Jammu and Kashmir High Court has dismissed a petition, challenging withdrawal of provisional selection list regarding engagement of Rehbar-e-Khel for zone Drugmulla in Kupwara district of north Kashmir.
12 candidates had been selected, in pursuance to an advertisement notice issued by the Youth Services and Sports Department on 13 January 2018, as Rehbar-e-Khael in Drugmulla zone.
In all, 223 vacancies were filled up across 13 zones in Kupwara but authorities withdrew the provisional selection list of 12 candidates as regards zone Drugmulla in May 2019 amid complaints of nepotism and favoritism by a selection committee.
The authorities had also ordered a fresh process for engagement against these positions. The action had followed report by a committee constituted by the authorities that, among others, did not dispute the allegations that six out of the 12 selected candidates were close relatives of the officers and officials working the Youth Services and Sports Department Kupwara and that some of the selected candidates were awarded exceptionally high marks in the interview though they were figuring at the bottom of the list as per the points calculated on the basis of their academic qualification.
“A look at the document (placed on record by officials) would reveal that all these 06 candidates, who are stated to be relatives of the officials of the Department, have secured very high marks as compared to the other selected candidates and the candidates who have been rejected,” a bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar said as per the order, adding, “This clearly gives an impression that the interview committee has been influenced by the officers/officials of the Department as a result of which they have awarded higher marks to these six candidates in the interview. Thus, a genuine doubt is cast on the fairness of the selection process.”
Apart from it, the court said, the record shows that the interview of the candidates pertaining to Drugmulla Zone, was not conducted by a duly constituted Selection Committee.
“It is an admitted case of the parties that the interview was conducted by the Additional Deputy Commissioner in place of the Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara,” the court said.
As per Rehbar-e-Khel Scheme, the Selection Committee comprises District Development Commissioner concerned as its Chairman, District Youth Services & Sports Officer as its Member Secretary and District Employment & Counselling Officer and Zonal Physical Education Officer as its members.
“Thus, the interview of the candidates has not been conducted by a duly constituted Selection Committee because it was not headed by the Deputy Commissioner,” the court said and rejected the contention by the counsel for the petitioners that Additional Deputy Commissioner Kupwara had the approval of the Deputy Commissioner to act on his behalf and that selection committee cannot be stated to be incompetent one.
“Without presence of the Deputy Commissioner, the Committee of the selection members is rendered defective. The authorization issued by the Deputy Commissioner that has been relied upon by the petitioners, would not clothe the Committee with the power to make the selection,” the court said, “Even if it is assumed that the Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, had issued any such authorization, still then it would not make any difference, as it was not within his competence to delegate his powers to any other officer.”
The court also held that the petitioners do not have any vested right to seek a direction upon authorities concerned to take forward the selection process on the basis of provisional select list.
“It is a settled law that mere selection of a candidate does not entitle him to seek appointment to a particular post nor is a candidate, who finds his name in the select list entitled to seek a direction upon an authority to conclude the selection process so that the appointment orders are issued in his favour,” the court
“In the instant case, even the selection of the petitioners was yet to be finalized as their selection was provisional in nature subject to the objections. Once the official respondents considered the objections, they withdrew the provisional select list. The same was well within their competence and jurisdiction particularly in view of the fact that the selection was made by an incompetent Selection Committee and there were a large number of misdemeanors observed in the selection process,” the court said and dismissed the petition.