Illegal Appointments - Decision Of Selection Committee Not Considered On Merits - SC Remands Matter To Single Judge
The two-judge bench of Justice M. R. Shah, and Justice B. V. Nagarathna in a matter alleging illegal appointment, has adjudicated that the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court ought to have considered an appeal raised before it, on the grounds of merit and interfered with the wrongful decision made by the Selection Committee.
The original writ petitioner/Appellant was a Technical Assistant Grade-II on daily wage, periodically, at the Respondent-University. Upon notification issued by the Respondent-University, he applied to be a full-time, regular Technical Assistant. On applying, to his dismay, he was placed at a lower rank than other candidates, ignoring his previous work experience as Technical Assistant. Challenging the ranking and the appointment of certain unqualified candidates the Appellant filed a Writ Petition before the High Court.
The Single Judge found the allegations of the Appellant as to the illegal appointment of one of the Respondents to be true due to lack of fulfilling the eligibility criteria and directed the Selection Committee to prepare a fresh rank list for finalizing the appointments. However, the Single Judge granted no relief to the Original Writ Petitioner citing that the court cannot exercise its power under Judicial Review to undo the decision of the Selection Committee made after duly considering the eligibility criteria and experience of the candidates.
On that, the original writ petitioner filed an appeal, and the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court dismissed the appeal, agreeing with the order passed by the Single Judge.
The Appellant approached the Supreme Court, feeling aggrieved by the Order of the Kerala High Court's Division Bench to not interfere with the order passed by the Single Judge.
The Bench observed that – "the High Court was not justified in not deciding the same on merits on the ground that when the Selection Committee has taken a decision, in exercise of powers under judicial review, the High Court is not required to interfere with the same. Under the circumstances to the aforesaid extent the matter has to be remanded to the learned Single Judge. "
The judgment passed by the Division Bench was set aside, and the matter was remitted to the Single Judge for fresh consideration to decide whether the Selection Committee was justified in awarding marks based on experience while ignoring the services rendered by the Appellant.