Tuesday, April 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

High Court stays lecturers’ appointment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
Taking suo motu notice of reports published in several newspapers, including The Tribune, on investigation in the case pertaining to Punjab Public Service Commission chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the Secretary in the Ministry of Personnel and Home to show cause why the “selection of PCS (Judicial), Deputy Superintendents of Police, lecturers and doctors, besides Block Development and Panchayat Officers, for at least the current year should not be set aside”.

Issuing notice of motion for July 1 on another petition filed by Akhil Bhartiya Anti-Corruption Cell of Ludhiana district, the court also stayed the appointment of lecturers in various government colleges in the state. The directions are significant as about 500 posts were to be filled.

Delivering the verdict in the suo motu case, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh, also asked the Secretary to give details of the record destroyed or burnt during the last one year, besides information regarding the authority responsible for the same.

The Judges also directed the Secretary to explain why the commission should not be restrained from making “any recommendation or appointment to the various cadres of the state services” and why the “appointments on the basis of the recommendations now made by the commission should not be stayed”. He was also asked to inform the court about “the steps being taken by the state government and the PPSC to rectify the wrongs committed in the selection process and to revert back the equities between the candidates who had higher merit”.

In their detailed order, the Judges observed: “Press reports of the last two weeks, referring to the progress in the investigation of a case registered against the PPSC chairman, would shock the conscience of a normal person and distort public faith in the very functioning of the commission. The constitutional dignity of the commission has been shattered and the faith of the common man in its very functioning destroyed by the allegations of corrupt practices adopted by the chairman and other functionaries. Even if an iota of the reports are to be believed, it is a disaster. It would completely destroy the spirit of the system adopted by the quarters concerned for recommendations and appointments to various higher services of the state cadres”.

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar further observed: “Selection on merit is the very essence of such recommendations and appointments in the state services... The averment made in the reports would invite judicial intervention in the larger interest of the public and for those candidates who might have attained higher merit but were not appointed to the posts to which they were entitled because of the corrupt practices and methodology adopted by the persons having a self interest as opposed to public interest”.

The Judge concluded: “The reliability of the entire selection process by the commission can fairly be questioned in face of these allegations. Some of the allegations can hardly be refuted as they are in the shape of money recovered from bank lockers, leakage of papers and delivery of question papers to some of the interested persons. We are of the considered view that in larger public interest and particularly in regard to the appointments and selections to the judicial services, this court should take suo motu notice”.

Earlier during the day, counsel for the Akhil Bhartiya Anti-Corruption Cell contended that interviews were conducted by the commission in an illegal manner against the guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission.Back

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