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Allahabad High Court quashes plea regarding appointment of Principal to Inter College, says once a selected candidate joins, the selection process is over

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The Allahabad High Court has observed that with the joining of a candidate in the select list, the process of selection is complete then the waiting list cannot be acted upon.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Piyush Agrawal passed this order, while hearing a petition filed by Mashkoor Hasan.

The intra-court appeal challenged an interim order passed by a Single-Judge Bench on August 11, 2021, in a writ petition filed by respondents.

Arvind Kumar Pandey, Counsel appearing for a private respondent, raised a preliminary objection regarding maintainability of the appeal against the interim order passed by the Single Judge.

Radha Kant Ojha, Senior Counsel appearing for the appellant submitted that an advertisement was issued for selection and appointment to the post of Principal in various institutions, including Rani Avanti Bai Inter College, Marhara, District Etah in 2002.

The select list was notified on September 29, 2003. So far as the select list of the College is concerned, Dinesh Vashishth was at Serial No 1 whereas Sudhir Kumar Gupta was at Serial No 2 and the appellant was at Serial No 3 in the merit list.

A writ petition was filed by Sudhir Kumar Gupta, the candidate at Serial No 2 in the merit list, with reference to the said selection and appointment.

In the said writ petition, order dated September 3, 2008, operation of the orders impugned therein dated July 31, 2008 and August 12, 2008, was stayed.

The said order was challenged by Dr Dinesh Vashishth by filing a Special Appeal, which was allowed on September 25, 2008. While setting aside the order dated September 3, 2008 passed by Single Judge, a request was made to the Single Judge for deciding the writ petition expeditiously. The writ petition is stated to be still pending.

The Senior Counsel further submitted that Dr Dinesh Vashishth, who was at Serial No 1 in the merit list has since retired after attaining the age of superannuation, he is no more a candidate. The candidate at Serial No 2 in the merit list namely, Sudhir Kumar Gupta has also left service and hence is no more interested to be appointed as Principal of the College.

Hence, the appellant was the only candidate available from the select list for being offered appointment as Principal of the College. As his claim was not being considered, he filed a petition before the Court.

The said writ petition was disposed of on November 11, 2020 with a direction to the Joint Director of Education, Aligarh Region, Aligarh to consider and decide the representation filed by the appellant.

In Pursuant to the aforesaid order, the claim of the appellant was considered and order dated June 26, 2021, a direction was issued for appointment of the appellant as Principal of the College. As far as competence of the Joint Director of Education to direct for appointment of the appellant as Principal is concerned, reference was made to Rule 13(4) of the Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Services Selection Board Rules, 1998.

It was further argued that in the Rules, there is no time limit prescribed for the life of a select list.

In response, counsel for Private respondent/writ petitioner submitted that, undisputedly, the select list, on the basis of which the appellant is seeking appointment, was notified on September 29, 2003.

The appellant was at Serial No 3 in the merit list. He was never a party in any litigation pending before the Court as it was a lis between the candidates at Serial Nos 1 and 2, which is still pending in the Court.

Though the litigation was pending, still, undisputedly, the candidate at Serial No 1 in the merit list namely Dr Dinesh Vashishth was issued an appointment letter on July 16, 2008 and he had even submitted his joining on July 19, 2008.

Counsel for the State submitted that the candidate at Serial No 1 in the merit list namely, Dr Dinesh Vashishth was issued an appointment letter on July 16, 2008 and he joined as Principal of the College on July 19, 2008. However, in the year 2011, he left the job and went back to his parent institution, where he was working prior to his appointment and joining as Principal of the College. He retired on July 31, 2020 after attaining the age of superannuation.

The Court observed that certain basic facts, which are not in dispute, are that an advertisement was issued for selection and appointment to the post of Principal of the College in the year 2002. The select list was notified on September 29, 2003 in the following order of merit:

1. Dr Dinesh Vashishth

2. Sudhir Kumar Gupta

3. Mashkoor Hasan

As is evident from the select list, the appellant was at Serial No 3 in the merit list. From the order dated September 3, 2008 passed by the Single Judge, filed by Sudhir Kumar Gupta, the candidate at Serial No 2 in the merit list, it is evident that there was some litigation pending in the Court with reference to the selection in question. Finally, it was upheld by the Supreme Court in the year 2008. It was a dispute between the candidates at Serial Nos 1 and 2 in the merit list, Dr Dinesh Vashishth and Sudhir Kumar Gupta.

The order dated September 3, 2008, the Single Judge of the Court had stayed operation of the orders therein, dated July 31, 2008 and August 12, 2008. In an appeal filed against the aforesaid order by Dr Dinesh Vashishth, the order passed by Single Judge was set aside on September 25, 2008 with a request to the Single Judge to decide the writ petition expeditiously. It was observed in the aforesaid order that the life of the select list would continue till the decision of the writ petition.

The Court held that the undisputed facts which emerge from the documents available on record are that in pursuance of the selection process, the candidate at Serial No 1 in the merit list namely, Dr Dinesh Vashishth was issued appointment letter on July 16, 2008.

In pursuance thereto, he submitted his joining report and was permitted to join as Principal of the College on July 19, 2008. He continued to work as such till the year 2011, as submitted by counsel for the State. There is no quarrel with the proposition of law that with the joining of a candidate in the select list, the process of selection is complete and the waiting list cannot be acted upon. Even if, for the time being, we do not opine on the issue regarding life of a select list herein, no rules were cited to show about the validity of a select list.

Only reference was made to the observation made by the Division Bench of the Court in Special Appeal, wherein it was recorded that the select list would remain valid till the decision of the writ petition filed by the Sudhir Kumar Gupta, who was at Serial No 2 in the merit list questioning the appointment of Dr Dinesh Vashishth who was at Serial No 1 in the merit list.

“The appellant was nowhere in the picture. The order could have relevance to the claim of Sudhir Kumar Gupta, for appointment as Principal and not for any other candidate.

Even otherwise, in the case in hand, the select list was notified on September 29, 2003 and appointment on the post was sought and offered to the appellant in the year 2020-21. The claim made by the appellant to the post, in the aforesaid factual matrix by filing a representation and then a writ petition in the year 2020, was otherwise also highly belated. The post in question was vacated by Dr Dinesh Vashishth in the year 2011″, the court further observed.

The Court said that it did not find any reason to interfere in the appeal, accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

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