The government will soon stop campus recruitment by public sector undertakings (PSUs), including banks, following advice from the Law Ministry that the selection process violated the Constitution and went against a Supreme Court ruling. The Ministry’s Department of Legal Affairs recently reaffirmed that “campus recruitment by PSUs in view of the decision of the High Court of Madras dated September 7, 2015 may be questioned as an unconstitutional way of recruitment to public employment” and may amount to “discrimination”. The recruitments were stopped after the High Court stayed the process following a petition in 2014 seeking a ban on PSUs opting for campus placement at premium or private colleges, thereby excluding students from government institutes.
It was subsequently resumed after the High Court in September 2015 declined to affirm the ban saying that the campus method was a “time tested” process in securing the “best talent” that was otherwise being weaned away by multinationals and private firms.
However, this failed to cut much ice with the Legal Affairs Department, which reiterated last month its May 2015 stand and said that the court had overlooked Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a Bombay High Court order of April 2013 that the campus interview mode “trampled the fundamental rights” of other candidates. “Article 141 of the Constitution provides that the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India,” the department said.
In August 2013, the apex court dismissed a review petition against the Bombay High Court order related to a plea in a case — Sonali Pramod Dhawade versus Central Bank of India — that permanent vacancies in public employment to be filled by inviting applications from the public at large.
The Bombay Court said that the campus interview method violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 (Equality before Law) and Article 16 (Equality of opportunities in matters of public employment) of the Constitution.
It said that such a method would also be unfair to citizens no longer pursuing education in any college or institution, much less the specified ones where the recruitment process was being conducted.
Nearly all Maharatna PSUs and public sector banks employ middle level officers who can be groomed for specialised profiles through campus visits to top engineering and business schools.