is settled that exercise of discretion by the selection committee, in the matter
of recruitment, is not required to be interfered with by the Courts, unless it
is found contrary to the rules or is otherwise arbitrary or suffers from
malafide. The Hon’ble Apex Court in Union
Public Service Commission v. M. Sathiya
Priya, (2018) 15 SCC 796, has
observed as under:
Court has repeatedly observed and concluded that the recommendations of the Selection
Committee cannot be challenged except on the ground of mala fides or serious
violation of the statutory rules. The Courts cannot sit as an appellate
authority or an umpire to examine the recommendations of the Selection
Committee like a Court of Appeal. This discretion has been given to the
Selection Committee only, and the Courts rarely sits as a Court of Appeal to
examine the selection of a candidate; nor is it the business of the Court to
examine each candidate and record its opinion. Since the Selection Committee
constituted by the UPSC is manned by experts in the field, we have to trust
their assessment unless it is actuated with malice or bristles with mala fides
or arbitrariness.” Lokendra Kumar Tiwari
v. Union of India, 2019 (2) ESC 712.
In English parlance, the word
“suitable” is assigned the meaning as “appropriate, fitted for the purpose or
acceptable”. Concise Oxford Dictionary defines the word “suitable” as
“well fitted for the purpose; appropriate”. This ordinary meaning is to be
given effect to as a general guide, unless this expression is given special
meaning in a statute or rule in administrative instructions. In R.
(Quintavalle) v. Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority,
(2005) 2 AC 561 : (2005) 2 WLR 1061 : 2005 UKHL 28, the House of Lords remarked
that “the word “suitability” is an empty vessel which is filled with meaning by
context and background”.
In service jurisprudence, where the
word “suitable” is normally examined from the point of view as to whether a
particular person is suitable to hold a particular post, it is construed as
“fit” to hold that post. It would mean that the job profile and job requirement
of a particular post would be seen and then, going by the calibre, competence,
attributes, skill and experience of the candidate, it would be ascertained as
to whether such a person would be able to discharge the duties of the post i.e.
whether he is suited to carry out the functions of the post, to the
satisfaction of his employer.
The prefix “inter se” has also to be
given some meaning as it cannot be rendered otiose. Therefore, whereas while
assessing “suitability”, it has to be seen that a particular officer is not
unfit for the post, when it comes to “inter se suitability”, it has reference
to assessing the suitability of all eligible officers and thereafter finding
who is more suitable to occupy such a post. Union of India v.
Manomoy Ganguly, (2018) 9 SCC 65.
Fraudulently obtained order of appointment or approval can be recalled by the authority concerned. In such cases, merely because the employee continued in service for a number of years, on the basis of fraudulently obtained order, cannot get any equity in his favour or any estoppels against the employer/authority. When appointment or approval has been obtained by a person on the basis of forged documents, it would amount to misrepresentation and fraud on the employer. It would create no equity in his favour or any estoppel against the employer to cancel such appointment or approval since “Fraud and justice never dwell together.” Committee of Management v. State of U.P., (2018) 1 UPLBEC 610.
The principle enunciated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in State of U.P. v. Vijay Kumar Mishra, (2017) 11 SCC 521 are as under:
“The position is fairly well settled that when a set of eligibility qualifications are prescribed under the rules and an applicant who does not possess the prescribed qualification for the post at the time of submission of application or by the cut-off date, if any, prescribed under the rules or stated in the advertisement, is not eligible to be considered for such post. It is relevant to note here that in the rules or in the advertisement no power was vested in any authority to make any relaxation relating to the prescribe qualifications for the post. Therefore, the case of a candidate who did not come within the zone of consideration for the post could not be compared with a candidate who possessed the prescribed qualifications and was considered and appointed to the post. Ramesh Chand v. State of Haryana, (2017) 11 SCC 516.
In Deb Narayan Shyam v. State of West Bengal, (2005) 2 SCC 286, the Court summarized as to when doctrine of equal pay for equal work would apply:
“Large number of decisions have been cited with regard to the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’. The principle is settled that if the two categories of posts perform the same duties and function and carry the same qualification then there should not be any distinction in pay scale between the two categories of posts similarly situated. But when they are different and perform different duties and qualifications for recruitment being different, then they cannot be said to be equated so as to qualify for equal pay for equal work.”
In State of Madhya Pradesh v. Ramesh Chandra Bajpai, 2009 (11) SCALE 619, the court said that it is well settled that the doctrine of equal pay for equal work can be invoked only when the employees are similarly situated. Similarity in designation or nature or equation of work is not determinative for equality in the matter of pay scales. The court has to consider the factors like the source and mode of recruitment/appointment, qualifications, nature of work, the value thereof, responsibility, reliability, experience, confidentiality, functional need, etc., In other words the equality clause can be invoked in the matter of pay scale only when there is a wholesale identity between the two posts.
That doctrine of equal pay for equal work can be invoked only when the employees are similarly situated and that similarity of the designation or nature or quantum of work is not determinative of equality in the matter of pay scales and that the court has to consider several factors and only when there was wholesale identity between the holders of two posts, equality clause can be invoked and not otherwise. Vishal Chand v. State of U.P., 2017 (1) AWC 841.
The concept of double jeopardy, to some extent, is allergic to service law. The Supreme Court has made it clear in as many cases as one can think of (a) that imposition of a punishment and the denial of promotion did not amount to double jeopardy and (b) that the conviction by a criminal court and the disciplinary proceedings initiated on the basis of conduct which led to the conviction or on pure questions of misconduct, did not amount to double jeopardy. Reference in this regard may be had to a Full Bench judgment of the Madras High Court reported in the case of Manikandan and others v. Chairman, Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services, Recruitment Board, Chennai and Others, (2008) 2 MLJ 1203.
In the case of R. Viswan v. Union of India, (1983) 3 SCC 401, the issue of double jeopardy was discussed and in that case Government servant was punished for the same misconduct both under the Army Act as well as under Central Government Rules, and it was held that, two proceedings under the army Act and the Central Government Rules operate in two different fields though the crime or the misconduct might arise out of one and the same Act. The Martial Court proceedings deals with the penal aspect of misconduct while proceedings under the Central Government Rules deals with disciplinary proceedings in respect of the misconduct. Therefore, it was held that it does not amount to double jeopardy. Dashrath Singh v. Andhra Bank, 2016 (150) FLR 540.
The expression ‘year of recruitment’ is used in several legislative enactments in the area of service jurisprudence and has been the subject of judicial precedent. In Harish Chandra Ram v. Mukh Ram Dubey, 1984 Supp (2) SCC 490, it was held that as and when recruitment takes place, the cases of all the candidates including the reserved candidates must be considered according to rules which would arise only when the recruitment takes place. In that context the court observed as under:
“So, as and when recruitment takes place the cases of all the candidates including reserved candidates must be considered according to rules which would arise only when recruitment takes place. Take for instance an hypothetical case. A and B are eligible for consideration and were considered in 1980 for two vacancies and B was found suitable and was appointed to one vacancy in 1982. One more vacancy arose in 1983. In the year 1983, A, C and D were considered. A and D were promoted in 1984. The recruitment years are 1982 and 1984, and not 1980 when one vacancy existed or 1983 when two vacancies existed. So each year is not the year of recruitment. As and when recruitment takes place in a particular year, it would be the year of recruitment.
It is thus clear that the recruitment year is the year in which the recruitment takes place, but not each three successive years in which the vacancy exists. Raeesul Hasan v. State of U.P., (2015) 2 UPLBEC 1441 (FB).