Civil Judges Selection – Bihar PSC's Decision Of Cancelling Candidature On Grounds Of Failure To Submit Original Certificate Is Unwarranted – SC
A Supreme Court Bench of Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice Vikram Nath set aside the decision of the Bihar Public Service Commission to reject the candidature of 8 candidates on the technicality of not submitting their original certificates at the time of interview. Opining that the decision of the Commission was too harsh, the Court held that "the rejection of the candidates was improper, unjustified and not warranted. We have also taken note of the fact that there are vacancies available, which if filled up by meritorious candidates would only be an asset for the institution helping in disposal of cases pending in huge numbers."
The Petition was filed through AoR Sachin Sharma.
For the recruitment of 349 posts of Civil Judge (Junior Division), the Bihar Public Service Commission issued an Advertisement for conducting the Bihar Judicial Services Examination.
The Appellants, in this case, had admittedly secured higher marks than the last selected candidates in their respective categories but the Commission had cancelled their candidature for want of fulfilment of the conditions required as per the interview call letter.
One of the conditions was to submit the originals of all pertinent certificates. The Commission examined the shortcomings and non-fulfilment of this requirement at the time of the interview and on finding a deficit, the candidature of 58 candidates was cancelled for different reasons.
Some of these candidates approached the Patna High Court through different Writ Petitions, either singly or jointly. The division bench of the Patna High Court did not find favour with such candidates and dismissed their petitions. Aggrieved, 8 candidates preferred the SLP before the Supreme Court. 5 Appellants belonged to the unreserved category, and 3 belonged to the EBC, SC and BC categories.
The Supreme Court found that it was evident that self-attested copies of the certificates required were submitted by the Appellants at the time of their interview and even the originals were later on submitted within a few days, and that their candidature was rejected on the technical ground of not producing the original certificate at the time of the interview, even though they had scored higher marks in their respective category from the marks obtained by the last selected candidate.
The Commission submitted a report to the Court, which stated that there were only 5 remaining vacancies in the unreserved categories, and no vacancies in the EBC, SC and BC categories.
On consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Supreme Court opined that the rejection of the candidates was improper, unjustified and not warranted. Noting the available vacancies, the Court was of the opinion that they must be filled up by meritorious candidates, who would be an asset to the institution helping in the disposal of cases pending in huge numbers.
Considering the issue of adjusting the 8 Appellants against the vacancies, the Court held that the 5 Appellants belonging to the unreserved category could be adjusted against the 5 vacancies available. For the 3 remaining Appellants, the Court opined that the State may either adjust them against future vacancies or the State may borrow three posts from future vacancies, one each in respective categories.
The Court also made it categorically clear that its order would not affect the appointment of the existing judicial officers who had been appointed through the same Advertisement.
Further, the Court also held that the 8 Appellants will be entitled to their respective seniority as per their merit, but would not be entitled to any arrears of salary for the intervening period. To that end, it was held that "All incremental and other benefits of the intervening period would be notionally available to them, but no arrears would be paid."