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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Service Matter - selections and appointment to the post of Librarians in the schools run by local bodies - High court turned down their plea - Library Science Degrees obtained from Allgappa University before it was obtained recolonization - Apex court held that the validity of the post facto recognition granted by the Distance Education Council to Algappa University has not been assailed before us nor was the same under challenge before the High Court, we see no reason why the petitioners in these petitions should not be allowed the benefit of such recognition which implies that they shall be treated as eligible for consideration and appointment against the available vacancies depending upon their inter se merit vis-a-vis other candidates competing for the same.= Naushad Anwar & Ors. …Appellants Versus State of Bihar & Ors. …Respondents= 2014 (Apr.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41374

Service Matter - selections and appointment to the post of Librarians in the schools run by local bodies - High court turned down their plea - Library Science Degrees obtained from Allgappa University before it was obtained recolonization - Apex court held that the validity of  the  post  facto  recognition granted by the Distance Education Council  to  Algappa  University  has  not been assailed before us nor was the same under  challenge  before  the  High Court, we see no reason why the petitioners in these  petitions  should  not be allowed the benefit of such recognition which implies that they shall  be treated as eligible for consideration and appointment against the  available vacancies depending upon their inter se  merit  vis-a-vis  other  candidates competing for the same.=
whether  the  appellants  were  eligible  for
appointment as librarians in the schools run by  the  local  bodies  in  the
State of Bihar and if so whether a mandamus could be  issued  directing  the
respondents to announce the result currently lying in a  sealed  cover.=
The appellants in these appeals also applied for  appointment  against
posts of Librarians in response to the above notification. Their  claim  for
such appointments was, however, turned down on the ground that they did  not
satisfy the conditions of eligibility prescribed for  such  appointments  as
they did  not  possess  a  Bachelor’s  Degree  in  Library  Science  from  a
recognised  university.=
The  Distance  Education  Council  had,  observed  the  High
Court, in terms of its letter dated 2nd December, 2008 clearly  stated  that
Alagappa University from where the appellants had obtained the said  degrees
was not recognised till 24th November, 2009 when  the  said  University  was
granted recognition for the first time. The High Court was also of the  view
that the process of appointment and selection stood  completed  by  January,
2009, i.e. long before Alagappa University was recognised. The  High  Court,
therefore,  saw  no  reason  to  permit  the  appellants  to   compete   for
appointment with other candidates. The High Court observed:

           “From the aforesaid factual narration, the  core  question  that
           emerges for consideration is  whether  the  students,  who  have
           passed from Alagappa University through Distance Education,  can
           be allowed to participate  in  the  counselling.   There  is  no
           shadow of doubt that the Alagappa University did  not  have  the
           recognition from the distance Education Council at the  time  of
           examination. It obtained post facto recognition  on  24.11.2009,
           that is, at a very belated stage.”

 whether  the  selection  process  stood  completed
before the Distance Education Council  recognised  Algappa  University  from
where the petitioners have obtained their degrees.  
Our  answer  is  clearly in the negative.  
On their own showing, the respondents  had  not  concluded
the selection process till as late as middle of  2012  i.e.  more  than  two
years after the recognition order  was  passed  by  the  Distance  Education
Council in favour of Algappa University.  
Petitioners had, in the  meantime,
been allowed to participate in the  interviews  under  the  orders  of  this
Court passed on 10th May, 2010.  
By our order dated 14th March, 2011 we  had
directed the respondents not to fill up 54 posts of Librarians  relevant  to
petitioners in SLP Nos.10964 and 12527 of 2010 and SLP (C) No.17421 of  2010
and two posts to be kept vacant relevant to SLP (C) Nos. 23850 and 23852  of
2010.  
It is not in dispute that the petitioners have  participated  in  the
interview under the above orders and  that  requisite  number  of  vacancies
have also been  reserved  for  their  appointment  in  the  event  of  their
succeeding in the present case. 
It is also not in dispute  that  the  result
of the petitioners has been kept  in  sealed  cover  awaiting  the  ultimate
outcome of  the  present  appeals.  
In  the  circumstances,  therefore,  and
keeping in view the fact that the validity of  the  post  facto  recognition
granted by the Distance Education Council  to  Algappa  University  has  not
been assailed before us nor was the same under  challenge  before  the  High
Court, we see no reason why the petitioners in these  petitions  should  not
be allowed the benefit of such recognition which implies that they shall  be
treated as eligible for consideration and appointment against the  available
vacancies depending upon their inter se  merit  vis-a-vis  other  candidates
competing for the same.

16.   In the result we allow these appeals, set aside the  order  passed  by
the High Court and allow Writ Petition 17734 of 2000  with  a  direction  to
the respondents to consider  the  appellants  for  appointment  against  the
available  vacancies  by  treating  them  eligible  for  such   appointment.
Depending upon their inter se merit vis-a-vis other candidates  who  may  be
competing for the unfilled vacancies if any out  of  those  advertised,  the
respondents  shall  issue  the  appointment  orders  to  them  if  they  are
otherwise found to be fit and suitable for  such  appointment.  The  needful
shall be done by the  respondents  expeditiously  but  not  later  than  two
months from the date of this order.

17.   The parties are left to bear their own costs.
 2014 (Apr.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41374
T.S. THAKUR, C. NAGAPPAN
                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                   CIVIL APPEAL NO.    4270        OF 2014
                (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No.10964 of 2010)


Naushad Anwar & Ors.                         …Appellants

      Versus

State of Bihar & Ors.                        …Respondents

                                    WITH

                  CIVIL APPEAL NO.  4271           OF 2014
                (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No.12527 of 2010)


                   CIVIL APPEAL NO.  4272          OF 2014
                (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No.17421 of 2010)


                     CIVIL APPEAL NO.  4273      OF 2014
                (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No.23850 of 2010)


                     CIVIL APPEAL NO.  4274     OF 2014
                (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No.23852 of 2010)

                                     AND

                     CIVIL APPEAL NO.  4275     OF 2014
                (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No.20584 of 2010)


                               J U D G M E N T

T.S. THAKUR, J.

1.    Leave granted.

2.    These appeals arise out of a  common  order  dated  10th  March,  2010
passed by the High Court of Judicature at Patna  whereby  CWJC  No.17734  of
2009 filed by the appellants has been dismissed.  The  short  question  that
arises for  consideration  is  whether  the  appellants  were  eligible  for
appointment as librarians in the schools run by  the  local  bodies  in  the
State of Bihar and if so whether a mandamus could be  issued  directing  the
respondents to announce the result currently lying in a  sealed  cover.  The
factual backdrop in which the question arises may be summarised as under:

3.    Apart from nearly one  lac  posts  of  teachers  in  primary  schools,
secondary  schools  and  higher   secondary   schools   run   by   Municipal
Corporation, Municipal Councils, District Boards and Panchayats as  many  as
2596 vacancies of Librarians were advertised by the Government of  Bihar  in
terms of  a  Notification  dated  29th  August,  2008.   The  time  schedule
stipulated  in  the  notification  required  the  selection  process  to  be
completed  by  24th  December,  2008.  The  selection  process  was  to   be
undertaken by Selection Committees at  the  district  levels,  although  the
composition of such Committees and the norms and  procedures  governing  the
selection process were not very clearly spelt out in the notification.

4.    The appellants in these appeals also applied for  appointment  against
posts of Librarians in response to the above notification. Their  claim  for
such appointments was, however, turned down on the ground that they did  not
satisfy the conditions of eligibility prescribed for  such  appointments  as
they did  not  possess  a  Bachelor’s  Degree  in  Library  Science  from  a
recognised  university.  Aggrieved,  the  appellants  filed  Writ   Petition
No.17734 of 2009  before  the  High  Court  of  Judicature  at  Patna  which
petition was dismissed by  the  High  Court  holding  that  the  degrees  in
library science obtained by the appellants through Distance  Education  were
not recognised. The  Distance  Education  Council  had,  observed  the  High
Court, in terms of its letter dated 2nd December, 2008 clearly  stated  that
Alagappa University from where the appellants had obtained the said  degrees
was not recognised till 24th November, 2009 when  the  said  University  was
granted recognition for the first time. The High Court was also of the  view
that the process of appointment and selection stood  completed  by  January,
2009, i.e. long before Alagappa University was recognised. The  High  Court,
therefore,  saw  no  reason  to  permit  the  appellants  to   compete   for
appointment with other candidates. The High Court observed:

           “From the aforesaid factual narration, the  core  question  that
           emerges for consideration is  whether  the  students,  who  have
           passed from Alagappa University through Distance Education,  can
           be allowed to participate  in  the  counselling.   There  is  no
           shadow of doubt that the Alagappa University did  not  have  the
           recognition from the distance Education Council at the  time  of
           examination. It obtained post facto recognition  on  24.11.2009,
           that is, at a very belated stage.”




5.    When the matter came up for hearing before  this  Court  on  1st  May,
2013,  Mr.  P.S.  Patwalia,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing   for   the
appellants argued that the reason given  by  the  High  Court  for  refusing
relief to the appellants was unsustainable. He submitted  that  the  process
of selection had not been completed in January, 2009 as  held  by  the  High
Court, but had continued till January, 2012. He contended that  so  long  as
the process of selection was on, the  appellants’  claim  for  consideration
against the vacancies notified by the Government, could not  be  ignored  or
rejected by the State. Reliance in support of that submission was placed  by
Mr. Patwalia on certain documents filed by the appellants to show  that  the
selection process had not concluded in January 2009 as observed by the  High
Court but continued till as late as the year 2012. After hearing the  matter
at some length we had by our order dated 1st May, 2013  directed  the  State
Government  to  file  an  appropriate  affidavit  answering  the   following
queries:

           “(1)  What is the total number  of  appointments  made  in  each
                 District/unit so far,  whether  by  the  State  or  by  the
                 concerned authorities, against the posts of librarian.


           (2)   How many of such appointments had been  made  up  to  24th
                 December, 2008, the last  date  fixed  for  completing  the
                 process  of  selections,  in  terms  of  the  advertisement
                 notice.


           (3)   Under whose Orders was the  date  for  completion  of  the
                 selection process extended beyond 24th December,  2008  and
                 in exercise of what authority. Copies of  the  order  under
                 which the date for completion of the selection process  was
                 extended shall be filed along with affidavit.


           (4)  When was the last counselling/verification of documents  of
                 the  candidates,  who  applied  for  appointment  in   each
                 district, conducted.


           (5)   What were the norms and procedure adopted by the concerned
                 Selection Committees for evaluating the inter se merits  of
                 the candidates.


           (6)   In the case of candidates who had qualified from different
                 universities  within  and  outside  Bihar,  how   was   the
                 performance of the candidates adjudged having regard to the
                 fact that the academic standard  for  each  university  may
                 have been different.


           (7)   What  was  the  composition  of  the  Selection  Committee
                 entrusted with the process of selection of the candidates.


           (8)   How many candidates were enlisted for appointment in  each
                 district  on  the  basis  of  inter  se  merits   of   such
                 candidates. A copy of the merit list for each such district
                 be placed on record.


           (9)   Does the Government of Bihar have any norms or  guidelines
                 on the subject of recognition  of  academic  qualifications
                 awarded by universities  within  Bihar  and  those  outside
                 Bihar?


           (10)  In case the State of Bihar does not have any mechanism for
                 recognition of such qualifications  awarded  to  candidates
                 from  different  universities,  is  there  any   direction,
                 administrative or otherwise, that relies  upon  or  accepts
                 the recognition granted to such  universities  by  Distance
                 Education Council, New Delhi.


           (11)  Apart from Alagappa University from where the  petitioners
                 claim  to  have  obtained  their  degree/qualification   in
                 library science,  were  any  other  candidates  from  other
                 universities  not  recognised  on  the  date  of  the  said
                 Notification considered for appointment  by  the  concerned
                 Selection Committees. If so, on what basis. In  case  there
                 was any provisional recognition to such  universities,  the
                 copies of such provisional recognition orders be placed  on
                 record.


           (12)  Is the process of selection incomplete in any district  as
                 on date and if so what are the  number  of  vacancies  that
                 remain to be filled in such districts.


           (13)  Does the State propose to close or finalise the process of
                 selection against the vacancies that were advertised in the
                 year  2008.  If  so  does  it  propose  to  issue  a  fresh
                 notification inviting applications  against  the  vacancies
                 remaining unfilled having regard to the fact that  a  large
                 number of candidates who were not eligible as on  the  date
                 of the said  Notification  may  have  become  eligible  for
                 consideration of appointment.


           (14)  Is there a library in each school where the post has  been
                 filled up or is sought to be filled  up.  If  there  is  no
                 library in existence has the State taken any steps  and  if
                 not does the State propose  to  take  steps  to  provide  a
                 library to the school concerned. If the answer  be  in  the
                 affirmative the timeframe within which it proposes to do so
                 may be indicated.”



6.    The  respondents  have  pursuant  to  the  above  filed  an  affidavit
answering the  queries.  Although  some  of  the  answers  provided  in  the
affidavit are not entirely satisfactory,  we do not  consider  it  necessary
to look for further information in that regard as any such attempt is  bound
to unnecessarily delay the disposal of these appeals further.

7.    The selection process, it is common ground, was  to  be  conducted  in
terms of the Bihar Zila Parishad Secondary  and  Higher  Secondary  Teachers
(Appointment  and  Service  Conditions),  Rules,  2006  as  amended  by  the
amendment Rules of 2008.  Rule 4(vii) (a) and (b) of said Rules  as  amended
stipulates the following conditions of  eligibility  for  appointment  as  a
Librarian.

      “4(vii) (a)      Possesses  Degree  of  Graduation  with  minimum  45
                 percent marks  from  any  recognized  university.  For  the
                 scheduled   castes/scheduled   tribes/extremely    backward
                 class/backward class and  disabled,  (irelaxation  of  five
                 percent would be made  available  in  the  minimum  desired
                 marks.

           (b)   Degree of Graduation  in  Library  Science  given  by  any
                 university recognised by the Department of Education, State
                 Government.”




8.    Scrutiny of the applications received  by  the  competent  authorities
appears  to  have  revealed  that  several  candidates   had   applied   for
appointment on the basis of degrees in library science obtained by  Distance
Education  mode.   Taking  note  of  such  candidatures,  Secretary,   Human
Resources Development of the Government of Bihar notified that  the  degrees
awarded  by  any  university  under  the  distance  learning  mode  will  be
recognised only if the same are recognized  and  approved  by  the  Distance
Education Council of Indira  Gandhi  National  Open  University.  Since  the
Distance Education Council had declined recognition to the  degrees  awarded
by Algappa University the petitioners  apprehended  that  they  may  not  be
considered for appointment against the available  vacancies.  CWJC  No.18561
which was the first round of litigation between the parties was,  therefore,
filed by the petitioners and several others in the High Court of  Judicature
at Patna for a mandamus directing  the  respondents  to  consider  them  for
appointment as librarian pursuant to the advertisement in question.

9.    The respondents contested the  petition  aforementioned  and  asserted
that academic qualifications awarded through  distance  education  from  any
university established under the Act of the Parliament or  institutions  are
deemed  to  be  universities  under  Section  3  of  the  University  Grants
Commission Act, 1956 or institutions of National importance declared  to  be
so under an Act of the Parliament shall stand automatically  recognised  for
the  purposes  of  employment  to  posts  and  services  under  the  Central
Government provided such qualifications and universities are  recognised  by
the  Distance  Education  Council.  It  was   further   submitted   that   a
notification was issued even by the  Distance  Education  Council  informing
all concerned that Distance Education Council constituted under  the  Indira
Gandhi national University  Act,  1985  determines  standards  for  distance
education in the country and prescribes guidelines that  are  mandatory  for
all institutions and that institutions  ought  to  obtain  approval  of  the
Distance Education Council before commencing any degree/diploma or any  such
course through distance education mode. The  notification  further  informed
the public at large that  universities  and  institutions  which  offered  a
degree/diploma course through distance mode was  misleading  the  public  if
they  purported  to  claim  that  such  degrees/diplomas  or   courses   are
recognised by the University Grants Commission. Such degrees could in  terms
of the notification be recognised only  if  the  institutions  had  obtained
approval of Distance Education Council  under  the  Indira  Gandhi  National
Open  University  Act,  1985.  That  requirement  was   according   to   the
respondents not satisfied in the present  case  as  the  Distance  Education
Council had in terms of its letter dated 1st December, 2008  clearly  stated
that the B.L.I.S. Degree of Algappa University by  distance  education  mode
was not recognised by the Distance Education Council.

10.   A Single Bench of the High Court of Patna before  whom  CWJC  No.18561
came up for consideration held that since a degree in library  science  from
a recognised university was the bare minimum requirement for appointment  as
a Librarian and since the degree obtained by the petitioners before  it  was
not recognised by the Distance Education Council, the petitioners  were  not
eligible for consideration or appointment against  the  available  vacancies
on the basis of any such qualification.  The  writ  petition  filed  by  the
petitioners was, accordingly, dismissed.

11.   Shortly after  the  dismissal  of  the  above  petition  came  another
petition filed by Pramod Kumar and others (CWJA No.3995  of  2009  ;  Pramod
Kumar & Ors. v. The State of Bihar & Ors.) in which a Single  Bench  of  the
High Court of Patna passed  an  order  on  1st  April,  2009  directing  the
Distance Education Council to dispose of at an early date  the  prayer  made
by Algappa University for recognition.  In CWJC No.6235  of  2009  filed  by
Prem Sudha Kumar and others another Single Bench of the High Court of  Patna
by an order dated 18th  May,  2009  directed  the  State  not  to  make  any
appointments based on a degree in distance education mode not recognised  by
the Distance Education Council.

12.   The above writ petitions were then followed by Writ Petition  No.17734
of 2009 from which the present appeals arise in which  the  petitioners  not
only challenged the constitutional validity of Rule 4 (vii)(a) & (b) of  the
Bihar Municipality Secondary and Higher Secondary Teachers (Appointment  and
Service Condition) Rules, 2006 as amended in 2008  but  also  prayed  for  a
direction against the respondents  for  consideration  of  their  cases  for
appointment against the post of Librarian  on  the  basis  of  their  degree
qualification  from  Algappa  University,  Karaikuddi,   Tamil   Nadu.   The
petitioners’ case  primarily  was  that  the  Indira  Gandhi  National  Open
University had by an order dated 24th November, 2009 granted ex  post  facto
recognition to the programme offered  by  distance  education  mode  by  the
Algappa University with effect from 1995  which  implied  that  the  degrees
awarded to  the  petitioners  were  recognised  qualifications  making  them
eligible for appointment as Librarians. Challenge to  the  validity  of  the
Rules was, however, given up by the petitioner before the High Court  as  is
evident from its order dated 7th January, 2010. The  limited  question  that
fell for consideration before the High Court,  therefore,  was  whether  the
degrees obtained  by  the  petitioners  from  the  Algappa  University  were
recognised and whether the petitioners could be considered  for  appointment
against the available vacancies on the basis  of  the  said  qualifications.
The High Court dismissed the writ  petitions  on  the  ground  that  Algappa
University did not have the requisite recognition  from  Distance  Education
Council “at the  time  of  examination”  and  that  post  facto  recognition
belatedly granted on 24th February, 2009 did not entitle the petitioners  to
the consideration or appointments prayed for.

13.   The short question that falls  for  our  determination  in  the  above
backdrop, therefore, is whether the academic qualification acquired  by  the
petitioners is recognized for the  purposes  of  appointment  as  Librarians
against the vacancies in question,  having  regard  to  the  fact  that  the
Distance Education Council of Indira Gandhi  National  Open  University  has
granted ex post facto recognition  to  Algappa  University  from  where  the
petitioners have secured their degrees in library science.  The  High  Court
has,  as  noticed  above,  taken  the  view  that  recognition  by  Distance
Education Council was granted belatedly inasmuch  as  such  recognition  had
come after the conclusion of the entire selection process hence  was  of  no
avail to the petitioners. There can indeed be no quarrel with  the  abstract
proposition of law that any recognition granted after the conclusion of  the
selection process cannot possibly help the candidates  concerned  who  ought
to satisfy the conditions of eligibility according to the relevant Rules  on
the date the applications are submitted and scrutinised to  determine  their
eligibility.  The difficulty, however, is that the relevant Rules,  did  not
in the case at hand stipulate whether a degree in library  science  obtained
by Distance Education mode will constitute a recognised qualification.   All
that Rule 4 (vii) (b) stipulated was  that  the  candidates  should  have  a
degree in library science recognised by the  Department  of  Education.  The
Department of Education has not  by  itself  recognised  any  university  or
academic qualification awarded whether  by  regular  or  Distance  Education
mode. It was only  when  candidates  who  had  secured  degrees  in  Library
Science  by  Distance  Education  mode  applied  for  appointment  that  the
Government issued a clarification  that  such  degrees  will  be  recognised
provided the University  awarding  the  same  has  been  recognised  by  the
Distance  Education  Council.   There  was  in  other   words   considerable
confusion as  to  what  would  constitute  a  recognised  qualification  for
purposes of appointment as Librarians.  Such  being  the  case,  the  normal
rule that candidates must satisfy the conditions of eligibility on the  date
of the applications will have to be  applied  liberally  so  as  to  prevent
injustice to candidates who possessed  the  requisite  degree  qualification
but such qualification required recognition by another  statutory  authority
which came during the selection  process  but  was  effective  from  a  date
earlier than the date on which the applications were made.   The  fact  that
the candidates were in the meantime allowed to participate in the  selection
process under Orders of the Court and their result kept in  a  sealed  cover
makes it so much easier for the Court to  apply  the  relaxed  standard  for
determination  of  the  conditions  of  eligibility  especially   when   the
consideration of  such  candidates  will  in  no  way  prejudice  any  other
candidate already appointed or selected for appointment.

14.   We may now examine whether  the  selection  process  had  indeed  been
concluded before the recognition  was  granted  by  the  Distance  Education
Council in the instant case.  The version of  the  petitioners  consistently
has been that the selection process was not concluded as  on  the  date  the
recognition order was passed by the  Distance  Education  Council  and  even
three years thereafter till the year 2012.  Whether or not that was  so,  is
what we intended to discover from the answers  provided  by  respondents  to
the queries extracted in the earlier part of this order. In answer to  query
no.2 the respondents have on  the  affidavit  of  Secretary  to  Government,
Education Department, Government  of  Bihar,  stated  that  no  appointments
could be made till 24th December, 2008 the last date  fixed  for  completing
the process of selection in terms of the advertisement notice. In answer  to
query no.3 the  respondents  have  stated  that  appointment  orders  issued
against the vacancies of Teachers and Librarians were not issued on  account
of certain allegations that forged and fabricated documents were being  used
to secure such appointments and also on account of  instructions  issued  by
the  Government  to  the  effect  that  degrees  obtained  by  some  of  the
candidates from universities like Hindi Vidyapeeth Deogarh were  being  used
for claiming appointments. The affidavit goes on to state that in  terms  of
instructions issued by  the  Government  on  17th  February,  2010  a  fresh
schedule  for  issuing  appointment  letters   was   published   stipulating
different dates for completion of the process by  the  Nagar  Nigams,  Nagar
Prashids, Nagar Panchayats and Zila Parishads between  25th  February,  2010
to 8th March, 2010.  Since the process could not be  completed  yet  another
schedule was published for all the four local bodies mentioned above  asking
them to conclude the selection process on different dates between 10th  May,
2010 to 20th May, 2010.  Yet another schedule was  notified  for  completion
of the selection process by the State Government’s letter dated  11th  June,
2010 asking the local bodies concerned to complete the selection process  on
different dates between 5th July, 2010 to 15th  July,  2010.  That  was  not
however, the end of the matter as  the  selection  and  appointment  process
could not be completed by the local bodies which led to the  publication  of
yet another schedule stipulating  dates  for  completion  of  the  selection
process between 10th August, 2010 to 13th August,  2010.   As  if  that  was
also not enough, the entire selection  process  was  in  terms  of  a  fresh
schedule to be completed on different dates between 8th July, 2011  to  12th
July, 2011 followed by yet another schedule stipulated by the Government  in
terms of its letter dated 18th October, 2011 that required the local  bodies
to complete the process of selection  of  appointments  on  different  dates
between 14th December, 2011 to 17th December,  2011.   The  process  of  re-
scheduling the selection and appointments did not end there for  by  another
letter dated 4th January, 2012 the  Government  re-scheduled  the  selection
and appointment process to be completed between 23rd January, 2012  and  2nd
February, 2012.  The affidavit states that no satisfactory progress  in  the
selection of the Librarians  was  made  in  certain  districts  despite  re-
scheduling orders passed by the Government with the result a final  schedule
for completion of the selection  process  was  published  asking  the  local
bodies to complete the selection and appointment process on different  dates
between 15th June, 2012 to 25th June, 2012.  In answer  to  query  no.4  the
Government  have  stated  that  the  last  counselling/verification  of  the
documents of the selected candidates was undertaken pursuant  to  the  above
final schedule.

15.   We are anguished by  the  very  thought  of  the  selection  procedure
dragging on for  as  long  as  four  years  between  2008  and  2012.   Such
inordinate delay and indolence is totally undesirable not  only  because  it
violates the  fundamental  rights  of  candidates  who  have  qualified  for
appointment during the intervening period but  also  because  it  depicts  a
complete failure on the part of all concerned in  regulating  the  selection
and appointment process with a view to  ensuring  that  the  same  is  fair,
objective and transparent.  We cannot help  saying  that  several  questions
have bothered us in regard to the  selection  process  itself  which  leaves
much to be desired but since there is no challenge to the selection  or  the
appointments made pursuant thereto, we refrain from making  any  observation
in regard to those aspects.  All that we need say is that the selection  and
appointment of such a large number  of  employees  under  the  local  bodies
ought to have been conducted in a more orderly fashion and more  importantly
the same should have been completed within the  time  frame  stipulated  for
the purpose  or  such  reasonable  extension  thereof  as  may  have  become
absolutely inevitable. A selection process that lingers  on  for  years  can
hardly measure up to the demands of objectivity, fairness  and  transparency
especially when the method  by  which  inter  se  merit  of  candidates  was
determined is neither stipulated in the Rules nor any guidelines issued  for
the Selection Committee to follow have been placed before us.   Be  that  as
it may, the question  is  whether  the  selection  process  stood  completed
before the Distance Education Council  recognised  Algappa  University  from
where the petitioners have obtained their degrees.  Our  answer  is  clearly
in the negative.  On their own showing, the respondents  had  not  concluded
the selection process till as late as middle of  2012  i.e.  more  than  two
years after the recognition order  was  passed  by  the  Distance  Education
Council in favour of Algappa University.  Petitioners had, in the  meantime,
been allowed to participate in the  interviews  under  the  orders  of  this
Court passed on 10th May, 2010.  By our order dated 14th March, 2011 we  had
directed the respondents not to fill up 54 posts of Librarians  relevant  to
petitioners in SLP Nos.10964 and 12527 of 2010 and SLP (C) No.17421 of  2010
and two posts to be kept vacant relevant to SLP (C) Nos. 23850 and 23852  of
2010.  It is not in dispute that the petitioners have  participated  in  the
interview under the above orders and  that  requisite  number  of  vacancies
have also been  reserved  for  their  appointment  in  the  event  of  their
succeeding in the present case. It is also not in dispute  that  the  result
of the petitioners has been kept  in  sealed  cover  awaiting  the  ultimate
outcome of  the  present  appeals.  In  the  circumstances,  therefore,  and
keeping in view the fact that the validity of  the  post  facto  recognition
granted by the Distance Education Council  to  Algappa  University  has  not
been assailed before us nor was the same under  challenge  before  the  High
Court, we see no reason why the petitioners in these  petitions  should  not
be allowed the benefit of such recognition which implies that they shall  be
treated as eligible for consideration and appointment against the  available
vacancies depending upon their inter se  merit  vis-a-vis  other  candidates
competing for the same.

16.   In the result we allow these appeals, set aside the  order  passed  by
the High Court and allow Writ Petition 17734 of 2000  with  a  direction  to
the respondents to consider  the  appellants  for  appointment  against  the
available  vacancies  by  treating  them  eligible  for  such   appointment.
Depending upon their inter se merit vis-a-vis other candidates  who  may  be
competing for the unfilled vacancies if any out  of  those  advertised,  the
respondents  shall  issue  the  appointment  orders  to  them  if  they  are
otherwise found to be fit and suitable for  such  appointment.  The  needful
shall be done by the  respondents  expeditiously  but  not  later  than  two
months from the date of this order.

17.   The parties are left to bear their own costs.

                                                  ……………………………………….……….…..…J.
                                                               (T.S. THAKUR)





                                                 …………………………..…………………..…..…J.
                                                            (VIKRAMAJIT SEN)
New Delhi
April 1, 2014

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