New Delhi, April 8
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashing appointment of 1,983 Physical Training Instructors in schools in Haryana in 2010 and asked the state staff selection commission to conduct the recruitment process afresh.
It has directed the process be concluded within five months from the date of lifting of the lockdown.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Navin Sinha, in the judgement pronounced through video conferencing, upheld the verdicts passed by the single and division benches of the high court quashing the appointment process conducted during the Congress government led by B S Hooda.
“The (Haryana Staff Selection) Commission shall conclude the entire selection process initiated by the advertisement No.6 of 2006 as per criterion notified on December 28, 2006 i.e. holding objective type written test of 200 marks and viva voce of 25 marks. All the applicants who had submitted applications in response to the above advertisement including those who were selected shall be permitted to participate in the fresh selection as directed,” the bench said.
It rejected the plea of the selected candidates that they have been working since 2010 and may be allowed to continue on their posts and said that they were allowed in pursuance of interim orders.
“In the present case, result of the selection dated April 10, 2010 was published on April 11, 2010 and the writ petitions were filed in May, 2010 itself, i.e., immediately. Selection was set aside by learned Single Judge on 11.09.2012. The continuance of the appellants is only by way of interim order,” it said.
Appointment process was conducted during the Congress regime led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda
“This Court has also passed an order on November 29, 2013 for maintaining status quo, which order has been continued till this date. When the continuance of a person on a post is by virtue of an interim order, the continuance is always subject to outcome of the litigation. The displacement of appellants from their posts is inevitable consequence of upholding of the judgment of the High Court,” it said.
The candidates who have been selected and have worked on the post of the instructor shall not be asked to refund any of the salary and other 84 benefits received by them as against their working on the posts and no refund shall also be asked from those candidates who after their selection worked and retired from service, the judgment said.
It asked the state panel to complete entire selection process within a period of five months from the date it starts working after the present lockdown is over.
The single judge bench of the high court, on September 11, 2012, had set aside the selection of 1,983 instructors made by the commission on April 10, 2010 in pursuance of the advertisement issued in 2006 on account of changes made in the selection process. The decision was upheld by the division bench of the HC.
Dealing with the appeals of the selected candidates and the state panel, the bench said when the selection was set aside, the fresh selection process should have been held as per the advertisement of 2006 and process of recruitment has to be brought to its logical end.
It said that the High Court should have directed to complete the process from that stage of holding the written test for the instructor.
“All the candidates who had applied for the post of Physical Training Instructor including those selected, ought to have been permitted to take the written test. We need to clarify that in the facts of the present case there was no requirement of fresh advertisement and inviting fresh applications.
“In the event fresh applications are called, large number of applicants who participated in the selection would have become over age. All the applicants who had applied in response to advertisement No.6 of 2006 had right to participate in selection as per criterion notified on 28.12.2006. The direction of learned Single Judge needs modification and clarification to the above effect,” the apex court said.
The Haryana Staff Selection Commission had invited applications for 1,983 posts of the instructors in 2006 and had appointed them in 2010.
In pursuance of advertisement, 20,836 applications were received by the Commission which had decided to hold the written examination on January 21, 2007.
The notification further provided that candidates equal to three times of the vacancies will be called for interview based on their performance in the written test.
However, later a public notice was issued by the Commission that due to several complaints of malpractices and cheating the written examination would be cancelled.
Another notice was issued by the Commission re-notifying the written examination for the instructors.
However, before the fresh written examination could take place on July 20, 2008, third notice was issued by the Commission cancelling the written test.
Then the selection panel decided to shortlist the candidates for interview based on the written test which it had decided to cancel. It then employed 1,983 PTI leading to pleas in the HC. — PTI
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