High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Balwinder Singh & Ors v. Sarabjit Singh, DGP, Punjab - COCP-1443-2001  RD-P&H 3102 (12 May 2006)
(1) COCP No.1443 of 2001
Date of decision:17.5.2006
Balwinder Singh and others
Sarabjit Singh, DGP, Punjab
Present: Mr. D.S. Brar, Advocate for the petitioners.
Ms. Neelofer A. Perveen, Assistant Advocate General, Punjab for the respondent.
(2) COCP No.1253 of 2003
A.A. Siddiqui, DGP, Punjab
Present: None for the petitioner.
Ms. Neelofer A. Perveen, Assistant Advocate General, Punjab for the respondent.
(3) COCP No.574 of 2004
A.A. Siddiqui, DGP, Punjab and another
COCP Nos.1443/2001 etc.
Present: Mr. D.S. Brar, Advocate for the petitioner.
Ms. Neelofer A. Perveen, Assistant Advocate General, Punjab for the respondents.
S.S. Saron, J.
This order will dispose of the above three contempt petitions as they relate to the violation of the same order dated 17.10.1996 passed in the case of Kulwant Singh v. State of Punjab (CWP No.12860 of 1996). The facts, however, are taken from COCP No.1443 of 2001.
The petitioners in the aforesaid contempt petitions are stated to be parties in the case of Kulwant Singh v. State of Punjab (CWP No.12860 of 1996). They applied for recruitment to the post of Constables in the Punjab Armed Police (`PAP' for short) pursuant to an advertisement which was published by the Government of Punjab in daily newspapers like Punjab Kesari and Punjabi Tribune and also got announced on All India Radio and Doordarshan. A Departmental Selection Committee was constituted to make selections of suitable candidates who had applied for the said post. The committee conducted tests which included physical fitness test. Those who cleared the physical test were to appear in the written test followed by interview. The names of the petitioners figured at different serial numbers in the merit list drawn up by the Departmental Selection Committee. The grievance of the petitioners in the writ petition filed by them was that despite their selection, the respondents had failed to allot them the constabulary numbers and those who were less meritorious than them and even those who had not been selected by the Departmental Selection Committee, had been appointed. According to the petitioners in the writ petition, the department had adopted a pick and choose policy. The respondents, however, denied the allegations. The stand taken by the respondents in the said writ petition filed by Kulwant Singh etc. (CWP No.12860 of 1996) was that although the advertisement did not contain the number of available vacancies but about 5159 vacancies were anticipated and the Punjab Government sanctioned creation of five Indian Reserve Battalions vide letter dated 21.12.1993.
COCP Nos.1443/2001 etc.
Besides, 2925 vacancies were consumed in the appointment of SPOs and 2234 vacancies were left to be filled from general candidates. The respondents pleaded that the list prepared by the selection committee was approved by the Additional Director General of Police (PAP), Punjab and thereafter appointments were offered to the selected candidates. The respondents denied the allegations of deviation from the merit list. They also denied allegations of backdoor appointments. After consideration of the entire matter, Kulwant Singh's case (supra) was disposed of by a Division Bench of this Court on 17.10.1996 and the following directions were issued:- "We, therefore, dispose of the writ petition with the following directions:-
(i)The department shall publish the merit list in newspapers (Punjabi Tribune, Dainik Tribune) (Hindi edition), and Punjab Kesari (Punjabi edition) having wide circulation in the State of Punjab.
(ii) The Department shall take steps to dispense with the services of those who have been appointed by-passing the merit. This would necessarily involve giving of show cause notice to such persons and passing of appropriate orders after giving opportunity of hearing to such persons. This exercise shall be completed within next three months; (iii) The consequential vacancies which may become available shall be filled by appointing candidates strictly in accordance with the merit keeping in view the reservation, if any; and (iv) In view of the statement made by learned Deputy Advocate General, Punjab that there is prohibition on future recruitment, we direct the department that in case any appointment is made in relaxation of the ban imposed by the Government then merit list prepared by the department shall be taken into consideration while appointing the candidates.
This shall be subject to any policy decision regarding the currency of the Panel prepared on the basis of selection already made. With respect to the SPOs. We leave it open to the Government to take policy decision regarding their COCP Nos.1443/2001 etc.
appointment." (Emphasis added).
The petitioners allege that even though they are on merit of the selection list, however, the respondents have issued a public notice dated 18.3.2001 (Annexure-P.2) advertising the filling up of the posts of constables in Punjab Police (Indian Reserve Battalions) by direct recruitment.
Therefore, it is submitted that the petitioners in fact are liable to be appointed keeping in view the above directions particularly those as contained in sub- para (iv) of the order dated 17.10.1996 passed in Kulwant Singh's case (supra). As such, the present contempt petition has been filed alleging violation of the order dated 17.10.1996. The contempt petition was in fact disposed of by this Court on 12.10.2001 by making observations and directions to the respondents that any appointment made by the department in pursuance of the advertisement dated 18.3.2001 (Annexure-P.2) shall always be subservient to direction No. (iv) passed by the Hon'ble Division Bench. It was also mentioned that the Government should respect the judicial order dated 17.10.1996 passed in Kulwant Singh's case (supra) and should not try to bye-pass the same. Against the order dated 12.10.2001 disposing of the present contempt petition, the respondents filed a review application i.e. RA No.16-CII of 2002 which was dismissed on 1.3.2002 with the observation that no ground for review of the order dated 12.10.2001 was made out.
Against the order dated 1.3.2002 dismissing the review application, the respondent herein filed SLP in the Supreme Court in which after grant of special leave was numbered as Civil Appeal No.627 of 2003 and was disposed of by the Hon'ble Supreme Court on 24.1.2003 by passing the following order:-
"It is the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that the appellant has complied with the directions issued by the High Court contained in order dated 17.10.1996 passed in the Writ Petition (C) No.12860 of 1996. He further submits that operative period of the selection list is also over.
The contentions raised by the appellant requires consideration of facts and other judgments rendered by this Court as well as by the High Court on the same subject. Hence, as agreed by the learned counsel for the parties, the matter is COCP Nos.1443/2001 etc.
remitted to the High Court for deciding it afresh on merits.
The appeal is allowed accordingly. The impugned judgment and order and the order dated 12.10.2001 passed by the High Court in COCP No.1443 of 2001 in CWP No.12860 of 1996 are set aside. There shall be no order as to costs." It is in consequence of the said order passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court that the matter has been listed for hearing.
Mr. D.S. Brar, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners has vehemently contended that the respondents are liable to make recruitment from the merit list which was prepared in compliance with the order dated 17.10.1996 passed in Kulwant Singh's case (supra). It is contended that the petitioners' names figure in the merit list that was prepared and, therefore, there is no reason why the petitioners should not be given the constabulary numbers. It is further contended that the order of the Director General of Police issued vide memo dated 17.6.1997 (Annexure-R.1) has wrongly stated that the waiting list of recruitment has become invalid after expiry of six months. It is stated that in fact the earlier appointments that have been made were also made after the period of six months and, therefore, there is no reason not to follow and comply with the order dated 17.10.1996 passed in Kulwant Singh's case (supra), particularly, the direction contained at serial No. (iv) thereof.
In response, Ms. Neelofer A. Perveen, learned Assistant Advocate General, Punjab appearing for the respondents has stated that the matter has been remitted back to this Court by the Hon'ble Supreme Court vide its order dated 24.1.2003 as other judgments rendered by the Supreme Court as well as by this Court had not been considered. It is contended that the said judgments/orders have an important bearing on the matter in issue.
She has referred to the judgments/orders passed in the case of Ranbir Singh and others v. G.R.P. Sahi and others (COCP No.801 of 1997) decided on 22.10.1997 and also the order in the case of Jodh Singh and others v. State of Punjab and others (COCP No.1620 of 2001) decided on 7.1.2002 and the order of the Supreme Court dated 7.5.2002 passed in the case of Gurcharanjit Singh and others v. State of Punjab and others (SLP No.8939 of 2002) arising out of the order passed in Jodh Singh's case (COCP No.1620 of 2001) COCP Nos.1443/2001 etc.
decided on 7.1.2002. In view of the same it is contended that the present petitions are liable to be dismissed.
I have given my thoughtful consideration to the contentions of the learned counsel for the parties. It is not in dispute that in the present case the petitioners are in the merit list of the selection that has been made in pursuance of advertisement which was subject matter of decision in Kulwant Singh's case (supra). However, a reading of the order passed in Ranbir Singh's case (supra) would show that the petitioners therein were higher in order of merit than the last candidate who had been selected and who was at serial No.3070. In other words, it is evident that candidates in order of merit upto serial No.3070 have been allotted constabulary numbers. The petitioners in Ranbir Singh's case (supra) were higher in merit than the last candidate who had got constabulary number. Therefore, after considering the matter and perusing the record a direction was issued by this Court to give constabulary numbers to them. In the cases in hand, it is an admitted position that the petitioners are not higher in merit than the last candidate who was given constabulary number. In other words the petitioners are not having higher merit than the person last appointed and given constabulary number at Sr. No.3070. Therefore, the question which requires to be considered is whether the petitioners can be given constabulary numbers keeping in view the directions of this Court particularly at serial No. (iv) as issued in Kulwant Singh's case (supra). In fact this matter was considered in the case of Jodh Singh v. State of Punjab (COCP No.1620 of 2001) and it was held as follows:-
"The question to be considered now is whether the select list should form the basis of all future appointments or it is open to the respondents to conduct a fresh process of selection. By issuing a fresh advertisement. The respondents have issued a fresh advertisement inviting applications for the post of constable. The aforesaid advertisements alleged to be violative of the directions of this Court dated 17.10.1996 (extracted above).
A close scrutiny of the directions contained in para (iv) of the order dated 17.10.1996 reveals that the appointment COCP Nos.1443/2001 etc.
would be continued to be made from the select list, subject to the currency of the panel. It is the clear and categoric case of the respondents that according to the instructions of the state government, a select list remains valid only for a period of six months. On the expiry of six months, appointments cannot be made from the same. From the sequence of facts narrated in this petition, it is evident that the panel from which the petitioners are claiming appointment has expired and in fact had expired well before the advertisement was got published by the respondents. In the aforesaid view of the matter, it is not possible for this Court to hold that the advertisement issued by the respondents inviting applications for the post of constables is violative of the order passed on 17.10.1996.
For the aforesaid reasons, it is not possible to conclude that the respondents have violated the directions of this Court dated 17.10.1996 by inviting applications from candidates for the posts of constable through an advertisement.
Rules issued to the respondents is discharged." (Emphasis added).
Against the above said order, SLP No.8939 of 2002 was filed which was disposed of on 7.5.2002 in the case of Gurcharanjit Singh and others v.
State of Punjab and others (supra) with the following order:- "ORDER
Heard learned counsel for the petitioners.
In our view the High Court has rightly rejected the contempt petition because by its order dated 17th October, 1996,
the High Court has specifically made it clear that consideration of the merit list prepared by the department for appointment would be subject to any policy decision regarding the currency of the panel. In this view of the matter, if the period of panel prepared on the basis of the selection has expired then there is no question of consideration of the same for appointments.
Hence this petition is dismissed."
A perusal of the aforesaid order passed in Jodh Singh's case (supra) by COCP Nos.1443/2001 etc.
this Court and in Gurcharanjit Singh's case (supra) by the Hon'ble Supreme Court would show that on the expiry of six months appointments cannot be made from the same. Besides, from the sequence of events narrated it was found evident that the panel from which the petitioners were claiming appointment had expired and in fact had expired well before the advertisement which was got published by the respondents. The reference to the advertisement in Jodh Singh's case (supra) is to the advertisement dated 18.3.2001 (Annexure-P.2) in the present cases also. The said order passed in Jodh Singh's case (supra) has been upheld by the Supreme Court in Gurcharanjit Singh's case (supra) in which it is clearly mentioned that if the period of panel prepared on the basis of the selection has expired then there was no question of consideration of the same for appointments. In the circumstances, the contention of Mr. D.S. Brar, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners that the Director General of Police has issued wrong order vide memo dated 17.6.1997 (Annexure-P.3) is devoid of any merit. Even if the said order is taken to be wrong, it cannot be said to be in violation of the order dated 17.10.1996 passed in Kulwant Singh's case (supra), the contempt of which has been alleged.
In the afore-noticed facts and circumstances and keeping in view the fact that the life of the select list which was the subject matter of consideration in Kulwant Singh's case (supra) has expired it cannot be said that the petitioners are entitled for appointment on the basis of the said select list or that there has been violation of the order of this Court.
Consequently, the contempt petitions are dismissed.
May 17, 2006. (S.S. Saron)
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