The Gauhati High Court has directed the appointment of ICU Technicians who were selected during the Covid-19 based on a select list in the year 2020. It said that the need for such technicians is ever persisting and increasing.

The Court was deciding an instant intra-court appeal against the judgment and final order passed by the Single Judge.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Kardak Ete held, “It is not in dispute that till date, the State Government has neither framed any Rules nor any formal process has been evolved governing the selection and appointment of ICU Technicians in the State. The requirement of ICU Technicians across the Government medical facilities would never be reduced and, rather, the need for such technicians is ever persisting and increasing.”

Senior Advocate U.K. Nair with Advocate S.N. Tamuli represented the appellants while Standing Counsel B. Gogoi represented the respondents.

Brief Facts -

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government of Assam, Health and Family Welfare Department, created 800 posts of “Health Workers” including 128 posts of Laboratory Technicians (ICU Technical) to operate 32 newly created ICU units. An advertisement was issued by the Director of Health Services for filling up 640 posts of Staff Nurse and 128 posts of Laboratory Technicians (ICU Technical). Subsequently, the said advertisement was cancelled vide a communication and a fresh advertisement/Walk-in-interview notice was published inviting applications from eligible candidates to fill up 128 posts of ICU Technicians. Later, the number of posts were reduced from 128 to 108 by issuing a corrigendum and altogether 99 candidates were selected in this selection process against the 108 posts advertised and a Select List was published.

Out of the 99 selected candidates, only 40 candidates joined their respective posts and, as a result, 68 posts of ICU Technicians remained vacant. These 68 vacant posts of ICU Technicians were re-advertised and the result of the selection process was published declaring 22 candidates to be selected. Out of the 22 selected candidates, 21 appeared for document verification, which included the appellants herein and since appointment letters were not being issued despite publication of the Select List, the appellants along with other selected candidates submitted representations to the respondents, but to no avail, a writ petition was filed. The respondents contested the case of the appellants by filing a preliminary affidavit-in-opposition in the writ petition, wherein it was pleaded that the appellants were selected hastily through Zoom Interview during the emergent situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. The writ petition came to be disposed of by the judgment and hence the matter was before the High Court.

The High Court in view of the above facts observed, “There is no quarrel on the proposition that the Select List in question was never cancelled. It is also not in dispute that the posts, against which the appellants herein and other writ petitioners were selected, still remain vacant and were also not included in fresh advertisement dated 07.12.2021. It is also an admitted position that many other similarly placed candidates, who were selected through the very same process, i.e. walk-in-interview pursuant to the initial advertisement dated 10.07.2020 were appointed, are serving on their respective posts.”

The Court said that the appellants deserve the relief sought by them in the writ petition, i.e., to be appointed against the permanent posts of ICU Technicians as a consequence of the Select List.

“… the official respondents are hereby directed to act upon the Select List dated 03.11.2020 so far as the appellants herein are concerned. However, the appellants would have to undergo the skill test as may be prescribed by the competent authority before they can be appointed as ICU Technicians”, ordered the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the writ appeal, set aside the judgment of the Single Judge, and directed that the process of appointment shall be completed within three months.

Cause Title- Nayan Moni Deka & Ors. v. The State of Assam & Ors.

Click here to read/download the Judgment