against non-joining vacancies.

Respondent Nos. 1 and 2, being applicants, were empanelled at serial Nos. 284 and 294 respectively in the rank list. Appointments were made till rank No. 278 only. The rank list has expired on 21st October, 2017. The Respondents did not allege discrimination or arbitrariness by violation of the rank list in making appointments. The High Court opined that, the Appellant was obliged to make appointments against requisitioned vacancies including those that may have arisen subsequently, but during the life of the rank list. The short question arising for consideration in these appeals is whether mere empanelment can justify a mandamus to make appointments because vacancies may exist.

The cadre strength has rightly been held not to be a relevant consideration. The High Court has erred in issuance of mandamus to fill up a total of 97 vacancies, including those arising subsequently but during the life of the rank list. Vacancies which may have arisen subsequently could not be clubbed with the earlier requisition and necessarily had to be part of another selection process. The law stands settled that mere existence of vacancies or empanelment does not create any indefeasible right to appointment. The employer also has the discretion not to fill up all requisitioned vacancies, but which has to be for valid and germane reasons not afflicted by arbitrariness. The Appellant contends a financial crunch along with a skewed staff/bus ratio which are definitely valid and genuine grounds for not making further appointments. The court cannot substitute its views over that of the Appellant, much less issue a mandamus imposing obligations on the Appellant corporation which it is unable to meet.

In Manoj Manu v. Union of India, it was held that, merely because the name of a candidate finds place in the select list, it would not give the candidate an indefeasible right to get an appointment as well. It is always open to the Government not to fill up the vacancies, however such decision should not be arbitrary or unreasonable. Once the decision is found to be based on some valid reason, the Court would not issue any mandamus to the Government to fill up the vacancies. The orders of the High Court are accordingly set aside. The appeals are allowed.

Relevant : Manoj Manu v. Union of India, MANU/SC/0782/2017


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