Read Order: Satish Kumar v. Director General of Defence Estates and others 

Vivek Gupta

Chandigarh, July 16, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that mere selection does not give an indefeasible right to appointment to a candidate against existing vacancies.

A Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Paramjit Singh made these observations while hearing a plea where the petitioner sought appointment as Chief Executive Officer in the Defence Estates Organization for the year 2018-2019.

The petitioner submitted that there were three posts for which the departmental examination was conducted. The result was declared, but the petitioner being not satisfied applied for revaluation on which his marks were increased and as such he came at fourth position in the merit. Later, one of the selected candidates refused to join.

The petitioner stated that he being at no.1 in the waiting list is entitled to get the post which is lying vacant after the selected candidate refused to join as Chief Executive Officer.

The petitioner also stated that he moved the Chandigarh Administrative Tribunal (CAT) against the denial of his right by the department. The CAT dismissed his appeal saying that in the absence of any such rule for preparing a waiting list for successful candidates to fill the vacancies which remained unfulfilled due to not turning up of the candidates to join, it has no power to order that unfilled vacancies be offered to further candidates in order of merit.

Challenging the CAT’s decision before the high court, the petitioner cited various judgements to reach home his argument that once a post has not been consumed and a candidate in the merit list is available then the vacancy could be filled-in by inviting next person in merit.

The counsel for the petitioner further contended that in the present case, the petitioner is at No.4 position in the merit list and due to the reasons stated above, he is to be appointed against the post which has been left by a successful candidate, who has refused to join.

The petitioner further contended that one more selected candidate is ineligible for appointment to the post of Chief Executive Officer. So even his post could be given to the petitioner.

Deciding the matter, the Bench stated that the written examination for the CEO post was conducted as per the provisions of the Defence Estate Service (Cantonment Executive Officer) (Group-B), Recruitment Rules, 1987. Admittedly, in the said Recruitment Rules, there was no provision of waiting list to be maintained by the Department.

“The Hon’ble Apex Court in Civil Appeal titled as Bihar State Electricity Board vs. Suresh Prasad and Others decided on 25.2.2004, held that in the absence of any such rule for preparing a waiting list for successful candidates to fill the vacancies which remained unfulfilled due to not turning up of the candidates to join, the Court has no power to order that unfilled vacancies be offered to further candidates in order of merit. The Hon’ble Apex Court further observed that mere selection does not give any indefeasible right to appointment to a candidate against existing vacancies,” stated the division bench while dismissing the plea of the petitioner. 

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