Srinagar: High Court of J&K and Ladakh has ruled that if there is a common interview of a candidate who has applied against two separate notifications for a post, the candidate cannot be shown absent in the interview against one of the notifications during the selection process.
Upholding its single bench decision whereby selection of a candidate , Mir Behjat Un Nazir by Services Selection Board (SSB) for the post of Assistant Superintendent Jail was quashed , a division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dar held that another candidate Shazada Musharib was entitled to selection for the post in place of Mir.
The SSB vide advertisement notice number 2 of 2003 dated 10.12.2003 had invited applications for one post of Assistant Superintendent Jail under open merit category and prior to that Board had issued advertisement notice number 1 of 2001 dated 11.01.2001 inviting applications for the post.
Mir being eligible for the post, applied pursuant to the notification dated 10.12.2003 whereas Musharib also being eligible for the post responded to both the notifications.
During the selection process Musharib was called for interview in respect of both the notifications whereas Mir who had responded to notification number 2 of 2003 only was called for interview in respect of said notification only.
After conducting interview of eligible candidates, the SSB recommended selection of three candidates for the post, two under open merit and one under RBA category.
While Mir was recommended for appointment in respect of advertisement notice number 2 of 2003, Musharib did not find entry in the select list of either of the two notifications.
Aggrieved of Mir’s selection, Musharib petitioned court through advocate M Ashraf Wani with the contention that a single and common interview was conducted for the posts of Assistant Superintendent Jail notified vide the two notifications and he should have been awarded marks in the viva voce in respect of selection pertaining to both the notifications.
“ But instead of doing so, the Board has shown him ‘absent’ in the interview( viva voce test) in reference to advertisement notice no.02 of 2003” he said.
He contended that he was awarded 13 points in viva voce with reference to advertisement notice number 1 of 2001 and if the same number of points would have been awarded and added to the points secured by him with reference to advertisement notice number 2 of 2003, he would have secured 49.32 points which is higher than 40.40 points secured by the selected candidate, Mir.
He contended that only a single and common viva voce test was conducted by the Services Selection Board and, as such, there was no reason for the Board or the Selection Committee to show him ‘absent’ with reference to viva voce pertaining to advertisement notice number 2 of 2003.
In its objections to the plea, the Board said the candidates in respect of two separate notifications were required to fill up the checklist forms and Musharib had filled up checklist form for only notification No.01 of 2001. The single bench vide its judgment dated 22.10.2019 accepted the contention of Musharib and quashed selection of Mir against the post of Assistant Superintendent Jail. Mir challenged the judgment before DB of the Court.
While accepting contention of Musharib, the DB said: “From the examination of the record of the two notifications, it comes to the fore that the selection process in respect of both these advertisement notifications has proceeded simultaneously and together”. The DB held that in fact, the Board’s record suggested that in the case of some of the candidates who had applied pursuant to both the advertisement notifications, similar points were awarded in the viva voce in respect of both the notifications. One such example, the Court said, was that of one Shahbaz who had applied pursuant to both the notifications and was awarded 9 points in the viva voce test in respect of each of the notifications.
Pointing out that in case of Musharib the similar course had not been followed, the court said the Board had shown absent in respect of viva voce test conducted with reference to notification No.02 of 2003, while awarding him 13 points for the viva voce test in the selection pertaining to notification of 2001.
With regard to the findings of single judge that there had been tampering in the checklist form filled up by Musharib, the DB: “A minute examination of the check list form in question would show that details regarding advertisement notice and date have been changed by effecting correction so as to show that the same pertains to advertisement notice No.01 of
2001. “ The record clearly suggests that the officers and officials of the respondent Board have connived with the appellant in denying the rightful claim to the writ petitioner”, it said.
Upholding the judgment of the single bench to the extent it quashed the selection of Mir as Assistant Superintendent Jai, the DB said the petitioner was entitled to selection for the said post in place of Mir. Accordingly, it directed the SSB to recommend name of the Musharib for his appointment as Assistant Superintendent Jail, where after the Competent Authority, it said, shall accord consideration to his appointment.