Srinagar: The High Court (HC) Tuesday asked the government to hold a fresh inquiry into the selections made by Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB) which were cancelled by the then governor administration in 2019.
Deciding a batch of petitions by aggrieved candidates, a bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey likened government’s cancellation of appointments to “hanging a person and then seeking to tell him to show cause why he be not hanged.”
On 28 June 2019, the government had cancelled selections made in the KVIB pursuant to advertisement notice dated 8 October 2016. At the same time it had asked Board to provide “opportunity of being heard” to all the candidates appointed to different category of posts and fulfill all other formalities required under law before cancelling the appointments of these candidates.
After hearing senior counsel Zaffar Shah and the government counsel, the Court disapproved of the recourse taken by the government by cancelling the selection first and then affording an
opportunity of being heard to the candidates shown the door.
The court underscored that the government rightly or wrongly, quashed and cancelled the selections and the move did away with the foundations of the appointments. “So, in fact, in effect and in essence, the Government removed the foundations of the appointments of the petitioners made by the Board on the recommendations of the Controller of Examination appointed by the Government itself,” Court said.
“Then the Government proceeded to direct the Board to provide an opportunity of being heard to all the candidates appointed to different category of posts before cancelling their appointments.”
The Court held that once the selection list was cancelled by the Government and the foundations of the appointments removed, the direction to the Board to provide opportunity to the appointees of being heard before cancelling their appointments, obviously had been “nothing more than an empty formality, farcical and lip service to the celebrated principle of affording opportunity of being heard before coming to a conclusion”.
Referring to the government, the court said: “The fact of the matter is that the Government quashed and cancelled the selections, the conclusion to terminate the services of the petitioners had already been drawn and arrived at”. Therefore, the court said, the direction that the Board will provide opportunity of being heard to all the appointees before cancelling their appointments was inconsequential, immaterial and, as a matter of fact, a farce exercise.
The court held that such a course has clearly violated the right to hearing of the petitioners, “the right recognized by the Government itself in the very same order. It said the government order on this ground alone is rendered highly unfair, mechanical and arbitrary.