While deciding on the application filed by the Respondent seeking appointment to the post of Assistant Teacher in the Government Primary School in the State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court held that the duty to fill up vacancies from the Additional List (waiting list) can arise only on the basis of a mandatory rule, and in the absence of such a mandate, the decision to fill all the vacancies from the Additional List is left to the wisdom of the State.

Referring to the Karnataka Education Department Services (Department of Public Instructions) (Recruitment) Rules, 1967 as amended in 2001, a Two Judge Bench of Chief Justice Dr. Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha observed that “there is no obligation on the State to make appointments. Mere publication of the Additional List does not create any right to be appointed”.

Advocate V.N. Raghupathy appeared for the Appellant, whereas, Advocate Vikas Mehta appeared for the Respondent.

In a brief background of the case, pursuant to a notification issued by the Department of Public Instructions, the Respondent applied for the post of Assistant Teacher in Government Primary School. However, in the final select list of five candidates, the Respondent was not one of them. Later, an additional wait list was published, which comprised of just one candidate, the Respondent. A few months later when a selected candidate made a representation that she was not inclined to take up the post, the Respondent addressed a letter to the Appellants to consider her candidature. Respondent’s request for appointment was however rejected by the State based on Proceedings of Govt. of Karnataka dated Apr 11, 2003, which provides that an Additional List shall remain valid up to six months only from the date of its publication. The Karnataka Administrative Tribunal also dismissed the Application by relying on the said Proceedings. When the matter reached High Court, it was held that the Respondent was not at fault when she made her application after expiry of six months, and then Appellants were directed to give effect to the Additional List. Hence, present appeal.

By referring to the Govt. Proceedings dated Apr 11, 2003, the Apex Court clarified that the Additional List (wait list) will subsist for a period of six months from the date of its announcement.

In the present case, the selection process which commenced on 23.03.2015, culminated in the issuance of a selection list on 20.01.2016. Thereafter, the Additional List has been notified on 29.02.2016. If the period of six months is calculated from the date of notification of the Additional List, the said list would expire by 28.08.2016. The respondent is said to have applied for the post only on 08.09.2016”, added the Court.

While agreeing that the Govt. Proceedings are only an executive instruction and cannot override the application of Karnataka Education Department Services (Department of Public Instructions) (Recruitment) Rules, 1967 as amended in 2001, the Bench highlighted that Entry 66 of the Rules merely provides that the Selection authority shall prepare and publish an Additional List of candidates not exceeding ten percent of the vacancies and the said list shall cease to operate from the date of publication of notification for subsequent recruitments.

While clarifying that the operation of the Additional List, which is to be published in the official Gazette will depend upon the time specified in the Rule and not as per the knowledge of individual candidates, the Bench said that the High Court has committed an error in assuming the existence of a right to be appointed based on Entry 66 in the Schedule to the 1967 Rules.

Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeal.

Cause Title: State of Karnataka and Ors. v. Bharathi S.

Click here to read/download Order