The Delhi High Court has directed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to release result of candidates for regular appointment to the post of Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) after considering the age relaxation.

The Court was dealing with a batch of writ petitions preferred by the candidates against the common order of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi (CAT) by which their pleas seeking age relaxation were disposed of.

A Division Bench of Justice V. Kameswar Rao and Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta said, “In the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the considered opinion that in order to facilitate the contractual employees to participate in the recruitment process in conformity with OM dated June 11, 2019 and July 10, 2019, the respondents are bound to consider and grant the age relaxation to the petitioners as a "one-time measure‟. UPSC is accordingly directed to release the result of the candidates after considering the age relaxation in terms of aforesaid OMs and subject to the petitioners‟ satisfying the other terms and conditions of the advertisement.”

Advocates Shivanshu Bhardwaj and Rajiv Singh appeared for the petitioners while Senior Advocate Avnish Ahlawat and Advocates Tania Ahlawat and Nitesh Kumar Singh appeared for the respondents.

In this case, the petitioners were working on a contractual basis as Assistant Public Prosecutor in Government of NCT of Delhi and sought age relaxation for regular appointment to the post of APP. An advertisement was published by the UPSC inviting applications for the post of APP, Directorate of Prosecution, Home Department, Govt. of NCT of Delhi. The maximum age limit for the said post was 30 years for General Category with the provision of age relaxations of 5 years for SC/ST and 3 years for OBC.

Petitioners who were appointed in between 2015 till 2020 became overaged and were unable to apply in response to the said advertisement, since no regular selection process for APP took place in between 2015 and 2021. As a result, the petitioners approached CAT via pleas seeking age relaxation, however, the same were disposed of. UPSC decided to proceed and issued notification whereby the examination date was scheduled for September 19, 2021. In the aforesaid background, the writ petitions were filed by the petitioners challenging the common order passed by the Tribunal.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case observed, “The case of the petitioners stands squarely covered under the policy. The burden lay on the concerned department to invariably indicate the clause of relaxation in upper age limit to the contractual employees while sending requisition for direct recruitment of vacancies to UPSC, which is the concerned recruitment agency. The failure of the department as well as UPSC to notify the advertisement in terms of said OMs cannot be read adversely against the petitioners, who were duly entitled to age relaxation in terms of aforesaid OMs dated June 11, 2019 and July 10, 2019 notified by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi.”

The Court further noted that the department concerned was bound to issue the certificate to the petitioners by indicating the quantum of age relaxation and that the UPSC was bound with the memorandum/policy directions, which stood issued by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi with the approval of the competent authority.

“The equity in favour of petitioners outweighs, as they cannot be termed to be irregularly or illegally appointed against the contractual vacancies. Having gained sufficient experience while working as contractual APPs, any deficiency in age relaxation stands compensated by the valuable experience gained by them. The contentions raised on behalf of the objector/intervener Shitize Rao as well as the respondents are without any merit”, added the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the writ petitions.

Cause Title- Surender Kumar and Others v. Govt of NCT of Delhi and Others (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:7951-DB)

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