Section 21 of U.P. Secondary Education Service Selection Board Act, 1982 provides that the management shall not, except with the prior approval of the Board, dismiss any teacher or remove him from service, or serve on him any notice of removal from service, or reduce him in rank or reduce his emoluments or withhold his increment for any period whether temporarily or permanently and any such thing done without such prior approval shall be void.
Section 21 of the U.P. Secondary Education Service Selection Board Act, 1982, has also been similarly interpreted by the Court in Hem Lata Agrawal v. District Inspector of Schools, 2003 (2) AWC 939. It was held as under: “The question whether the reversion of a teacher, who was appointed on temporary adhoc basis as Principal under Section 18 of the Act would amount to reduction in rank so as to require approval of the Board need not be considered here as whether or not it is a reduction in rank, it is clear that it amounts to reduction of emoluments. The petitioner is entitled to the salary for the post of Principal and reverting her, as a Lecturer would undoubtedly affect the emoluments to which she is entitled. The language of Section 21 of the Act is wide enough to cover within its scope the order impugned in this writ petition.”…. Kapil Deo Prasad V. Joint Director of Education 7th Region Gorakhpur, Writ – A No. – 442 of 2020, decided on 05.03.2020
“Recruitment”, “Advertisement”, “Selection” and “Appointment” are different concepts under the service jurisprudence. “Recruitment” is the process of generating a pool of capable people to apply for employment in organization. Selection forms integral part of recruitment process, wherein from amongst eligible candidates, choice is made of person or persons capable to do the job as per the requirement. The process of selection begins with the issuance of advertisement and ends with the preparation of select list for appointment. “Appointment” is made, after selection process is over, issuance of letter in favour of selected candidates, is an offer to selected candidate to accept the office or position to which he has been selected. On acceptance of the terms and conditions of appointment, the selected candidates on joining has to be accepted as appointed. Ravi Raj v. State of U.P., Writ – A No. – 26584 of 2011, decided on February 7, 2020
Dr. (Major) Meeta Sahai v. State of Bihar; 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1632, Hon’ble Supreme Court has held as under: “However, we must differentiate from this principle insofar as the candidate by agreeing to participate in the selection process only accepts the prescribed procedure and not the illegality in it. In a situation where a candidate alleges misconstruction of statutory rules and discriminating consequences arising therefrom, the same cannot be condoned merely because a candidate has partaken in it. The constitutional scheme is sacrosanct and its violation in any manner is impermissible. In fact, a candidate may not have locus to assail the incurable illegality or derogation of the provisions of the Constitution, unless he/she participates in the selection process.” Mohan Lal Yaduwanshi v. State of U.P, Service Bench No. – 18370 of 2019, decided on January 13, 2020
In Shankarsan Dash v. Union of India, (1991) 3 SCC 47, a Constitution Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that a candidate seeking appointment to a civil post cannot be regarded to have acquired an indefeasible right to appointment in such post merely because of the appearance of his name in the merit list. It was held as under: “It is not correct to say that if a number of vacancies are notified for appointment and adequate number of candidates are found fit, the successful candidates acquire an indefeasible right to be appointed which cannot be legitimately denied. Ordinarily the notification merely amounts to an invitation to qualified candidates to apply for recruitment and on their selection they do not acquire any right to the post. Unless the relevant recruitment rules so indicate, the State is under no legal duty to fill up all or any of the vacancies. However, it does not mean that the State has the licence of acting in an arbitrary manner. The decision not to fill up the vacancies has to be taken bona fide for appropriate reasons. And if the vacancies or any of them are filled up, the State is bound to respect the comparative merit of the candidates, as reflected at the recruitment test, and no discrimination can be permitted.” Mohd. Rashid v. Local Bodies, (2020) 2 SCC 582
In Ritesh Tiwari v. State of U.P. (2010) 10 SCC 677, it was held as under:— “It is settled legal proposition that if an order is bad in its inception, it does not get sanctified at a later stage. A subsequent action/development cannot validate an action which was not lawful at its inception, for the reason that the illegality strikes at the root of the order. It would be beyond the competence of any authority to validate such an order. It would be ironical to permit a person to rely upon a law, in violation of which he has obtained the benefits. Saraswati Vidya Mandir Inter College V. State of U.P., Writ C. No. 16120 of 2009 Connected with Writ – C. No. 26354 of 2009, decided on 18.05.2020.
On perusal of Section 16-FF of the U.P. Intermediate Education Act, 1921, it is evident on the face of it that without approval of the District Inspector of Schools, no appointment on the post of Lecturer or Assistant Teacher in L.T. Grade can be made in the institution recognized under the Act of 1921. It is further clarified that on submission of papers in case the District Inspector of Schools do not pass any order within a period of 1 month, then the selection is deemed to have been approved. Dr.Hemant Chaudhary V. State of U.P., Writ – A No. – 1821 of 2020, Decided on March 3, 2020
An important requirement of public employment is transparency. Therefore, the advertisement must specify the number of posts available for selection and recruitment. The qualifications and other eligibility criteria for such posts should be explicitly provided and the schedule of recruitment process should be published with certainty and clarity. The advertisement should also specify the rules under which the selection is to be made and in absence of the rules, the procedure under which the selection is likely to be undertaken. This is necessary to prevent arbitrariness and to avoid change of criteria of selection after the selection process is commenced, thereby unjustly benefiting someone at the cost of others. Ram Krishna v. State of U.P., 2018 (3) AWC 2702.
A Division Bench of the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in State of U.P. v. Faini Singh, Special Appeal No. 416 of 2014 decided on 25.04.2014, while considering the provisions of Regulation 919 A (3) of Civil Service Regulations observed that the power of withholding or withdrawing pension is to be used in cases where allegations are of serious nature or grave misconduct and of causing pecuniary loss and it cannot be exercised mechanically merely on the pendency of any judicial proceedings without considering the allegations against the retired Government Servant. In other words, pendency of even judicial proceedings has not been recognized as a matter of right to withhold the pension.
In Bangali Babu Misra v. State of U.P., 2003 (3) AWC 1760, a Division Bench of the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court seised of a similar controversy held that in the absence of any provision under law, even if the petitioner is subjected to punishment in criminal proceedings that would not be a ground for withholding the post retiral benefits admissible to him. Radhey Shyam Chaubey v. High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, 2018 (3) AWC 2521.
A distinction between right to be considered for promotion and an interest to be considered for promotion has always been maintained. Seniority is a facet of interest. The rules prescribe the method of recruitment/selection. Seniority is governed by the rules existing as on the date of consideration for promotion. Seniority is required to be worked out according to the existing rules. No one has a vested right to promotion or seniority. But an officer has an interest to seniority acquired by working out the rules. The seniority should be taken away only by operation of valid law. Right to be considered for promotion is a rule prescribed by conditions of service. A rule which affects chances of promotion of a person relates to conditions of service. The rule/provision in an Act merely affecting the chances of promotion would not be regarded as varying the conditions of service. A rule which merely affects the chances of promotion does not amount to change in the conditions of service. However, once a declaration of law, on the basis of existing rules, is made by a Constitutional Court and a mandamus is issued or direction given for its enforcement by preparing the seniority list, operation of the declaration of law and the mandamus and directions issued by the Court is the result of the declaration of law and not the operation of the rules per se. Pankaj Singh v. State of U.P., 2018 (3) AWC 2380.
When a departmental enquiry is conducted against the Government servant, it cannot be treated as a casual exercise. The enquiry proceedings also cannot be conducted with a closed mind. The Inquiry Officer has to be totally unbiased. The rules of natural justice are required to be observed to ensure not only that justice is done but is manifestly seen to be done. The object of rules of natural justice is to ensure that a Government servant is treated fairly in proceedings which may culminate in imposition of punishment including dismissal/removal from service.
In Roop Singh Negi v. Punjab National Bank, (2009) 2 SCC 570, it was held as under:
“Indisputably, a departmental proceeding is a quasi judicial proceeding. The enquiry officer performs a quasi-judicial function. The charges leveled against the delinquent officer must be found to have been proved. The enquiry officer has a duty to arrive at a finding upon taking into consideration the materials brought on record by the parties. The purported evidence collected during investigation by the investigating officer against all the accused by itself could not be treated to be evidence in the disciplinary proceeding. No witness was examined to prove the said documents. The management witnesses merely tendered the documents and did not prove the contents thereof. Reliance, inter alia, was placed by the enquiry officer on the FIR which could not have been treated as evidence.” Ram Prakash Pal v. Chairman, 2018 (4) AWC 3952.