The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh recently observed that there is a sound logic based on the interest of the candidates on the waiting list and that the underlying intention is not to proceed to a new selection for the position already advertised and to save the public treasury from unnecessary expenditure.
The observations were made by Judge Moksha Kazmi Khajuria while hearing a plea under which the applicants had challenged the orders by which the applicants’ engagement as Rehbar-e-Khel in Baramulla, Kupwara and Shopian district under waiting list/panel, had been canceled ab -initio and the respective Zonal Physical education officers/directors had been ordered to strike the names of the petitioners from the attendance register.
The review of the file revealed that the applicants participated in the selection process for the position of Rehbar-e-Khel and found their place in the waiting list prepared by the sponsors. Few of the selected candidates chose not to join and hence the petitioners who were on the waiting list were hired as Rehbar-e-Khel instead of the candidates who chose not to join. The record also revealed that the applicants joined their duties and, while performing their duties as such, a show cause notice which was followed by disengagement orders.
The plaintiffs in their plea challenged the orders inter alia on the ground that the plaintiffs, being fully eligible, were selected after the operation of the waiting list by the competent authority, that is to say the respondent no. . 3 against vacancies left vacant due to non-adherence of selected candidates.
Judging on the matter, Justice Kazmi observed that the waiting list is formulated with the aim of dealing with the emergent situation resulting from the non-adherence of shortlist candidates and persons placed below on the merit of said shortlist, although otherwise deemed suitable for selection and nomination, their names are placed on the waiting list. Candidates from this waiting list can only be nominated for vacancies that may have arisen due to the non-adherence of shortlisted candidates and, therefore, the defendants’ assertion that the petitioners who were on the waiting list are not entitled to be hired as Rehbar-e-Khel against the vacancies caused by the non-adherence of the selected candidates and the chairman of the selection committee, had wrongly hired the petitioners in running the waiting list, is not sustainable in the eyes of the law, the bench pointed out.
Addressing the Respondents’ assertion that, pursuant to Rehbar-e-Khel’s Commitment Policy, more specifically its Clause XIII, there was no possibility of establishing a waiting list and operating it in the selection process in question, the bench observed, that the reading of said clause clearly suggests that if a vacancy is caused for any reason that must be announced within one month.
“However, the expression “vacancy due to any cause” used in the clause, in the light of the aforesaid judgments, really means vacancies which were initially filled and subsequently became available as a result of any subsequent development, but it will exclude vacancies that have been caused due to the non-adherence of the selected candidates, in particular when the waiting list has been duly established and managed by the competent authority”, the bench explained
Explaining the rationale for establishing a waiting list, Judge Kazmi observed that there is a sound logic based on the interest of the candidates on the waiting list and that the intention is not to make a new selection for the position already advertised in order to save the public purse from unnecessary expenditure. Furthermore, it is subject to the subject matter of the policy which provides for the availability of a teacher at school in the mornings and evenings and the applicants were hired after facing the selection process and managing the list of expectation approved by the competent authority. and were performing their duties when the contested orders were issued against them, the court heard.
Further elaborating his mind on the matter, the bench noted that it should be noted here that a waiting list has been established in terms of the engagement policy for the post of Rehbar-e-Khel and that it is managed by respondent no. 3 which was certainly a competent authority to do so and therefore no fault of any kind whatsoever is attributable to the petitioners, as such, they cannot be subjected to the inactions, if any, of the respondents.
Revealing its opinion on the respondents’ assertion that the recognizance orders were issued inadvertently, the panel observed that the respondents cannot act on their whims and whims in a selection matter that involves the careers of hundreds of youth.
“Defendants cannot frustrate the intent and purpose of preparing the shortlist/waitlist. This is not a case where defendants stopped to frame the waitlist by saying that it was inadvertently framed and will be deemed to have been cancelled, they went above and beyond and made it effective and issued the engagement orders as well”, added the Assize Court.
Allowing the motion, the court quashed the contested orders.
Case title: Sajad Tariq and Ors Vs Com Secy Youth Service and Sports.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (JKL) 181
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