Even after the Supreme Court has given the verdict on PTIs recruitment case of Haryana, it does not seem to be settled ultimately. Some recruits filed the plea in the Punjab and Haryana high court to put stay on May 27 notification of the Haryana Education Department relieving them from their services. Their plea was that Haryana Government should let them continue their services till the fresh selection is made. On first hearing, the high court ordered the Haryana Government to maintain the status quo in the matter. With this, all those teachers who have not been released from the service by the education department shall continue to work till June 9.
Facts in Brief:
- The Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) Invited applications for 1,983 posts of the instructors in 2006.
- In pursuance of advertisement, 20,836 applications were received by the Commission, which decided to hold the written examination on January 21, 2007.
- The notification further provided that candidates equal to three times of the vacancies will be called for interview based on their performance in the written test.
- However, later a public notice was issued by the Commission that due to several complaints of malpractices and cheating, the written examination would be cancelled.
- The Commission issued another notice, re-notifying the written examination for the instructors.
- However, before the fresh written examination could take place on July 20, 2008, the third notice was issued by the Commission cancelling the written test.
- The selection panel decided to shortlist the candidates for interviews based on the written test, which it had decided to cancel. It then employed 1,983 PTI leading to pleas in the HC.
- A single bench of the Punjab and Haryana High court in September 2012 set aside the appointment of 1983 PTI’s selected through the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC). The HC passed the order after observing massive irregularities in the selection process.
- A division bench of the HC also upheld the order in September 2013.
- After which the affected candidates approached the SC against the quashing of their appointments. On April 8, 2020, the SC court upheld the decision passed by the high court and ordered the state to conduct a fresh selection process.
- On May 27, Haryana’s elementary education department issued orders to relieve them from the service, given the recent verdict passed by the Supreme Court.
- A petition is filed by some PTI’s in Punjab and Haryana high court to avoid relieving their services until the fresh selection is made.
Legal Stand Point:
In Ramjit Singh Kardam v. Sanjeev Kumar, the Supreme Court upheld the verdicts passed by the single and division benches of the high court quashing the appointment process. It rejected the selected candidates’ plea that they have been working since 2010 and may be allowed to continue on their posts and said that they were allowed in pursuance of interim orders. Also, the Supreme Court ordered to conduct a fresh selection process within five months from the date of the lifting of lockdown. However, the fresh selection process does not mean fresh applications and invitation. Only those who had submitted applications in response to the above advertisement, including those who were selected, shall be permitted to participate in the fresh selection as directed.
The question that now Punjab and Haryana High Court will answer – should the recruits be allowed to continue their services till the fresh selection is made?
It is to be noted that recruits were allowed to continue their services by virtue of the interim order passed by the Supreme Court in 2013. It is a settled law position that all the interim orders get revoked once the litigation is settled. As the Supreme has upheld the decision of the High Court quashing the appointment process, its interim order to maintain status-quo becomes void. Thus, legally, the recruits cannot continue their services. Further, the Haryana Education Department also issued notification dated May 27, to relieve all the recruits from services. Thus, the high court, most likely, will not allow the petition.
However, one factor may compel the high court to change the verdict. The factor isthat the fresh selection process may take a long time to complete due to ongoing lockdown, and sudden relieving of nearly two thousand PTIs will create a shortage of PTI’s that may impact the students. However, it seems also unlikely because some recruits have already relieved from the services. In such a case, if it allows those who still not have relieved to continue the service, it will amount to discrimination with those who have already relieved.Therefore, it is likely that the high court will not allow the petition, but it cannot be said with absolute certainty.
On first hearing, the high court ordered Haryana Government to maintain the status quo as the state counsel wanted more time to have further instructions in the matter from the concerned quarter and to file a written response by way of an affidavit.
For case specific advice, please contact Punjab Haryana High Court Best/Expert Lawyers Advocates for Service matters Chandigarh Panchkula Mohali. Zirakpur Kharar Derabassi
This post is written by Gourav Kathuria
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