HC directs SKUAST-K to proceed with APs selection process

J&K High Court has permitted Sheri Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-K (SKUAST-K) to go-ahead with the process for selection of Assistant Professors (APs) in various disciplines.

A bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey directed the SKUAST to proceed with selection process in the streams of Veterinary Physiology, Live Stock Production Management, Veterinary Public Health and Veterinary Biochemistry.

While SKUAST had initiated the process for filling up the posts in terms of advertisement notices issued on March 7 and 26 last year, the process had not proceeded beyond screening stage.

The selection process had come to a halt after J&K Finance department had raised an objection that the University was required to seek financial concurrence before advertising the posts. Moreover, the department had said that the proposal had to be routed through Agriculture Production department, which is the administrative department.

While the Finance department had ordered that no recruitment against the vacant posts should be made by public sector undertakings, autonomous bodies and societies, without its prior concurrence, the SKAUST had clarified its position that the already advertised sanctioned positions including the posts of the APs in question needed no concurrence. “The order of the Finance department has a prospective effect,” the SKUAST had clarified.

The question for determination to the Court was whether the SKUAST was justified in issuing the advertisement notification without concurrence of the department.

“From the scheme of law governing such selection and appointments, there is no scope for any concurrence to be sought from the Finance department,” the Court said while disposing of the petition by the aggrieved candidates.

Pointing out that the petitioners were admittedly competing the process of selection against the posts created by the University and in terms of the scheme of law were eligible, the Court said the selection process was stalled because of the order issued by the government which was not under challenge but as per the stand of the varsity it has the prospective effect.

In view of the issue raised, the court feels it unnecessary to embark upon the powers of the government and the University qua the concurrence as the University has, on its own, accepted the order issued by the government qua requirement of concurrence before the issuance of advertisement for making selection against any post,” the Court said. “But the fact of the matter is that the government order that puts the selection process on hold is prospective in nature, therefore, the same does not have any bearing to the case in hand.”

The Court said there was no question for consideration of the Court whether the government has any power to override the decision of the appropriate authority of the University when such power was not conferred directly upon the government under the statute or regulation framed there under. “This question is kept open for future consideration as and when such eventuality arises,” the Court said.