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Scope of review must be looked at differently, facilitating an enlarged view.

Facts: 

  • An advertisement was made for the purpose of filling up of 3587 Group ‘C’ Posts of Gram Panchayat  Adhikari on 22.06.2015. The selection process was completed in accordance with the 2015 Rules. The Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in allowing the writ petition filed by the  private Respondents, setting aside the order passed by the learned Single Judge is assailed before  Hon’ble Apex Court i.e., Supreme Court of India. 
  • Uttar Pradesh Gram Panchayat Adhikari Service Rules, 1978 says that the appointment to the post of  Gram Panchayat Adhikari, introduced by the powers conferred under the proviso to Article 309 of the  Constitution of India. It has undergone amendment in the year 1989. The apex court is concerned with  two amendments by which the earlier Group ‘D’ posts were converted into Group ‘C’ posts, with the  change in the constitution of the committee. The first amendment is to the rule providing for the  aforesaid change and the second one is with respect to Rule 15(1). 
  • Rule 15(1) changes the composition of the Selection Committee while the appointing authority remains  the same. Rule 15(4), which was left untouched by the subsequent amendment, enabled the Selection  Committee to prepare the list of candidates in order of merit as disclosed by the marks obtained in the  interview. It further provides for the list to be enlarged by not more than 25% of the number of total  vacancies. 
  • In accordance with rules, there was no written examination contemplated as against a mere interview  by the Selection Committee. No waiting list as such has been provided expressly, though the list shall  contain a larger number of names in comparison to the vacancies. We shall now place on record the  aforesaid provision to have a better understanding. 

Arguments of the Appellant: 

  • In view of the existence of a specific non-obstante clause, the 2015 Rules, being the later one, and  despite being a general law would take precedence over the 1978 Rules, being the special service rules.  Since the two sets of rules are completely inconsistent, since the authority who is to conduct the  recruitment process is different in the two rules, so also the process of recruitment, as such, there is  no possibility of any harmonious reading of the two sets of rules. 
  • The amendment made to the special rules in the year 2016 would not change the position as it was  done by way of abundant caution, being clarificatory in nature. There is no right vested with the private  respondents and the impleading applicants to the post, and the waiting-list cannot be seen as a  perennial source of recruitment. 
  • It is the sole prerogative of the Appellant and the Commission to prescribe any mode of selection.  Despite the 2015 Rules having been brought to its notice, the High Court failed to duly consider the  same. The implement applicants are fence-sitters and as such are even otherwise not entitled to any  relief. Seeking to strengthen the aforesaid arguments, reliance has been made on the decisions of this  Court in the following cases: 
  • Ajoy Kumar Banerjee v. Union of India (1984) 3 SCC 127,  
  • Mohan Karan v. State of U.P. (1998) 3 SCC 444, 
  • Surinder Singh v. State of Punjab (1997) 8 SCC 488,  
  • Anupal Singh v. State of U.P. (2020) 2 SCC 173,  
  • Union of India v. G.R. Prabhavalkar (1973) 4 SCC 183. 
  • S.S. Balu v. State of Kerala (2009) 2 SCC 479 

Arguments of the Respondents 

  • The 1978 Rules deal with a specified post, and therefore, the 2015 Rules, despite being a  subsequent one will have to yield to it, the former being the special law governing the field. Rule  15(4) of the 1978 Rules clearly provides for a waiting list. A general rule will not have precedence  over a special one, notwithstanding a non-obstante clause, unless there is a clear inconsistency between the two, in which case the two sets of rules will have to be harmoniously construed.
  • The 1978 Rules governed the field until the 2016 amendment, which only came into force after the  interviews in the impugned selection process, and as such, the rules of the game cannot be changed once the game has started. Even otherwise, there is a vested right of appointment against  an advertised post which has remained unfilled due to the non-joining of the more meritorious candidate. 
  • The cases were sought by the respondent advocate: 
  • Maya Mathew v. State of Kerala (2010) 4 SCC 498,  
  • V. K. Girija v. Reshma Parayil (2019) 2 SCC 347,  
  • Chief Information Commissioner v. High Court of Gujarat (2020) 4 SCC 702.  
  • State of U.P. & Anr. v. Rajiv Kumar Srivastava & Anr. SLP (C) CC No. 10604 of 2013 dated  26.07.2013  
  • K. Manjusree v. State of A.P. & Anr. (2008) 3 SCC 512  
  • Dinesh Kumar Kashyap & Ors. v. South East Central Railway & Others (2019) 12 SCC 798

Observation:

On a perusal of the judgment rendered by the High Court, as found earlier, the impugned decisions are made without considering the appropriate provisions despite an endeavour being made drawing its attention to the same. The High Court in our considered view did not take note of the grounds raised in the Review Petition. In a proceeding initiated under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the scope of review must be looked at differently, facilitating an enlarged view. We have already discussed the scope of Rule 15 and the non-availability of any provision for a waiting list in the 2015 Rules. 

Judgement – Allowed 

Original Judgment – THE STATE OF U.P. Vs KARUNESH KUMAR & ORS. – https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2020/12182/12182_2020_8_1501_40528_Judgement_12-Dec-2022.pdf

 

Written By:  Ananya Dey, Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri Law College, Email – ananyadey2517@gmail.com

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