SRINAGAR, Dec 13: The High Court today directed the Services Selection Board (SSB) to conclude the process of selection for the posts of Assistant Information Officers (AIOs) preferably within a month.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice M Akram Chowdhary closed the contempt proceedings with the direction to the Board to conclude the selection process of AIOs preferably within one month.
The direction followed after the court was informed that the selection on posts in question is on its logical conclusion. Court was further informed that the respondent-Board is taking every possible step to ensure that the selection in question is taken to its logical conclusion as early as possible.
“…this contempt petition, with the consensus of the counsel for the parties, is disposed of with a direction to the respondents to take the selection process to its logical end in tune with the mandate of the judgment”, the DB directed.
Court has given liberty to the petitioner to approach the court again in the event any grievance qua the implementation of the basic judgment remains.
In the basic verdict, court had declared the selection process of 29 Assistant Information Officers by SSB as invalid and had directed for fresh selection to these posts.
Aggrieved candidates who had challenged the 2013 selection list issued by SSB by way of a writ petition and after discussing various aspects of the case, the writ court in its judgment had concluded that 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 the 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 first to 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.
The SSB had issued three different notifications in 2006, 2008 and 2010, inviting applications for the posts of Assistant Information Officer Grade-II. Subsequently, the SSB issued a provisional selection list on 21st January 2012.
Subsequently, the writ court judgment has been challenged before and the Division Bench in May 2013 had 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 is mentioned here that 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.
“We do not see any ground to interfere with the impugned order(s). The Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) are accordingly dismissed,” Supreme Court says while dismissing SLP filed by the then State Government.