The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a man under Article 226 of the Constitution who challenged the order of the Department of Personnel and Training via which it rejected the proposal for his appointment as a Director.

A Single Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh held, “… considering the entirety of the matter, the facts, circumstances, submissions, objections, the contents of the impugned order and, most importantly, the contents of the original files as placed before this Court by Ms. Anjana, Under Secretary, Ministry of Culture, this Court does not find any reason to interfere with the impugned order dated 29th January 2022. There were adequate reasons for the ACC for not accepting the proposal for consideration of the petitioner’s candidature for the post of Director at respondent no. 3/NSD.”

The Bench said that the reliefs which the petitioner has been seeking before the Courts have already been granted to him to the effect that his candidature has been considered by the competent and highest authority for appointment.

Advocate Anunaya Mehta represented the petitioner while CGSC Monika Arora, Advocates Yash Tyagi, and Subhrodeep represented the respondents.

The petitioner had applied for the post of Director with respondent no. 3 i.e., National School of Drama (NSD) in pursuance of their advertisement. The petitioner was called for interaction with the Search-cum-Selection Committee and after the interview, he did not receive any call or intimation and accordingly, he filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). It was the case of the petitioner that he received the response to the RTI application whereby it was stated that he was ranked no. 1 on merit for the candidature for the post of Director.

Being aggrieved, the petitioner approached the High Court seeking directions for consideration of his candidature and the Coordinate Bench directed the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) to get the approval for the candidature and in the meantime, the respondents re-notified the vacancy for the post of Director. Subsequently, the petitioner, being aggrieved of the inaction in pursuance of his application, renotification of vacancies and in view of the directions of the Coordinate Bench, filed another writ petition. The Coordinate Bench directed the ACC not to publish the result or issue appointment letters for the said post and to consider the candidature of the petitioner but the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) rejected the proposal for appointment of the petitioner. Being aggrieved, the petitioner approached the High Court.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel noted, “The ACC, being one of the most esteemed Committees playing key role in governance, in all its wisdom made a decision based on recommendations of the Ministry of Culture. All the relevant facts and material as well as inputs were provided to the Committee. … The proforma in itself is comprehensive enough to contain every necessary detail of the person/officer being recommended so as to ascertain his/her eligibility for the post he/she is being considered for.”

The Court said that there was no reason for it to speculate or come to the conclusion that in the case of the petitioner before the court, the rules or procedure were followed any differently.

“… merely because the impugned Office Order, in its contents, did not prescribe the reasons for the decision in bare language, it cannot be inferred that while passing the order the ACC did not deliberate or reflect upon the relevant considerations necessary to arrive at the decision”, further observed the Court.

The Court added that although there was no statutory, or any other, obligation on the ACC to record the reasons for non-approval of the petitioner’s candidature, the record produced before it shows that the reasons were in fact noted in the file of the candidate, i.e., the petitioner.

“… this Court does not find any force in the arguments advanced on behalf of the petitioner that there were no justifiable reasons for non-approval of the petitioner’s candidature”, held the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the petition.

Cause Title- J Thulaseedhara Kurup v. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet through its Secretary & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:5666)

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