HC seeks response from SSB on selection of AIOs

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, Aug 16: High Court today in a contempt petition sought response from Services Selection Board and authorities regarding  finalization of selection process of Assistant information officers. The response has been sought by the Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe from Services Selection Board and others in a contempt petition seeking implementation of judgment of Division Bench.
Respondents have been directed to file the response (Statement of Facts) with regard to implementation of DB verdict by next date of hearing in the matter, whereby Court had declared provisional selection of 29 Assistant Information Officers by SSB as invalid.
Aggrieved candidates had challenged the 2013 selection list issued by the SSB by way of a writ petition and after discussing various aspects of the case, the Writ Court in its verdict had concluded prejudice to petitioners due to the change in criteria in the middle of the selection process and methodology on the date of the Aptitude test and interview held by the Board on October 2011.
The Writ Court while holding the selection process invalid had observed that the Board has sidelined the merit in the qualifying examination, as no credit has been given to higher qualification.
The Writ Court had directed the SSB to finalize the process of selection with promptitude of the eligible candidates who have applied in response to three advertisement notices issued in the year 2006, 2008 and 2010 inviting application for the posts of Assistant Information Officer Grade-II and thereafter the board issued a provisional selection list on 21 January 2012 which has been nullified by the court.
The Writ Court in this connection had asked the board to first constitute the committees as required in terms of law (Rule 6(4) of the Rules of 2010) and fix the criteria in tune with Rule 14 of the Rules of 2010.
Subsequently the Writ Court judgment was challenged before and the Division Bench in May 2013 but it upheld the single bench verdict about the invalidity of provisional selection of 29 AIOs and had directed the recruiting agency to proceed with the selection process afresh in conformity with the rules.
“When the provisional selection list offends the rules, then to continue with the process shall not be permissible because process initiated is a base for follow up, when base is shaken, follow up shall be in-consequential,” the Division Bench had ruled while disposing of appeals against the single bench order.
It may be mentioned here that the authorities did not stop here and approached the Supreme Court by way of SLP challenging therein the High Court verdicts and the Supreme Court on February 20, 2017, also dismissed the appeal of the State Government and upheld the judgments of High Court in which provisional selection of 29 Assistant Information officers issued by the Board has been held as invalid.