SKIMS selections: HC directs completion of process, dismisses appeal

Imposes Rs 5,000 fine on institute
SKIMS selections: HC directs completion of process, dismisses appeal
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The J&K High Court has imposed Rs 5000 fine on Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS) for delay in finalization of the list of Assistant Professor in three disciplines at the institute,

A division bench of Justice Ali MuhammadMagrey and Justice D S Thakur imposed the fine while dismissing an appealagainst its single bench order.

The bench termed as 'unfounded' the contentionof the SKIMS authorities that the finding of the single judge vis-à-vis thecutoff date for obtaining degree for the posts in question was erroneous.

In a judgment, the single judge had directedthe Director SKIMS on 10 October 2017 to declare the result of candidates whohad applied for the posts of Assistant Professor in the departments ofNeurology, Plastic Surgery and Neurosurgery, the Super Specialty disciplines.

After it found that five petitioner candidateseligible for the posts, the court had directed the SKIMS to declare theirresult and finalize the selection process.

Pursuant to interim direction on 23 November2016, the petitioners were admitted by the court to selection process.

In terms of advertisement Notice (No 7 of 2016issued on May 5, 2016), the SKIMS had specified 25 September 2016 as the lastdate for submission of applications along with certificates while the effectivedate up to which the requisite experience was to be completed was 30 June 2016.

In the advertisement notice the SKIMS hadmentioned that the candidates (Super Specialty disciplines) who have three yearMCh or DM degrees do not require experience.

The petitioners were however informed by theSKIMS administration that the screening committee constituted by the governmenthad declared them ineligible for the posts due to completion of requisitequalification/degree after cutoff date.

The aggrieved candidates filed writ petitionbefore the single bench. While disposing of the petition, the single judge heldthat the five petitioners had done their DM/MCh well before the cut of date of25 September 2016.

"The communications as sent to the petitionersby the Senior Administrative Officer (Member Secretary Screening Committee)that they lack the eligibility is totally misplaced and without any basisrunning totally contrary to the condition of the advertisement notice," thecourt had said. 

However the SKIMS filed an appeal before thedivision bench and contended that the view taken by the single judge waserroneous as the cutoff date for obtaining the degree could not have been takento be the last date of submission of forms (25 September2016). 

"The effective date up to which the requisiteexperience had to be completed was 30 July 2016," the SKIMS said.  

However the division bench observed that thecutoff date was always the last date of submission of forms and the effectivedate, prescribed in the advertisement notice, was only with respect to theexperience.

"Therefore, the writ court, in our consideredview, has appreciated the matter in its right perspective," the bench said.

Since petitioners before the single bench wereadmittedly holding their DM/MCh degrees, the court held there was norequirement of experience and they were very much eligible for the post.

The matter, the court said, has been prolongedunnecessarily by the SKIMS- firstly by issuing communications to the aggrievedcandidates about their ineligibility and subsequently by filing the appeal.

"The issue involved has been stretched too farto survive for three long years of litigation," it said.  

Pulling up the SKIMS authorities the courtsaid: "It does not require one to be a rocket scientist to determine the issueinvolved as the plain reading of the advertisement notice makes it lucidlyclear that the aspiring candidates had to have the requisite experience by 30June 2016, and the last date fixed was 25 September 2016".

The court said it was also clear that thecandidates with DM/MCh did not require any experience. "The issue has obviouslybeen blown out of proportion for no good reasons, therefore, not only the LPAis required to be dismissed, but the appellant institute is required to beburdened with costs also for the unnecessary litigation," the court said. 

While dismissing the appeal the court imposedthe fine on the SKIMS to be deposited in the Lawyers Welfare Fund.

While upholding the single bench judgment, thecourt directed the SKIMS to proceed in the matter in terms of the directionscontained in the judgment.

The aggrieved doctors were represented by senior advocate Jahangir Iqbal Ganai.

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