2 doctors allege violation of recruitment norms for selection of SKIMS Principal: HC rejects Plea
Srinagar: The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court bench on Tuesday dismissed a plea by 2 doctors, who had challenged the selection process for the post of Principal of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS) Medical College, Bemina
Dismissing the plea, the bench comprising of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey noted, "The Respondents are on record to make it clear that due adherence is made to the mandate of the recruitment rules in the entire process of selection, which are the primary and basic source for making selection against the post of Principal, SKIMS Medical College & Hospital, Bemina."
The case concerns the petitioners who had applied for the post of Principal of SKIMS Medical College, Srinagar. They moved the High Court claiming that the selection process for the post of Principal was being carried out by the Government in violation of the mandate of recruitment rules governing the subject as well as against the scope of Clauses (b) and (c) prescribed in the Advertisement Notice.
Mr. M Y Bhat, the counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the selection process for the post of Principal, SKIMS, Medical College/Hospital, is governed by the mandate of Recruitment Rules of 2012, as notified by the Government on November 6, 2012. For this, Advocate Bhat referred to Clauses (II) and (III) of Rule 7 of the Recruitment Rules.
He further submitted that in addition to the aforesaid Recruitment Rules of 2012, clauses (b) and (c) of the advertisement notice are supplement to the Recruitment Rules and it was not adhered to by the selection Committee in the process of selection.
It was contended on the behalf of the petitioner that the selection Committee didn't assess the competing candidates on the basis of the criteria as laid down in Clauses (II) and (III) of Rule 07 of the Rules of 2012, which envisaged assessment of the credentials of the competing candidates and, on the basis of such assessment, preparation of a panel of up to three candidates in the order of merit to be placed before the Chairman, Governing Body for making selection/ appointment.
It was urged before the High Court that no such assessment of the competing candidates was made by the selection Committee on the strength of the laid down criteria and that, without such assessment, the selection Committee had prepared the panel beyond the mandate of Rules of 2012, thereby making the entire process of selection as void ab initio and illegal.
In order to make his case, the petitioner relied on two judgments rendered by the Supreme Court in 'Ramjit Singh Kardam & Ors. v. Sanjeev Kumar & Ors.'; and'Veerendra Kr. Gautam & Ors. v. Karuna Nidhan Upadhyay & Ors.'.
The counsel for the petitioner pointed out before the Court that the notification dated March 23, 2021, where the candidates were informed to present themselves before the Selection Committee along with original documents, credentials, and reprints of publications at the time of interview, and submitted that the same was mere information and not notice of interview, besides reiterating that only five candidates were required to be called for interview in tune with the mandate of rules governing the subject.
On the other hand, the Government and other concerned authorities submitted that the Writ Petition is not maintainable on the ground that no final selection has been made. Further, the counsel for the State submitted before the court that the recruitment rules governing the subject was duly followed by the concerned authorities.
The counsel appearing for the Government contended that Clauses (b) and (c) of the advertisement notice restricts the number of candidates to five (05) or the panel to (03) and they have no statutory force as it is only the rules of 2012 which are applicable.
In this respect, he relied on Supreme Court judgment in 'S. B. Mathur & Ors v. Chief Justice of Delhi High Court and Ors: 1989 Supp (1) Supreme Court Cases 34.'
The Court during the previous hearings on August 17 and August 23 had directed the State and other concerned authorities to submit the relevant selection records before the Court.
After listening to the contentions of both the parties, the High Court bench opined
"At this stage, none of the fundamental, legal or constitutional rights of the Petitioners stand violated by any action or inaction on the part of the Respondents, which would have formed a ground for this Court to show indulgence in the instant case."
"The Respondents are on record to make it clear that due adherence is made to the mandate of the recruitment rules in the entire process of selection, which are the primary and basic source for making selection against the post of Principal, SKIMS Medical College & Hospital, Bemina. Besides, the Respondents have also produced the relevant records before the Court, which, on perusal, too, substantiate the stand taken by the Respondents that they are strictly following the mandate of the rules governing the field while taking the process of selection to its logical conclusion," further read the order.
Thus, finding no merit in the petition, the bench dismissed the same and noted that it was "unable to accept the contentions of the petitioners qua violation of the mandate of the relevant recruitment rules on the part of the Respondents in the ongoing process of selection against the post of Principal, SKIMS, Medical College & Hospital, Bemina."
To read the court order, click on the link below.