CAT quashes Govt order cancelling selection process of Jail warder

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: A bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) comprising Judicial Member Rakesh Sagar Jain and Administrative Member Anand Mathur set-aside impugned order No. 134- Home of 2019 dated February 6, 2019 passed by respondent Principal Secretary to Government, Home Department, Government of J&K thereby cancelling process of selection initiated pursuant to Advertisement Notification no. 539 of 2005 dated August 25, 2005 for the post of Jail Warder. CAT further directed respondents to go ahead with selection process further and take appropriate decision, as per Recruitment Rules and Advertisement notification and the exercise, as indicated above, be completed by administration within three months. This significant judgment has been passed in a petition seeking quashment of Govt Order No.134-Home of 2019 dated February 6, 2019, whereby the respondent authorities have terminated selection process initiated pursuant to Advertisement Notification 539 of 2005 dated August 25, 2005 and also seeking directions to respondent to accord consideration to case of the petitioner for the purpose of their selection and consequent appointment against the post of Jail Warder. The Bench, after hearing both sides, observed that in background of facts, it is the plea of petitioners that irregularities were not such as to necessitate cancellation of entire process of selection process. Even if, there were some deficiencies, such deficiencies could not be said to be incurable. It has been further argued by the counsel for petitioners that looking to the counter affidavit of DGP Prisons, it is clear that both Prisons Department and Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs were of view that selection process cannot be withdrawn, more so, looking to the law declared by the Supreme Court of India and this opinion was repeatedly given by the Law Department and yet impugned order has been passed bypassing all reasons and in an arbitrary manner and placed reliance upon East Coast Railway Vs. Mahadev Appa Rao, wherein it has been held by the Apex Court that ‘Arbitrariness in the making of an order by an authority can manifest itself in different forms. Non-application of mind by authority making the order is only one of them. Every order passed by a public authority must disclose due and proper application of mind by person making the order. This may be evident from the order itself or the record contemporaneously maintained. Application of mind is best demonstrated by disclosure of mind by the authority making the order and disclosure is best done by recording reasons that led authority to pass the order in question. Absence of reasons either in the order passed by authority or in the record contemporaneously maintained is clearly suggestive of the order being arbitrary hence legally unsustainable.’ It is nobody’s case that no such reasons were set out even in any contemporaneous record or file. Looking to the reasoning adopted by the respondents, even assuming some of the flaws to be correct, it cannot be said irregularities were all pervasive and beyond correction. The various flaws and procedural irregularities, even if acceptable could have been rectified to carry out selection process to its logical end. In fact, there is no mention in the impugned order that various flaws and procedural irregularities were of such a nature that they were not rectifiable.
CAT further observed that in absence of good and sound reasons in support of the impugned order, it must be held that impugned order was passed in unreasonable and irrational manner. As such, impugned order for cancellation of entire recruitment process is quashed and set aside. Consequently, the petitions succeed and are allowed. The order impugned order No. 134- Home of 2019 dated February 6, 2019 passed by respondent Principal Secretary to Government, Home Department, Government of J&Ks cancelling process of selection initiated pursuant to Advertisement Notification No. 539 of 2005 dated August 25, 2005 is hereby quashed and set aside and the respondents are directed to go ahead with selection process further and take appropriate decision, as per Recruitment Rules and Advertisement notification.