The Punjab and Haryana high court has not only set aside Chandigarh administration’s decision of cancelling appointment of Shiv Kumar Suman to the post of registrar of PEC (Punjab Engineering College) University of Technology in 2009 but also slapped a fine of 5 lakh to be paid to Suman for harassment.
Justice Ajay Tewari said that no approval was required for the appointment of the petitioner from the Chandigarh administration since it was the petitioner’s first appointment and PEC board of governors had the power to make the appointment.
The court clarified that had the appointing authority decided to grant him another contract without recourse to the method of open selection, only then would prior approval of the administration have been required. Justice Tewari said, “Since the petitioner has been fighting this legal battle for the past five years and also lost the benefits that could have accrued by working on the post for the said period, I deem it appropriate to grant him damages of 5 lakh.”
The court added that if the damages were not paid within three months, the petitioner would be entitled to an interest of 10% per annum from the date of court judgment to the date of payment.
The court reasoned, “The petitioner was assistant professor and working as the estate officer of the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. Had he served at the post of the registrar, his social status would have got a boost and his prospects for future appointments in other institutes would also have been brightened.
There are serious allegations of malafide against the Chandigarh administration to the effect that the Chandigarh administration not only acted illegally but also completely beyond its powers.”
Justice Tewari also added that it was not disputed that the original five years term for which the petitioner was appointed has come to an end by ef flux of time and the circumstances now do not permit him to join as registrar. He also said that the court cannot direct the university to grant the petitioner pay and allowances for said period because he did not actually work on the post.
Post of the PEC re gistrar was advertised in October 2008 and on March 12, 2009, that the petitioner was recommended for appointment after the due selection procedure.
Due to some allegations, however, the appointment letter to the petitioner was withheld and a summary inquiry was conducted. After due consideration, the chairman of board of governors instructed the PEC director to issue appointment letter to the petitioner and he joined as registrar on March 13, 2009.
On the same day, the direct or received a fax from t he Chandigarh home secretary that directing him that appointment letter be withheld till further orders, to which the director replied that it was already been issued.
Chandigarh administration then issued orders of cancellation of the petitioner’s appointment following which he approached the high court stating that administration had no power to cancel his appointment.