A two-judge Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna while holding that the judgment of Allahabad High Court is unsustainable, has held that the High Court ought not to have passed an order directing the State to appoint two persons to the single post of Deputy Collector.
An appeal was preferred assailing the judgment of Allahabad High Court which had directed the State-Appellant to re-consider the matter of appointment of Respondent No. 1- Original Writ Petitioner to the post of Deputy Commissioner. However, the High Court had clarified that the appointment of Respondent No. 2 to the same post would not be disturbed, thereby creating the possibility of appointment of two persons to a single post.
In this case, the Public Service Commission had recommended the name of Respondent No.1 for the appointment to the post of Deputy Collector. While the medical examination of the Respondent No. 1 was scheduled, Respondent No. 2 approached the High Court seeking appointment as Deputy Collector. The Division Bench of the High Court directed the Commission to recommend the name of Respondent No. 2 for appointment to the post of Deputy Collector. In compliance, the Commission withdrew the name of Respondent No.1 and appointed Respondent No. 2.
Respondent No. 1 then filed a Writ Petition challenging the continuance of Respondent No. 2 in the post. The Division Bench of the High Court directed the Commission to consider Respondent No. 1 for the post of Deputy Collector, without disturbing the appointment of Respondent No.2 to the same post.
The Apex Court had stayed the judgment of the High Court during admission of the Appeal, as a result of which Respondent No. 1 was not appointed to the post of Deputy Collector and during the pendency of the Appeal, Respondent No.1 retired from the post of Deputy Transport Commissioner on attaining the age of superannuation.
Even though the Appeal had become infructuous and the Respondent No. 1 did not appear before the Court, the Court considered the Appeal on merit.
The Apex Court held, "The observation made by the High Court that the original writ petitioner be appointed without disturbing the appointment of Ajay Shankar Pandey cannot be sustained. This is because two persons cannot be directed to be appointed to a single post. Therefore, the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court deserves to be quashed and set aside."
"We have noted the submission on behalf of State and the respondent No.2 – Ajay Shankar Pandey that during the pendency of the present proceedings, respondent No.1 has retired in the post of Deputy Transport Commissioner on 31.08.2019 on attaining the age of superannuation and therefore also the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is not capable of being implemented," the Bench opined.
In the light of these observations, the Court allowed the appeal and set aside and quashed the impugned judgment of the High Court.