Punjab and Haryana HC quashes selection of 816 Haryana teachers
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday quashed the selection of 816 art and craft teachers selected by the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) during the tenure of the Bhupinder Singh-led Congress government. The HC directed the government to make fresh selections within five monthschandigarh Updated: Feb 20, 2015 23:28 IST
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday quashed the selection of 816 art and craft teachers selected by the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) during the tenure of the Bhupinder Singh-led Congress government. The HC directed the government to make fresh selections within five months.
The court held that the criterion for the selections was “tailor-made” and further observed that the entire decision-making was by the chairman, in consultation only with the secretary of the commission.
“No criterion was laid down for selection before or immediately after the advertisement was issued.... (the criterion) on the basis of which selections are sought to be justified was ‘tailor-made’ to ensure the selection of particular candidates,” the bench of justice Rajesh Bindal recorded in its order.
The advertisement for the posts was issued in 2006. The selection method initially planned was written test and interview, but later it was changed to only interview by calling all applicants. Finally, the selections were made on the basis of academic qualification and interview marks; the result was declared in 2010.
The HC found that there was no uniform standard prescribed for total marks and minimum marks for the said course being run by various institutes. It also found that in some cases, successful candidates could not have been eligible as they had applied after the last date for the posts advertised. The HC held that to favour the selected candidates, higher marks were awarded in interview even though they scored poorly on the other parameter of academic qualification. The HC also held that different criteria were laid down for various posts of the somewhat similar category in the education department.
HSSC, ‘a private limited company’
The role of the Haryana Staff Selection Commission and its then chairman Nand Lal Poonia has come under severe criticism of the court. The HC held that it was functioning like ‘a private limited company’ and the chairman was taking decisions on behalf of the commission.
The HC noted that there was discussion about the proposed appointments only between the chairman and then commission secretary. “No record has been produced to show that the commission’s meeting was ever called by circulating an agenda for the purpose and in terms thereof any resolution was passed to fix the criteria. What has been bound in the register produced before the court is in the form of loose sheets tagged together,” the HC said on the record summoned by it pertaining to selection.
The HC held that the chairman could not have usurped those powers (of members in selection process and criterion) and assumed the role of the ‘commission’. The court also found that there was no particular file maintained for the purpose of selection for the posts in question and different issues were dealt with in different files. It has also been found that the result was prepared and finalised even as the Supreme Court had ordered status quo in the matter on a petition challenging eligibility conditions for the advertised posts.