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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

HC sets aside recruitments to posts of 2,364 ETTs in Punjab

Court order comes after petitioners challenge selection criteria, wrong advertisement by recruiter

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
November 17, 2021 6:34:13 am
The Bench of Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu, after hearing the matter, held that the impugned selection criteria specified in the advertisement granting weightage of 5 marks(maximum) for higher qualification was inherently flawed with incurable illegality. (File)

THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court has set aside the entire selection process for recruitment to the posts of 2,364 Elementary Trained Teachers (ETT) in Punjab, over the advertisement dated March 6, 2020.

The petitioners, through counsels advocates Vikas Chatrath, had challenged the selection criteria along with the ongoing process for appointment of 2,364 ETT meant for border area after an advertisement dated March 6, 2020, issued by the director of Education Recruitment Directorate, Punjab (Director Recruitment). It has been contended that the Director Recruitment, while issuing the advertisement, invited applications for recruitment against 1,664 posts of ETTs and the last date for registration of online applications was fixed as March 23, 2020.

Subsequently, in a corrigendum dated June 23, 2020 the number of posts were increased to 2,364 and last date for submission of applications was extended to July 9, 2020. Other terms and conditions of the advertisement remained same.

The petitioner’s counsel contended that in view of the amendment dated February 26, 2020, the final selection of the candidate(s) shall be on the basis of their merit list in the written examination and provisions of Rule 6 (4) are mandatory in nature. Thus, the selection criteria mentioned in the advertisement dated March 6, 2020 for awarding additional marks to the candidates on the basis of higher qualification which is graduation is not legally permissible. It was further contended that the initial selection criteria as specified in the advertisement is running contrary to rule 6(4) and as such the whole process is vitiated. The state counsel, while opposing the plea, submitted that there had been a past practice for grant of weightage on account of higher educational qualifications and as such, specific clause to that effect was incorporated in the advertisement dated March 6, 2020. Thus, granting of maximum 5 marks on the basis of higher qualification which is graduation is claimed to be justified.

The Bench of Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu, after hearing the matter, held that the impugned selection criteria specified in the advertisement granting weightage of 5 marks(maximum) for higher qualification was inherently flawed with incurable illegality. Further in view of rule 4, the selection has to be made on the basis of recommendations by the “board”. On the other hand, the selection process is being carried out by the Recruitment Directorate without any lawful authority, therefore, the whole exercise is patently illegal.

The order states, “This court is very well conscious that quashing of the advertisement may cause great hardship to the candidates aspiring for appointment (s) against the posts in question. But at the same time, it cannot be ignored that in case the selection process initiated in disregard of the service rules is allowed to attain finality, the same shall perpetuate the illegality.” Thus allowing the petition, the Bench said, “The advertisement containing the impugned selection criteria along with entire selection process, including provisional merit list for recruitment to the posts of 2,364 ETT, are quashed and set aside”.

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