SRINAGAR, July 28: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in a significant decision today quashed the selection and appointment of 151 Wireless Assistants (WAs) in Police on the grounds that the appointments were made without issuing advertisement.
The bench of Anand Mathur and Rakesh Sagar Jain (members) of the CAT while quashing Government Order No. 891 Home of 2018 dated 10.07.2018 where-under 151 candidates were selected and appointed, said the Government order of July 2018 is discriminatory and violative of Articles of 14 and 16 of Indian Constitution.
The CAT held the impugned Government order as invalid by recording that the appointments are being made without issuing advertisement for selection and without holding a proper selection process where all eligible candidates get a fair chance to compete violates the guarantee under Article 16 of the Constitution.
The CAT while referring to selection process said, the recruitment to Public Services should be held strictly in accordance with the recruitment rules and publicity so as to enable all persons to participate in the employment drive.
“Deviation, as is sought to be done in the present case, from the rules allows entry to chosen few persons and deprives many others who could have competed for the post and more so, private respondents secured lesser marks that applicants are being given undue preference for employment to the exclusion of applicant”, read the judgment.
Aggrieved candidates had approached the forum seeking quashing of the impugned Government order bearing no. 891-Home of 2018 dated 10.07.2018 and to consider and appoint them against the post of Wireless Operators.
Case of aggrieved candidates was that respondent-State selected Constable (Operator) in J&K Police in pursuance to Advertisement dated 09.03.2007 at district level instead of State or Divisional level vide PHQ order No. 2844-2609 dated 01.08.2009 which was set aside by the High Court vide order dated 09.05.2014 and respondents were directed to reframe the select list.
It is further contended that Principal Secretary to Government Home Department, issued Government Order No. 891 Home of 2018 dated 10.07.2018 creating 151 post of Wireless Assistants and engaging 151 ousted wireless assistants aggrieved of the said process, challenge the same as the appointees had less merit than the applicants.
The Administration in its counter affidavit while justifying the impugned order submitted that the order was issued on consideration of conclusions that the ousted candidates had undergone through a proper selection process conducted by the PHQ and they were placed in the relevant grade of Constable Operators and drawing salary.
They further contended that the ousted candidates underwent the training as is required under the Police Rules, 1960 and the erstwhile-State by providing them training has invested in these candidates, hence, it is in the larger interest of the State, if the ousted candidates are appointed.
In its rebuttal Senior Counsel Jehangir Ganai for applicants submitted that in the matter of public employment, Government cannot adopt a procedure which is violative of law to benefit a few persons to the exclusion of the equally situated persons, and therefore, applicants have the locus standi to challenge the Government Order.
The CAT said the contention that the selected candidates being employed for a number of years and becoming overage, it would be injustice if they be deprived of their employment is devoid force of law and cannot be accepted.
Taking querries on the mode and method adopted by the authorities for selection of 151 candidates, the CAT said, if the State had acted wisely and taken remedial action immediately on the decision of the High Court in 2014, these criteria would not have arisen.
“All the criteria relied upon by respondents to create a separate and distinct class for private (Selected ) respondents have been created artificially due to inaction of the Government. In any case, we find no rational principle for creating a separate and distinct class for the private respondents”, the CAT added.
The CAT recorded that all unemployed persons inclusive of applicants and private respondents form one class and entitled to be considered equally for the public employment offered by the Government and their classification has to be based on some rational principle and the rational principle must have nexus to the objects sought to be achieved.
The CAT said the recruitment to Public Services should be held strictly in accordance with the recruitment rules and publicity so as to enable all persons to participate in the employment drive and deviation, as is sought to be done in the present case, from the rules allows entry to chosen few persons and deprives many others who could have competed for the post and more so, private respondents secured lesser marks that applicants are being given undue preference for employment to the exclusion of applicant.