The Himachal Pradesh High Court has said that the Courts cannot enter into merits of selection process in exercise of Judicial Review as it is already scrutinised by the Experts in Selection Committee.

The Bench of Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua observed that “...It would be indeed, treading on thin ice, if the Courts were to venture into reviewing the decision of experts who form part of a selection board. It is not within the domain of the Courts, exercising the power of judicial review to enter into the merits of a selection process, a task which is the prerogative of and is within the expert domain of a Selection Committee, subject of course to a caveat that if there are proven allegations of malfeasance or violations of statutory rules, only in such cases of inherent arbitrariness, can the Courts intervene."

Advocate Vikram Thakur appeared for the petitioner and Deputy Advocate General Seema Sharma appeared for the respondent.

In this case, the petitioner had questioned the selection of respondent no. 3 to the regular post of Drawing Master, reserved for Orthopedically Handicapped General Category. Appointment was challenged after two years, on the ground that additional marks given to him for his diploma in library science should not have been given because there was no nexus between the diploma and the position of Drawing Master.

As per the criteria of selection for the post, 5 marks were to be given for additional qualification and the counsel for the respondent had contended that the same was given to other candidates as well who possessed an additional qualification.

The High Court noted that the petitioner neither questioned the criteria formulated by the respondents for the award of marks nor was the selection committee impleaded as a party.

Moreover, if the petitioner was aggrieved, he should have assailed the appointment at the appropriate stage. Now, it was too late for the petitioner to contend that the award of marks for possessing additional qualification had no nexus with the post, said the Court.

Referring to the decision of Apex Court in the case of Tajvir Singh Sodhi and others Vs. State of Jammu and Kashmir and others wherein it was observed that “the Courts recognize that the process of selection involves a high degree of expertise and discretion and that it is not appropriate for Courts to substitute their judgment for that of a selection committee.”

Accordingly, the Writ Petition was dismissed by the Court as no explanation was offered for the delay and the same was without merits.

Cause Title- Santosh Nanta v. State of H.P. & Ors.

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