Unsuccessful Candidate Challenging Selection Bound To Make Selected Candidates Parties: Orissa HC
The Orissa High Court observed that an unsuccessful candidate challenging the selection is bound to make the selected candidates parties.
The Bench of Justice Murahari Sri Raman stressed on the importance of audi alteram partem, while directing the the Odisha Administrative Tribunal to hear the parties in a service matter pending since 2014.
The Court also referred to the case of Sadananda Halo & Ors. vs Momtaz Ali Sheikh & Ors, wherein it was observed that, "they state the basic principle behind the doctrine of natural justice, that is, no order should be passed behind the back of a person who is to be adversely affected by the order. The principle behind proviso to Order 1, Rule 9 that the Code of Civil Procedure enjoins it and the said principle is also applicable to the writs. An unsuccessful candidate challenging the selection as far as the service jurisprudence is concerned is bound to make the selected candidates parties."
Senior Advocate Budhadev Routray, among others, appeared for the petitioners, while Additional Government Advocate Biplab Mohanty appeared for the opposite parties.
The case involved ECG Technicians at SCB Medical College & Hospital, Cuttack (referred to as SCBMCH). In 2010, an advertisement was published for technical posts, including ECG Technicians, on a contractual basis. The petitioners, having the required qualifications, applied and were selected.
After joining, the petitioners were sent for training and subsequently engaged in the Cardiology Department. Despite a proposal to create permanent ECG Technician posts, the government delayed action. In 2014, the government created four permanent ECG Technician posts, but the petitioners were not absorbed.
The Odisha Administrative Tribunal directed the Health Department to consider the petitioners' case, leading to correspondence between the hospital and government. However, the government took no steps, and in 2015, a new advertisement was issued for the existing vacancies. The petitioners challenged this in the Odisha Administrative Tribunal.
The Health Department claimed the petitioners were engaged due to the necessity in the Cardiology Department, and their duties were satisfactory. The petitioners argued that, having completed six years of service, they were entitled to regular appointment under the Odisha Group-C and Group-D Posts (Contractual Appointment) Rules, 2013.
As the case progressed, the petitioners' age became a point of contention, with the hospital arguing they were barred from the recruitment process due to age limits. The petitioners insisted on their right to be considered for absorption into the permanent posts created by the government.
The High Court observed that, "There is no material placed on record by the opposite parties that the petitioners have been lacking any qualification or bore any blemish record during his employment since 2011. The petitioners were selected by a selection process conducted by a duly constituted Selection Committee."
"Since the petitioners have not arrayed the candidates as declared to be selected in the aforesaid merit list vide notice in Annexure-17 to the writ petition in pursuance of the Advertisement No.9119, dated 17.12.2015 read with Corrigendum No.9381, dated 28.12.2015, this Court is not inclined to show indulgence. Hence, the first relief sought for in the writ petition does not deserve consideration.", the court said.
Further, it was observed that for taking appropriate decisions, the opposite party was required to "bear in mind that the petitioners have been continuously working as ECG Technician with requisite qualification. Their names were recommended for regularization in the service by the authority concerned much prior to publication of Advertisement".
Noting that the representations of the petitioners were pending since 2014, the Court directed the opposite party to complete the entire exercise within a period of 3 months.
The petitions were disposed without any order to costs.
Cause Title: Ganesh Chandra Bhuyan & Anr. vs State of Odisha & Ors.