24 years on, HC awards ₹5 lakh as damages to Gurdaspur man for denial of appointment
Twenty-four years after a Gurdaspur resident was declared unsuccessful in the recruitment of naib tehsildar due to wrong calculation of marks, the Punjab and Haryana high court has awarded ₹5 lakh damages to him
Chandigarh : Twenty-four years after a Gurdaspur resident was declared unsuccessful in the recruitment of naib tehsildar due to wrong calculation of marks, the Punjab and Haryana high court has awarded ₹5 lakh damages to him.
He had challenged the selections made the same year in 1999 when the result was declared. But the case remained pending all these years.
“At this belated stage, after a period of more than 24 years, it would not be appropriate to disturb the selections which have already been conducted. The selected candidates have put more than 24 years of service and their services cannot be dispensed with. Additional post cannot be created by this court. The petitioner, therefore, cannot be granted relief of appointment,” the court said, disposing of the plea from one Ravinder Singh Thakur.
The last selected candidate had secured 149.5 marks and the petitioner had secured 149 marks. What later came to light during these proceedings was that he was not awarded 2 marks for educational qualifications of LLB degree, which ought to have been given as per the advertisement.
“Considering the facts of the case, this court deems it appropriate to grant damages to the petitioner instead of relief for consideration for appointment after a period of more than 24 years and to award him a sum of ₹5 lakh for being deprived of appointment on account of wrongful calculation of his merit. Compliance shall be made within a period of three months,” the bench of justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma ordered, observing that the amount paid to him could be recovered by the state from the members of the selection committee.
The advertisement was issued in July 1996 for 18 posts. The result was declared in May 1999.
The plea filed in 1999 alleged that the entire procedure adopted for conducting the selections was “de hors the rules” and suffered from colourable exercise of power. “Persons who were close relatives of political leaders, officers and members of the selection committee, were selected. Several candidates did not possess the minimum qualification as required on the last date of submission of the application form. However, they were inducted,” he had alleged.
Five of the selected candidates were even arrayed as party in the case, including one candidate, son of a political leader. One more unsuccessful candidate, who also could not figure in merit list due to wrong calculation of marks, got appointment in 2004, after she also approached the court. However, Thakur’s case remained pending.
The court observed that the petitioner has not been able to make out a case of nepotism and favouritism as the said allegations have been denied and no concrete proof has been placed before the court except making “bald allegations” by him.
“The counsel has also been unable to inform the court as to how the petitioner is surviving and making ends meet for last 24 years. In the circumstances, the only solace which can be provided is by awarding damages,” it said.