Tripura High Court dismisses PIL seeking quashing the merit list of candidates selected in Jr. Grade Stenographer exams


The Tripura High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking quashing candidates selected in the final merit list of PA-II (Jr. Grade Stenographer), Group-C under the West Tripura District Judiciary prepared by the respondent No.1 (High Court of Tripura) on 27.07.2022.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice (Acting) Justice T. Amarnath Goud observed that earlier the Petitioner had filed a PIL seeking  quashing the final merit list of 84 candidates for the post of PA-II (Jr. Grade Stenographer) (Group-C) under District Judiciary of Tripura prepared by the District & Sessions Judge, West Tripura, Agartala on 27.07.2022. The same is withdrawn by the Counsel for the Petitioner later.

Now, by filing the present petition in December, 2022, the petitioner has challenged the notification which has been issued on 12.01.2021 and the reasons for filing the petition by way of Public Interest Litigation after almost two years time is not explained. On the said ground of laches, the  court is not inclined to entertain the present petition.  

Further, argument has been advanced on the ground of Tripura Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Reservation Rules, 1991 have been violated by the Tripura District Courts’ Ministerial Establishment (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2014 where categorically Rule 17 of the said  Rules deals with the reservation save as otherwise provided in these Rules Reservation in direct recruitment and promotion for various categories of posts on the district Courts’ Ministerial Establishment with respect to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Physically Disabled Persons shall be in accordance with the prevailing policies of the State Government. If no such suitable candidate is available, the posts will be filled up by the candidate other than those of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Physically Disabled person . But the present notification and the procedural manner in which the final list has been prepared is in gross violation of the Tripura Rules, further observed by the High Court.

The counsel for the petitioners has advanced in his argument that in the final list 24 unreserved categories of person have been placed in the category of SC, ST vacancies. The said action of the respondents is contrary to law and is liable to be set aside , held by the High Court.

On the other hand, D. Bhattacharya, Government Advocate ,  appearing for the respondents has contended that prima facie this Public Interest Litigation is not maintainable as no cause of action has been arisen and the same needs to be dismissed.   

Bhattacharya, further contended that Rule 17 of the Tripura District Courts’ Ministerial Establishment (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2014 though refers to Tripura Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Reservation Rules, 1991 is not violated but strictly the Rules of 2014 followed the said Rules of 1991.

He has drawn the attention of this court to the advertisement issued on 12.01.2021 to the classes wherein it    has categorically stated that the posts notified in the year 2012 had a rider that the vacancies in posts will either increase or decrease and also the advertisement refers to the conditions which is there in Rule 17 of the said Rules of 2014 and prayed that no grievances and no cause of action had arisen and hence, the writ petition needs to be dismissed.

Having heard both sides, the Court is of the view that admittedly, the affidavit filed in support of the present  petition do not indicate the ground of laches. In so far as the contention of the post is concerned, the posts have been increased with malafide intention from 22 posts to 38 seats has also no weightage as the advertisement itself indicated that there will be increase and decrease in notifying the post.   

The other arguments advanced by the counsel that Rule 17 of Tripura District Courts’ Ministerial Establishment (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2014 is in gross violation of Tripura Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Reservation Rules, 1991 is also an argument which cannot be appreciated by this court as categorically Rule 17 which is in two limbs : 

"Save and otherwise provided in these Rules Reservation in direct recruitment and promotion for various categories of posts on the district Courts’ Ministerial Establishment with respect to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, physically Disabled Persons shall be in accordance with the prevailing policies of the State Government."

2 nd limb stipulates that : 
"If no such suitable candidate is available, the posts will be filled up by the candidate other than those of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Physically Disabled person. "

So in the first limb the requirement has already been done and since, no sufficient candidates available. The second limb of Section 17 has been followed by the respondents. Accordingly, the steps have been taken for issuing the final selection list , the Court held.

Lastly, the Court noted that  when attention has been drawn by the counsel for the petitioner regarding 24 persons who are under UR category, have been placed under SC, ST category, the petitioner have not chosen to implead those 24 persons as a parties and he cannot seek any direction against those persons since the prayer itself is asking for quashing the selection list.  Finally, the argument advanced by the counsel appearing for the petitioner cannot be taken since the Rule 17 has not been challenged in order to say that it stands contrary to the Rules of 1991 , observed the Court while dismissing the PIL.