16 Jan 2121

The individual who participated in the selection process can bring a complaint against the appointment or selection process - Karnataka High Court

Case : Dr. Raghavendra H K. v. The State of Karnataka and Ors. Writ Petition No.4923/2020 (S - RES)

Court : Karnataka High Court

Bench : Justice M. Nagaprasanna

Decided on : 16 Jan 2121

The Relevant Statutes

Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India

Rules 3, 5, 6 of the Karnataka State Civil Services (Unfilled Vacancies Reserved for Persons Belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) (Special Recruitment) Rules, 2001

Karnataka State Civil Services (General Recruitment), 1977

Brief Facts & Procedural History

1. Bengaluru University has published a notification inviting applications from qualified individuals to fill open positions in various disciplines. The writ petition is over the English discipline at respondent Nos. 5 and 6 - Bengaluru University's Department of English. Under Special Recruitment Rules, the Notification was issued to fill backlog Teaching positions. The Karnataka State Civil Services (Unfilled Vacancies Reserved for Persons Belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) (Special Recruitment) Rules, 2001, have been implemented. 

2. The petitioner and respondent No.7, finding themselves eligible under the Notification, engaged in a selection procedure, and after considering the petitioner and respondent No.7's respective credentials, both the petitioner and respondent No.7 were determined to be eligible on the University's temporary eligibility list. Following a closer examination of both the petitioner's and respondent No.7's qualifications, the University determined that respondent No.7 was qualified to be assigned to the position of Assistant Professor in the University's Department of English.

3. The petitioner is challenging the petitioner's order appointing respondent No.7.

The Issue(s) of the Case

Whether the impugned order, dated 27 December 2019 valid?

The Observations of the Court

1. The Honourable Karnataka High Court referred to the case of Babu Verghese V. Bar Council of Kerala (1999) 3 SCC 422, According to the Apex Court's ruling, the Selecting Authority should have prepared the choose list by the statute's mandate. As a result, preparing the picklist violates the law. Because the petitioner was determined to be qualified, he should have been chosen and appointed instead of respondent No. 7.

2. The Honourable High Court of Karnataka at Bengaluru observed that The Selecting Authorities repeatedly engage in blatantly illegal selections, appoint candidates in violation of the law, and attempt to claim protection under the doctrine of estoppel against candidates who challenge the Selecting Authorities' act and subsequent appointments, on the false premise that the candidate cannot turn around and challenge the selection process or after having participated in the selection process, according to the procedure provided for selection.

3. Referring to the case of Raj Kumar V. Shakti Raj (1997) 9 SCC 527, In this case, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court has said unequivocally that the principles of estoppel and acquiescence would not apply if a government has committed egregious irregularities in the selecting process.

4. Referring to the case of Dr. (Major) Meeta Sahai Vs. Union of India (2019) 20 SCC 17, When the facts of the case are considered in light of the law laid down by the Apex Court in the afore-extracted judgement, the petition cannot be shown the door of the Court for an exit simply because the petitioner took part in the selection process, because it is only the outcome of selection that has revealed the University's illegality in selecting respondent No.7 contrary to the Karnataka State Civil Services (Unfilled Vacancies Reserved for Persons Belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) (Special Recruitment) Rules, 2001.

The Decision Held by the Court

High Court of Karnataka at Bengaluru held 

1. The writ petition is allowed.

2. The appointment of respondent No.7 is quashed.

3. The University is directed to consider the case of the petitioner for appointment to the Assistant Professor in the Department of English – Bengaluru if no other candidate between the ages 29 and 40 is more meritorious than the petitioner.

4. Till the case of the petitioner is considered, respondent No.7 shall not be disturbed.

5. The said exercise shall be carried out by the University within three weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of the order.

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