Hearing a petition challenging the process of the Haryana Civil Services (HCS) special recruitment by way of nomination for filling up 20 posts of the HCS (executive branch) allegedly with the motive of giving “backdoor entry to the favourites”, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday summoned the entire case record.
A division bench, comprising justice Surya Kant and justice Surinder Gupta, issued notices to the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) and the Haryana government on a petition filed by Bijender Rana and six other direct recruit tehsildars.
The petitioners had challenged a state government’s notification issued on September 16 for filling up 20 posts allegedly in an illegal manner which was in contravention of the HCS (Executive Branch) Rules, 2008. The state government has sought recommendations from all head of the departments by October 15 for filling up the posts.
Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Gurminder Singh argued that the government had not only prescribed illegal method but also granted undue relaxation in the criteria of experience and age to accommodate its favourites. He sought directions for making appointments under the HCS (Executive Branch) Rules, 2008, by following the procedure prescribed for Registers A-I, A-II and C (see box) as per the eligibility and roster, and based upon seniority and merit, among other things.
GROUNDS OF APPEAL
There is no process prescribed to ascertain as to how out of nearly 200 candidates the HPSC selects 20 candidates. Members of Group-B services have been equated with those of Group C thereby taking away the rationale of making such appointments from specified sources.
By increasing the eligibility age from 45 years as prescribed under the rules to 48 years, the government has enlarged the zone of consideration, prejudicing the rights of the candidates who would attain eligibility at a subsequent stage. Even the cut-off date for determining the eligibility has been fixed at January 1, 2014.
The 2008 rules for tehsildars envisages an experience of eight years, as petitioners were having, for being eligible for consideration, while the prescribed experience has been kept at 10 years in the notification.
The petitioners had questioned whether or not the state government could provide for conditions of recruitment from the cadre for which there is no provision under the statutory rules framed under Article 309 of the Constitution.
Registers Categorised in Rule 8 of the HCS (Executive Branch) Rules, 2008
Register A-I District revenue officers/tehsildars
Register A-II Members of Group C service
Register-B Direct recruitment through HCS (executive branch) examination
Register-C Distt development & panchayat officers, block development & panchayat officers